Dear Members of the Barnard Community,
With signs of spring’s approach around the campus and a number of changes in greater New York and at Columbia University regarding COVID-19 restrictions, it is a good time to share our timeline for easing COVID-19 restrictions on Barnard’s campus. Cases of COVID-19 are diminishing, although still present on campus, as you will see from our COVID dashboard. This positive news, along with the information we have about COVID-19 incidence in New York City and New York state, prompts us to make some adjustments in the weeks ahead.
Spring Break and Travel
If you are traveling outside of New York City for Spring Break, please plan to test with enough time so that you will have your result before you travel. Please note that the College is not monitoring travel.
We are planning to monitor any COVID-19 infections upon return to campus. Therefore, if you are planning to travel outside of New York State, beginning March 7th, fill out a form at the Testing Center before you leave and pick up a packet of antigen tests so that you can test prior to returning to campus. Any positive test result should be uploaded to CoVerified.
The week of March 21st (the week after Spring Break) will be the final week of required weekly testing, assuming cases of COVID-19 infections remain low. Starting the week of March 28th, the Barnard community will move to regularly scheduled surveillance testing. More detailed information about the surveillance testing schedule will be shared before the week of March 28th. All members of our community can continue asymptomatic voluntary testing at the Testing Center at any time and any positive test, regardless of test type or where it was done, should continue to be reported to the College.
Daily Symptom Attestation
Daily symptom attestation will continue as usual and is linked to building access. Continuing to monitor symptoms to recognize when you are sick and should not be on campus is important in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and keeping each other healthy.
Starting on March 7th, faculty can remove masks in the classroom to teach if they choose. We will continue to require masking for all others in Barnard classrooms and meeting and event spaces through the week of March 21st. Assuming COVID-19 infection and spread remain low at Barnard following Spring Break, community members who are vaccinated and boosted can choose to remove their masks indoors starting the week of March 28th. Faculty may impose stricter policies for their classrooms and may require masks. Students are expected to adhere to classroom policies as established by their faculty. Similarly, staff can decide if they want to require masks during meetings.
We encourage our community to respect the choice that each person will make about their own masking in a variety of settings once the mask mandate is lifted.
Residential Guest Policy
At this time, there is no change to the Residential Guest Policy as communicated in the letter to students on January 27. Students may host 1-2 guests at a time, and the total number of guests in a room or suite shall not exceed double its assigned occupancy. For example, a suite of four residents shall not exceed a total of eight people in the space at one time (four residents, four guests).
The College continues to require all members of the community to have received both the primary COVID-19 vaccine series and booster if eligible. We have extended the time to upload the information until March 21st. Please refer to the instructions for uploading your vaccine. We continue to expect those who become eligible for the booster to receive it, within 30 days of eligibility, and upload it.
Events on Campus
Beginning March 28th, we will return to usual room capacities for events. Food will also be allowed. We will continue to require evidence of being fully vaccinated (primary series plus booster) and symptom attestation for any non-Barnard affiliates.
We are encouraged by the decreases in cases we are seeing in the region and these COVID-19 policy adjustments represent an important turning point this spring. We also understand that our policies are somewhat different from Columbia’s. We are using a data-informed approach to guide Barnard’s campus and will continue to monitor and remain agile as needed. Thank you for doing your part to support the health, safety and well being of our community.
Wishing you well,
Marina Catallozzi, MD, MSCE
Vice President of Health and Wellness, Chief Health Officer