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Barnard Announces Plans For Students’ Return To Campus

Yesterday afternoon, Barnard released their plans for move-in and initial quarantine procedures for upper-class students. All first-years and sophomores are invited back to live in the dorms, as well as juniors and seniors who have been granted a Housing Exception.

Quarantine Requirements

Recent updates on Barnard’s Campus Community & Living website revealed that residential students that are arriving to New York from a state on the restricted states list will all be required to quarantine off-campus for 14 days, while those arriving from overseas where there is “widespread ongoing transmission” will be asked to quarantine in their housing assignments for the same duration. Resident assistants and student leaders who will be needed on campus for the start of the academic year will also be able to complete their pre-arrival quarantine on campus. 

Barnard is requiring students come from places on the New York State restricted states list or international destinations to complete a quarantine period compliant with New York state guidelines. A list of hotels with negotiated rates was linked in the Semester Form contract in Barnard residential students’ StarRez portals. The rates range between 94 to 120 dollars per room per night.

For students who are currently on financial aid, the school will provide automatic financial assistance for the entire 14 day period; students that are not enrolled in financial aid, but are under extenuating circumstances that compromise their ability to arrange an off-campus quarantine may apply for financial assistance from the College.

After completing their quarantine off-campus, students will be allowed to move into their residential halls in staggered periods from Monday, August 31 to Friday, September 4, which matches Columbia’s announced move-in schedule. Students may choose a 15-minute time slot to move in between those dates on their StarRez Portal. Once they are back on campus, Barnard students “will be expected to take a COVID-19 test on-site and will be required to self-quarantine in their new residence (for up to 48-hours) until their arrival test results are returned.” 

Meanwhile, those arriving in New York from an international destination will be permitted to move directly into their rooms beginning August 31, but they will need to submit a negative result from a PCR test taken 5 to 7 days prior to their assigned move-in date. 

Provost Bell and Dean Grinage have also promised that students quarantining off-campus will have access to resources from Barnard to assist with their quarantine needs. What those resources are and how they will be administered has not yet been announced but administrators promised more information coming closer to August 17. Non-residential students, including commuting students and those living off-campus, will also have access to campus starting at the end of August. However, “students who are commuters/living off-campus will be responsible for their own quarantine and/or isolation. The College will assist with directing students to resources that can support them if they must quarantine/isolate.”

New York Travel Restrictions

The New York State Department of Health issued a travel advisory on those coming from states with “a seven day rolling average of positive tests in excess of 10%, or number of positive cases exceeding 10 per 100,000 residents.” The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) makes these determinations on a weekly basis using data from each individual state’s website and doublechecks its accuracy against data from The COVID Tracking Project (CTP), an initiative run by The Atlantic which tracks coronavirus data at the state level (Disclaimer: four current Bwog staffers volunteer for CTP, and two contributed to this post).

We reached out to Peter Walker, Data Visualization Co-Lead at CTP, who provided Bwog with the following map and graphs which display where each state stands in regards to these two criteria, based on CTP’s data for the week of July 27th to August 2nd. “Percent Positive Rate” (PPR) is calculated as the percentage of positive PCR tests of the total number of PCR tests administered in each state. “Average Cases per 100k People” (case rate) is calculated as the average daily new cases divided by the state population divided by 100,000. The daily change in cases is gathered as the sum of both confirmed and probable cases from each state’s COVID-19 data dashboard. As of August 4th, Rhode Island has been added as a state from which residents would need to quarantine, as it now has 10.8 positive cases per 100,000 residents. Delaware has been removed as it is now only at 9.7 positive cases per 100,000 residents, and Washington DC which is right on the cusp, at 10 positive cases per 100,000 residents, has been removed as well. Only 13 states currently exceed the PPR threshold, while 34 (as well as Puerto Rico) exceed the case rate limit. All 13 states that exceed the PPR threshold also exceed the case rate limit. If states, US territories, or the District of Columbia meet either one or both of these criteria, they will be added to the NYSDOH travel advisory watchlist. Changes to the watch list are made on Tuesdays, using the seven-day rolling average starting from the previous Monday.

