Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College

Fall 2020 Reopening Plan

Simon’s Rock's Campus Reopening Plan puts the health and safety of our community first as we continue to advance our academic mission.

Our reopening plan adheres to the advice of public health experts and input from Simon’s Rock’s Reopening Committees—as well as the Provost, College counsel, and Bard College—and is in accordance with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s roadmap for reopening Massachusetts. This plan will be updated as appropriate in response to guidance and/or regulatory issues from federal, state, or local health officials.

We are committed to preserving the rich and engaging education that students expect from Simon’s Rock in the fall semester. We believe this is best achieved through a primarily in-person, socially distanced learning experience wherever possible; however, there are a number of activities that will be conducted virtually. While we cannot completely avoid all risks upon returning to campus, we are determined to work together as a community to mitigate risk to the fullest extent possible. As we return to campus, we will 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. This means that we will expect all individuals coming to campus to act mindfully, in accordance with all Simon’s Rock policies and procedures.

Simon's Rock Campus Aerial View

Additionally, Simon’s Rock has partnered with the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to provide COVID-19 testing on campus for the fall semester via a minimally-invasive, self-administered nasal swab, and conducted under observation by a trained professional. Students should be prepared to be tested upon arrival at Simon’s Rock; faculty and staff should be prepared to be tested in the week prior to the start of the semester. All testing will be free of cost.

Starting in August, campus will be closed to casual visitors, including dog walkers and campus walkers. Only individuals with business with Simon’s Rock may be on the campus, and those individuals will be restricted to designated areas of campus. Students, faculty, and staff, including most live-in staff, will not be permitted to have guests on campus. Kilpatrick members will only be allowed on campus for use of the Kilpatrick Athletic Center.

Our plan is delivered below in a question and answer format and will be updated as more information becomes available. We will note when details are not yet known or when decisions are still being made. If you have a comment or a question that’s not addressed, please submit it for consideration via our comment form.

Submit questions or comments on our reopening plan.


Thank you for your engagement and for doing your part to help keep Simon's Rock safe.

Information updated 08/13/20.

 

Overview

Q. What guidance is determining how campus will reopen?

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

Part of repopulating campus and resuming 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 reopening 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 reopening 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 Campus Reopening Plan will be reviewed regularly by members of the Reopening 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 will be expected 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 will undertake an educational campaign and training to ensure expectations are clear and well-communicated. Not following these procedures is a violation of our code of conduct and sanctions would follow the process outlined in the Student Handbook.

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Academics

Q. Will the fall semester start as planned, with in-person classes?

A. The fall semester will begin as planned, with classes starting on Monday, August 31. The semester will be conducted with primarily in-person, socially distanced classes. A number of courses will be offered remotely for students unable to return to the campus.

The academic calendar has been revised to minimize student travel for both Bard Academy and Bard College at Simon’s Rock . The following updates have been made in the revised academic calendars:

  • The regular full-week October break will be replaced with a two-day break from regular classes; Symposium Day will occur during this time.
  • Students will go home for November break and will remain at home for the rest of the fall semester.
  • The final two weeks of classes, including the College Reading Days and Exams, will be conducted online; students remaining on campus during this time will also take those classes online.
  • The spring semester will remain as originally scheduled, for now. We will update the spring calendar in the fall if conditions require changes.
  • The fall semester ends on Friday, December 18.

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

A. Students should consult with the Dean of Academic Affairs to create a plan for Remote Learning Status.

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

A. Yes. Simon’s Rock will offer both in-person and remote learning options for international students. As of July 14, 2020, the U.S. Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) rescinded its July 6, 2020 policy directive and will no longer require international students to attend in-person classes to remain in the country. 

The International Student Support Team (ISST) is devoted to supporting international students as they prepare for the fall semester, 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, and social distancing must be maintained at all times in classrooms and lab spaces. Upper limits on class size have been set based on square footage of the rooms, and physical markers and signage will be displayed throughout classroom facilities to ensure proper social distancing. No eating is permitted in classrooms/labs, and a straw must be used to drink, allowing the mask/face covering to remain in place.

Attendance expectations for all classes (whether in-person or remote) will be clearly developed and stated explicitly on each syllabus. All students will submit assignments electronically and faculty will allow electronic copies of course readings to be used in class.

