COVID-19 Announcements by Date
Apr23Friday, April 23, 2021
A Message about Continue Surveillance Testing and Vaccination Updates
Campus Plan by Topic
January 14–29: Citizen Science Program
February 1: First Day of Spring Classes
March: Respite Days in lieu of Spring Break on March 8, 11, 16, 19, 24, and 27
May 5: Senior Projects Due (5:00 p.m.)
May 25: Last Day of Spring Classes
May 29: Commencement
Planning for the Semester
What Guides Our Planning
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.
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.
As a result, Bard College will require all students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the 2021–22 academic year, and strongly encourages all employees to be vaccinated as well.
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.
Adjustments to Campus Protocols for Spring
Now that Bard College has completed the return-to-campus process for the spring semester we can begin making adjustments to campus protocols:
- Campus community members may now begin to plan small, COVID-safe in-person activities. All proposed events must adhere to COVID safety protocols as outlined in the COVID-19 Student Handbook Addendum, as well as any additional protocols needed for each specific event. Students should contact SPARC through the Office of Student Activities by emailing email@example.com. Employees wishing to hold events may apply by filling out the form here.
- The College is developing new guidelines that will allow for limited organized group day trips in the spring semester. Please visit the Group Travel Policy page for more information.
- The Montgomery Place grounds have reopened for public access on weekends from dawn to dusk. Bard is operating as a restricted campus at this time, with limited guests allowed for outdoor visits from daily household members of Bard students, faculty, and staff, or for essential civic activities as outlined below.
- The Stevenson Athletic Center and Stevenson Pool are now open to Bard students, faculty, and staff only, and non-remote graduate students who live on campus or in Dutchess, Columbia, Greene or Ulster counties. Reservations are required: visit bardathletics.com for access and protocols. Please note the facility remains closed to the public.
- Stevenson Library has expanded its hours so students have increased access to study space in the evenings and on the weekends. Visit the library website for information about spring services and study spaces.
Changes to Campus Visitor Policy
The College is expanding the categories of approved on-campus visitors to include daily household members of Bard students, faculty, and staff. This new exception applies only to current, daily members of your local household, not anyone who has traveled to visit you, and pertains only to the outdoors campus grounds. For students, New York State considers residential college roommates to be household members. Please note that the main campus remains closed to unapproved visitors from outside of the campus community, and no visitors of any kind are permitted inside buildings or facilities unless they have been approved in advance by the Response Team via the Essential Visitor Request Form (below). 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. Do not submit a request unless it is urgent or essential to the welfare of our community.
- 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 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.
Health and Safety in Bard Facilities
Bard is operating as a restricted campus. Access to the campus by members of the surrounding communities and casual visitors is prohibited. Limited exceptions are outlined in the Campus Visitor Policy above. A person who does not live, work, or study at Bard will otherwise not be allowed access to campus without prior approval from the College.
Signage to this effect is posted at campus access points to alert the Bard community and our neighbors. Local government leaders have been notified that this is a precautionary measure in light of regional upticks in COVID-19 cases, and is intended solely to preserve the health and safety of the Bard community. Access to residence hall dormitories continues to be limited to those who reside there, and students living off campus should limit campus visits to classes and outdoor spaces.
During this period, Bard 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 physical distancing.
- Designate entry and exit points for buildings.
- Adhere to sanitization and physical 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 physical distancing through placement of signs and barriers.
Getting a COVID-19 Test at Bard
Physical Distancing in the Classroom
New York State guidance requires physical distancing and masks. We have conducted a space audit and site visits with Nuvance Health to determine how best to manage physical distancing in the classroom. In addition to applying physical distancing best practices in all of our teaching spaces, we now have longer periods between classes to minimize traffic and use alternative teaching spaces to expand capacity.
Special Circumstances for Online-Only Learning
Students may take classes entirely online only as an exception. Students may 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 are unable to attend classes in person in Annandale, due to travel restrictions and challenges obtaining visas. We have developed 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 offering 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 we 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).
Updated Masking Protocols for Students, Faculty, and Staff
In response to rising vaccination rates, the CDC has adjusted its mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people in outdoor settings. “Fully vaccinated,” according to the New York State Department of Health, means you are two full weeks past the second dose of a two-dose vaccine series (such as Pfizer or Moderna) or two full weeks past a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson). Many members of our community have been vaccinated, but some still have not been, so it is important that we continue to take precautions. However, based on the new CDC guidance, along with the decreasing rate of COVID in the surrounding community, and the scientific community’s analysis regarding the risk of potential COVID transmission outdoors, Bard has updated its masking protocols as follows:
MASK WEARING ON CAMPUS
Wearing a face mask on campus is mandatory for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors, with limited exceptions outlined below. Consistently wearing a face covering has been proven to be one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of COVID-19 (along with physical distancing and hand washing). The College’s policy complies with public health regulations in New York State requiring any person over age two to cover their nose and mouth with a mask when in a public place and unable to maintain physical distancing. Much of the Bard campus can be classified as a “public place,” so both Bard College policy and New York State face mask regulations apply throughout the Bard community.
Face coverings must be worn in all locations on the Bard College campus, both indoors and out, with the following exceptions only:
- If you are outdoors walking, sitting, or exercising by yourself in low-traffic areas where the risk of being near people is low.
- In a private office when working alone.
- In your own dorm room* and when brushing your teeth or taking a shower (masks must be worn in the hallway between your dorm room and the bathroom), or in your own private family residence.