Those coming to New York from one of the restricted states must fill out a traveler health form upon arrival or face a $2,000 fine. The health form specifies that anyone “travel(ing) from within one of the designated states with significant community spread… must quarantine when you enter New York for 14 days…provided on the date you enter into New York State that such state met the criteria for requiring such quarantine.” 
However, “the requirements of the travel advisory do not apply to any individual passing through designated states for a limited duration (i.e., less than 24 hours) through the course of travel.” If the travel period exceeds the limited duration, a 14 day quarantine will be required of the individual, unless they are an essential worker.

Move-In

Excluding NSOP leaders, move-in for upper class students will be staggered from Monday, August 31 to Friday, September 4 to allow for physical distancing, with a limited number of time slots each day. Students sign up for a 15-minute time slot to move into their dorms. 

During move-in, students will be required to wear a face covering that follows Barnard guidelines. Only resident students will be permitted to enter the residence halls; guests will not be allowed to enter the residence halls to assist students with moving into their assigned rooms.

Students will be tested for COVID-19 on arrival to campus and will be required to remain in their rooms until a negative test is received. In an email to students, Barnard stated that residential students should expect to quarantine for 48 hours before their results are returned to them. Boxed meals and virtual activities being offered during this quarantine period. 

All Barnard residential students will need to complete an “Arrival Quarantine and Pre-Entry Test Form” as well as a Semester Contingency Plan in the StarRez housing portal before arriving. These forms will indicate students’ plans for mandated arrival quarantine and plans for any possible changes to the Fall semester’s operations, which “could include the decision to close the physical campus, including residence halls.” 

NSOP

Barnard’s New Student Orientation Program will include pre-arrival quarantine virtual programming from August 17-31. Official NSOP programming will begin on August 31, including both virtual and in-person activities for first-year and transfer students.

Update August 6 at 8:50 pm:

Tonight, Barnard declared their policy on housing cancellation. In the past, the College waived the cancellation fee on a “case by case basis,” but this option has now been made clear to all students. Barnard will allow a student’s housing to be cancelled with no cancellation fee through Friday, August 14, according to an email sent to students from Interim Executive Director for Residential Life & Housing, Lizeth Jaramillo. Once a student makes the decision to cancel their housing for Fall 2020 in the Barnard housing portal, their decision is final and cannot be reversed.

The email from Interim Executive Director for Residential Life & Housing, Lizeth Jaramillo, can be read in full below:

Thank you for the questions many of you have emailed since earlier this week.

Given New York State’s current quarantine requirements and Barnard’s limited facilities that prevent us from allowing students to complete their quarantine on campus, some students have inquired about waiving the housing cancellation fee if they decide to live off-campus or take classes from home for the semester. As we’ve been doing this on a case by case basis, we wanted to make sure that everyone was aware of this possibility.

Any student who wishes to cancel their Fall 2020 room assignment may do so without a cancellation fee through Friday, August 14. To cancel housing, students would need to log into the Housing Portal, click HOUSING FORM, and complete the cancellation page. Please note that once a student cancels housing for the Fall, they will not be able to reverse that decision.

We understand this is a difficult time for everyone. Please know we are doing our best to adapt to the changing circumstances of the global pandemic.

Sincerely,
Lizeth Jaramillo, Interim Executive Director for Residential Life & Housing

Provost Bell and Dean Grinage’s email can be read in full below:

Dear Barnard Students,

We hope this email finds you and your families well. These past few months have been extraordinarily difficult for all of us, in different ways, but we are hopeful for the new semester, for coming together again, and for sharing what will undoubtedly be a historic year at Barnard.  

While we’ve communicated to you throughout the summer our plans to reopen the campus to students in a safe way, and about changes to the curriculum and Academic Calendar, we are now finalizing important details about the semester ahead. Collectively, we must keep in mind the purpose of the work we have done over the summer to prepare for the fall — that Barnard can offer students an intellectual home and can serve as a laboratory of ideas for engaging critically with the pressing questions and uncertainties of the present moment. As you know from “Launch Week,” new courses and curricular content will be devoted to addressing topics such as COVID-19 and both historic and present-day systemic racism. Difficult as it is, this moment offers both an opportunity and a responsibility to make a difference, and we have designed our curriculum to respond to the challenge.

