COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below for answers to frequently asked questions in advance of the 2021-2022 academic year. This page will continue to be updated as more information becomes available. 

Updated April 1, 2021 

If I am an incoming student and I am unable to be in New York in time for J.D. or LL.M. orientation, or for introductory classes (Legal Methods I, Introduction to American Law) in August, may I participate virtually?

Orientation programming will be available virtually for incoming J.D. and LL.M. students unable to be in New York. Currently, the rules set forth by the American Bar Association and the New York Court of Appeals do not allow for remote participation in Legal Methods I (for J.D. students) or Introduction to American Law (for LL.M. students) courses. Since the beginning of the pandemic, however, the Court of Appeals has waived these prohibitions on a semester-by-semester basis. If public health or international visa restrictions make fall semester in-person attendance impossible, the Law School will once again advocate for a waiver.


Will I be required to get a vaccine in order to access campus? What other required protocols must I fulfill in advance? 

The University has not yet determined vaccination requirements for students. This response will be updated as more information becomes available. You should also visit covid19.columbia.edu for the latest developments. 

Apart from vaccination, it is possible that New York State may continue to impose a quarantine period for those traveling from outside the region, and that University COVID-19 testing, symptom attestation, and other access protocols will remain in place in the fall. This response will be updated as more information becomes available. 


How much time before the semester begins should I plan to arrive in New York in order to complete any necessary quarantine, testing, or vaccine requirements? 

While the exact requirements are unknown, we recommend that vaccinated students arrive at least two weeks prior to the start of classes. Unvaccinated students may need to plan to allow more time, as much as six weeks, to obtain multiple vaccine doses. This response will be updated as more information becomes available. 

Where can I find the academic calendar for AY 2020-2021?

The academic calendar for 2021-2022 is available at https://law.columbia.edu/academics/academic-calendar.


Will classes take place on campus in the fall?

The Law School is planning for on-campus classes to resume in the fall. Students and faculty should make arrangements to be in New York in ample time, depending on your circumstances, for the start of the semester. 


Will in-person classes be mandatory or will there be an option for students to take classes remotely for all or part of the semester?

Students will be expected to attend classes on campus. Students may, as always, request individualized accommodations by contacting the University’s Office of Disability Services. 


If I am an international student unable to obtain a visa in time for the start of classes, may I participate online instead of in person for all or part of the semester?

International students who are uncertain about obtaining a visa to enter the United States in time for the start of fall semester classes should consult with Student Services (for J.D. students) or Graduate Legal Studies (for LL.M. students) for individualized guidance. Students should also consult with the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO). 


Will I be eligible for the New York Bar examination upon graduation if I do not attend classes in person in the fall? 

The New York Court of Appeals prohibits eligibility to sit for the New York bar exam if degree requirements are completed remotely. Since the beginning of the pandemic, this prohibition has been waived on a semester-by-semester basis. If public health or international visa restrictions make in-person attendance impossible next fall, the Law School will once again provide a remote option and advocate for a waiver of the Court of Appeals prohibition.
 

What public health and safety protocols will be in place in the fall?

The University has yet to announce specific public health and safety protocols for the 2021-2022 academic year. Information will be posted at covid19.columbia.edu when it becomes available. Visit that same website to learn more about the campus health and safety measures that have kept our community protected during the current academic year.  


Will Columbia be providing vaccines for students? 

Columbia University has not yet received a vaccine allocation to immunize the student body. When it does, details will be shared with the University community. Updates are posted regularly to covid19.columbia.edu. We encourage you to check the website periodically and watch your email for updates. If you currently meet New York State eligibility criteria, you may wish to pursue vaccinations through other NY sites.


Will visitors be allowed on campus in the fall? 

Currently, academic visitors are allowed on campus only where their presence is critical for research and approved by the Office of the Provost.  The University has not yet announced a policy regarding visitors accessing campus in Fall 2022. 

Will co-curricular events, programs, and activities be offered on campus in the fall? 

The Law School expects to offer a robust array of co-curricular events, programs, and activities in the fall. While our hope is to offer as many of these opportunities on campus as possible, public health restrictions may necessitate that classes and other instructional activities receive priority for use of on-campus space. More information will be provided once it becomes available. 


Will the option to participate in events and programs remotely be offered? 

Decisions about whether to offer a virtual attendance option as a supplement to an in-person event held on campus will be made at the discretion of the individual event organizer and subject to the availability of IT infrastructure and support. IT support will remain prioritized for classes and instructional activities.