- When eating while practicing physical distancing (all Bard community members must wear face masks inside the dining hall at all times, except when seated in any designated dining area).
- In a designated mask respite area, which may only be used by one person or household (which for students includes roommates) at a time.
- For B&G grounds workers only: when working on campus grounds away from buildings and all other people.
Masks are still required, regardless of vaccination status:
- At all times indoors (aside from exceptions above)
- On all Bard shuttles
- In any outdoor settings involving group activities or where others may come within 6 feet, including walking or socializing
The College will coordinate with public health authorities to consider exceptional circumstances.
Bard shuttle drivers will refuse entry or ask riders to get off the shuttle if face masks are not worn the entire ride.
In keeping with New York State regulations, wearing a face mask is also mandatory in all public off-campus locations, including inside all public buildings and businesses and on sidewalks in town.
Physical 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 are 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 arrive on campus. 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.
COVID-19 Testing on Campus
All students and employees who are cleared to come to campus will be tested through our weekly random testing protocol throughout the semester. Students who need a COVID test, as determined by our Health Services staff, will be tested through Health Services. Students will be required to get tested for COVID-19 within three days before returning to campus for the semester, and will be tested again after arrival.
Responding to Positive Cases on Campus
Students with positive test results will be moved to dedicated isolation housing. 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 previous 14 days, that student will either self-isolate or quarantine. 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 since the outbreak of COVID-19. Bard Counseling Services, in collaboration with Health Services, Student Government, Residence Life, and Wellness, are offering 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 is 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 visit the Counseling website to set up an appointment. In addition, the Counseling staff has added a page of virtual mental health resources.
Bard Wellness is offering a host of virtual programming during the pandemic, including meditation, peer health open hours, and “Show and Tail” (virtual Dog Days). They also offer resources for self-care during this time. Visit the Wellness website for details.
Montgomery Place Access
Mansion tours are currently suspended. Please visit the Montgomery Place website for information about visiting.
Restricting travel is another core element of the College’s COVID safety protocols. The College prohibits nonemergency travel for students outside of our local area (Dutchess, Ulster, Greene, and Columbia counties), and prohibits all work travel and nonemergency travel for our employees. Traveling to visit friends, shop, or even visit family on a nonemergency basis is considered higher-risk behavior, as are visits to campus by friends and family. Among the most common vectors for the spread of COVID-19 are pre- and nonsymptomatic individuals. Unnecessary travel and contact with people outside of the Bard community constitute an ongoing threat to campus safety. Any student who needs to undertake emergency travel should be in touch with the Dean of Students office to work out a travel plan.
Health and Safety in the Community
Bard’s COVID-19 response plan takes into consideration our surrounding communities. Bard students who are 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, including arrival testing, periodic testing, physical distancing, wearing a mask, 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 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.
Health and Safety Compliance
The College has established the Bard Cares Team to address instances where students or employees are having difficulty abiding by the community norms of behavior regarding the College’s established COVID-19 protocols. The Team, chaired by Vice President and Dean of the Early Colleges Dumaine Williams, has developed a clear set of steps based in restorative practices to respond to reports seeking assistance, guidance, or a resolution of issues related to compliance with health and safety measures in the Bard community. It also seeks to equip members of the Bard community with information about bystander intervention techniques and other actions we can take to help keep each other safe and accountable. Dr. Williams and other members of the Cares Team can be reached at email@example.com. Individuals may use the COVID-19 Incident Report Form to report violations of community health standards related to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines and requirements.
Visit the Office of Human Resources website for guidance about working on campus, as well as information about payroll, benefits, and office procedures during the pandemic.
Bard College Travel Policy
The College has invested extraordinary effort and resources in designing and implementing plans to bring students, faculty, and staff back to campus. All community members must do their part to uphold these efforts by refraining from nonessential travel. Please adhere to the guidelines outlined below.
- All nonessential work travel is prohibited for faculty and staff.
- The prohibition on nonessential travel should be extended to the personal lives of everyone in the Bard community: students, faculty, and staff. Examples of essential travel include medical treatment and family emergencies.
- All New York State–mandated regulations continue to apply to any out-of-state travel, even for essential travel.
- If you travel during the semester for any reason, you may be ineligible to work on campus for a number of days, as determined by the State regulations in force at that time.
- Failure to report out-of-state travel can lead to barring return to or removal from campus.
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 masks, 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 for COVID-19 or have received a quarantine notice from Bard College or the Department of Health will be required to self-isolate off campus for up to two weeks.
Employees who test positive must provide medical clearance to the Office of Human Resources before returning to work on campus. A letter from a doctor or health department are both acceptable forms of medical clearance.
Employees who receive a mandatory quarantine notice cannot return to campus until their clearance date, as provided by Bard College or the health department. There is no ability to test out of a quarantine from close contact exposure.
COVID-19 Testing for Employees
Beginning in the spring 2021 semester, COVID-19 surveillance testing will be mandatory for all employees working on campus. This testing applies to employees who (1) are actively working on campus, (2) have submitted the new Health Pledge, and (3) pass the daily check-in screening. Remote employees will not be part of the testing pool until they return to campus for work. Learn more about mandatory surveillance testing for on-campus employees.
Please note there is no on-demand testing on campus for employees. Employees should seek testing off campus for all instances except when they are selected for a weekly surveillance test. 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.
we will adjust plans accordingly and keep the community updated.