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About . Safety + Security . Smart Return to School 

Smart Return to School

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020, the Cleveland Institute of Art has continued to plan for maintaining a healthy environment when our community is on campus. Below are CIA policies for Fall 2021 semester. 

• Submit your questions about our pandemic planning here.

• View our COVID-19 Dashboard.

We're working in partnership and consultation with the office of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Case Western Reserve University, the Cuyahoga County Health Department, the City of Cleveland and the Centers for Disease Control.

Last updated: October 19, 2021


Policy: For Fall 2021 semester, CIA students, faculty and staff will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive an approved exemption. We realize that the start of the semester is near and that time is short. Therefore, for those who receive a two-dose vaccination, we require only that they have at least their first dose by the time they arrive on campus. For those without a set return-to-campus date, the deadline is August 16, 2021. Questions regarding the August 16 deadline should be referred to the Office of Human Resources.

Continuing Education students (adults and youth) should refer to the visitor policy under Building Access.

Exemptions Options: Students and employees who cannot receive a COVID vaccination may request a medical or religious exemption, which are subject to review by the Dean of Students and Vice President of Human Resources + Inclusion, respectively. Those who receive an exemption will be required to wear a mask at all times and submit to weekly COVID testing.

  • Religious/moral exemptions: Students can request a religious/moral exemption by completing this form online. They can also print and fill out the form. Employees can do the same by completing this form online or printing and filling out this form.
  • Medical exemptions: Students can request a medical exemption by printing and completing this form. Employees can do the same by printing and completing this form. Please note that an online version of this form doesn’t exist because a portion of it must be completed and signed by your medical care provider.

Students and employees completing an online exemption form will need to save it as a PDF prior to submitting. They will need to upload this PDF into their respective Vaccination Status form. Students and employees who print and fill out a form by hand will need to scan it in order to upload into their respective Vaccination Status form.

In addition, anyone whose medical care professional is preventing completion of their medical exemption request is required to communicate that to either the Dean of Students (for students) or Vice President of Human Resources + Inclusion (for employees) prior to the deadline and provide proof of the delay.

Vaccination Status Form: Compliance with CIA’s vaccine policy requires uploading a vaccination card or approved exemption form. Students must use this site. Employees must use this site. Both are compliant with HIPAA regulations. A CIA ID number is required is complete the form. Those can be obtained by logging into myCIA and visiting “Profile and Settings.” Employees can also find their ID number on their pay stubs.

Missing Vaccination Cards: Those who’ve lost their vaccination card or don’t have a copy should contact their vaccination provider directly. Those who can’t should contact their local health department. Ohio’s health departments can be found here. Those vaccinated outside of Ohio should contact their state board of health to start this process.

Compliance: Those who do not comply with CIA’s vaccine mandate—whether through vaccination or exemption—will not be allowed on campus. As a reminder, you're considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the final doses or your vaccine (two doses for Pfizer and Moderna; one dose for Johnson & Johnson). Ohioans still in need of a vaccine can start their search for one here. Those living elsewhere in the U.S. can search here.

Face Coverings 

Indoors: Mask requirements are in place for people who are indoors on campus. Masks must be worn over the nose and mouth throughout CIA, including but not limited to in classrooms, computer labs, hallways, galleries, restrooms, elevators, lounges, general common areas and the library. In private offices, cubicles and studios, mask must be worn when multiple people are working together or talking to each other. However, masks may be removed in those personal spaces when a student or employee is working alone. Masks may also be removed when a person is eating while also maintaining a safe physical distance of 6 feet.

Life-drawing models who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to remove their masks during modeling sessions only (and if they feel comfortable doing so). Students and faculty in those classes must remain masked.

Outdoors: CIA community members and visitors who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask when outdoors on campus. Those who aren't fully vaccinated, or who aren't vaccinated at all, may remove their masks outdoors only if they maintain a safe physical distance of 6 feet.

Building Access

Entering CIA: Entrance A, Entrance B and Entrance C have been designated as the main points of entry during hours of operation. Entrance C will also be open as a point of entry during Cinematheque screenings and other events. Visit the Building Hours page to see building access hours.

Daily health-assessment screenings: Individuals will continue to have their health monitored as they enter the academic building through the CampusClear app or by answering a health-assessment questionnaire.

Temperature-taking: Those entering also will continue to have their temperature taken. That process requires that a mask be worn, so everyone will still need to wear a mask upon entering the building—regardless of vaccination status or reason for being in the building.

