Barnard and Columbia have extended online classes to the week after the upcoming break, according to emails sent out by Presidents Bollinger and Beilock earlier today.

Earlier today, President Bollinger sent out an email to the Columbia student body explaining that classes will continue to be online for the week after spring break. Campus will remain open as scheduled, including dorms, libraries and dining halls (though they will undergo increased cleaning). This week-long period will give the University time to understand the extent of the epidemic and how they should adjust accordingly. Students should expect to hear from their respective departments and instructors concerning details for individual classes and coursework.

In his email, Bollinger also mentioned that the student exposed to the virus in the Columbia community “has been tested and the early results are negative” though, the individual will remain in quarantine for the full 14-day period.
After Bollinger’s email sent out, Barnard students also received an email from President Beilock, forwarding Bollinger’s email and echoing what was said in a previous email concerning the cancellation of events and gatherings as well as admissions tours and information sessions for prospective students.

This was followed by an email from Suzanne Goldberg, Executive Vice President for University Life regarding additional changes to campus life following the move to remote classes. She noted that students are now “required to register all personal and Columbia-related travel, including in the U.S.” via the Register a Trip tool by this Thursday at 6 pm. This is so the university can determine “how to plan for campus resources” over spring break and give students guidance as needed. Personal international travel continues to be strongly discouraged and Columbia-sponsored international travel has been restricted. The email also noted that online and small-group University Life events will continue, with further information regarding these events to be sent out by individual schools.

This extension of online classes follows previous information sent out to Barnard and Columbia students canceling Monday and Tuesday’s classes and starting the use of online courses from Wednesday; this came after information regarding a possible case on Columbia’s campus was shared with Bwog anonymously. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the University.

Schools around the country have taken similar measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Harvard told students not to return to campus after spring break and announced that they would be required to move out of their dorms as soon as possible and no later than Sunday, March 15 to facilitate a move to online classes until further notice. Princeton has moved all classes online until at least April 5 and is encouraging students to stay home after spring break. The Univesity of California, San Diego, is making all classes remote in the spring quarter beginning on March 25.

President Bollinger’s statement:

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I am writing to update the community on the matters I raised in my message from Sunday night. I am very pleased to report that the person from our community who was exposed to the virus has been tested and the early results are negative. This is good news, indeed, but, out of an abundance of caution, the individual will remain in quarantine through the full 14-day period. 

Tomorrow, we will resume classes virtually. Your departments and instructors will be in touch with you directly with the details for individual classes. Virtual classes will continue through the week after Spring Break. This extended period will give the University time to understand if and how the virus is spreading and how we will need to adjust accordingly.

For the week following Spring Break, all of our campuses will be open and courses will resume virtually as scheduled. I will stay in touch with you about the remainder of the semester. I remain deeply grateful to everyone for being sensitive to the complexities of this difficult situation and for having a sense of determination to continue our work while taking care of each other.


Lee C. Bollinger

President Beilock’s statement:

Dear Members of the Barnard Community,

As you can see in President Bollinger’s message (below), he reports good news in that the person from the Columbia University community who was exposed to the virus has been tested, and the early results are negative. Out of an abundance of caution, the individual will remain in quarantine through the full 14-day period. 

As I wrote to you on Sunday, Barnard and Columbia will resume classes virtually tomorrow, Wednesday, March 11. Faculty have been working tirelessly to prepare for this move online, and students will receive an email later today from Dean Grinage about instructions to access virtual classrooms and additional Spring Break information. 

I am also announcing today that — in conjunction with Columbia — virtual classes will continue through the week after Spring Break. This extended period of virtual classes gives us more time to assess the progress of COVID-19 and ensure that we are best supporting the health and wellness of our campus community. 

Like Columbia, Barnard’s campus is not shutting down, and most services remain open. However, in an effort to minimize close contact among groups of people, we are canceling all events and gatherings, as well as Fitbear classes until in-person classes resume. We are also suspending in-person admissions tours and information sessions. 

These are certainly unprecedented times. Let me again thank you all for your support of the College, and each other, as we work to uphold the safety and well-being of our community. I will continue to be in touch as information becomes available and please be sure to visit our COVID-19 website which is updated regularly.

With care,
President Sian Leah Beilock

Suzanne Goldberg’s email:

Dear Students,

This message contains important information about classes, travel registry, and campus resources for Saturday, March 14 through Sunday, March 29. 

These developments continue to be based on an abundance of caution, and we continue to take proactive steps to support our community’s well-being. At this time, we still do not have a confirmed case of the virus on campus. We do understand that many of you have questions related to COVID-19 for yourself and your friends and family.  

  • Columbia’s FAQs give guidance if you believe you were exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus, are not sure if you have been exposed, or have other questions and concerns. 

The rest of this email includes information about March 14-29 on campus. Your school will update you too.


  • Classes continue online March 23-27, and the campus remains open. 

  • No decision has been made yet about whether classes will be online after that. We are monitoring the situation closely and are fully committed to updating you as soon as a decision is made. We understand how important this question is to many of you. 

Spring Break: Registry and Travel Guidance

  • All students are required to register all personal and Columbia-related travel, including in the U.S., in the Register a Trip tool on the University’s Global Travel website. Deadline: Thursday, March 12, at 6 pm.

  • The purposes are to provide guidance to you, if needed, and plan for campus resources during the break.

  • The University currently has no restrictions on personal travel in the United States. Your school will give you information about any changes to school-sponsored spring break domestic travel.

  • The University strongly discourages non-essential personal international travel. If you travel internationally, you may face restrictions on your return

  • Follow the familiar health precautions wherever you are: wash your hands, don’t share food or drink, cough and sneeze into your elbow, and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.

Libraries, Fitness, Housing and Dining 

  • Libraries and fitness centers remain open, with enhanced cleaning.

  • You can continue to study and socialize with friends and classmates. Keep in mind the familiar health precautions!

  • Dining and coffee shops remain open, with enhanced cleaning and grab-and-go options. 

  • Housing remains open, with enhanced cleaning.

Campus Life

  • Look forward to online and small-group University Life activities coming soon. Your school will follow up with you on school-based activities. 

Getting Help

Thank you for your questions, suggestions and flexibility as our community moves together through this evolving and dynamic time, with our values of respect and consideration alongside our concern for everyone’s health and well-being.

In community,

Professor Suzanne B. Goldberg