September 22 Message to Faculty
In compliance with New York State’s HERO Act, the College will be requiring all employees to complete an online daily health attestation until the end of September (please note that the state may require an extension of this provision). Bard is adhering to New York State guidelines designed for all workplaces (and as such not specific to higher education). Thank you for your cooperation in achieving a fully vaccinated campus and in continuing to maintain a safe environment for teaching and learning here at the College.
The health check supports self-monitoring as well as clear lines of communication as we continue to adapt to living and working together at Bard in the context of coronavirus. Toward that end, the Response Team would like to remind faculty about important steps to follow in the unlikely event that they themselves test positive for COVID-19.
If you test positive, begin by contacting Human Resources as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org. This account is monitored seven days a week; we also suggest that you phone 845-750-5812 to connect with our colleagues in HR. You can expect to receive a swift response and specific guidance from the College.
Please do not undertake informing members of the Bard community (class members, colleagues) about a positive test or potential exposure before you connect with the Human Resources office: the first and most pressing concern is to report to HR and, with their assistance, to identify a list of any possible close contacts.
Notification must be routed through HR to ensure proper and timely reporting to the Dutchess County Department of Health, to initiate appropriate contact tracing, and to ensure that all who were potentially exposed receive clear instructions consistent with the latest guidance from local, state, and federal health authorities. The Bard Contact Tracing Team is trained, experienced, and ready to perform this vital work in accordance with CDC guidelines. Individual members of the faculty or staff do not need to assume responsibility for such critical communication: the Bard team has proven to be highly effective in protecting all members of our community with its evidence-based approach to contact tracing.
Once you have notified Human Resources, please consult with your program director or divisional chair to coordinate class coverage or to schedule make up sessions for missed instructional time, as you would in any case of illness.
NOTE: Beyond one or two free-standing sessions, any decision to shift to remote instruction is to be taken in consultation with and support of the Office of the Dean of the College. Please contact Deirdre d’Albertis or Emily McLaughlin, in addition to your program director/divisional chair, to coordinate an individually-tailored plan.
Please remember that updates are posted regularly on the Bard College COVID-19 Response site (https://www.bard.edu/covid19/) and the Response Team is available to answer any question, no matter how large or small, at: email@example.com.
Every Tuesday from noon to 1PM, the Response Team holds open office hours over Zoom. Feel free to stop by with questions or concerns:
Meeting ID: 889 0521 9390
Fall 2021 Message to Faculty (August 26, 2021)
Welcome back from what I trust has been a restorative and energizing summer.
Since early August, Language and Thinking has provided our entering first-year students with a vibrant, fully engaged introduction to learning at Bard. Approximately 30% of our undergraduates are already safely back on campus. By all accounts, new and returning students are eager to connect with you as they anticipate our return to the classroom next week.
As we have seen over the past three semesters, Bardians prove time and again an astonishing capacity to adapt creatively to constraints and challenges of life in the time of COVID. The 2021-22 academic year is certain to bring new questions and new possibilities for us all. Now seems an opportune moment to consider concerns that may arise as we prepare for the fall semester.
Fully Vaccinated Campus
Thanks to our vaccination mandate, Bard College is 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.
For the fall 2021 semester, all on-campus students, faculty, and staff are required to provide proof of vaccination. All faculty have received instructions from the Human Resources office for submitting proof of vaccination. For those faculty who have not yet returned to campus but will be teaching in person this fall, please send a scanned copy of your vaccination card or a copy of the New York State Excelsior Pass to HR before August 26 if you have not done so already. Do not return to campus without submitting your proof of vaccination first.
Masking on Campus
Effective Saturday, August 28, all students, faculty, and staff will be required to mask in public indoor settings (including classrooms), regardless of vaccination status, for an initial two-week period. After the initial period we will monitor the need for continued indoor masking. This will allow for a safe reentry of all students, faculty, and staff returning to campus for the fall semester. Please see the Mask Policy page for details.
