What guidance is the College using in its planning for the semester?
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.
When can I get a vaccination?
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.
Once I’ve been vaccinated, do I still need to wear a mask?
Yes. The vaccine only helps to protect you from becoming severely ill if you’re infected. It does not prevent you from spreading the virus should you become infected. To protect others in the Bard community and beyond, you must continue to observe all COVID-19 safety protocols, including mask wearing, physical distancing, and frequent handwashing.
Should I wear one mask or two?
The CDC has updated its guidance on masking to prevent the spread of COVID-19, recommending that wearing a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask decreases exposure. The Response Team has researched and discussed this guidance and wants to share with you why we have decided that, until further notice, Bard will follow New York State’s lead in continuing to require one mask.
The key point is that mask effectiveness against the spread of disease is chiefly dependent on mask fit. A single tight-fitting mask remains extremely effective at preventing the spread of disease. Please visit the mask policy page for more information.
In personal experiments, Response Team members trying on two masks found that having two loops over each ear sometimes caused the masks to fall off, or to displace each other on the face so there was no longer a tight fit.
The College will continue to provide masks to students and employees who need them at the mask dispensing stations around campus.
What measures are in place for health and safety in campus facilities?
Environmental Services has implemented cleaning and disinfecting protocols across campus in accordance with CDC guidelines and OSHA guidelines. All employees who return to work on campus are trained and supplied with EPA-approved cleaning/disinfecting supplies to use in their personal and shared spaces. Over 100 new sanitizing stations have been installed on campus.
Bard’s HVAC department is cleaning and/or replacing all air filters in campus filtration systems as scheduled. The plumbing department has flushed water systems in all buildings, checked HVAC systems and replaced filters, made sure safety systems are fully operational, and ensured all systems are in good working order.
Are Bard facilities open to the public?
Bard is operating as a closed 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 for outdoor visits from daily household members of Bard students, faculty, and staff, or for essential civic activities. 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.
Can I host outside visitors on campus?
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 outdoor 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.
- 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.
Is organized group travel allowed?
Understanding that off-campus group activities are an important aspect of the student experience, the College is developing new guidelines that will allow for limited organized group day trips in the Spring semester. These guidelines will enable student groups seeking to participate in college-sponsored off-campus activities to apply to travel for activities such as field research, academic enrichment, volunteer and civic engagement efforts, athletic Liberty League competition, and outdoors groups.
Health and safety protocols will be central to the planning and approval of any organized student day trips. Consideration for approval will include risk assessment, staffing (all group travel will require faculty/staff chaperones), transportation, and testing capacity. Groups approved for off-campus travel will be required to abide by Bard’s masking, distancing, and testing protocols as defined through the application process. No overnight travel will be permitted at this time. In the coming days we will circulate details on the application process.
Off-campus travel by individuals is still restricted. COVID rates remain high, with very contagious variants continuing to circulate around the country. It is important for us as a community to uphold all the efforts that we individually and collectively put into completing the “return to campus” protocols, which enabled us to carefully bring our community back together and prevent COVID from spreading on our campus. Students who are taking in-person classes and need to travel for personal reasons, whether you live on or off campus, should submit a request to travel HERE prior to departure, to receive guidance and ensure we can accommodate your safe return to campus.
Can I plan in-person activities with other members of the campus community?
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.
Is Montgomery Place open to the public?
The Montgomery Place grounds are open on Saturdays and Sundays only from dawn to dusk. Visit bard.edu/montgomeryplace for updates as well as virtual exhibitions. The Annandale campus remains closed to the public at this time, except for essential civic activities.
Is the Stevenson gym open to staff and students?
The Stevenson Athletic Center and Stevenson Pool are now open to Bard students, faculty, and staff, as well as to 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.
Where will students quarantine if they need to?
In consultation with Nuvance Health, we have set aside appropriate spaces on campus for quarantine and self-isolation as needed. Students living on campus will quarantine in one of the spaces Bard is arranging. Students living off campus will need to quarantine off campus. We will be in close contact with all students about specific plans and requirements.
Who do I contact with questions about quarantining?
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.
I just found out I had contact with someone with COVID-19. What quarantine protocol should I follow?
