After weeks of pushback from students, including a petition with over 2,700 signatures, Barnard has updated its guest policy to allow overnight guests in all residence halls.

Barnard has once again updated its guest policies for residential students, lifting its previous restrictions on overnight guests. In an email to students Friday afternoon, Barnard’s administration announced that students are now permitted to host overnight guests in residence halls for up to four nights in any 30-day period. Previously, students were limited to hosting guests between the hours of 8 am and 10 pm. The full text with the announcement to students can be found below.

The change was one of several announced yesterday to the College’s guest policies. Additional changes to the residential guest policy include that Barnard students may now enter any residential building by swiping their school IDs at the front desk, and no longer need to be signed in by a resident. However, Columbia students and non-affiliates must still be accompanied by a Barnard host. Further, Friday’s email hinted students may soon be able to sign in daytime guests who are under 17 years old, although further details have not been shared. The college has not changed its policy that the number of guests in a room or suite may not exceed twice the number of occupants. 

Outside of its guest policy, the email also included an announcement of a new COVID-19 isolation policy, known as “Recover in Place.” Under this new policy, students who test positive for COVID-19 will isolate and recover in their current housing assignments. The policy includes students who have roommates and suitemates, though the email says Barnard’s Public Health Response Team will “advise best practices to the infected student to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus within their living space.” The email also stated that students are “welcome” to recover off-campus, although the college will not reimburse the cost for students relocating during isolation. Further details on off-campus isolation have not been shared. Additionally, students will be required to sign an updated community pledge, which will be shared in the coming weeks. The College’s further COVID-19 policies, such as its masking and testing, remain unchanged since their last update in early September.

Friday’s update to the guest policy comes after weeks of significant pushback from the student body. Since the start of the Fall semester, a petition organized by residential student Rachel Burns (BC ‘24) to change the overnight guest policy has gained more than 2,700 signatures. The petition articulated an argument made by many students, that the College’s ban on overnight guests—particularly in contrast to Columbia’s policy, which allows them—was not only misogynistic but illogical, and placed students’ safety and wellbeing in jeopardy. In particular, the fact that affiliate and non-affiliate guests have been permitted as daytime visitors since the start of the semester, but were not permitted to stay overnight, caused many students to question the effectiveness of the policy in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the first place.

Email from VP Catallozzi and Dean Grinage to Barnard students on September 9, 2022, at 12:32 PM:

Dear Students,

We would like to extend a sincere thank you to the Barnard community for adhering to our COVID-19 policies to ensure that we had a safe and healthy move-in and start to the semester. As we have stated in the past, our goal is to minimize, not eliminate, the spread of COVID-19, so that our community can continue living and learning with minimal disruption to daily life. We write today to share updated information about Barnard’s COVID-19 policies. Please read this email in its entirety for updated information about the guest policy, reminders about our masking policy, surveillance program including required asymptomatic surveillance testing, and recovery and isolation plans in the event that residential students test positive for COVID-19. As in the past, we will continue to inform our policy decisions with campus, local and national data to best protect the health of all in our community.

Guest Policy

Effective Saturday, September 10, Barnard’s residential guest policy is as follows:

  • Residential students are permitted to host affiliate and non-affiliate guests in the residence halls.
    • All non-affiliate guests will be required to complete a form attesting that they are vaccinated and boosted for COVID-19 prior to entering residence halls.
    • Columbia University students with valid CU ID cards, whether residential or not, are permitted in residence halls when accompanied by a current resident of that building. They must be met by their host and complete a form attesting that they are vaccinated and boosted for COVID-19 prior to entering residence halls.
    • All non-Barnard College ID holder guests must be signed in to the building by a resident of that specific building.
    • More information about hosting guests age 17 or younger will be provided on the Residence Life website next week. Until then, guests under age 17 are prohibited.
  • Barnard College students with valid BC ID cards are permitted in any Barnard residence hall, whether or not they are the guest of any specific resident who lives in that building, and will not have to complete an attestation.
    • Barnard student ID holders must tap their ID (or complete the entry form at residential buildings without card swipe capacity, if necessary) for the Access Attendant of the residence hall for entry.
    • Barnard students are not permitted to sleep in the lounges or other public spaces of buildings of which they do not reside.
    • Barnard students may only host guests in the residence in which they reside.
  • There are no specified visiting hours for guests.
    • Overnight guests are allowed for a maximum of 4 days per 30-day period.
    • Overnight guests must be accommodated in their host’s room and are not allowed to sleep in lounges or other public spaces.
    • Overnight guests must be older than 17 years of age.

