COVID-19 Travel-Related and Exposure Quarantine Guidance for Clinical Students

Updated: April 18, 2021

The Columbia University Travel policy states that all University sponsored travel for students is currently suspended. Students are urged to postpone all personal domestic travel but are approved for personal or family emergencies.

Review the COVID-19 Travel Restrictions for Spring 2021

There are several considerations for students who are planning travel during this time, including allotting time for testing and quarantine as required. Please review this page thoroughly for relevant guidance. 

Review the Most Recent NYS Travel Guidance

Clinical Students - Essential Health Care Worker Exemption (updated April 10, 2021)

Students in the clinical portion of their education (patient care, clinical skills training, clinical simulation training), are eligible to be categorized as health care workers in New York State to allow continuation of clinical work at the discretion of their school or program. Please review the April 10, 2021 Updated Interim Guidance for Travelers Arriving in New York State for details.

Criteria for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

The following guidance provided is determined based on a students' vaccination status or documentation of recent recovery from COVID-19. The following criteria must be met to designate an individual as fully vaccinated*

  • At least 2 weeks have passed since completion of vaccine series (after receiving second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine)
  • Documentation of vaccination has been uploaded to the Student Health portal AND emailed to covidtesttrace@columbia.edu.

Learn More about Isolation and Quarantine

International Travel-Related Quarantine

Fully Vaccinated Clinical Students

1. Required prior to arrival in US: Provide documentation of negative PCR test within 3 days of travel by air to the US 

2. Upon arrival in US

• MUST meet vaccination criteria*

• No quarantine required if asymptomatic

• Testing 3-5 days after travel recommended but not required

• Continue symptom monitoring through Day 14

• MUST continue to universally mask while around others and distance >6 feet from others while at work

Non-Vaccinated or Incompletely Vaccinated Clinical Students

1. Required prior to arrival in US: Provide documentation of negative PCR test within 3 days of travel by air to the US 

2. Upon arrival in US

•  MUST Quarantine x 7 days and if asymptomatic may exit quarantine and return to work on Day 8 with confirmed negative PCR test 3-5 days after travel

• Continue symptom monitoring through Day 14

• MUST continue to universally mask while around others and distance >6 feet from others while at work

Clinical Students Who Have Recently Recovered from COVID-19

1. Required prior to arrival in US: Provide proof of positive COVID-19 PCR test within the past 3 months AND documentation from your healthcare provider or public health official stating you are cleared to travel 

2. Upon arrival in US: 

• No quarantine required if asymptomatic

• Continue symptom monitoring through Day 14

• MUST continue to universally mask while around others and distance >6 feet from others when eating and drinking while at work

Domestic Travel-Related Quarantine

Fully Vaccinated Clinical Students

May immediately return to work following travel and continue to work provided the following criteria are met: 

• MUST be asymptomatic 

• MUST complete NYS traveler health form

• Continue symptom monitoring through Day 14 

• MUST continue to universally mask while around others and distance >6 feet from others when eating and drinking while at work

Non-Vaccinated or Incompletely Vaccinated Clinical Students

May immediately return to work following travel and continue to work provided the following criteria are met: 

• MUST be asymptomatic 

• MUST complete NYS traveler health form

• Continue symptom monitoring through Day 14 

• MUST continue to universally mask while around others and distance >6 feet from others when eating and drinking while at work

Clinical Students Who Have Recently Recovered from COVID-19

May immediately return to work following travel and continue to work provided the following criteria are met: 

• MUST be asymptomatic 

• MUST complete NYS traveler health form

• Continue symptom monitoring through Day 14 

• MUST continue to universally mask while around others and distance >6 feet from others when eating and drinking while at work

Close Contact Exposure Quarantine 

Fully Vaccinated Clinical Students

No quarantine required and may immediately return to work following exposure and continue to work provided the following criteria are met: 

• MUST be asymptomatic 

• MUST meet vaccination criteria

• Continue symptom monitoring through Day 14 

• MUST continue to universally mask while around others and distance >6 feet from others when eating and drinking while at work

Non-Vaccinated or Incompletely Vaccinated Clinical Students

• Quarantine x 10 days with no testing requirement and if asymptomatic may exit quarantine on Day 11 with symptom monitoring through Day 14 

• MUST continue to universally mask while around others and distance >6 feet from others when eating and drinking while at work

Clinical Students Who Have Recently Recovered from COVID-19

Asymptomatic health care workers who provide documentation of a positive COVID-19 PCR test in the last 90 days by emailing covidtesttrace@columbia.edu

• May immediately return to work following exposure 

• Do not need to quarantine 

• Do not need to get tested after exposure 

• Should continue symptom monitoring through Day 14 

• MUST continue to universally mask while around others and distance >6 feet from others when eating and drinking while at work