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced updated quarantine guidelines for New York that are consistent with the latest Centers for Disease Control guidance. Under the new guidelines, individuals exposed to COVID-19 can end their quarantine after 10 days without a testing requirement as long as no symptoms have been reported during the quarantine period. After day 10 is reached, individuals must continue monitoring for symptoms through day 14 and if any develop, they should immediately self-isolate and contact the local health department or their healthcare provider to report this change and determine if they should seek testing. Individuals should continue strict adherence to all recommended safe behaviors to stop the spread—wearing masks, socially distancing, and avoiding gatherings.
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.
What are the requirements for traveling to or in New York State?
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.
Will classes be online this semester?
We will offer a combination of online, in-person, and blended learning this semester.
How can I find out which classes will be taught online?
We encourage all students to review the current course list where fully remote courses are clearly identified, and be in touch with their advisers and professors with any questions.
Can I continue with remote-only learning if I want to?
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 “International Students and Scholars” below.
If a student gets ill or returns home, will they be able to continue learning remotely?
Yes. We will not penalize students for having to move online. Students will still be expected to continue to fully engage in their classes.
Will there be intercollegiate sports this winter?
No. The Liberty League, of which Bard is a member, has announced it is canceling winter sports competition and championships due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. Sports impacted include men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s squash, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s and women’s indoor track and field.
Are there restrictions on travel during the semester?
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. 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.
Will there be a Spring Recess?
No. Spring Recess will be observed as six separate “respite days” throughout the semester: March 8, March 11, March 16, March 19, March 24, and March 27.
International Students and Scholars
I’m an international student and I plan to take courses remotely. How will online classes affect my I-20 and visa status?
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.
Who should I contact for information on travel restrictions to the United States?
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 (email@example.com or 845-758-7328) or Dean of International Studies Jennifer Murray (firstname.lastname@example.org or 845-758-6822 x7387).
Will taking all classes remotely jeopardize my US visa status?
On July 14, 2020, the Trump administration dropped its much criticized plan to require international college students to leave the United States unless they were enrolled in at least one face-to-face class. International students enrolled in US colleges and universities may now take a full online course load without risking their visa status.
Contact Tracing FAQs
What is contact tracing?
Contact tracing is a tool used to prevent the spread of disease by identifying those who are sick and the people with whom they have come into close contact. Health departments usually do this work, and at Bard we have a volunteer group that is helping to support and accelerate the process.
Why do we need contact tracing?
Since a person may have COVID-19 and be contagious before exhibiting symptoms, or may not exhibit any symptoms at all, it is important that people who may have been exposed move quickly into quarantine to prevent the spread of the virus.
What can I expect from contact tracing if I have been diagnosed with COVID-19?
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, a contact tracer will call you to check-in on your health, discuss who you’ve been in contact with, and ask where you spent time while you may have been infectious and able to spread COVID-19 to others.
It is important to know that we will respect your privacy, and your name will not be revealed to those you may have exposed, even if they ask.
This call may take 15–30 minutes, perhaps longer or shorter, and it is important that you be truthful and thorough with all information in order to keep you and others on our campus safe and healthy.
What can I expect from contact tracing if I am a close contact of somebody with COVID-19?
If you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, a contact tracer might contact you to inform you that you’ve been exposed to COVID-19.
You should stay at home and self-quarantine for 14 days, starting from the last day you were possibly exposed to COVID-19. This person will help identify the dates of your self-quarantine, and provide you with information on some of the resources we have available to those in quarantine on campus.
How is “close contact” defined?
Per the CDC, a “close contact” for COVID-19 is defined as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, with considerations for whether or not face masks were worn or if the interactions took place indoors or outdoors. Simply passing by someone who later tests positive does not constitute close contact.
What if I was exposed to somebody with COVID-19 but it wasn’t a “close contact”?
According to our medical consultants and state public health officials, the risk of transmission is low if you were not a close contact and if you were wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing. You should carefully monitor your health and submit a daily self screening. If you are concerned about potential exposure to COVID, but you do not receive a phone call from a contact tracer, students should contact the Bard Health Service at 845-758-7433. Faculty and staff should contact their primary care physician.
How can I learn more about contact tracing?
If you would like to learn more about Contact Tracing in general, there are a number of online resources on the topic, including on the CDC website.
If you have questions about contact tracing at Bard, please contact David Lindholm at email@example.com or via cell at 845-802-4246.
If you are ill or having symptoms of COVID-19, or have any medical questions, contact Health Services at x7433. For emergencies, call 911 immediately.