Students are strongly encouraged to have conversations with their roommates/suitemates about their comfort with guests, including overnight guests. Throughout the academic year, students should remain in communication with their roommates/suitemates regarding health and safety prior to guests’ arrival. Please refer to the COVID-19 roommate/suitemate conversation guide for more information and assistance with these conversations.

Masking Policy

The practice of masking continues to be an integral public health tool in supporting the goals of reducing transmission of COVID-19 in our community. According to the CDC, masking is protective both against transmission of COVID-19 from an infected person and inhalation of COVID-19 particles. Additionally, research supports no significant negative health outcomes for adults wearing masks.

At this time, to decrease community transmission, Barnard will continue to require masks in public places indoors as one of the many layers of protection against the spread of COVID-19. Please note that masks can be lowered or removed to eat and drink. Although not required, masking is also encouraged in crowded, outdoor settings.

NYC data currently reflects a 9% positivity rate of COVID-19 in our zip code. The College will continue to monitor the COVID-19 rates both on campus and in our community by keeping up with NYC public health data, as well as from Barnard’s surveillance testing program and our surveillance of wastewater, to inform changes to the masking policy to best suit the needs of our community.

Asymptomatic Surveillance Testing

At this time, Barnard continues to offer testing as part of the campus COVID-19 surveillance plan. Members of the Barnard community must continue to test as indicated – residential students must test every 2 weeks, and all other community members must test every 4 weeks to maintain a CoVerified green screen. Compliance with this requirement is linked to building access on campus (with the exception of residential students, who may access both their residence hall and the dining hall at any time). Asymptomatic testing outside of the indicated cadence is not available.

The college has announced an exciting update in the ways that we can access asymptomatic surveillance testing on campus through Color Health. This is a self-facilitated testing model that will allow for greater flexibility in asymptomatic surveillance test taking and management of one’s own testing results. Be on the lookout for further updates in the coming week about this change.

Recover in Place Policy

In keeping with CDC guidance, Barnard still requires isolation for students who test positive for COVID-19. On college campus settings with high rates of vaccination and boosters, and given mutations in the COVID-19 virus that cause less severe disease, students rarely get severely ill with COVID-19. In alignment with the practice of several other colleges nationwide, including Columbia University and New York University, Barnard students who test positive for COVID-19, will recover in their housing assignment. This includes students who have roommates and suitemates. Students who prefer to recover off campus are welcome to do so. The College will not reimburse costs for students to relocate during their recovery.

To support students in isolation and their roommates, the Public Health Response Team will advise best practices to the infected student to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus within their living space, as well as be available to provide real time support about arrangements to isolate. Additionally, roommates/suitemates should use the COVID-19 roommate/suitemate conversation guide to help plan for how they’ll manage COVID-19 together within their living space.

As previously advised in our welcome email to students, a student who is at risk of severe illness should contact if they or their roommate are positive for COVID-19.

Community Pledge

In the coming weeks, all Barnard community members will be required to sign an updated Community Pledge, acknowledging that every person on our campus has a responsibility for the health of the greater community.

We appreciate your adherence to these data and expert-informed policies and look forward to a healthy and productive fall semester.


Marina Catallozzi, MD, MSCE

Vice President of Health & Wellness

Chief Health Officer

Leslie Grinage, EdD

Dean of the College

Barnard’ s campus via Bwog Archives