Fall 2020 Reopening Plan by Topic
August 4–7: First-year students arrive
August 10–26: Language and Thinking Program
August 20–30: Returning students and new transfers arrive
August 31: First day of classes
October 23–25: Family and Alumni/ae Weekend
November 20: Fall 2020 classes will meet without any scheduled interruption or Fall Break through November 20. If necessary, Bard will provide paths for remote instruction after this date through the final day of classes.
December 18: Final day of classes
Arrival and Planning
What Guides Our Plans for the Fall
Bard’s reopening plan is informed by current national, regional, and local conditions and best public health practices. We are following New York State guidance, which includes specific mandates for higher education, and guidance from the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health.
The College has a formal agreement with Nuvance Health, one of the largest health care providers in the region, and with them, is designing and implementing detailed protocols for testing and screening, daily monitoring of symptoms, contact tracing, quarantine practices, and social distancing in the classroom and across the Bard campus. Bard has also signed a contract with The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard for its Safe for School testing program. The Broad Institute has been at the forefront of developing and providing cutting-edge COVID-19 testing and has created this program specifically designed for higher education. Our Health Services Team is following guidance from the American College Health Association and is in close contact with local and regional health officials.
On the advice of our partners at Nuvance Health, Bard has instituted a requirement for all students to take a COVID-19 (PCR) test within five days prior to their arrival and to present proof of a negative test before they arrive. Positive antibody testing is not considered a negative COVID test result and cannot be submitted in place of a negative test result. Students who are able to get a test and result within five days prior to arrival should submit that result to firstname.lastname@example.org. Between the time of the test and arriving on campus, it is important that students adhere to safe behaviors: no large gatherings, wear a mask, and practice physical distancing.
Please contact your primary care physician or county department of public health to identify a local testing center in your area. Some testing centers may require reservations, so please factor this and time to receive your results into your travel and arrival plans. Most private insurance plans will cover the cost of these tests. Bard student insurance will also cover the cost of prearrival testing when using an approved lab with a prescription. For information on student insurance call 800-734-9326.
With the increasing scarcity of tests and expanding wait times for results in some areas, students who are unable to get a test before travel will have the option to get tested as soon as they arrive on campus.
Students who arrive still awaiting test results will be required to shelter in place in an assigned room on campus and participate in all academic activities remotely until they receive their test result. The College will arrange for food and package delivery during this time.
Students who are unable to get tested and provide a negative result within five days prior to their scheduled arrival should contact Bard Health Services at 845-758-7433 or email@example.com about arrangements for returning to campus. Students who test positive for COVID-19 should refrain from traveling; they will not be allowed to return to Bard until they have produced a negative test.
All students, whether they live on or off campus, will be tested within five days of arriving on campus. Bard will provide testing. This time frame offers the most accurate results following potential exposure during travel. Bard will continue conducting random testing on a weekly basis throughout the semester.
Arrival Dates and Protocols
We are staggering arrival dates and moving much of the arrival documentation online to allow for appropriate social distancing during move-in. The College is preparing to welcome first-year students between August 4–7 and returning students and new transfers between August 20–30. All students are asked to avoid large gatherings and practice social distancing for at least two weeks before traveling to Bard. All students—whether they plan to live on or off campus—must select an arrival date and time for staggered arrival. Please complete the appropriate form below.
New students will be allowed two people to accompany them when they arrive to move in and we ask that returning students bring just one person to help them move in. Social distancing protocols will be in place and everyone must wear a face covering.
Three populations of students will have to be quarantined upon arrival to the area, as noted below. Any on-campus student who is able to independently complete their required quarantine before arriving on campus should plan to do so.
- Students traveling from restricted locations. As noted previously, New York State is requiring anyone entering the state from abroad or from states with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days. The list of restricted states changes daily, so please check to see if your state is listed before planning to travel. New York State regulations require the full 14 days of quarantine for those traveling from restricted locations, even if a student receives a negative COVID test result while in quarantine.
