Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College

Fall 2021 Plan

The Simon’s Rock Fall 2021 Plan adheres to the advice of public health experts and puts the health and safety of our community and our neighbors first as we establish a safe, in-person learning environment on campus. 

Our plan is designed to continue the success of our 2021–2021 academic year through careful planning, arrival and ongoing testing utilizing rapid COVID tests as well as COVID tests from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, informed decision-making, and a culture of community support. 

We are determined to work together as a community to mitigate risk to the fullest extent possible. On campus and off, we will continue to operate under the philosophy of mutual responsibility. We will look out for and support one another, but it will take consistency, adherence, and cooperation to succeed in our efforts. We expect all individuals coming to campus to act mindfully, in accordance with all Simon’s Rock policies and procedures.

As students return to campus, we will move through a staged process of creating a safe campus community. Thank you for your engagement and for doing your part to help keep Simon's Rock safe.

Simon's Rock Campus Aerial View

Information updated 8/19/21.

 

Overview

Q. What guidance determined how the campus reopened?

A. Simon’s Rock’s plan to reopen campus is informed by current national, regional, and local conditions and public health best practices, and follows the successful reopening of campus during the fall 2020 semester. We are following Massachusett State guidance related to the phased reopening of the state, which includes specific mandates for higher education.

Part of resuming in-person campus operations is the ongoing collaboration with local and regional partners—in addition to following requirements and recommendations from public officials—and making adjustments as situations evolve. 

Simon’s Rock has been in contact with the following partners to devise and update all in-person plans:

  • Association of Independent Colleges & Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Great Barrington Health Department
  • The Town of Great Barrington
  • Fairview Hospital
  • The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

In addition, all in-person plans implemented by Simon’s Rock adhere to guidance and best practices set forth by local, state, and federal officials, including:

  • The CDC
  • The MA Department of Public Health
  • MA Governor Charlie Baker’s updates

Q. How are you ensuring your guidelines and protocols stay up-to-date with current public health developments?

A. Our Fall Semester Plan will be reviewed regularly by members of the Preparedness Committee to ensure campus practices are being followed as outlined in the plan, and that all protocols are in compliance with state and local regulations.

Q. How will you ensure compliance with healthy workplace/healthy campus policies?

A. All faculty, staff, and students are required to sign a commitment pledge that affirms their understanding of campus procedures and policies, as well as their commitment to the Simon’s Rock community. Simon’s Rock consistently shares resources, reminders, and updates on campus policies to ensure expectations are clear and well-communicated. Not following these procedures is a violation of our code of conduct.

Back to top

Academics

Q. Will the Fall semester continue as the fall semester, with in-person classes?

A. The fall 2021 semester will be conducted similar to the 2020–2021 academic year, with primarily in-person, socially distanced classes. We are not offering hybrid courses; some exceptions will be made for students who are unable to travel to the US due to country restrictions.

View the academic calendar for fall 2021 .

Q. Will students have the option to take classes entirely online if they want to stay home or cannot return to campus?

A. No. The academic program will be fully in-person and the expectation is that students will participate in classes in-person.

Q. Will remote learning be an option for international students?

A. See above. A few exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

The International Student Support Team (ISST) is devoted to supporting international students, including guiding and advocating for international students. The ISST can be reached at isst@simons-rock.edu.

Q. What will the classroom experience look like on campus (including in labs)?

A. Masks/face coverings must be worn by everyone. No eating is permitted in classrooms/labs, and a straw must be used to drink, allowing the mask/face covering to remain in place.

Q. What kind of masks/face coverings are acceptable?

A. All masks/face coverings should:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.

Masks with exhalation valves or vents are NOT allowed as they allow respiratory droplets to escape. Please consult CDC guidance for selecting the proper mask/face covering.

Q. If a student gets ill or needs to return home, will they be able to continue learning remotely?

A. We are not offering remote or hybrid classes this semester. We will evaluate each scenario on a case-by-case basis; however, we cannot guarantee that classes can be completed remotely.

Q.  Are all Buildings and Facilities on campus open?

A. All campus buildings and facilities will be open as they normally would be for Simon's Rock community members and for authorized visitors. Casual visitors and visitors outside of the Simon's Rock community are welcome on campus in outdoor spaces, but not inside facilities or buildings.