Life on campus will be different in many respects, but much of what we all love about Barnard will remain the same. Innovations in our curriculum, the addition of new faculty and staff, the introduction of new modes of teaching, additions to the First-Year Experience courses, and safety enhancements to our campus and facilities, are a testament to our enduring commitment to all of you. In short, we’ve very much missed you on campus and we can’t wait for you to return. 

Our website contains a great deal of information that you will find helpful as you register for your courses and consider your options for the year ahead. We write to you today to offer guidance that will be especially relevant as you plan your Fall semester. 

A Community Pledge  

Barnard is a special place because we are a community. Caring for each other comes naturally at Barnard, but in these times we must formalize our mutual respect and care. To that end, we are asking all students, faculty, and staff to sign a Community Pledge. With this commitment, we promise to abide by a set of rules for behavior on campus. These include requirements around the wearing of masks in public, hand-washing and sanitation, social distancing, the use of designated spaces at designated times, as well as other behaviors to help promote the well-being of all on campus. Residential students will complete the pledge when they receive their housing assignment later today. Non-residential students will receive an email later in the week directing them to the pledge. We ask you to rise to this challenge with purpose and focus and embrace the responsibility of care.

Registration Details

Given changes to the Academic Calendar and the addition of many immersive classes, all Barnard students are required to review their fall class schedule and make changes as needed. 

Key dates to keep in mind for registration are as follows:

  • For continuing students, registration is August 3 – 14.
  • For first-year students, pre-registration is August 11 – 14.
  • For continuing and incoming transfer students, registration is August 25 – 27.
  • For first-year students, registration for additional classes is September 4 – 5.
  • Additional registration for all students is September 8 – 18.

We will be asking for your intentions and preferences to take each class in-person or online. This information will be critical in helping us assess which classes we will be able to prioritize for in-person hybrid instruction given limited space on campus and will be collected for both Barnard and Columbia classes. It is important to note that our facilities will limit the number of in-person classes, even for those living on or near campus. Further instructions on how to link your preferences to your registered classes will be provided in a subsequent message from the registrar this week.

New York State Quarantine Requirements for Students from Impacted States

New York State currently requires any person arriving here from one of the states on Governor Cuomo’s restricted states list to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in New York. The governor’s executive order means that many of you will need to quarantine before moving into assigned College housing or before taking part in on-campus activities. Student leaders who are asked to move into campus housing earlier than August 31 (Resident Assistants, Orientation Leaders, select Global Ambassadors) may complete their quarantine on campus.

Students required to quarantine are responsible for making their own arrangements and will be asked to attest in writing to the fact that they have quarantined for 14 days prior to entering Barnard’s campus. The College will assist residential students by providing information about recommended area hotels (with negotiated rates). Residential students on financial aid will receive financial assistance to help defray the expenses associated with quarantine, and those not on financial aid with extenuating circumstances who will be quarantining off campus can also apply for assistance from the College. Details on hotels and obtaining financial assistance will be included in the email with housing assignments that will go out later today. Students are also welcome to quarantine in non designated hotels and in other locations in non impacted states, or with family and friends. We advise students and their families to consider what option is best for them. 

Although students will quarantine away from campus, the College will have resources available to assist with their quarantine needs, including accessing medical care when needed. More information will be available on alert.barnard.edu closer to August 17, the date we anticipate many students will begin their 14-day quarantine. Throughout the quarantine period, students may also contact arrivalquarantine@barnard.edu with any questions, and their inquiry will be routed to the appropriate staff.

Please keep in mind that the governor’s list of restricted states changes frequently. We suggest that you refer to this list before making any travel plans or hotel arrangements, and we recommend that your travel plans remain as flexible as possible. 

Student Move-in and Residential Life

Campus move-in dates for students will be staggered from August 31 to September 4, with a limited number of move-in time slots each day. Only resident students will be permitted to enter the residence halls during move-in. Parents, family members, and friends will not be able to enter residence halls.