- Students unable to get tested before traveling to Bard. The College will provide tests to these students as soon as they arrive. They will be required to quarantine until they receive a negative test result. If they originally traveled from a non-restricted location, they will be released from quarantine upon receiving a negative test result.
- Students who get tested before traveling to Bard but do not receive their test result in time to travel to Bard. They will be required to quarantine until receiving their test result. If they originally traveled from a nonrestricted location, they will be released from quarantine upon receiving a negative test result.
Returning students who are living on campus should fill out the move-in and arrival form HERE as soon as possible. There is a place on the form where you can outline your off-campus quarantine plan, if you are planning to independently complete your quarantine before arriving on campus.
Off-campus students should fill out the arrival form HERE as soon as possible to provide us with their addresses and arrival information. The college will provide detailed instructions to all students who will need to quarantine as we finalize our plans.
This week, New York State government established a requirement for all travelers from restricted states to fill out and submit the New York State Traveler Health Form upon arriving in the state. This form is only accessible to and for use by state government authorities; it is not connected to Bard. We ask that you abide by all state requirements when traveling to or in New York. For more information about New York State’s approach to reopening, please check the New York Forward website.
Questions regarding individual plans for quarantine can be directed to Darnell Pierce, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the First-Year Experience, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planning for the End of the Semester
Fall 2020 classes will meet without any scheduled interruption or Fall Break through November 20. At that time the College, if necessary due to public health considerations, will provide paths for instruction remotely until the final day of classes, which will be December 18 in accordance with the original academic calendar.
For students wishing to travel for Thanksgiving, please be aware that, depending on public health restrictions at that time in Dutchess County and your travel destination, you may not be able to return to campus. Any student not permitted to return after Thanksgiving owing to COVID-19 restrictions will have a path to remote completion for the semester.
Any student unable to travel is welcome to stay on campus at Thanksgiving and remain on their meal plans for the duration of the semester, through December 21. Tuition and room adjustments will not be made should coursework be moved online following the holiday. Special arrangements will be made for students who are unable to go home for the Winter Break and they will be allowed to stay on campus as needed.
Summer Academic Preparation and Advising
Faculty have been invited to participate in a special summer advising program for entering first-year and transfer students who are preparing to join us for the first time in Annandale. Students have completed an advising survey already: assignments are in the process of being made. Throughout the month of July, advisers will meet in group as well as individual advising sessions to orient incoming students to the curriculum and life at Bard. Summer registration is scheduled to take place between July 30 and August 3. We are also offering a series of summer workshops for rising seniors preparing for their Senior Projects.
An updated course list indicating remote courses has been published. Most courses will be offered in an in-person or blended format. We encourage all students to review the course list and be in touch with their advisers and professors with any questions. As always, Add/Drop is a 10-day period at the start of the semester: late add/drop is possible for the first six weeks of term (check with Registrar Peter Gadsby). Students are free to contact instructors and the registrar over the summer, as well, to request information or modification of their course schedules. The college will work on a case-by-case basis to provide individualized academic support to students with special needs or who are unable to travel to Annandale.
For registration information contact email@example.com. Questions about academic advising can be directed to Dean of Studies David Shein at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions about accessibility can be directed to the College’s new Director of Disability Resources and Accessibility Erika van der Velden ’04 at email@example.com.
Social Distancing in the Classroom
New York State guidance requires social distancing and masks. We have conducted a space audit and site visits with Nuvance Health to determine how best to manage social distancing in the classroom. In addition to applying social distancing best practices in all of our teaching spaces, we will have longer periods between classes to minimize traffic and use alternative teaching spaces to expand capacity.
