Last Updated October 21, 2021
Fall 2021 Campus Plan
Thanks to our vaccination mandate, Bard College is now considered a “fully vaccinated campus” by CDC standards. This is a special status that enables the College, and our peer institutions that have achieved fully vaccinated status, to return to full capacity in-person learning, in accordance with CDC’s Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People and New York State requirements. Vaccines have been shown to be very effective at preventing illness, including from the Delta variant.
Proof of Vaccination Requirement
For the fall 2021 semester, all students, faculty, and staff are required to provide proof of vaccination, bringing us to a vaccination level of over 99%. The fewer than 1% of students and employees who remain unvaccinated through the semester have received prior approval for medical or religious reasons. Any unvaccinated student or employee, for as long as they are not fully vaccinated, must continue to follow the same protocols that kept our community safe last year when we were all unvaccinated, including masking and physical distancing at all times indoors or in group settings on campus.
All students, faculty, and staff are currently required to mask in public indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status. Please see the Mask Policy page for details.
Any student experiencing symptoms should contact Bard Health Services to determine if a COVID test is warranted. Any students determined to be a close contact of a positive case on campus will be contacted by Bard’s contact tracing team and the Dean of Student Affairs Office with detailed instructions.
Faculty and staff experiencing symptoms should stay home, contact their physician, and/or make an appointment to get tested. Employees experiencing symptoms, or those who have tested positive, should not come to work and should contact Human Resources at email@example.com or at either 845-752-4931 or 845-750-5812.
The Bard Health Service’s COVID testing team continues to conduct weekly randomized testing of students representing 20% of the student body to establish and maintain a baseline for a healthy campus. Students will be notified by email from firstname.lastname@example.org and participation is mandatory.
Visit the Testing and Contact Tracing FAQ page for detailed guidance.
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate themselves from others by remaining out of in-person activities (including class sessions, lab sessions, group or club meetings/rehearsals) for 10 days. Students in a single room may remain in their room; however, students with a roommate will be placed in alternative spaces temporarily. During this time, the student must limit travel to health care appointments or essential trips. The student can be outdoors (alone) on campus while unmasked, but mask in any group setting or when outside of private living space during this time period. The student can pick up food from Kline while masked, but cannot eat with others in person.
Anyone who has come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should be tested three to five days following the date of their exposure and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result. Individuals should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure to a positive case.
Visit the Testing and Contact Tracing FAQ page for detailed guidance.
College-Sponsored Trips and Off-Campus Travel
We ask members of the Bard community to be mindful of your behavior off campus, where rates of COVID continue to be significant and vaccination rates are much lower than on campus. Mask-wearing is strongly encouraged in all indoor settings including public transportation, as are all of the familiar protocols, such as frequent hand washing and avoiding large crowds, particularly in areas where vaccination levels are low. Act judiciously, wear a mask, and practice physical distancing where directed and recommended, and remember that our collective efforts support campus health.
With a fully-vaccinated campus community, students and faculty may resume course-related and club day trips off campus by following common sense safety protocols. Student clubs and organizations wishing to organize activities off-campus should register their event with SPARC to be sure they understand and are following all current guidelines and expectations. Anyone hoping to plan an overnight trip off campus should consult with the Response Team as part of the planning process. All students, faculty, and staff planning to participate in or organize trips off campus are asked to abide by the travel guidelines below, and to follow the guidelines in place at your destination.
- Masks worn at all times on shared transportation
- Meals should take place outside if possible, or in private quarters. Groups should refrain from eating in restaurants.
- Masks indoors at all times when possible
For the fall semester, our aim is to keep our community safe by maintaining the College as a fully vaccinated campus. Guests remaining outdoors do not need to register in advance, but any essential visitors needing access to College facilities, including guest lecturers and all conference participants, must be approved in advance by the Response Team and will be required to show proof of vaccination and complete a health screening prior to arrival on campus. The Response Team will consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis in extraordinary circumstances.
Any Bard employee may apply to host individual visitors by using this form. In order for the Response Team to have sufficient time to review and process the Essential Visitor Request form, please submit it at least 72 hours before the visit in question. Students who wish to host a visitor for a club activity or other reason should contact the Dean of Student Affairs Office for guidance at email@example.com. Bardians interested in organizing a large group event such as a conference should contact the Response Team for additional guidance. For conferences and other group events, it will be the responsibility of event organizers to obtain proof of vaccination from all attendees in advance.
All visitors, including those who are here for group events such as classes, sporting events, or conferences, will be required to remain masked while indoors, with the following exception: a professor or speaker may be unmasked while physically distanced at the front of the classroom or at a podium.
- Residence halls: At this time, no off-campus guests are allowed in the residence halls. Enrolled students are now allowed to access other residence halls at the invitation of a resident of that building.
- Student Spaces: During L&T and the first three weeks of the semester, no outside musicians will be allowed at SMOG or the Root Cellar. Students can begin planning for bands to perform after the third weekend of the fall semester. All bands must be fully vaccinated. The Office of Student Activities must obtain proof of vaccination for anyone playing at any venue.
What Guides Our Planning during the Pandemic
Bard’s COVID-19 response 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 has created detailed protocols for testing and screening, daily monitoring of symptoms, contact tracing, quarantine practices, and physical distancing in the classroom and across the Bard campus. Bard also has 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.