In an email sent out this Thursday, Barnard notified the community of upcoming changes to the College’s COVID-19 policies which will eliminate surveillance testing and the vaccine mandate starting May of this year.

This afternoon, Barnard announced changes in its COVID-19 policies to go into effect starting on May 12, 2023, in an email sent by Director of Public Health Response Team April Autry and VP of Health & Wellness/Chief Health Officer Marina Catallozzi. Among the major policy shifts, Barnard will end its surveillance testing, its vaccine mandate, and its vaccine requirements for visitors. These are in accordance with the Biden Administration’s decision to end the national public health emergency on May 11th.

While Barnard will no longer offer on-campus surveillance testing with Color, students can continue to access COVID-19 tests at Primary Care Health Service (PCHS) when unwell. Furthermore, community members will no longer be required to self-report positive COVID-19 test results, though the College recommends those who test positive consider CDC guidelines. If members choose to report to the Public Health Response Team, isolation instructions will be provided. 

In another substantial change, Barnard will no longer require community members to be vaccinated for COVID-19. While proof of vaccination or approved exemption will not be required to access buildings on campus, all members of the Barnard community will still need to submit information about their vaccination status. The email states that more detailed information will be provided in the future. Following this change in vaccine policy, visitors will no longer be asked for proof of vaccination or the completion of a prior health attestation to access campus.

Current masking policies will remain in place, meaning masking will stay optional and faculty can continue to decide on their classroom masking policies. Masks must still be used without exception in PCHS, the Furman Counseling Center, and CARDS.

The full text of the email can be found below.

Email from Barnard’s Public Health Response Team sent to Barnard community members on Thursday, March 02, at 1:03 pm:

Dear Barnard community members,

We want to express our gratitude for your adaptability and adherence with all of the College’s COVID-19 policies. Your cooperation and concern for others have helped us maintain low rates of COVID-19 on our campus.

We are writing to inform you of important upcoming changes to the College’s COVID-19 policies. These changes are in line with the Biden administration’s May 11th end of the national and public health emergency declarations related to COVID-19. These changes have no impact on the existing policies on campus through the 2023 Spring semester.

Effective at the end of the Spring 2023 semester, beginning Friday, May 12, 2023:

COVID-19 Surveillance Testing – The last day for on-campus COVID-19 testing with Color will be Thursday, May 11th. After this date, the College will no longer offer surveillance testing.

Students, when sick, can continue to be seen and tested at Primary Care Health Service (PCHS). All community members are encouraged to obtain and use antigen tests, for even mild symptoms, as these may become expensive or difficult to find. Tests can be ordered from the US government here as well as picked up at a number of NYC sites. Be sure to check the expiration dates for any tests you have at home, noting that you can look at for complete information about FDA-authorized at-home COVID-19 diagnostic tests (including expiration dates, who can use the test, and other details that may help you decide what test is right for you).

COVID-19 Vaccines – The COVID-19 vaccine mandate will no longer be in effect.

Barnard College and the Public Health Response team still strongly recommend that all community members follow CDC guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination, which advises that everyone be up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, including booster doses. After Friday, May 12th, the COVID-19 vaccine mandate will no longer be in effect, and proof of vaccination, or an approved exemption, will not need to be submitted to access our campus. Students, staff and faculty will still be asked to submit information about vaccine status. More information will be provided in the future.

Masking – Masking will continue to be optional, and strongly recommended.

Masks will still be required at all times in PCHS, the Furman Counseling Center, and CARDS. Faculty on Barnard’s campus will continue to set any masking policies for their own classrooms. PHRT will still have masks available for Barnard community members.

Testing Positive – Anyone who tests positive should refer to CDC guidance about isolation and receive any medical care as indicated. Positive test results can continue to be reported to the Public Health Response Team, and those who do so will receive detailed instructions for isolation.

Visitors –  Visitors, including vendors and alums, will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination or complete the health attestation prior to coming to campus.

We all must continue to be vigilant about practicing known prevention measures, like good handwashing/using hand sanitizers, covering coughs and sneezes with a bent elbow or tissue, wearing a mask if sick (even if COVID-19 negative) and staying home if unwell, regardless of COVID-19 testing or vaccination status.

The Public Health Response Team (PHRT) will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely on and off-campus. The PHRT in collaboration with infectious disease and public health experts at Columbia University Irving Medical Center will provide evidence-based guidance.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we navigate these changes together. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at

Take good care and wishing you well,

April Autry

Director of Public Health Response Team

Marina Catallozzi

VP of Health & Wellness/Chief Health Officer

Barnard Hall via Bwog Archives