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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.  

• 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: May 17, 2022

Section Index

Fall 2022 Semester

Policy: All COVID protocols outlined below—vaccination/booster requirements, masking requirements, testing policies and more—will remain in place until further notice. If/when policies change, this page will be updated accordingly.

Visitors to CIA

Policy: Visitors to CIA are required to wear masks while in any CIA building. Full details are outlined in the Face Coverings section.

Visitors are encouraged to be vaccinated and boosted against COVID but are not required to be. As such, proof of vaccination need not be shown upon entry.

Visitors include all non-CIA employees and non-degree seeking students, public-programming patrons, visiting artists, guest speakers, parents, alumni, Board members, community partners and others.

Examples of public-programming patrons include but are not limited to families attending Open House or taking part in campus tours; visitors to Reinberger Gallery and the Ann and Norman Roulet Student + Alumni gallery; Cinematheque filmgoers; Lunch on Fridays attendees; and visitors to the Jessica R. Gund Memorial Library.

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. Maintaining a safe physical distance in these instances is encouraged.

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.

Types of masks: CIA encourages the use of N-95 masks, which are considered top-of-the-line for filtering out airborne particles. Also encouraged are KN-95 and KF-94 masks, but keep in mind many counterfeit KN-95 and KF-94 masks are on the market. The CDC offers guidance for identifying counterfeits. If surgical or cloth masks are all that are available to you, CIA encourages you to wear both simultaneously, placing the cloth mask over the surgical mask. The more snug the fit, the better your face covering(s) will protect you and those around you.

Vaccination Requirement: Continuing Education

Summer 2022 Continuing Education classes: Anyone enrolled in an on-campus Continuing Education course designated for Adults or Young Artists is required to be fully vaccinated. Instructions on how to comply with that requirement will be communicated to students prior to classes starting. Exemptions will not be granted.

Summer 2022 Pre-College and Summer Teacher Residency: Participants in these residency programs are required to be fully vaccinated, regardless of age, or receive an approved exemption. Instructions on how to comply with that requirement and expectations surrounding COVID testing will be communicated to participants prior to those sessions starting.

Vaccination Requirement: CIA Community

Policy: CIA students, faculty and staff are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive an approved exemption. Those with information on file from a previous semester needn’t take action unless their vaccination status has changed. 

Students and employees new to CIA and who are vaccinated should refer to the Vaccination Status Form section below. Those who would like to request an exemption should refer to the Exemption Options section below. 

Exemption 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 Paycor. Instructions on how to do so are here. Both are compliant with HIPAA regulations. A CIA ID number is required is complete the student form. Those can be obtained by logging into myCIA and visiting “Profile and Settings.” 

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.

Booster Requirement: CIA Community

Policy: CIA students, faculty and staff will be required to have a COVID vaccine booster shot. Those eligible for a second booster are encouraged to get it. However, this is not yet a CIA requirement given that, to date, the CDC has only authorized a second booster for those 50 and older and for those who are immunocompromised.

Deadlines: Booster eligibility begins five months after completing the primary Pfizer/Moderna vaccination series and two months after completing the primary Johnson & Johnson vaccination. Boosters can be obtained at most pharmacies and medical centers at no cost.

Those who've recently tested positive should get a booster when they're eligible. Anyone in that situation must wait until they've recovered from all COVID symptoms and they've met CDC requirements for ending quarantine or isolation before they can get a booster. If your doctor has provided you with specific instructions for receiving your booster based on your health or the severity of your symptoms, be sure to report such circumstances to the appropriate contact. Students should share that info with Dean of Students Jesse Grant, and employees should provide that info to Charise Reid, Vice President of Human Resources and Support Services + Chief Inclusion and Equity Officer.

Reporting: Students can confirm their booster status by completing this form. Employees can confirm their booster status via Paycor. Instructions on how to do so are here

Exemptions: CIA-approved exemptions for COVID-19 vaccinations apply to the booster as well.

COVID Testing

Onboard testing: The COVID Task Force is evaluating whether onboard testing will be required for the Fall 2022 semester by monitoring local health trends. An announcement regarding onboard testing will be made at the appropriate time.

Surveillance testing: Details regarding surveillance testion will be shared following a determination made by the COVID Task Force. In the past, such testing has occured weekly and has involved randomly selecting 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.

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.


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 who do not show symptoms are required to self-isolate for five days, and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow that with five days of wearing a mask when around others. Students who do show symptoms 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 who do not show symptoms are required to self-isolate for five days, and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow that with five days of wearing a mask when around others. Employees who do show symptoms 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 and/or boosted do not need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, they should get tested five days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms, and wear a mask indoors in public for 10 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.

Case Western Reserve University Protocols

Stay informed: CIA students who take classes at CWRU and/or use their student services (dining halls, health and counseling center, athletic center, etc.) must be aware of the university's COVID policies. The most up-to-date information can be found here

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

Connie Gilbert
Receptionist + Reservationist

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

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

Lyanne Torres
Chair of Staff Council

John Tortelli
Vice President, Business Affairs + 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