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. The College will coordinate with public health authorities to consider exceptional circumstances.
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.
How to Wear a Face Covering
Wearing a face mask properly is a simple and extremely effective protective behavior that also shows you respect the health and well-being of all members of our community.
- Keep the mask on your face the entire time you’re in public.
- Don’t wear the mask around your neck or up on your forehead.
- Wash your hands before putting on your face mask.
- Avoid touching the exterior of the face mask, wash your hands if you do.
- Make sure the mask covers your nose and mouth and fits securely under your chin. Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face.
- Change or launder face masks when they become soiled, wet, or after one day of use.
- Disposable masks must not be used for more than one day and should be placed in the trash after use.
- Don’t be complacent with other protective measures like physical distancing.
Acceptable Types of Face Coverings
Safe face coverings, and ones that are permitted at Bard, are defined as those that secure via ear loops, or with ties, and have a close fit to the face, nose, and under the chin. Cloth masks are also acceptable for use. Face coverings with valves or plastic face shields used alone do not provide protection to the user or to the community, nor do loosely fitting bandanas, gaiters, or scarves.
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. 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. A single tight-fitting mask remains extremely effective at preventing the spread of disease.
The College will continue to provide masks to students and employees who need them at the mask dispensing stations around campus.
Mutual Responsibility: “Remind and Remove”
If you see someone not wearing a mask, please remind them that masks are mandatory. There are mask dispenser stations in RKC, Olin, Kline, Campus Center, Bito/Blum, Fisher Center, Rose/Hegeman, Fisher Arts, and Security should they need one. Then remove yourself from any situation that is unsafe or not in compliance with the required policies.
The College’s capacity to monitor and enforce this policy is limited. We hope never to have to use it, but the College has instituted a reporting and disciplinary process for COVID-19 policy violations. In the vast majority of cases, reminders of the rules and assistance with compliance will suffice. Referrals for more egregious violations will be addressed through the College’s disciplinary mechanisms that can include administrative or board hearings. Students violating COVID-19 policies risk removal or barring from campus. These mask policies apply to all students, both on and off campus, as well as to faculty and staff. If you would like advice on how best to engage with those who are not in compliance, or would prefer an intervention from the College, please contact the Bard Cares Team at email@example.com or Bard Security at 845-758-7460. Maintaining community health requires a community effort.
Thank you for practicing this essential and required behavior.