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Return to Campus Update for GSAPP Students

January 4, 2022

Dear GSAPP Students:

In an abundance of caution related to COVID-19, Columbia University has decided instructional activity for all faculty, staff, and students will be conducted remotely during the first two weeks of the Spring 2022 semester. Since GSAPP’s instructional semester begins January 18, 2022, GSAPP will return to in-person instruction on February 1, 2022. This two-week remote learning period is designed to minimize disruptions for students who may be unable to travel or who must isolate themselves because of COVID-19. It will also allow a period for gateway testing of all students before the start of in-person classes.

At this time, on February 1, we are planning that classrooms will be at full capacity, and classes will be conducted face-to-face in campus classrooms.

Academic Continuity + IT
Zoom links for all GSAPP classes will be available in Canvas. We ask that you assist us by downloading Zoom, the video conferencing service recommended by the University. Instructions to access the service are detailed via step by step instructions on the GSAPP website. Should you need additional assistance accessing these resources, please submit a ticket to GSAPP’s IT group.

Studio Lotteries for M.Arch and AAD programs will be conducted remotely. Students will be given VPN remote access to studio computers starting January 21. The GSAPP IT group has provided software that may be downloaded here to assist students with remote instruction. All GSAPP Studios will open on February 1.

Accessing Campus
All students are invited back to campus before and during the two-week remote learning period to access University facilities, i.e. libraries and the fitness center. Still, students must follow the testing requirements noted below and other campus COVID-19 safety measures. All GSAPP classrooms as well as studios will open on February 1. In addition, please note in-person, indoor gatherings of any kind during the first two weeks of January are prohibited.

COVID-19 testing for students:

  • Before returning to campus: We strongly recommend that all students get a PCR test 48 hours before arriving on campus. While this test is not currently required, it may become so depending on public health conditions. Either way, we urge students to schedule a PCR test appointment well in advance, ensuring that your return to campus is not delayed or disrupted. In addition, those who test positive outside of Columbia are required to isolate for ten days before returning to campus. Note that at this time, we do not require the results of negative tests from this external testing to be uploaded or submitted—but please report positive test results through COVIDtesttrace@columbia.edu.
  • Once on campus: All students are required to get a Columbia gateway test within 72 hours of their return to campus.

Continuation of supplementary/voluntary and surveillance testing
Voluntary and surveillance testing will continue to be offered to all faculty, staff, and students. We will continue to adjust the size of the random sample selected for surveillance testing based on the COVID-19 context and will continue the wastewater surveillance of undergraduate student residential buildings.

Vaccine booster dose mandate
We remind you that all students must receive their vaccine booster dose (if eligible) by January 31, 2022. Students should upload evidence of their booster dose as they did with prior doses uploaded through their student health portal. The University’s prior message sent on December 14 provides details regarding the availability of booster doses and testing venues for our affiliates.

As we plan to return to campus, I ask you to remain especially cautious at this moment when COVID-19 cases are increasing across the city and country. Thank you for your continued commitment and diligence in adhering to the University’s enhanced health and safety policy and the Columbia Compact. Please remember that violations of the compact, no matter how minor, can jeopardize student privileges, including classroom/studio and campus access.

The most recently updated University Public Health Protocols can be found on the COVID website.

Support Resources

Health Services has an impressive roster of groups for the spring semester, responsive to current student concerns. The Columbia Health website has been updated to reflect these offerings.

Thank you again for your efforts and commitment to our community’s health. Please feel free to contact me at ds89@columbia.edu with any questions or concerns. We will continue to keep you updated as circumstances evolve. Thank you for your patience and understanding.


Danielle Smoller
Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs