Dear Members of the Barnard Community,

As we look forward to a full return to in-person living and learning for the Fall Semester, I write to let you know that we are closely monitoring the COVID-19 Delta variant and taking the steps needed to keep our community safe. 

Thanks to our multilayered and data-driven approach to health and safety on campus, and to the vigilance all of you have maintained, infection rates on our campus continue to remain extremely low. I am so proud of the strength, work-ethic and resiliency of this community, and so gratified to see it result in students living and learning on campus throughout the spring and over the summer. 

We continue to use our campus dashboard data and regional data, in consultation with our medical advisors at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, to inform a continuous, holistic, and transparent approach to planning for this fall, adjusting as conditions warrant. Today I want to highlight some of the key safety measures we are enacting, some of which were shared recently. I also encourage you to review our COVID-19 Information Hub, for more details. 

All students, faculty and staff are on track to meet Barnard’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement, which means that they have been vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption. Vaccination is the most important step in protecting ourselves and the community around us. If you have not yet uploaded your proof of vaccination, please do so as soon as possible to meet the August 15 deadline. For those who need assistance, please reach out to

Risk Response Grid
To help members of the community understand our planning framework, we are sharing a chart that lays out how the College’s Pandemic Response Team, in consultation with medical & public health experts, will modulate academic and other activities at different levels of risk. Our goal is to let you know the steps we will take to keep our campus healthy and safe as the COVID-19 virus inevitably ebbs and flows. Right now, we are operating under the Low Risk (Yellow) level.

Masking is an added layer of protection. Until further notice, everyone is required to wear face coverings indoors unless they are the sole occupants of their office, a conference room, or similar space, regardless of vaccination status. Vaccinated students may be unmasked in their rooms or suites. We are developing additional protocols related to faculty teaching in the classrooms; these will be communicated as they are finalized. Outdoors, face coverings are not required for those who are vaccinated. Those who are unvaccinated must continue to wear face coverings outdoors. We understand that across the city, state and country masking requirements vary. Nonetheless, we believe that universal masking in Barnard’s classroom and other group settings is a relatively small step we can all take to keep our community safe. 

Barnard will continue to regularly test all faculty, staff, and students who are accessing campus, regardless of their vaccination status. More information about the College’s testing program can be found in the information sheet for students and the information sheet for faculty and staff. We have set specific protocols for move-in and have preparations in place should students need to quarantine or isolate. The College will make every effort to support students’ physical & mental health, as well as academics, if students must quarantine, isolate, or stay home because they’re not feeling well. If you have any questions, email 

Campus Pledge
Keeping one another safe requires each of us to do our part, a commitment we formalize through our updated 2021-2022 Community Pledge, a promise all faculty, staff and students make to follow requirements around masks, the use of community spaces, as well as other behaviors. All community members must sign the pledge by Sunday, August 15.

I am confident that through these steps we can continue to learn, work and thrive, taking advantage of all that this extraordinary community of students and scholars has to offer. We will continue to monitor the pandemic closely and  adapt, as needed, to the circumstances around us. Enjoy these next few weeks, take care of yourself and I look forward to welcoming you to our new academic year in September. 


Sian Leah Beilock, President