Vaccination is our primary defense against COVID-19. We expect to have an over 99% vaccination level among students, faculty, and staff in Annandale as we start the 2021–22 academic year. Layers of protection, including masking and testing, when appropriate, also remain integral to the public health protocols of our campus and the larger community.
Indoor masking is a temporary measure to ensure a safe return for all to campus. Following this period, we will adopt a “mask-friendly” policy, which allows faculty to decide on masking requirements for their individual classes and allows staff to continue to wear masks in office buildings.
Please respect and support students and colleagues as we navigate this phase of the pandemic. Honoring privacy, as we have done throughout the public health emergency, remains critical to our interactions with one another. Please do not violate this basic trust.
In the Classroom
Bard classes are being taught entirely in person this fall. Enrolled students will study in person and on campus.
There will be no required physical distancing or limitation of gathering sizes at this time. Classroom spaces have returned to their regular capacities. Signs noting COVID-19 capacity limits for instructional spaces have been removed.
Our colleagues in Environmental Services have replenished sanitation stations in preparation for the start of term. For more details, please see the below “Tips for COVID Safety at Bard.”
Attendance at all scheduled classes is expected. Each member of the faculty is free to set individual policies in the course syllabus, including expectations and requirements about attendance, participation, and any required extra classes or events. Faculty are encouraged to communicate expectations and requirements clearly at the outset of the semester. Early reports suggest that students both need and benefit from explicit guidance in this regard. The 2020-21 pandemic-related attendance policy, in other words, is no longer in effect.
In order to maintain our campus as fully vaccinated, for the fall semester the College will require all visitors to show proof of vaccination before being approved for access to College facilities. If you invite speakers or bring search candidates to campus, please plan accordingly. 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.
The CDC has released new domestic and international travel guidance in response to recent surges of COVID-19. Faculty, staff, and students should keep current with the latest guidance and be prepared to follow it. At this time, we do not plan additional restrictions on travel, but that could change based on public health guidance.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Can I mandate masking?
Yes, you are free to do so in your classroom for as long as you determine necessary. For the first two weeks of term, EVERYONE should be masking per college policy.
2. Do I have to mandate masking?
You must comply with campus-wide masking, as indicated, for the duration of the mandate. After that, you may elect to discontinue the practice in your classroom. Please respect individual preference on the part of students. Some students may continue to mask for a range of reasons and they should be allowed to do so.
3. How am I sure students are vaccinated?
We expect to have an over 99% vaccination level among students, faculty, and staff in Annandale as we start the 2021–22 academic year. All specifics of Bard's vaccination policy can be found here: bard.edu/covid19
4. What does an individual (student or faculty/staff) do if they test positive or are a contact of someone who tests positive?
In the event that a vaccinated student tests positive for SARS-Cov2/COVID:
1. Student must isolate from others by remaining out of in-person activities including: class sessions, lab sessions, group or club meetings/rehearsals, in-person dining for 10 days, or until 48 hours after all symptoms resolve or they have received a negative test result. Students in a single room may remain, however students with a roommate will be placed in alternative spaces temporarily.
2. During this time, student must limit travel to health care appointments or essential trips.
3. During this time, student can be outdoors (alone) on campus while unmasked, but mask in any group setting, and can pick up food from Kline while masked, but cannot eat with others in person.
4. Student must be masked at all times when outside of private living space during this time period.
Faculty and Staff:5. How can I get tested? Will the college provide testing on demand?
For faculty/staff who test positive: they should remain home. If there is an exposure in the house (a child or spouse) they should stay home until test on day 3-5. If negative, they can return but stay masked for 14 days and watch symptoms. Since every situation is different, faculty are encouraged to consult as needed with their program director, divisional chair, and the Dean of the College to develop a plan of support and to provide for continuity of instruction. HR is also prepared to assist with all such queries.
Fully vaccinated people who have come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should be tested 3-5 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. They should follow the above restrictions if they test positive.
Fully vaccinated individuals should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure to a positive case.
