Dear Members of the Barnard Community,:

The College continues to follow expert national and international recommendations regarding the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The virus has spread to Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea, among other places. To date, there are no known cases in the New York area and no known cases involving our students, faculty, staff, or affiliates. Presently, the immediate health risk to members of our community is considered low. However, the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 globally is high, so this risk assessment to our community may change. 

We are working closely with our associates at Columbia University in addressing this situation and are following the same protocols and guidelines to this situation as they have set out. We must be prudently cautious, and we will continue to assess our community's situation. We will keep you informed should the current level of concern alter.

Following the recommendations of local, state, and national health authorities to make sure we are undertaking evidence-informed procedures, the College has not made changes to classes, activities, operations, and events on our campus.  Please be assured, however, that planning is underway for potential effects to the remainder of the semester, including the spring and summer breaks.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Warning (the highest level of warning), urging all U.S. residents to avoid nonessential travel to South Korea. In accordance with the CDC guidelines, and consistent with Columbia University, the College has decided to restrict college-related student, faculty, and staff travel to South Korea until these guidelines change. Students will not receive credit or funding for activities involving travel there, and student groups are not permitted to visit. Any employee, faculty, staff member or student who wishes to travel to South Korea for a compelling college-related reason must submit a written request to the appropriate area senior staff member. (Faculty, please contact the Provost’s Office; Students, please contact the Dean of the College; and Staff, please contact your area Vice President.) Because of the travel restrictions in place within South Korea, any such request must include confirmation of an evacuation plan. In addition, travelers will be required to comply with appropriate safety precautions and protocols as recommended by the CDC and other authorities.

The CDC has also issued Alert Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions for Iran, Italy, and Japan. The CDC says that, “these destinations are experiencing sustained community transmission… Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel.” We are closely following these alerts and will act if conditions change.

Columbia University has published a series of FAQs around COVID-19 and will continue to update their website as needed. Please use these additional resources for more information: 

Columbia Preparedness

World Health Organization (WHO) Information about Coronavirus

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Situation Summary

NYC Department of Health Information About Coronavirus

Finally, we know that many in our community may have family or friends affected by this outbreak. We encourage anyone who needs support during this time to contact Furman Counseling Center or the Office of the University Chaplain.

You can find all the Barnard COVID-19 updates at Information and Updates on COVID-19.


Linda Bell

Leslie Grinage 
Dean of the College

Mary Joan L.Murphy
Executive Director of Student Health and Wellness