All students will be tested for COVID-19 upon their initial arrival to campus. Students will not be permitted to move about campus, and will be asked to remain in their rooms, until a negative test result is received (estimated to be around 48 hours). Boxed meals will be provided during the quarantine period, and activities and programs will be offered.

Residential Life and Housing will email all residential students detailed information later today.

COVID-19 Testing   

Like residential students, all off-campus and commuting students will be tested by Barnard for initial entry to campus. As part of the College’s comprehensive surveillance testing program, asymptomatic testing of all students will occur on a regular schedule, currently set for once a week but subject to changing guidelines.  

An initial negative PCR test will be required of all students, faculty, and staff in order to have access to campus facilities and activities. More information will be provided about scheduling these tests, which will be available in late August. Faculty and staff will also participate in asymptomatic surveillance testing throughout the Fall semester. Barnard will provide all testing for both initial and surveillance tests at no cost to students, faculty, or staff.

The results of our community testing will be made available to the Barnard community on a weekly basis, including aggregate information on the number of tests and the percentage of positive test results. 

Community Self-Check App 

All students, faculty, and staff will be required to respond daily to several self-check questions to acknowledge that they are feeling well and that they have not knowingly been in contact with anyone who is symptomatic or has tested positive for COVID-19. The self-check app will provide users with a “green light” that they may be asked to show when entering campus and will alert them to stay at home when a “red light” appears. More information on this app and how to download it will be available soon.

Contact Tracing 

Barnard has built a contact tracing program that supports the efforts of the New York City Test & Trace Corps. Using training from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and working closely with the College’s Primary Care Health Services and quarantine/isolation team, the College’s contact tracing team will reach out to Barnard students, faculty, and staff who test positive for COVID-19, as well as those who may have been exposed. Contact tracers will also provide information to help students, faculty, and staff manage their quarantine/isolation periods.

Barnard must notify the New York City Department of Health about positive cases. The New York City Test & Trace Corps will manage contact tracing for anyone outside of the Barnard community who may have come into contact with someone testing positive at Barnard. 

Seasonal Flu Shots

Students, faculty, and staff on campus will be required to get a seasonal flu shot. In addition to the usual benefits this vaccine provides, limiting our community’s exposure to the seasonal flu will be an important part of recognizing, managing, and limiting the spread and the health risks of COVID-19. In the coming weeks, we will provide additional details about when and where you can get flu shots on campus.

Semester Contingency

All students, whether residential, in New York City, or elsewhere in the country or world,  are required to complete a semester contingency plan in the event that the College’s operations for the Fall semester change. Information from this form helps the College best support students and allows students and families to plan in advance for unexpected situations due to COVID-19 during the Fall 2020 semester. Residential students will complete this form when they receive their housing assignment later today. Non-residential students will receive an email later in the week directing them to the form. 

Restrictions on Travel 

All students, faculty, and staff on campus will be required to follow College guidelines regarding College-sponsored and other travel.  

Students will have the option of remaining on campus for Thanksgiving or returning home. Any student traveling outside the tri-state area will be required to move out of their residence hall prior to leaving for Thanksgiving, and room and board will be prorated accordingly. 

We understand that this email contains a great deal of complex information. As circumstances change, we will continue to update you. We remind you that important College messages will be posted at alert.barnard.edu. Those of you living on campus will soon receive a detailed email with your housing assignment, along with additional resources regarding quarantine and move-in procedures. 

In the meantime, we look forward to welcoming you to the new Academic Year. In the words of Grace Lee Boggs ’35, “The only way to survive is by taking care of one another, by recreating our relationships to one another.” As long as this pandemic persists, we must come together and rise to the challenge.

With warm wishes, 

Provost Bell and Dean Grinage

Reporting contributed by Lia Seo-Youn Jung, Nicki Camberg, Sarah Perry, Lauren Kahme, and Eva Sher.

Barnard Hall via Bwog Archives

Average Cases Per 100k People, Percent Positive, and Average Cases Per 100k People & Percent Positive by State via Peter Walker

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