Visitors: Visitors are welcome at CIA but are required to observe all COVID safety protocols. They are not required to be vaccinated but are required to wear masks at all times. Visitors include all non-CIA employees and non-degree seeking students, Continuing Education students (adults/youth), public program patrons (library, Cinematheque, galleries), visiting artists, guest speakers, parents, alumni, Board members, community partners and others. The visitor-request protocol that was put in place during the 2020–21 academic year has been removed.

Physical Distancing

Physical distancing will no longer be required indoors or outdoors.

Signage related to occupancy limits and directional hallways will be removed. Plexiglass barriers will be removed from computer labs and classrooms to allow those spaces to return to full capacity. However, those barriers will remain in place in offices or other spaces where employees want them to remain.

COVID Testing

Onboard testing: Fall 2021 semester onboard testing for CIA students will take place August 15–22. All students are required to participate in onboard testing and should use this link to schedule their on-campus testing appointment.

Surveillance testing: Surveillance testing for the entire CIA community will resume during Fall 2021 semester. Details of that program will also soon be shared, though like the 2020–21 academic year, this testing will occur weekly and randomly select 3 to 5 percent of the CIA population.

Awaiting results: Per CDC guidelines, those without symptoms and without known exposure to COVID-19 are no longer recommended to quarantine while awaiting screening test results.


CIA travel: For College-sanctioned out-of-state trips, CIA requires that all travelers—students, faculty, staff, etc.—be fully vaccinated, and in accordance with CDC guidelines, that they wear a mask over their nose and mouth on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation as well as while they're indoors at transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Upon return, and again in accordance with the CDC, those fully vaccinated travelers should self-monitor for COVID symptoms and get tested if they develop. For CIA employees, COVID surveillance tests are available upon request from Human Resources.

Two weeks in advance of any College-sanctioned trip, the host faculty member must provide a list of participating students to the Dean of Students so that their vaccination status can be appropriately verified.

Personal travel: CIA encourages those taking personal out-of-state trips to follow CDC guidance. For fully vaccinated people, that means wearing a mask while traveling and self-monitoring for symptoms upon return. For CIA employees, COVID surveillance tests are available upon request from Human Resources.

For unvaccinated people, the CDC recommends getting tested with a viral test one to three days before your trip; wearing a mask while traveling (a requirement); maintaining safe social distance; washing your hands frequently; and getting tested with a viral test three to five days upon your return. Unvaccinated travelers will continue to participate in weekly surveillance testing upon return as part of their CIA-approved medical or religious/moral exemption.


Reporting: The Office of Human Resources and the Office of Student Affairs will be responsible for monitoring infection reporting and assessing and evaluating special accommodation requests. General updates will be posted to CIA's COVID Dashboard. Communications about new or heightened risk factors or about facility and classroom closures will be sent via email on an as-needed basis.

Enforcement: Community members are asked to pledge to comply with all safety policies. Those who repeatedly violate CIA safety policies will be subject to disciplinary action.

Quarantine and Isolation

CIA community members who test positive for COVID will be required to follow the following protocols for isolation:


  • Students are required to notify their status to the Office of Student Affairs by emailing
  • Students are required to self-isolate for 10 days. Residential students will be provided with housing either on CIA’s or CWRU’s campus. Students in isolation will receive detailed information with more resources and guidelines.
  • Students should submit a request via Disability Services for a temporary accommodation to participate in courses remotely. However, depending on the class, this may not always be possible. Absences related to isolation will be considered excused, however the student will be responsible for making up missed content and assignments.
  • Access to the academic building will be suspended during the isolation period.


  • Employees are required to notify their status to the Office of Human Resources by emailing
  • Employees are required to self-isolate for 10 days.
  • Faculty should contact their department chair to temporarily deliver their courses remotely, if possible. Department chairs should contact the Office of Academic Affairs in this situation. Contact OAA for resources for remote learning and instruction.
  • The faculty member is responsible for informing their class rosters that class will be held virtually during the isolation period, how to attend class (Zoom/Google Meet meeting link/info, etc.) and other logistics. Please note that the reason for the shift to virtual delivery should not be disclosed.
  • Contact tracing is done by the employee’s respective county department of health. There is no need to email your academic department to advise of a positive COVID case within the department.
  • Faculty who are ill and unable to work should work with their department chair to discuss substitution options for class coverage.

Exposure: Per CDC guidelines, people who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, fully vaccinated people should get tested three to five days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative. As a reminder, “exposure” is defined as being in close contact (within 6 feet) for 15 minutes or more. 