Special Circumstances for Online-Only Learning
Students will have the option to take classes entirely online only as an exception. The College is finalizing a system for students to apply for exceptional remote learning status through the academic executive committee. Our primary concern is that students follow a course of study that makes sense for their academic progress. Faculty advising and the support of the deans in the Center for Student Life and Advising are critical to ensuring students have a successful and productive semester. Online learning in undergraduate education at Bard is a path of last resort.
If a student gets ill or returns home, they will be able to continue learning remotely. We will not penalize students for having to move online. Students will still be expected to continue to fully engage in their classes.
International students who cannot travel to Bard for the start of the semester may enroll in Bard’s online courses from their home countries. See "Supporting International Students" below.
Supporting International Students
Many of our international students will be unable to attend classes in person in Annandale in the fall, due to travel restrictions and challenges obtaining visas. We have been working hard to develop options for these students to continue with their Bard education from their overseas locations. For students in Europe who are able to travel to Berlin, we are offering places at Bard College Berlin. For students in China, we are finalizing options with some Chinese universities so that students can take a mix of online courses through Bard and in-person courses on site in China. Through the Bard network and the Open Society University Network, we have partner institutions on five continents, and will work individually with each student on a plan that preserves their visa status and gives them the best possible access to the Bard experience.
We hope to welcome all international students back to Annandale as soon as circumstances allow. We are closely monitoring current travel restrictions to the United States, and advise students to check the website of the U.S. Consulate in their home countries for updates on exceptions for student travel to the United States. In the meantime, we will strive to keep all of our students connected around the world. Students and families with questions should contact International Student Adviser Manishka Kalupahana (firstname.lastname@example.org or 845-758-7328) or Dean of International Studies Jennifer Murray (email@example.com or 845-758-6822 x7387).
We were pleased to learn that, in response to the Harvard/MIT lawsuit, which Bard joined via an amicus brief, the Trump Administration has rescinded the punitive ICE guidelines for international students.
The New Common Courses
In addition to planning the logistics and processes of a safe return to the classroom, the faculty have prepared new interdisciplinary courses to engage our students with a unique academic experience relevant to the extraordinary global impact of COVID-19. This fall, the College will be offering a suite of multidisciplinary Common Courses available to all incoming first-year as well as interested second-year students. Each of these courses will address a critical global or local contemporary issue from interdisciplinary perspectives and allow for instruction either in person or online.
Use of Face Masks on Campus
As mandated by New York State and to protect the Bard community, face masks will be required indoors in all classrooms and communal areas and at any time it is not possible to be at least 6 feet away from another person. Outdoors, masks must be placed over the nose and mouth on pathways and in any open area where you are passing another person less than 6 feet apart. Bard will provide two masks each to all students and employees who need them. You are also encouraged to bring your own masks. You can find information about recommended masks here.
Social Distancing in the Residence Halls
Under New York State guidelines, students who share a room are considered a household. Masks must be worn in communal areas, but are not required when only roommates are together.
Monitoring Symptoms among the Student Body
- All students will be required to take online COVID-19 training and to sign a pledge committing to adhere to the health and safety requirements to maintain a safe and healthy campus before they return. Staff and faculty are required to go through a similar training and are also submitting health pledges.
- All students, living on campus and off, will be required to complete a daily health screening, just as all employees do every day they come to campus. Our partners at Involvio, with whom we were already working on student engagement activities, have developed a Safe Reopen app, which enables students to complete their screening online. All students will have to show that they have completed the screening and received a “pass” before entering campus facilities including classrooms and the dining commons.
- The college has also established a contact tracing team to supplement the efforts of the Dutchess County health department. All members of this team have taken online training developed by Johns Hopkins University. Bard’s contact tracers, in close coordination with county health officials, will follow up with anyone who tests positive or believes they have been exposed to COVID. This work mainly consists of time-sensitive phone calls. Any Bard employee interested in taking the Johns Hopkins training and joining the contact tracing team is encouraged to contact David Lindholm at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Bard Health Services and COVID-19
As much as possible, we ask Bard students to be in touch with Health Services directly via phone: 845-758-7433. If you are experiencing fever and lung symptoms or you suspect you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please call Health Services for a medical consult before walking in. In keeping with Health Department guidelines, Bard Health Services requests that you not walk into the clinic until you have consulted with the staff over the phone. Phone consultations are recommended to receive the best care and advice and minimize the chance that others will be exposed.
