COVID-19 Announcements by Date
Jul29Thursday, July 29, 2021
A Message about COVID-19 Campus Protocols for the Fall
Jul15Thursday, July 15, 2021
A Message about Vaccination Requirements, New Testing Protocols, and Planning for the Fall
Jun15Tuesday, June 15, 2021
A Message about Vaccination Milestones, Easing Mandates, and Ongoing Restrictions
Jun10Thursday, June 10, 2021
A COVID-19 Community Update
Campus Grounds Now Open
As of June 1, the main Bard College campus grounds in Annandale are now open to the community. Please be aware that, due to Bard Summerscape rehearsals and performances at Montgomery Place, public access to the Montgomery Place campus will be restricted throughout the summer; please consult the Montgomery Place website for details. External groups that wish to hold outdoor gatherings on campus grounds should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss relevant restrictions and required approvals. Please note that indoor access is still restricted only to approved visitors, and one-way traffic flow inside buildings and related signage are being discontinued/removed.
COVID-19 Campus Protocols for the Fall 2021 Semester
With the fall semester approaching, we would like to share arrival protocols for first-year, transfer, and returning students, as well as updated policies for visitors and student spaces. The key to our successful return to normalcy is vaccination and, wherever indicated, mask-wearing. As previously announced, all students, faculty, and staff are required to be vaccinated by August 1, with exceptions only for preapproved medical or religious reasons.
Throughout the previous academic year, when we were all unvaccinated, our community kept each other safe through personal behaviors including mask wearing and physical distancing. Now that vaccinations are available and we will be close to a 100% vaccinated community at the start of the semester, mask wearing and physical distancing are not our only defenses against illness and are no longer required by vaccinated people in many situations, under current health conditions.
This week, the CDC updated its mask recommendations to say that fully vaccinated people should wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high risk of transmission. In addition, the CDC stated that fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, especially if they are at increased risk for severe disease or have someone in their household who is unvaccinated or at increased risk.
COVID cases continue to be much lower than they were a year ago in the area around Bard, which has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country. Dutchess County is not currently considered an area of substantial or high risk, according to CDC data. Vaccines have been shown to be effective in greatly reducing both illness and transmissibility, making it much less likely that a vaccinated person who catches COVID will either become sick from the virus or spread it to others. For these reasons, the College does not currently require vaccinated individuals to be masked indoors on campus. Wearing a mask is optional for vaccinated students and employees, while all unvaccinated individuals must remain masked inside campus facilities. We will continue to monitor the public health situation, as we have for the past 18 months, and will update College policy as necessary, and we ask all members of our community to continue to monitor their own health.
Proof of Vaccination Requirement
All students are required to submit proof of a World Health Organization-approved vaccination to email@example.com or upload it to your Medicat portal as soon as possible, so that we can verify your vaccination status prior to your arrival on campus for the fall semester. All employees have received instructions from the Human Resources office for submitting your proof of vaccination prior to August 1. You may send a scanned copy of your vaccination card or a copy of the New York State Excelsior Pass. If any student is unable to access a WHO-approved vaccine before returning to campus, misplaced your vaccination card, or will not yet be fully vaccinated before the start of the semester, you must contact the Bard Student Health Service immediately so the College can help you make arrangements to complete the vaccination process.
On arrival days, two people will be allowed to accompany each student to any indoor event or activity. Additional family members accompanying a student are allowed on campus grounds, but guests are restricted to two per student at any indoor event. Any unvaccinated person accompanying a student must wear a mask at all times.
- If a student does not have access to a vaccine where they live, they can get vaccinated locally upon arrival, but must make arrangements in advance of arrival to do so. Contact the Bard Student Health Service as soon as possible to be informed about local options for vaccination in the Bard area. Until fully vaccinated (two weeks after single dose vaccine or two weeks after second dose), a mask must be worn at all times.
- If a student arrives unvaccinated, has not previously made arrangements with the Bard Student Health Service for local vaccination upon arrival, and is not pre-approved or pending approval for a vaccine exemption, they are not eligible to be on campus. Their account will be frozen, and access to course registration and College facilities including dining and residence halls will be denied.
- Any student or employee with a College-approved exception to be unvaccinated, or who is not yet fully vaccinated, must be masked at all times and remain physically distanced.
Visitor Policy and Event Planning
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 must be vaccinated to enter any College facility. Any Bard employee may apply to host individual visitors by using this form. Bardians interested in organizing a large group event such as a conference should contact the Response Team for additional guidance. Visitors will be required to show proof of vaccination and complete a health screening prior to arrival on campus in order to have access to any College facility. The Response Team will consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis in extraordinary circumstances. For conferences and other group events, it will be the responsibility of event organizers to obtain proof of vaccination from all attendees in advance.
- 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
Public health experts advise that universal vaccination is the surest basis for a normal campus experience, including expanded in-person instruction, campus activities, athletics, performances, and gatherings in the fall. In addition, the American College Health Association has recommended that colleges require COVID-19 vaccination for all on-campus students for the fall 2021 semester. Over 200 other colleges and universities have announced such a requirement. As the ACHA notes, pre-matriculation vaccination requirements for students attending institutions of higher education in the United States are not new.
In light of the updated guidance from New York State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the proven effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines as a public health measure, Bard College will require all students, faculty, and staff studying or working on campus to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by August 1, 2021.
As of April 6, everyone in New York age 16 and over is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. That means the entire Bard College community is now eligible, and we encourage all students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Please use this tool on the New York State website to find a nearby vaccination site and make an individual appointment.
Campus Visitor Policy
The main Bard College campus grounds are now open to the public, with COVID-19 safety protocols still in place. Please note that no visitors of any kind are permitted inside buildings or facilities unless they have been approved in advance. Employees must request approval from the Response Team via the Essential Visitor Request Form (below). Students, please contact the Dean of Student Affairs Office at firstname.lastname@example.org to request visitor approval. All visitors must be accompanied at all times by their Bard host and must follow all masking and physical distancing requirements.
- Other third-party visitor requests will only be approved in exceptional cases and for essential civic activities such as elections, where visitors will be directed to closely controlled facilities operated and cleaned in keeping with New York State and CDC approved COVID-19 protocols.
- For the health and safety of our campus community, supervisors must request permission and receive approval for any non-Bard, third-party visitor to campus facilities at this time. This is not required for visitors going into private residences.
- Once approval is received, the authorized visitor will be sent an email from the COVID Check-In Coordinator with a link to the health screening form, which they must complete prior to their arrival on campus.
Getting a COVID-19 Test at Bard
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.