Students will be assigned a one-hour lunch period that works with their class schedule in order to minimize traffic at the Dining Hall. Afternoon class schedules will be adjusted by one half-hour to make this possible.

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

A. According to the Massachusetts Department of Health, a face covering can include anything that covers your nose and mouth, including homemade masks, dust masks, scarves, and bandanas. All 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.

Q. What is the plan for student live performances and the Daniel Arts Center in the fall?

A. The McConnell Theater will be the only venue in the Daniel Arts Center open for live student performance until further notice. Productions are limited to two performers, and rehearsals will be held in spaces appropriate for the size of the group. Remote rehearsals will be encouraged and implemented when possible.

Additionally, no student crews will be assembled this semester; all aspects of technical production will be run by the Daniel faculty and staff. Limited technical and IT aspects of any given production will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Audiences will be limited to Simon’s Rock students, faculty and staff.

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

A. Yes, and we will support students as they transition to Remote Learning Status. Students will be expected to fully engage in their classes.

Q. Will individual music and voice lessons be offered?

A. Individual instruction in voice and most instruments will continue to be offered, though some or all instruction may need to occur remotely.

Q. Will there be a discount in cost of attendance if I have to take online courses for the fall semester?

A. There will be no discount on tuition for remote courses. Students will not be charged the room and board fee if taking all courses from off campus.

Q. How will exams and grading be handled in this new environment?

A. Every course will have letter grades during the semester.

There will be no midterm exams nor grades, and comments will be sent out by Academic Affairs. Instead, faculty will use the Notices function to offer students, families, and advisors feedback on the student’s initial achievement by October 2.

Q. Will the Alumni Library building/library services be available in the fall?

A. The Alumni Library will be open to students in the fall. The total occupancy of the library will be limited to 50. No group of more than four (4) will be allowed to gather in the library.

Classes visiting the library will only be allowed if there is adequate space for social distancing. All visits by a class group must be scheduled in advance. An in-person meeting with a librarian may be scheduled by appointment, subject to availability of an appropriate space.

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Arrival

Q. When is arrival and move-in day?

A. Students will arrive in phases. New student arrivals will take place between Monday, August 17 and Tuesday, August 18. Returning student arrivals will take place between Sunday, August 23 and Monday, August 24.

Each student has received information to schedule their preferred arrival date and time during these days. Reservations are made on a first-come, first-served basis and should be made by August 10. In order to ensure an effective and safe pre-semester quarantine, it is critical that students arrive during their scheduled date and time.

If you are not able to find a time that works for you, or if you need to adjust your time after August 10, please contact Rochelle Duffy, Housing Coordinator, rduffy@simons-rock.edu.

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

A. Returning students can make a shuttle reservation via the Student Transportation Request Form.

New students should continue working with their admission counselor for arrival transportation details.

Additional questions can be directed to transportation@simons-rock.edu.

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

A. Students are asked to limit the number of family or friends accompanying them to campus to one (1) person. We ask that this person only help to unload the vehicle and to 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.

Q. Will it be possible for students to arrive early to avoid crowds on move-in day?

A. No. In order to ensure an effective and safe pre-semester quarantine, it is critical that students arrive during their scheduled date and time.

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. Will family members be invited to participate in orientation events?

A. Unfortunately, we will not be able to include family members in orientation events this year due to our COVID-19 protocols. We will, of course, provide helpful information for parents and families online.

Q. What are the latest travel orders from the state of Massachusetts?

A. Massachusetts issued new travel guidelines that take effect on August 1, 2020;
all visitors entering Massachusetts (including returning residents) who do not meet an exemption are required to:

  • Complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival, unless you are visiting from a lower-risk state designated by the Department of Public Health.
  • Quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts.
    • If your COVID-19 test result has not been received prior to arrival, visitors, and residents must quarantine until they receive a negative test result.

Failure to comply may result in a $500 fine per day. No one should travel to Massachusetts if they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

Q. Will the mailroom be functioning? How can I receive mail/packages?

A. Yes, the mailroom will be open and will follow COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

To pick up a package from the mailroom, students should:

  • Knock on the main door and stand back at the taped line.
  • The mailroom staff will place the package on the door and stand back so the individual can retrieve their package.
  • If there are several packages to be picked up, they will be placed by the side door to be picked up there.