The Bard Health Services website will update current COVID-19 public health information throughout the semester.
COVID-19 Testing on Campus
Students will be able to get tested at Bard Health Services and with our local testing partners throughout the semester. Testing will be available seven days a week. Students will be required to get tested for COVID-19 within five days prior to arriving on campus for the semester, and will be tested again within five days of their arrival (see “Prearrival Testing” above). Bard will conduct random testing on a weekly basis throughout the semester.
Responding to Positive Cases on Campus
Students with positive test results will be moved to dedicated isolation housing. (See "Quarantine Measures" above.) While keeping a student’s identity and health information secure, we will, in coordination with the Department of Health, begin contact tracing.
Health Service providers will check in daily via Telehealth or in person for mild or moderate illness. We will ensure that students have the medications and supplies they need. Meals will be delivered and isolation housing will include beverages and snacks. If warranted, students will be referred to the emergency room at Northern Dutchess Hospital (part of Nuvance Health) which is 10 minutes away. Bard Counseling Service will be available via Telehealth for mental health care.
Protocol for Students Exposed to Someone Who Tests Positive
If it is confirmed that a student has been in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 within the past 14 days, that student will either self-isolate or quarantine until 14 days have passed since exposure, or until testing negative.
In many cases, students will be able to self-isolate in their rooms adhering to Department of Health guidance. In some cases, students may be relocated to other housing. Students in isolation or quarantine will be supported by health, counseling, wellness, our COVID-19 Contact Team, and Residential Life staff. Meals will be provided along with digital check-ins. Academic support will be provided by academic advisers and the deans in the Center for Student Life and Advising.
Mental Health Resources
We understand that many students have experienced a great deal of change and disruption during these past seven months. Bard Counseling Services, in collaboration with Health Services, Student Government, Residence Life, and Wellness, plan to offer a range of workshops, programs, training, and support groups that use a trauma-informed approach and are guided by racial and social justice principles. Our programming will be geared to support the mental well-being of all students as they begin or return to Bard.
Bard College remains cognizant and concerned about the disparate impact of this pandemic on people of color and individuals from financially challenged backgrounds, and the additional stress and anxiety during these difficult times. The Office of the Dean for Inclusive Excellence, the Financial Aid Office, the Office of Equity and Inclusion, and other campus resources are available to offer assistance in coping with the additional stressors generated by COVID-19.
Bard Counseling is offering teletherapy. Please email email@example.com to set up an appointment. In addition, the Counseling staff is offering a regular column on mental health during COVID-19, and they have added a page of virtual mental health resources.
Bard Wellness has added a host of virtual programming during the pandemic, including meditation, peer health open hours, and "Show and Tail" (virtual Dog Days). They also offer lots of resources for self-care during this time. Visit the Wellness website for details.
Health and Safety in Bard Facilities
No outside visitors will be allowed in campus buildings, including dormitories, until New York State and public health authorities curtail mandated health and social distancing restrictions. Students living off campus should limit campus visits to classes and outdoor spaces.
This semester Bard will operate as a restricted campus, with Bard facilities open only to students, faculty, and staff, and a small number of approved visitors. The campus’s outdoor spaces will remain open to the campus community to engage in physically distanced activities, but access to buildings is restricted to members of the Bard community. Access to residence hall dormitories will be limited to those who reside there.
Nonessential work travel is prohibited until further notice, and the College strongly encourages employees and students to refrain from nonessential personal travel outside the immediate area of the College. We are making great efforts to implement a carefully planned return of students to campus throughout August, and these efforts will be most effective if all members of the Bard community minimize travel once classes begin.
