March 6, 2021 at 9:19 a.m.

Protocol for COVID Random Sample Testing

Dear CSSW Community,

As we return from spring break, there is some good news on COVID-19 with respect to decreasing cases and the increasing number of individuals getting vaccinated. However, there remains a long road ahead for all of us. The daily number of new cases in New York City and test positivity remain substantial. Below, I provide critical information regarding the University testing program, designed to keep all of us safe.

Random Sample Testing

All Columbia University graduate students, faculty, and staff who access campus are required to participate in the ongoing random surveillance testing program. Each week, a new random sample (roughly 10%) of those accessing campus is selected and notified by email of a required test. You are required to participate every time you are notified by email that you have been selected (with no more than 1 test per week). The email you receive is sent by Even if you have been tested recently, either at Columbia or another site, if selected for random testing, you are still required to be tested during the dates noted in the email. Keep in mind that if you are participating in weekly testing, you do not need to have an additional test if selected in the same time period.

If you are selected for random testing and do not have a test in the date range noted, the ReOpenCU app will issue a red pass. Should that happen, you can regain access by having a test, returning home until the app updates (within 72 hours), and then you will be able to again access Columbia campuses or facilities. There are no exemptions to this process and vaccination status has no impact on testing requirements.

Weekly Testing Available

As a reminder, voluntary weekly testing remains available to you. To schedule your appointment, go to the Columbia Health Online Patient Portal.

Other Actions

Thank you for wearing masks, washing/sanitizing your hands, physical distancing, avoiding non-emergency travel, and participating in vaccinations (if you are eligible). We are grateful that you are continuing to care for each other by Keeping the Compact.

In community,