Students with combination boxes are expected to retrieve their mail without requesting assistance from the mailroom staff. Students who have forgotten their combination should email mailroom@simons-rock.edu.

The wall slots for mail should be used to deposit mail (intercampus and off-campus). 

Q. Are there instructions for shipping items to my residence hall before i arrive to campus?

A.Yes. We suggest that you begin shipping items to campus as soon as possible—you need not wait for your room assignment. 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

Due to the increased demands of the Simon’s Rock staff in ensuring a safe, pleasant, and effective arrival experience for all residential students, we would like to underscore additional key information to make arrival a bit easier for you:

  • If you will be arriving by car, only one person may accompany you, and that person will need to remain with your vehicle while you unload your belongings.
  • 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.
  • Please remember to bring a thermometer and face masks/coverings with you to campus!

Q. When is Writing and Thinking Week?

A. Writing and Thinking week will begin in accordance with the staggered Arrival Day schedule.

Q. Will students be expected to quarantine before arriving at campus for the first time? Will students have to quarantine once on campus?

A. In order to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of our community both on campus and in Great Barrington, we are following Massachusetts guidelines by asking all residential students to quarantine both prior to arrival at campus and once on campus, before the semester begins.

We are asking day students from our local area to exercise care and caution during this period in lieu of quarantining.

Quarantining upon arrival at campus is part of ensuring we establish and maintain a contained community throughout the semester. We will establish this contained community in phases—view an infographic detailing each phase .

Following are the three main types of quarantine:

  1. Self-Quarantine (before arriving at campus): All residential students are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days at home (or in their immediate destination prior to returning to Simon’s Rock) prior to arriving on campus.
  2. Pre-semester Quarantine (for residential students upon arrival at campus): Upon arriving at campus, all residential students will be quarantined in their dorm room or apartment for up to 14 days. During this time:
    • COVID-19 testing will be done in each students' dorm room.
    • Meals will be delivered to each students' dorm room.
    • Students will have structured outdoor time in pre-defined groups during the day.
    • Day students will participate in COVID-19 testing in a central location on campus.
  3. Individual Quarantine (as-needed during semester): Individual quarantines would occur only in individual cases of known or potential COVID-19 exposure. These parameters would vary on a case-by-case basis and will be advised by public health officials and corresponding guidelines.

Q. When will students be paired with their academic advisor?

A. All incoming first-year students will be matched with a faculty advisor in early August.

Q. When will in-person classes end? When will students leave campus to return home?

A. In-person instruction will end on November 20, 2020. After that time we will provide paths for instruction remotely until the final day of classes, which will be December 18, in accordance with the original academic calendar.

Students should plan to travel home no later than noon on November 21. Special arrangements will be made for students who have no viable option to go home for the Winter Break and they will be allowed to stay on campus as needed.

Q. will students be permitted to stay on campus between the november break and the end of the semester?

A. Both Bard Academy and Bard College at Simon’s Rock students are expected to depart campus no later than November 21.

If students have no means of returning home nor any other off-campus housing options, they may request to remain on-campus until the end of the semester (December 18, 2020) by contacting Campus Life.

q. will students be permitted to stay on campus during intercession (between the fall and spring semesters)?

A. Both Bard Academy and Bard College at Simon’s Rock students are expected to depart campus no later than November 21.

If students have no means of returning home nor any other off-campus housing options, they may request to remain on-campus by contacting Campus Life.

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Personal Safety, Symptom Monitoring, and Testing

Q. What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

A. Per the CDC, quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.

View a full Glossary of Key Terms related to COVID-19 via the CDC.

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

A. We will establish and maintain a contained community in phases, as well as through ongoing COVID-19 testing, wearing masks/face coverings, and following social distancing and hygiene best practices. View an infographic detailing each phase of the contained community.

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

A. Simon’s Rock expects everyone on campus to adhere to personal safety best practices as outlined by the CDC, which includes handwashing, the use of face masks/face coverings, social distancing, and symptom monitoring.

All faculty, staff, and 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. All students, families, faculty and staff have received this pledge as well as a COVID-19 safety training; those who have not should email preparedness@simons-rock.edu. Simon’s Rock will conduct ongoing training with faculty, staff, and students during the semester to ensure expectations are clear and well-communicated.

