FAQs for Faculty & Staff

Updated July 12, 2021

Where can I find the academic calendar for 2021-2022? 

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

When are students scheduled to return for the fall semester? 

The Law School’s academic programs will start as follows: 

  • Incoming J.D. students (1Ls): Monday, August 23
  • LL.M. students (incoming and continuing): Monday, August 16
  • Continuing J.D. students (2Ls and 3Ls): Wednesday, September 8

Will students be permitted to attend classes virtually? 

All classes will take place in person on campus. Students are expected to attend classes in person, in accordance with the pre-pandemic attendance policy. 

Will faculty be permitted to teach classes via Zoom? 

For Fall 2021, Columbia University is resuming in-person instruction and activities, with a vaccine mandate and public health protocols that will ensure the safety of, and a return to, a vibrant and fully engaged Columbia community. All courses will be in-person and on campus. Read more

How will decisions be made about whether or not classes are recorded? 

Instructors can determine that their classes should be recorded and, if so, whether to make those recordings available to students. The Law School will continue to comply with all individualized accommodations approved by the Office of Disability Services, and will record classes on certain religious holidays (unless a professor specifically opts out of recording). 

If classes are convened in person, in what ways may faculty continue to use technology or other innovative pedagogical methods implemented during the pandemic? 

A return to in-person instruction does not mean that innovative course elements developed during the pandemic should be eliminated. In fact, many faculty members have thoughtfully and deliberately incorporated elements into their courses to encourage and support engagement with their students. Faculty should continue to utilize tools and approaches that enhance face-to-face learning and engage students in innovative and creative ways. Read more

Are faculty expected to hold office hours on campus?

While it is important for faculty and teaching assistants to hold in-person office hours, they can continue to offer additional review sessions and office hours on Zoom outside of regular business hours to accommodate student schedules and needs.

Can faculty elect to teach a class session remotely in lieu of rescheduling, if the need arises?  

Per Columbia University’s Fall 2021 instructional guidelines, if a class must be rescheduled, it should remain in person. Although unexpected emergency circumstances may justify the occasional use of Zoom in lieu of an in-person meeting, this should be seen as a rare exception rather than a convenience to accommodate conference or research travel, family schedules, and the like. The Curriculum Committee has been asked to develop Law School-specific guidance on the application of this policy.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine required for faculty and staff? 

COVID-19 vaccination will be mandatory for all University students, faculty, and staff—this includes officers of instruction, officers of research, officers of the libraries, student officers, officers of administration, union and non-union support staff. Full vaccination is to be completed as soon as possible. Limited exceptions will be granted for valid medical and religious reasons. See the University’s Vaccine FAQ for more information. 

How do I upload proof of vaccination? 

See Vaccine Documentation Upload Instructions for guidance in submitting your proof of vaccination

What is the deadline for uploading proof of vaccination? 

Full vaccination is to be completed as soon as possible. Proof of vaccination should be uploaded at least 30 days prior to accessing campus—which for some faculty and staff means by July 16—and must in no event later than August 2. 

I have not accessed campus since January 1, 2021. What are the steps that I need to take in order to be able to report to campus in the fall? 

All affiliates accessing campus this fall must complete the required return to campus protocol, outlined in the Provost’s June 17th message. In addition, anyone who has not accessed campus since January 2021, regardless of vaccination status, is required to present themselves for a “gateway” test just prior to returning. Appointments can be made via the Columbia Health Online Patient Portal.

What is the protocol for entering campus buildings?

Access to the Law School will be limited to those with valid CUID cards and approved visitors. All affiliates will be required to complete the daily symptom attestation and obtain a Green Pass via the ReopenCU app and swipe their CUID card upon entry. 

When should employees plan to return to their offices/workstations on campus?  

Law School Human Resources will notify employees of their return to campus date and on-campus work schedule for the fall semester the week of July 12. Employees should contact their supervisor or HR with any questions. 

Will masks be required? What about physical distancing? 

Changes in face coverings and physical distancing will be phased in over three periods. Face coverings indoors and physical distancing will continue to be required until August 2, even for vaccinated individuals, though they are no longer necessary outdoors for those who have been vaccinated. From August 3 to September 8, face coverings indoors will continue to be required for all, until have achieved a fully vaccinated status at which time face coverings and distancing no longer will be required, except for persons who have received a vaccine exemption. 


Will faculty be able to take their students to lunch at Faculty House? 

Yes. Faculty House is expected to reopen this fall. 

Will employees be permitted to travel on university business? 

The University’s Fall 2021 Travel Policy applies to all travel that is scheduled to take place on or after September 9. 

Will University fitness centers (e.g., Dodge Gym) be open? 

Subject to relevant public health regulations, every space on campus— not just classrooms, but the gym and the chapel, places for student activities, faculty offices, and administrative units— can be fully utilized this fall.

Will coffee service return to the Faculty Lounge and pantry spaces across the Law School?

Yes. Coffee machines have already been brought back online or will be returned to service by September 8.

Whom should I speak with if I have further questions or concerns about coming to/being on campus?

Faculty and staff should contact Law School Human Resources if they have questions or concerns about being on campus this fall.