Since the beginning of the pandemic, the College has worked hard to create a safe living and learning environment. We are nearing the end of the Spring semester and it is so encouraging to see that, with our frequent COVID-19 testing and strictly enforced public health protocols, our COVID-19 cases have remained low. I want to especially thank you for the responsibility and the commitment that you have shown to each other, to our campus, and to our Morningside Heights and Harlem communities.
You have been receiving information in the past several weeks about vaccines and eligibility. Multiple vaccines have been shown to provide high levels of protection against the COVID-19 virus and every individual in the US over the age of 16 is now eligible to be vaccinated.
Getting vaccinated is one more way that each of us can protect the more vulnerable amongst us in these unprecedented times, as our individual behaviors are vital to keeping the larger community as healthy and safe as possible. With this in mind, we will be requiring all new and returning students who will be living on or utilizing campus to show proof that they have received a COVID-19 vaccine prior to the start of the Fall 2021 semester. Documented medical and religious exemptions will be accommodated. Please know that we will work closely with international students and others who may not have ready access to vaccines over the summer. Similarly, Columbia has also announced a vaccine requirement for undergraduate students beginning this Fall and given that Barnard and Columbia students interact in multiple ways on a daily basis, it seems especially important to align on this requirement.
For now we are strongly encouraging all faculty and staff to be vaccinated; we will provide further information about any potential requirements in the coming months.
We urge you to get vaccinated as soon as you have the opportunity. Public health experts, including our own infectious diseases advisors from the Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC), have identified COVID-19 vaccinations as the key factor in reducing COVID-19 infections and allowing us all to return to a less restricted, more normal way of life. Not only do these vaccines prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19, they also limit the spread of the virus within communities. I appreciate the commitment of our students, faculty, and staff who have already been vaccinated, as well as those who are currently navigating the vaccine-scheduling process. Please continue to monitor our vaccine website for updated information and send any questions you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org.
At this time, we also encourage you to register your vaccine. By completing this form, you can voluntarily share or update your vaccine status, and opt in to receive information about future boosters and vaccines from Barnard’s vaccine distribution partners, including Columbia Health. Doing so will help us plan for summer and fall on campus.
We know that the months ahead may present other challenges, and our return to greater in-person activity will require adjustments—for us as individuals and as a College. As with all of our decision-making throughout the past year, we will continue to monitor state and local guidelines, keep you updated, and make changes as needed to promote a safe campus and community.
Please note that this vaccine requirement takes effect for fall, but we encourage you to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Especially as we head into our Summer semester, continued diligence is critical. A lot has been asked of our community this year. You have navigated these extraordinary times with boldness, resolve, and care. I ask that each of you now take the next step by being vaccinated. And remember that masks and social distancing are still necessary to keep each other safe.
We look forward to seeing you all back on campus.
Dean of the College