Back to top

Arrival

Q. When is arrival and move-in day for the fall 2021 semester?

A. Following are arrival dates for each group of students:

  • August 18: New Academy and College International Students
  • August 20: New Academy (Domestic) students, including new Day students
  • August 20: New College (Domestic) students, including new Day students
  • August 24: College Senior Thesis Workshop Participants
  • August 27: Academy and College students new to campus (optional)*
  • August 29: Returning Academy students
  • August 29: Returning College students

*Students who were newly enrolled last academic year but studied remotely.

Q. Will it be possible for students to arrive early for the Fall 2021 semester?

A. No. Students are expected to arrive on their scheduled arrival day.

Students are asked not to arrive early and to contact Campus Safety to be transferred to the on-duty administrator if they anticipate arriving late. 

Q. Can I arrange for a Simon’s Rock shuttle to transport me from the bus station, train station, or airport to campus?

A. If they have not already arranged for transportation needs, students arriving for the fall 2021 semester should contact transportation@simons-rock.edu.

Q. Will students’ family/friends be able to come on campus to move them in?

A. Family or friends may accompany students to campus. We ask that they remain outside of the residence hall. Students are encouraged to ship items in advance, which can be brought to their rooms ahead of their arrival.

The student’s name should be clearly indicated on all shipments, along with the following mailing address:

[Student Name]
Bard College at Simon’s Rock
c/o The Mailroom
84 Alford Road
Great Barrington, MA 01230

Students should only bring with them what they can carry to their room. Because of increased demands on the Simon’s Rock staff during arrival days, we will be unable to assist students in bringing their luggage to their room. Students with disability and accessibility issues should contact campuslife@simons-rock.edu to arrange for move-in support

Q. Will students be expected to quarantine before returning to campus ? Will students have to quarantine once on campus?

A. We are not asking students to quarantine prior to arrival. Prior to arriving on campus, all students are required to submit proof of their COVID vaccination or submit a negative PCR test result done within 72 hours of their arrival. Upon arrival to campus, students will take both a rapid COVID test, with results available after 15 minutes, and a PCR COVID test, with results returned between 24 and 48 hours.

We also request that all students be mindful of their habits in these final days and weeks before arriving on campus. Please exercise care and caution and try not to put yourself at risk of infection prior to your arrival. We hope, to the best of our collective ability, to ensure a safe campus from the start. We also want to be respectful of our neighbors in Great Barrington.

Back to top

Personal Safety, Symptom Monitoring, and Testing

Q. How will we build a safe, contained community once on campus?

A. We will follow the stages of our Safe Campus Community plan. All stages of our Safe Campus Community are contingent on favorable COVID statistics both on campus and in the broader region surrounding campus. All Academy and College students will move through each stage with their Arrival Group until all students have arrived on campus. View an infographic detailing each phase of our Safe Campus Community.

Q. How will you ensure compliance with state and local guidelines for a healthy campus/healthy workplace?

A. All students will be expected to sign a pledge that affirms their understanding of campus procedures and policies, as well as their commitment to the Simon’s Rock community. 

Q. Will I be required to wear a mask/face covering on campus?

A. During Stage A, masks/face coverings must be worn indoors and outdoors. From Stage B onward, masks/face coverings must be worn by everyone on campus indoors. Employees, students, and visitors should bring their own mask/face covering; however, those who need a mask/face covering will be provided one by contacting Campus Safety. Students may remove their mask/face covering when in dorm rooms; employees may remove their mask/face covering when in their private office.

Q. Will social distancing be implemented on campus?

A. Yes. It is everyone’s responsibility to practice social distancing of three feet on campus.

Q. What steps are being taken to monitor symptoms of COVID for those on campus?

A. In compliance with campus protocols, everyone accessing campus must ensure they do not exhibit any of the symptoms potentially related to COVID.

Q. What if there is a positive case of COVID on campus?

A. Should a student test positive for COVID, they will be immediately isolated in designated housing. Students must remain in designated isolation housing units; Campus Life and Campus Safety staff will work together to ensure meal delivery and regular wellness checks on ill students; and students will be able to continue with their academic program of study. Students must remain in isolation housing until cleared by local health authorities.

The Wellness Center, including Wellness Center nurses, will work closely with the student and with local health officials to perform necessary contact tracing, and promptly inform others who may be affected.