To optimize the health and well-being of our students and employees, Bard is establishing “restricted facilities”—classrooms, residence halls, laboratories, dining areas, sports facilities—that are open only to Bard students and employees. Our restricted facilities will:
- Prohibit unauthorized/nonessential visitors. We will webcast as many student artistic events as possible.
- Limit noninstructional gatherings and congregations in communal spaces.
- Limit the number of students in the classroom and provide for social distancing.
- Designate entry and exit points for buildings.
- Adhere to sanitization and social distancing requirements, including adequate hygiene and PPE supplies, and reduce common seating areas.
- Limit occupancy of classrooms and other public spaces on campus to 50 percent.
- Enforce social distancing through placement of signs and barriers.
Bard’s HVAC department has cleaned and/or replaced all air filters in campus filtration systems within the past six months, and will continue to do so as scheduled. The plumbing department has flushed water systems in all buildings, checked HVAC systems and replaced filters, made sure safety systems were fully operational, and ensured all systems are in good working order.
Health and Safety in the Community
Bard’s reopening plan takes into consideration our surrounding communities. Bard students who are enrolled for fall 2020 classes and living off campus are subject to the same expectations and policies as those living on campus. All off-campus students must sign a health pledge and adhere to our daily health screening protocols. All students living off campus or visiting local communities must adhere to Bard’s health and safety policies for the fall, including arrival testing, periodic testing, physical distancing, face coverings, and quarantine and contact tracing protocols. They are also expected to abide by all state and local health and safety measures. All Bard students are expected to adhere to these rules whenever they are off campus in the local communities for any reason. Students who fail to adhere to these protocols are subject to the same disciplinary measures as those living on campus. Throughout the fall semester we will be reminding everyone in the Bard community of the importance of taking personal responsibility for the safety of others, both on and off campus.
Visit the Office of Human Resources website for guidance about returning to campus, as well as information about payroll, benefits, and office procedures during the pandemic.
Face Mask Guidance for Faculty and Staff
Face masks/coverings must be worn by all staff working on campus when in the presence of others and in public settings where other 6 feet of social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., common work spaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.). Appropriate use of face masks/coverings is critical in minimizing risks to others near you. It is possible spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The mask or cloth face covering is not a substitute for social distancing. Bard will provide masks, if needed. Please contact Human Resources at 845-758-7428 or Security at 845-758-7460 if you need a mask. You are also encouraged to bring your own masks. You can find information about recommended masks here.
Health and Safety Protocols for Faculty and Staff
All employees will be required to conduct a daily health screening prior to coming to campus, wear face coverings, and practice physical distancing and follow all recommended public health guidelines. If concerns arise during the self-administered health screening, they will be required to self-isolate until it is determined that it is safe for them to return. In the case of a positive test result, contact tracing protocols will be initiated. Employees who test positive or may have been exposed will be required to self-isolate off campus for two weeks or until they produce a negative test result.
Note: Any employees who have recently visited or are traveling from states identified as restricted by the New York State Department of Health are required to quarantine for two weeks before returning to campus in the fall.
COVID-19 Testing for Employees
College employees can get tested locally through their health insurance, and should discuss their options with their primary care physician. You can locate your nearest COVID testing site at this site operated by the New York State Department of Health, or at the Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield Coronavirus Resource Center here. More information will be forthcoming for employees who wish to be considered for inclusion in random testing on campus.
As the public health situation evolves and the state provides new guidance,
we will adjust plans accordingly and keep the community updated.
COVID-19 Announcements by Date
Aug13Thursday, August 13, 2020
A Message about L&T Arrival and Testing, and Protocols for Returning Students
Aug01Saturday, August 1, 2020
A Message about L&T and the Start of the Semester
Jul24Friday, July 24, 2020
A Message to the Bard Community about Fall Athletics, Testing, and Quarantine Procedures