Dear Barnard Community,
As the semester comes to a close, I am writing to provide you with some important updates on the evolving COVID-19 landscape. As I noted in my past email, we have been paying close attention to Omicron and COVID-19 cases on our campus, at Columbia University and across New York City. Given a recent uptick in cases, we are making some changes to help decrease transmission as we prepare for winter break and return to campus in January.
- Beginning tomorrow morning through the end of the semester, we will be moving indoor campus dining to grab and go only; no eating will be permitted inside Hewitt Dining Hall, Diana Center Cafe, or Liz’s Place. Students should refrain from eating indoors when they are studying in groups. We are making this change out of an abundance of caution, with the goal of limiting places indoors where people are unmasked.
- Right now exams are still being held in person unless alternative arrangements have been made in your class. We will continue to monitor rates of COVID-19 on campus and in New York City and will make adjustments as necessary.
- Barnard’s Contact Tracing Team will start to provide initial notification via email rather than phone, based on feedback from community members. Contact tracers will continue to be available seven days a week to anyone who wishes to talk over the phone.
During the Winter Break:
- Barnard’s tests can be used for travel-related purposes, but we cannot guarantee test turnaround time or any information about the status of your test results. Consider for your planning that tests typically take 24-48 hrs to result from the time of swabbing.
- Please be aware that the Barnard testing center will have limited hours during the break in consideration of lab closures. The current schedule is outlined here.
- If you test positive during the break, even if you are away from campus during your isolation period, please upload your positive test results into CoVerified. A member of the PRT will be in touch with any next steps.
- The College’s Pandemic Response Information mini-site can be a helpful reference during the break, particularly the “Do I Need to Isolate or Quarantine for COVID-19” sheet.
- Students whose travel is unexpectedly impacted by international travel restrictions during the break should contact email@example.com about their situation, and a member of the International Student Services team will respond as soon as possible.
Returning to Campus in January:
- The College will be requiring all eligible students, faculty and staff to receive a COVID-19 booster by Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. Information about how to upload proof of vaccination will be posted on the website in the next few days. More information about boosters, including eligibility, can also be found on the vaccine webpage.
- Students must comply with the College’s flu vaccine requirement by uploading their documentation by Monday, Jan. 10; instructions will follow in the coming weeks. The NYC Vaccine Finder includes flu vaccine information; you can also email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about obtaining your flu vaccine.
- Faculty & staff are required to get their flu vaccine. Documentation does not need to be uploaded at this time, but should be saved wherever possible for future reference. The NYC Vaccine Finder includes flu vaccine information; you can also email email@example.com for more information about obtaining your flu vaccine.
- The College is not planning to implement its own travel restrictions or travel-related quarantine.
- Everyone should continue to monitor their symptoms even when away during the break. You do not have to generate a green “cleared” screen via symptom report until you are planning to access campus.
- Testing will continue to be a key component of the College’s multi-layered pandemic response for the spring semester. Non-Barnard PCR tests will continue to be accepted to fulfill the College’s testing requirements.
- Upon return to campus, everyone will be asked to test twice-weekly for two weeks. If testing is accessible where you are spending the Winter Recess, regular testing can help cut the chain of transmission quickly.
- Faculty & staff should test at Barnard on their first day back on campus. Testing compliance will resume in CoVerified starting Monday, Jan. 24 for faculty and staff, giving people sufficient time to resume their required testing schedule (with most faculty and staff testing weekly because of their regular in-person interactions with students or regular work in residence halls or other student spaces).
- Students are required to have a green “cleared” screen in CoVerified to access Barnard and Columbia facilities. Residential students must submit a pre-arrival test before they return to the residence halls. Information on how to submit this will be communicated shortly; please note that pre-arrival tests will only be accepted if the Barnard Community Commitment and Personal Responsibility Pledge has been completed. PCR tests are highly encouraged and more information will be communicated by the PRT in the coming weeks. Students approved for winter housing should refer to the testing schedule for access to the Barnard testing center during the break.
We understand that the end of the semester can be a particularly stressful time. The College is dedicated to providing students with support in a number of ways, including academic resources that were recently summarized in an email from Holly Tedder, Dean for Academic Planning and Class Advising.
Of course, things are subject to change and we will communicate any updates in return to campus as appropriate. Thank you for all you have done to keep our campus safe and our students learning this semester.
Wishing you well now and during the winter break,
Marina Catallozzi, MD, MSCE
Vice President of Health and Wellness, Chief Health Officer