The College will not provide on-demand COVID-19 testing for employees. Please consult your primary care physician, urgent care, or other testing entity.
The College maintains a COVID-19 PCR testing contract with Broad Institute: surveillance testing plans for the student body are currently being finalized and will be communicated separately. Following current CDC guidance, we will be using the Broad Screening Program for mandatory testing of all students not yet fully vaccinated. Health Services continues to administer testing for COVID-19 for all students experiencing symptoms, regardless of vaccination status.
The College’s Contact Tracing Team is prepared to identify close contacts and inform community members of their responsibilities regarding isolation and testing protocols. In the event of a positive case on campus, surge testing will be employed to identify any spread of the virus.
The Cares Team continues its mission of education and communication on campus while the Response Team and Medical Team continue to lead us in formulating policy recommendations. As always, faculty engagement in this process is critical: if you are interested in interacting directly with any of these groups, please let us know! We can and should expect regular updates and further adaptation in response to COVID variants over the coming weeks as we embark on the new semester together.
With respect and appreciation,
Vice President and Dean of the College
Professor of English
Remote Teaching Resources
There are a number of online tools available on campus that you can leverage to stay connected with your students during a disruption to campus life. Establishing a communication plan and maintaining contact with your students are key.
In the Moment
In the Moment is an essay series in which Bard community members respond to the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, and to the urgent, larger historical and ongoing issue of racialized police misconduct and brutality toward black people.
Future contributors are encouraged to contact Vice President for Academic Inclusive Excellence Myra Armstead or Dean of the College Deirdre d'Albertis with ideas and/or entries (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com).
Ask an Expert
On March 15th of 2020, members of the Bard community turned to each other through the college listserv with a mixture of anxiety, frustration, anger, and urgency: a global pandemic had been declared by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020, the day of the last in-person faculty meeting on campus.
Ask an ExpertBoth SUNY/CUNY had transitioned to distance learning on March 11th for the remainder of the semester and on March 16th, Governor Andrew Cuomo was to sign an Executive Order closing all schools statewide. March 15th was a Sunday: students, faculty, and staff were struggling to understand the unfolding crisis. People couldn't be tested; illness was reported but undiagnosed. Understanding transmission of COVID-19 was partial, at best, and communication challenging. Colleagues called upon one another to share information, to assist with risk assessment, and to help shape Bard's emergency planning. The Response Team came together early on in the crisis, remaining a steady, calm, and authoritative source of truth for students and employees to consult as they adapted to life in the time of coronavirus. Various working groups were formed to build out policy and communication even as everyone navigated a disrupted, disorienting spring semester. In that moment in the middle of March, a series of emails brought together a wide range of Bardians to share what they knew--or were learning--about COVID-19. In what became "Ask an Expert," a suite of essays was posted, nearly daily, between March 16th and June 6th, 2020. The collection serves as a time capsule of sorts, three months' worth of conversation at the beginning of what would turn into a very "long haul" indeed. Reading these entries now, a full year later, we can recollect acute confusion over masks, testing, and therapies. And we can measure the magnitude of hardship and loss--felt so unevenly and inequitably as we were soon to discover--by Bard people and their families, friends, neighbors over this past year.
I want to thank Felicia Keesing for starting this series and to acknowledge the generosity of so many experts (many of whom challenged us to be skeptical of expertise) who took the time to share their own questions, knowledge, insight, and humanity with Bardians near and far. Thanks are also due to Mary Smith and Sherry Gildersleeve for bringing these essays together for all who wish to read and remember.
Office: Ludlow & Willink, 2nd Floor
*Please note Faculty Meetings in the Fall begin at 12:00 p.m. and will be held in the Multipurpose Room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center unless otherwise notified.
Wednesday, September 1
Wednesday, September 29 (faculty-led)
Wednesday, November 10
Wednesday, December 15
*Please note Faculty Meetings in the Spring will begin at 1:20 p.m. and will be held in the Multipurpose Room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center unless otherwise notified.
Wednesday, February 2
Wednesday, May 25