What to Expect on Campus

Dean Lester shares some specific details about how the Law School has adjusted our campus environment to ensure your health and safety, and to reinforce the responsibility we share as a community to uphold the values set forth in the Columbia Health Compact

Dear members of the Columbia Law School Community, 

Over the next several days, many of you will be coming to campus—either for the first time as entering first-year J.D. or LL.M. students, or returning for your second or third year of the J.D. program. This is a time of year when our physical campus typically stirs to life, where the flood of students returning to our halls embodies a collective sense of renewal and vitality. While I feel the same energy and excitement this year as ever, it is, by necessity, manifest in different forms.

I write today to share with you some specific details about how the Law School has adjusted our campus environment to ensure your health and safety, and to reinforce the responsibility we share as a community to uphold the values set forth in the Columbia Health Compact

Preparing to Come to Campus

All students, faculty, and staff who plan to be on campus must complete the campus protocol, which includes the following steps: 

  1. Read the Enhanced University Health and Safety Policy

  2. Read and sign the Health Compact

  3. Complete Safety Training

  4. Self-quarantine, if required

  5. Get Tested

  6. Complete the Daily Symptom Self-Check via the ReopenCU App

Adhering to the Columbia Health Compact

The Columbia Community Health Compact is an affirmation of the commitments we must make to one another to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep the campus safe. Every Columbian must sign and agree to the terms set forth in the Compact, including committing to:

  • Wearing a face covering over nose and mouth at all times on campus, except when eating in designated spaces or in a private office

  • Keeping at least six feet (two arms lengths) apart from others, including when wearing a face covering, when in outdoor spaces, and when eating in a designated area

  • Completing Columbia’s symptom tracker app every day before coming to campus or leaving a campus residential building, and staying home when sick or after possible exposure to COVID-19

  • Following basic health precautions including frequent hand washing/sanitizing and workspace and shared-space hygiene 

  • Following signs and guidance posted throughout campus spaces and buildings 

  • Participating in testing and contact tracing when required, and isolation and quarantine protocols, when required.

Many of these measures have become commonplace as we have adapted to life amidst this pandemic, but I must stress the critical importance of continued, vigilant observance. Failure to comply with the terms of the Compact puts the health of our community at risk and could jeopardize everyone’s ability to enjoy the use of our classrooms and campus.

The University has put in place a strict plan for enforcing the terms of the Compact, including sanctions for non-compliance. The Student Accountability Plan provides detailed expectations for student behavior, both on and off campus; lays out a reporting mechanism through the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards; and authorizes disciplinary action up to and including Dean’s Discipline for repeat violations. For faculty and staff, non-compliance will be addressed by the Dean in conjunction with Law School Human Resources.

I take the health and safety of our Law School community very seriously, and you need to as well. It is your responsibility to model the values and behaviors defined in the Compact to protect the health and safety of your classmates, colleagues, and fellow Columbians on and off campus.

Entering Law School Buildings

To access all Law School buildings, entrants must:

  • Be a Law School student, faculty, or staff member

  • Complete the daily symptom self-check and obtain a Green Pass via the ReopenCU App

  • Present and/or tap a valid CUID card

Beginning Tuesday, September 8, the operating hours and access protocols for the Law School’s buildings will be as follows. Please note that buildings will be closed to all, including with swipe access, outside of the designated open hours. 


Open Hours

Access Protocols

Jerome Greene Hall

Monday–Friday: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. 

Saturday–Sunday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

  • Entry and exit only through 116th Street doors.

  • Public Safety stationed in lobby to control access and verify CUID and Green Pass.

William and June Warren Hall

Monday–Thursday: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday–Saturday: 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. 

Sunday: Closed

  • Public Safety stationed in lobby to control access and verify CUID and Green Pass.

William C. Warren Hall

Limited access for Law Review and journal student staff, and select faculty and staff.

CUID card swipe required to enter. 

Jerome Greene Annex


No admittance 



No admittance

Accessing the Law Library and Common Spaces

This fall, the Law Library will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 7 days per week, beginning on Tuesday, September 8. A limited number of study seats will be available and must be booked in advance, using LibCal via the Library website. Additional information about the Law Library’s resources and services is available on the Library’s COVID-19 information page. In addition to the Law Library, Law School students can reserve seats in other University Libraries. Information on the University Library network can be found here

Common areas, including the 3rd floor gallery, Drapkin Lounge, and Lenfest Cafe in JGH, and the 5th floor of WJWH, will remain open for individual study. Seating is limited and physical distancing must be maintained at all times. The configuration of chairs and tables must not be altered. 

Eating and Drinking at the Law School

No eating will be permitted in Law School buildings outside of designated spaces. You may consume beverages by pulling down, but not removing, your face covering. Water bottle refilling stations will remain available, but common amenities, such as microwaves, refrigerators, and coffee machines will not be accessible. 

Lenfest Cafe will sell food for grab-and-go service only, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays. Revson and Ancel Plazas, the Lenfest Cafe terrace, and the WJW 6th floor terrace (accessed via WJW 600) will all be available for outdoor dining for students. WJW Rooms 103 and 600 will be designated indoor spaces for students to eat. Please remember to maintain physical distance. Faculty and staff may eat in their private offices or in JGH 602. The Law School may designate other spaces, including Lenfest Cafe Lounge, if indoor dining becomes permissible in New York City. Food deliveries must be picked up outside; no delivery drivers will be permitted to enter our buildings. Catering orders and deliveries have been suspended until further notice. 

Thank you very much for your cooperation in the collective project of safeguarding our community. Please continue  to refer to the University’s COVID-19 Resource Guide and the Law School’s COVID-19 Information & Resources page for further information. 

Best regards,

Gillian Lester
Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law