February 9, 2020 Update:

Barnard College continues to closely monitor the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and, together with the larger Columbia University community and other Institutions of Higher Education, is following the guidelines of the CDC and Health and Human Services, which recommend a 14-day period of self-isolation for anyone who has recently been in mainland China.

In total, 13 students who live on Barnard’s campus agreed to self-isolation, and all but four have already completed their 14-day precaution. The remaining four, none of whom have exhibited any symptoms, will have completed it by early this week. Barnard has and will continue to provide assistance and support to these students by offering food, mental health support, and in coordinating coursework. To be clear, none of our students have exhibited any symptoms whatsoever and none are suspected of having the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Barnard apologizes and regrets that an email went to two students suggesting there could be college disciplinary action for not being in their room. The College recognizes that the email was not accurate, appropriate, or acceptable. We recognize what a difficult time this is for students and our goal is to support them in any way we can. 

Below you can find the emails that have been sent out to the Barnard community. You can also find an FAQ on the protocol Barnard is following as part of the larger Columbia University community. 

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February 6, 2020 Update:

Dear Students,

I am writing with an update about the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) after hearing some questions and concerns from Barnard students. As MJ Murphy, Executive Director of Student Health and Wellness Programs, wrote you about on Sunday, we are following the protocol recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This means that while we do not have any confirmed cases of the virus on our campus, students who recently traveled back from China are self-isolating for the recommended 14 days after arrival in the U.S. As of tonight, we have only a few students in this situation.

This is an extraordinary inconvenience to the students involved, and an act of selflessness as they do their part to keep our community and themselves safe and healthy. We are immensely grateful for the responsiveness of the students who are affected and we are committed to doing everything we can to support them. 

Unfortunately, this situation is new to our campus and we acknowledge there have been some missteps and miscommunications. Whenever these have come to our attention, we have tried to address them immediately. Above all, it is imperative that we treat every member of our community with kindness and respect. As Provost Bell, Vice President González Stokas and I noted in our message earlier this week, such respect is central to Barnard’s core values and we  have a responsibility as administrators to model the behavior we ask of our community. 

We will continue to update you as new information becomes available. You can also find all of the community emails mentioned above at Information and Updates on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Sincerely,

Leslie Grinage
Dean of the College

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February 4, 2020 Update:

Dear Members of the Barnard Community, 

Many of us have been following the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Unfortunately, this has been accompanied by experiences of hostility and bias directed toward Chinese, Chinese-American and other Asian students and community members, both on and off our campus. 

We write to remind you of Barnard’s core values and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. We are a community that seeks to prepare our graduates to flourish in different cultural surroundings in an increasingly interconnected world through the opportunity to study with those who come from different countries and backgrounds. As such, we do not tolerate hostile treatment of any member of our community. 

Please also be aware that every culture has different practices regarding how to respond to and prevent illness. Wearing a mask, for example, is one way some people choose to protect themselves and others from illnesses such as the flu and does not mean a person is sick. As you interact with your fellow Barnard community members, we ask that you practice mutual respect.

If you or someone you know has experienced or witnessed bias or discrimination, know that our Office of Title IX and Equity is here to support you and investigate any claims under Barnard’s Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment

If you are feeling anxious or are worried about friends and family because of the news about the Novel Coronavirus, we encourage you to use our College resources. Students may contact Furman Counseling Center. Faculty and staff may make use of our Employee Assistance Program. All Barnard affiliates may also contact the Office of the University Chaplain 

We will continue to share more information as it becomes available here: Information and Updates on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). You can also find updates on Columbia University’s Preparedness website.  

Sincerely,

Provost Linda A. Bell
Dean of the College Leslie Grinage
Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Ariana González Stokas

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February 2, 2020 Update:

Dear Members of the Barnard Community:

Barnard continues to closely monitor the information and expert national and international recommendations regarding the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), first detected in Wuhan, China. As various recommendations are changing rapidly, we would like to provide you with up-to-date and accurate information. This email includes very important, time-sensitive information for members of the Barnard community who are currently in mainland China, have returned from mainland China in the past 14 days, or have plans to travel to China. 

As you may have seen, the U.S. Department of State has elevated its China travel advisory to Level 4 - Do Not Travel, and the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary announced that the United States is “temporarily suspending the entry into the United States of foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the 2019 novel coronavirus.” Further, effective February 2, any U.S. citizen who has been in Hubei province in the previous 14 days will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine after returning to the United States. U.S. citizens who have been in mainland China during the previous 14 days and are returning will undergo screening at their port of entry and will be subject to up to 14 days of self-monitoring. At this time, details about exactly how these government policies will be implemented are limited.  Barnard has prohibited all college related travel to China for faculty, staff and students as of January 29, 2020.

All Barnard College affiliates who are currently in China or have returned from mainland China since January 19, 2020, are expected to complete this registration form promptly so that the College can provide you with assistance, instructions, and recommendations regarding self-isolation. Health Services will monitor your responses and answer your questions as quickly as possible. The information you provide on the registration form will be secure and will remain confidential. If you have traveled in and returned to the U.S. from China on January 19, 2020, or earlier, no further action is needed. Please also know that Barnard has already contacted our students from Hubei.

We ask our faculty colleagues to be prepared to accommodate, to whatever reasonable extent possible, students who are affected by this outbreak, including, but not limited to, permitting makeup exams and extending due dates of assignments and projects.

Note that the travel restrictions for travel to China already announced remain in place.

