Dear Barnard Alumnae,
We wanted to share President Beilock's note to the Barnard community this morning which is copied below. During this unpredictable time and out of an abundance of caution, Barnard is canceling or postponing all in-person alumnae events through June, including the Gala and Reunion. We are evaluating holding, depending on how circumstances unfold, a virtual event in place of our planned April 22 Gala and a virtual Reunion in June.
Our top concern is the health and safety of our community and we appreciate your understanding and support. While we may not be able to bring Barnard alumnae and friends together physically, we hope to help virtually facilitate connections to each other and to the College in the coming months. Stay tuned for details.
We know that many alumnae are asking how you can support various needs of our students. We are happy to work with you on such measures and ask you to contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take good care of yourselves and your loved ones.
Lisa Yeh, Vice President, Development and Alumnae Relations
Karen Sendler, Executive Director, Alumnae Relations
Barnard Community Message
Dear Members of the Barnard Community,
It has been an unprecedented year here at Barnard with many highs and, sadly, many lows. Through it all, I have been extraordinarily impressed with our community and the caring and support you have shown for each other.
Today I write to let you know that, following Columbia University (see President Bollinger’s message below), Barnard will continue with virtual classes for the remainder of the semester. This is not a decision we have come to lightly, but it is one we feel best supports the academic excellence that Barnard prides itself on and promotes the health and well-being of our community.
Our faculty are world-class scholar-teachers, unprecedented among our Ivy League and liberal arts peers. They have worked tirelessly over the last few weeks to mount all Barnard courses on-line and all of our courses will continue virtually throughout the semester. I want to thank them for their hard work.
At present, no Barnard student, faculty, or staff member has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Nonetheless, because the Barnard residence halls are highly communal spaces and given that classes will be virtual, we are asking students not to return to campus after spring break (unless it is to move out of your room). This will help reduce the risk of further spreading the virus during COVID-19’s next phase. For students who feel your personal circumstances necessitate that you remain in the residence halls through spring break and/or the rest of the semester, you are welcome to do so.
Barnard remains open, however all events and gatherings are cancelled for the remainder of the semester. Faculty and staff will soon be hearing from the Provost and Human Resources about specific instructions to support their work, health and safety.
There are so many aspects of COVID-19 that we do not yet understand. As such, we must act based on what we currently know to support our community as best we can. I recognize that this news represents a major adjustment for many of you. We have developed a set of Semester Completion FAQs to answer some of the questions you have and will continue to add information as it becomes available. Please also check back often to our COVID-19 website, as it will be updated frequently.
This is certainly not what any of us expected as we wind down the spring semester. I want to again thank you for all you have done to support one another during this difficult time. Please continue to care for each other and to uphold the health and safety of those around you.
Sian Leah Beilock, President
Columbia University message
Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:
As promised, I am writing with an update on how the University needs to respond to the outbreak of COVID-19. We all know this is a rapidly evolving and very challenging situation. Yesterday afternoon, the World Health Organization officially declared this to be a pandemic. Thus far, we continue to have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our campuses. Just to be clear, the principle that has guided us up to this point is to maintain the mission of the University as much as possible consistent with preserving the health of every part of our community. To that end, as of yesterday, we launched nearly 2,000 classes online and continue to prepare to teach classes virtually for the remainder of the semester.
In light of the spread of the virus, especially in the New York metropolitan region, we now need to take further steps. Specifically, in order to reduce the density of our residential environment, while respecting the interests and needs of students who have reason to continue to remain in residence on campus, we are instituting three critical decisions: (1) The University will remain open and functioning; (2) All classes for the remainder of the semester will be conducted online; and (3) We encourage any students who are able to move out of undergraduate residence halls for the rest of the semester to do so, and we are ready to help in that process. The Office of University Life and your school will follow up with more information.
It is worth repeating that our campuses will remain open. However, we have restrictions in place for those who have traveled to severely affected areas, as per guidance from the CDC. We will, as indicated previously, actively discourage congregations in large numbers. We also strongly discourage holding any events with over 25 people, at least through April 30th. All Columbia business travel, both international and domestic, is now suspended for all affiliates.
This is a hard time for all of us. We are concerned about every student, colleague, friend, and neighbor. Clearly, balancing all of the interests of all parts of the institution is an extraordinarily complex undertaking. I am so grateful to all of you and especially to those who daily help us chart the right course for Columbia through this crisis.
Lee C. Bollinger