Students and employees in quarantine should follow the same protocols as isolation with respect to temporary accommodations for class instruction (faculty) and participation (students), as well as remote work options (staff).

Active cases: To view number of active cases within our campus community, please refer to CIA's COVID Dashboard. This is updated in real time. Due to privacy laws, names of CIA community members with COVID may not be disclosed. However, those affected will be contacted through the contact-tracing process (either via CWRU Health Services if students, county health department if employee).

Safety and Sanitization

The following safety mechanisms were put in place at the outset of the pandemic by the Office of Facilities Management + Safety and will remain in place:

High-contact spaces: Places and items such as restrooms, handrails and door handles are disinfected at regular intervals throughout the day.

Frequented spaces: Classrooms and public areas are cleaned and sanitized between classes.

Personal spaces: Students, faculty and staff are responsible for maintaining clean and sanitized surfaces and equipment in their own workspace or studio throughout the day. Cleaning and sanitization supplies are supplied by Facilities.

Supplies: Hand sanitizer and surface sanitizing supplies are available in all high-contact locations, including classrooms, studios and offices.

Tools: Shared tools and equipment are cleaned and sanitized after each use.

CWRU Mandate

Policy: Case Western Reserve University instituted a vaccine mandate for its campus effective July 23, 2021. Details can be read here, but in short, students, faculty and staff who are not fully vaccinated will not be allowed on CWRU’s campus. This includes—but is not limited to—those who need access to classes taken on CWRU’s campus, Sears think[box], University Health and Counseling Services (in-person), dining halls and athletic facilities. Full compliance of CWRU’s mandate is scheduled to be enforced beginning August 16.

Student compliance: CIA students should upload their vaccine cards into CWRU’s UHCS health portal as soon as possible, even if you are only partially vaccinated or have received a non-FDA approved vaccination. CWRU understands that some individuals may qualify for a religious or medical exemption from CWRU’s mandate, and students may make these requests here.

Faculty/staff compliance: CIA faculty or staff who need to access to CWRU’s campus as part of their role at CIA should submit a copy of their vaccination card or submit a request for a medical or religious exemption by emailing Please note that all documentation and correspondence will be strictly confidential.

CWRU exemption protocols: CIA students, faculty or staff who have been approved for a religious or medical exemption from vaccination should remain masked when indoors on the CWRU campus unless 1) they are alone in an enclosed space, 2) eating while socially distanced or 3) outside on the CWRU campus and maintaining physical distance from others. They should also receive a weekly COVID surveillance test. CWRU will be able to provide this testing for CIA students (details forthcoming), and CIA faculty and staff should contact to participate in CIA’s surveillance testing protocol.

Other vaccines: Those students or faculty who have received a non-FDA approved vaccination may visit the CWRU campus but should follow the same masking protocol as someone who is unvaccinated.

COVID Task Force

CIA's COVID Task Force consists of students, faculty and staff members who represent a vast cross-section of the College. It regularly monitors guidelines set forth by the CDC and relevant local government agencies, and it meets on a biweekly basis to discuss, evaluate and refine protocols based on those guidelines and other public health factors. Questions for the COVID Task Force should be submitted here.

Current members:

Michael C. Butz
Director of College Communications + External Relations

Joe Ferritto
Director of Facilities and Safety

Jesse Grant
Dean of Students

Steven Gutierrez
Faculty Senate President

Kathryn Heidemann
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty + Chief Operating Officer/Chief Academic Officer

Poppy Lyttle
Chair of Staff Council

Matthew McKenna
Director of Information Technology

Malou Monago
Vice President of Institutional Advancement + External Relations

Grafton Nunes
President + CEO

Charise Reid
Vice President of Human Resources and Support Services + Chief Equity & Inclusion Officer

Richard Sarian
Director, Enrollment Marketing

Greg Slaby
Associate Director, Network Administration

Matthew Smith
Director, Student Life + Housing

Colleen Sweeney
Executive Assistant to the President + CEO and Vice President of Institutional Advancement

John Tortelli
Interim Chief Financial Officer

Student Leadership Council representative

At the center of our Smart Return to School plan are our Six C's values

Care Safety for all stakeholders

Curricular Continuity Successful delivery and accessibility of learning outcomes

Community Maintaining engagement, building affinity, sense of belonging

Creativity Fostering a culture of creativity and innovation

Compliance Operating within governmental, accreditation and ADA standards

Communication Maintaining effective and regular communications with our stakeholders