If you are a student and not feeling well — particularly if you are feeling feverish and have an accompanying cough, congestion, or difficulty breathing — please call Primary Care Health Service at 212-854-2091. For faculty and staff, if you are having any of the above symptoms, please reach out to your health care provider. Students feeling anxious or are worried about friends and family because of the news about the coronavirus should contact our College resources. Students may contact Furman Counseling Center. Faculty and staff may make use of our Employee Assistance Program. All Barnard affiliates may contact the Office of the University Chaplain. If you have experienced mistreatment, hostile comments, or bias related to concerns about the virus — actions that contradict the core values of the College — please contact your Class Dean if you are a student or Human Resources if you are faculty or staff. 

We will continue to share more information as needed. Additional information can be found on Columbia University’s Preparedness website and you can also visit Barnard’s Information and Updates on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Sincerely,

MJ Murphy
Executive Director of Student Health and Wellness
Barnard College

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January 30, 2020 Update:

Barnard is continuing to closely monitor the information and expert national recommendations regarding the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) first detected in Wuhan, China. We are being diligent in assessing the situation and will continue to keep you updated as circumstances change.

To date, there are no known cases among our students, faculty, staff, or affiliates and no known cases in the New York area. We continue to follow the screening and diagnostic  recommendations created by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH). The College has not made changes to classes, activities, operations, or events at this time and is following the CDC guidelines on business operations in regard to this virus. Please see the links below for a full description of the virus and public health guidelines. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information

New York Department of Health information

Below is a list of symptoms, as well as travel recommendation to and from China, based on national recommendations from the CDC and the NYCDOHMH. 

CORONAVIRUS SYMPTOMS

  • Fever (>100.4 F)
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • General feeling of being unwell

These symptoms are similar to the flu and the common cold. The rate of flu in New York City and the metropolitan area is high and is expected to increase for the next few weeks.     

TRAVEL TO CHINA

The CDC has issued a Level 3 Travel Warning (the highest level of warning), urging all U.S. residents to avoid nonessential travel to China, and the medical and travel security company International SOS has advised travelers to consider deferring nonessential travel to mainland China.

In accordance with the CDC guidelines, the College has decided to restrict college-related student, faculty, and staff travel to China until these guidelines change. Students will not receive credit or funding for activities involving travel there, and student groups are not permitted to visit.

Any employee, faculty, staff member or student who wishes to travel to China for a compelling college-related reason must submit a written request to the appropriate area senior staff member. (Faculty, please contact the Provost’s Office; Students, please contact the Dean of the College; and Staff, please contact your area Vice President.) Because of the travel restrictions in place within China, any such request must include confirmation of an evacuation plan. In addition, travelers will be required to comply with appropriate safety precautions and protocols as recommended by the CDC and other authorities.

Barnard does not currently have any registered travelers in China. If you or anyone you know is currently in China on College business, for Faculty, please reach out to the Provost’s Office at 212-854-7430 or global@barnard.edu, and for Staff, please reach out to Julia Wang at 212-854-5066 or jwang@barnard.edu.  

RETURNING OR VISITING FROM CHINA

Returning affiliates and nonaffiliate visitors from China are required to adhere to the following protocol. Compliance with the requirements described in this protocol does not supersede or replace recommendations emanating from city, state, or federal authorities. 

Returning travelers from China who are experiencing the symptoms listed above should seek medical attention immediately. They should call ahead to their provider or the emergency room and let them know of their recent travel and symptoms.   

Students: Please call the Primary Care Health Service at 212-854-2091 and ask to speak to a medical provider. 

Staff/Faculty: Please call your health care provider to advise on seeking further medical attention.

Anyone experiencing symptoms is strongly encouraged to avoid class/work and to stay at home or in your residence hall room at least until you have consulted with a health care provider.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

For more detailed information about the epidemiology of the virus and the latest updates, please visit:
Centers for Disease Control
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Columbia Preparedness

We know that many in our community may be affected by this outbreak. Please remember the campus resources available to you if you need support: Class Deans, Furman Counseling Center, Well-Woman, and Primary Care Health Service.



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January 27, 2020 Message

Dear Barnard Community,             

We are continually monitoring the public health situation in regard to the emerging novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China. Currently there have been no cases detected in the Barnard College or Columbia University communities. We are working daily with our partners at Columbia University Health systems and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH). The health and well-being of all members of our community is our top priority. Below is information about transmission, symptoms, diagnosis for the virus, preventive measures, and resources to contact immediately if you have any symptoms.

Transmission: Like other coronaviruses, this new virus is most likely spread through respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing, similar to how the influenza virus and other respiratory pathogens spread.

Symptoms:

  • Fever (>100.4F)
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • General feeling of being unwell

Diagnosis: If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms and has recently been in China or had contact with someone who has these symptoms and was in China, please follow these instructions:

Students: Please call the Primary Care Health Service at 212-854-2091 and ask to speak to a medical provider.

Staff/Faculty: Please call your health care provider to advise on seeking further medical attention.

Anyone experiencing symptoms is strongly encouraged to avoid class/work and to stay at home or in your residence hall room at least until you have consulted with a health care provider.

Preventive Measures: There is currently no vaccine to prevent this virus. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed. Below are the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommended preventive measures to help control the spread of respiratory pathogens:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Resources: For more detailed information about the epidemiology of the virus and the latest updates, please click on the following links:

The Centers for Disease Control

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

We will keep you updated with relevant new information as the situation develops.   

Sincerely,

Mary Joan L. Murphy, MSN, MPH
Executive Director of Student Health and Wellness

For more information, visit: Coronavirus Preparedness.

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