Union News

Covid-19 August 8 Update: Arriving on Campus Guidelines

Categories: COVID-19

Dear students,
The faculty and staff at Union are looking forward to welcoming you to campus this fall, whether you are a new student, a current student returning to the residence halls, or living locally and planning to join us in the academic building for community activities. It is important for you to know that due to the current public health situation, all institutions of higher education in New York are required to adhere to a strict set of measures designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus and to keep the community healthy. It is very important that you read this letter carefully, and that you personally affirm your intention to comply with these standards
  1. All students are strongly encouraged to be tested in their home location for COVID-19 within 14 days prior to their arrival on campus. The goal of this pre-arrival test is to reduce the potential that a person with COVID-19 infection will arrive on campus and infect others. Any student testing positive must stay home until they have fully recovered and are cleared by their health care provider to return to campus.
  2. All students arriving from outside the United States or from U.S states with a high prevalence of COVID-19 are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival as required by New York State. If you are not already assigned to a room with a separate bath and kitchen, you will be assigned to a temporary space and will not be permitted to leave your room for any purpose whatsoever and must arrange for delivery of all essential items including food. Residence hall staff will assist in making sure your groceries are placed outside your room door. We will also provide delivery of weekly food pantry items and any planned grab and go lunches provided to the community.
  3. Commuter students who are arriving at an off-campus apartment from outside the United States or from U.S states with high prevalence of COVID-19 must also comply with the mandatory 14-day quarantine before coming to campus for any reason.
  4. All residential students and adult family members living on campus will be required to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival in NYC, before receiving their residence hall key. We are making arrangements with Columbia Health to conduct the testing during the September move-in week for students, free of charge. We will provide a list of neighborhood places that can conduct testing for family members. This requirement includes students who have been living on campus throughout the summer months. Testing for students already on campus will begin in mid-August; details to follow. 
  5. All students receiving the COVID-19 test upon arrival to campus will be required to quarantine until their test results are available (usually within 24-36 hours).
  6. All students living off-campus locally will also be required to be tested for COVID-19 before being permitted to enter the common areas of the residence halls or the academic building. Testing will be available from Columbia Health in mid-August free of charge so that you can obtain the test prior to coming to campus for the first time. Details about appointments will be sent when available from Columbia Health.
  7. All students, residential and commuter, are required to obtain the seasonal flu vaccine, provided free of charge by Columbia Health prior to October 31, 2020. Consistent with our immunization procedures, religious and/or health exemptions will be honored.
  1. Residential students and their adult family members will be required to obtain ongoing periodic testing. The first repeat testing will be done seven days after the initial test, and then periodically at a time determined by existing public health protocols. Columbia Health can only provide ongoing testing to students.  We will continue to provide a list of local resources to family members.
  2. In order to comply with NY  contact tracing requirements, all visitors to the residence halls will be required to sign in and provide contact information.
  3. Non-Union students, who are not residents of Hastings or McGiffert will not be permitted in residence hall common areas.
  4. All students are required to adhere to social distancing protocols, wear a face mask in public areas and comply with all the safety measures communicated through campus signage, and the campus-wide public health policy.
  5. Mindful of our obligation to our neighbors, all of the health and safety protocols outlined here, including the wearing of face masks,  should be adhered to as we move throughout the greater Morningside Heights and NYC  community.
We recognize that these guidelines are detailed, but they are designed so that we can open our doors knowing that we are doing everything we can to remain safe and healthy as we enter the new academic year. We are available to speak to you personally at any time about any of these protocols.