Simon’s Rock employees who test positive for COVID will not be permitted to return to campus until they meet all requirements set forth in the employee return-to-work plan in consultation with the Simon's Rock Preparedness Committee, preparedness@simons-rock.edu. Information on other employees and students who had contact with the ill employee during the time the employee had symptoms and two days prior to exhibiting symptoms will be compiled, and these individuals will be contacted immediately.

Q. If I test positive for COVID, will my identity be kept confidential?

A. Yes. If anyone tests positive, their confidentiality will be maintained. However, there will be a message notifying the campus community of a positive case; the message will contain no identifying information.

Q. Are students, faculty, and staff required to be tested for COVID before returning to campus this year?

A. While we do not require students or employees to be tested prior to returning to campus, students will be tested upon arrival. Unvaccinated students are asked to provide documentation of a negative PCR COVID test taken with 72 hours of arriving on campus.

Q. What is the plan for ongoing COVID testing on campus?

A. Ongoing, weekly COVID testing will be required for all unvaccinated students. There will also be testing for unvaccinated faculty and staff. Tests will be administered to all students (regardless of vaccination status) upon arrival. All employees (regardless of vaccination status) will also be tested in August. We are continuing to provide testing through the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard via a minimally invasive, self-administered nasal swab, and conducted under observation by a trained professional. All testing will be free.

Q. What is the weekly testing plan for unvaccinated students and employees?

A. Information will be provided to students and employees required to participate in our weekly testing. If you have a conflict and cannot make your weekly test, or if an urgent situation arises on your testing day, you must contact preparedness@simons-rock.edu with as much notice as possible.

Q. What is the plan for contact tracing for the Simon’s Rock community?

A. If a positive case is detected on campus, Simon’s Rock will work with local public health officials to conduct contact tracing. A group of Simon’s Rock employees trained in contact tracing—through a course developed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies—will support the efforts of the public health officials.

Q. If I receive the COVID vaccination, do I still need to comply with all campus policies and protocols?

A. Yes. Please understand that if you receive a COVID vaccination you must continue to follow all Simon’s Rock COVID protocols.

Back to top

Residence Life

Q. Can Day Students go Into Residence Halls?

A. Day students may go into residences, following all guidelines, once the campus reaches Stage D.

Q. Can students have visitors on campus?

A. Visitors are permitted on campus once the campus reaches Stage D. Visitors are not authorized to enter residence halls and are not authorized to stay overnight on campus.

Q. What support is available for international students?

A. The International Student Support Team is devoted to supporting international students on campus, including guiding and advocating for international students. Students with concerns should contact isst@simons-rock.edu.

Q. Will the Dining Hall be open?

A. Yes. The Dining Hall is open for primarily grab-and-go dining; however, there is limited capacity for in-person, socially distanced dining. Plexiglass partitions are installed at all serving stations, and tables and chairs are placed to ensure social distancing. 

The following guidelines are in effect, until further notice, in the Dining Hall:

  • Guests will progress through the Dining Hall and maintain three feet social distancing while in line.
  • Staff will plate, wrap, and hand food to each guest through a plexiglass pass; a beverage attendant will serve beverages.
  • There will be no self-service for grab-and-go food or beverages.
  • Wall-mounted sanitizer dispensers will be placed in the Dining Hall.
  • Once we move into Stage C, china and glassware option for those eating in the Dining Hall will be offered, in addition to disposable utensils.

The Rock Café Snack Bar will be open for late dinner and snacks from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., Thursday through Monday (Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday), once we move into Stage C.

Q. Can students order food delivery from local restaurants to campus?

A. Students may order food delivery from local restaurants once the campus reaches Stage C. Food delivery must be picked up in the parking lot of the Daniel Arts Center.

Q. Can students use public transportation in Great Barrington?

A. Students using the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA) are expected to follow all protocols as indicated by BRTA. Students must follow the travel boundaries as indicated by the current stage of campus.

Q. Will remote learning students be allowed on campus?

A. Remote learning is no longer an academic status. Students must attend classes in-person. 

Q. If we return to campus and a resurgence of COVID requires us to evacuate, will students with no viable alternative be allowed to remain on campus?

A. Yes, we will provide a process to request housing on campus for those students with no other viable option in the event of a campus evacuation due to COVID.

Back to top