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

A. Masks/face coverings must be worn by everyone on campus indoors and outdoors. 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 their own dorm room with the door shut; employees may remove their mask/face covering when in their private office with the door shut.

Q. Will social distancing be implemented on campus?

A. Yes. It is everyone’s responsibility to practice social distancing on campus. Social distancing is being implemented throughout campus spaces through engineering and administrative controls, which include: installation of plexiglass barriers, rearrangement of campus spaces, adaptations to workspaces, increased distances between workspaces, signage, and instructions indicating proper distancing.

Q. What steps are being taken to monitor symptoms of COVID-19 for those on campus?

A. In alignment with state and federal guidelines, daily COVID-19 screenings are required of all individuals accessing campus. Everyone accessing campus must ensure they do not exhibit any of the symptoms potentially related to COVID-19 as outlined by the CDC before coming to campus. We are developing a reporting system to monitor students, faculty, and staff for symptoms of COVID-19; more information about this process will be provided in the coming weeks.

Students

Residential students must monitor for symptoms and take their temperature from their dorm room daily. If their temperature is above 100.4 degrees fahrenheit (or more than 1.8 degrees above their normal baseline), or if they are experiencing any symptoms or warning signs of COVID-19, they should remain in their room and call Campus Safety, available 24/7, who can put them in touch with a nurse.

Day students must monitor for symptoms and take their temperature at home before coming to campus each day. If their temperature is above 100.4 degrees fahrenheit (or more than 1.8 degrees above their normal baseline), or if they are experiencing any symptoms or warning signs of COVID-19, they should remain home and contact their faculty for assignments, as well as the Wellness Center and their primary care physician.

Faculty/Staff

Employees must conduct symptom monitoring every day before reporting to work. Employees experiencing any symptoms or warning signs of COVID-19 must not report to work, inform their supervisor and contact their health care provider, and follow CDC recommendations. Employees should discuss the feasibility of working remotely with their supervisor.

Q. What if there is a positive case of COVID-19 on campus?

A. Should a student test positive for COVID-19, 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-19 will not be permitted to return to campus until they meet all requirements set forth in the employee return-to-work plan. 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-19, 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-19 before returning to campus this fall?

A. Students will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to arriving on campus. While we are not requiring students or employees to be tested prior to returning to campus, students will be tested upon arrival, and twice weekly for the first two weeks of the semester, then once weekly for the remainder of the semester. Faculty and staff will be tested weekly.

Q. What is the plan for ongoing COVID-19 testing on campus?

A. Ongoing, weekly COVID-19 testing will be required for all students. There will also be testing for faculty and staff. Tests will be administered upon arrival and continue throughout the rest of the in-person semester. We’ve arranged with the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to provide testing 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 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. Is there an evacuation plan for the campus?

A. Simon’s Rock is working with local public health officials to plan for scenarios necessitating an exit from campus due to COVID-19.

Q. How can I access Wellness Center services on campus?

A. To protect the health and safety of students and staff, no one is permitted to walk into the Wellness Center. Students should call 413-528-7353 to access Wellness Center services.

Q. What if I am experiencing an emergency or a health crisis?

A. If you are experiencing a crisis or urgent situation related to your physical health at any time:

  • Connect Campus Safety by calling 413-528-7291 or dial 0 from any campus phone.
  • A Campus Safety officer will speak with you about your concerns and then connect you to the appropriate resource, including the on-call nurse.

Q. What if I have non-urgent healthcare needs?

A. Call the Wellness Center at 413-528-7353 with your request. You will be connected to a nurse by phone to discuss your concerns and develop a plan to address your needs. Next steps may include a scheduled time to meet with a nurse through a virtual platform and/or a time to come to the Wellness Center for a scheduled appointment.

Q. Will counseling services be available?

A. Yes, all initial counseling intake appointments will be scheduled online and can be made on the Wellness Center website.

Q. What if I am experiencing a mental health emergency?

A. If you are experiencing a crisis or urgent situation related to your mental health:

  • Contact Campus Safety by calling 413-528-7291 or dial 0 from any campus phone.
  • A Campus Safety officer will speak with you about your concerns and then connect you to the appropriate resource, which may include a phone conversation with a RD or a counselor from the Wellness Center.

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Residence Life

Q. What is the plan for the residence halls?

A. Our plan is for each on-campus student to have no more than one roommate. The number of students sharing a bathroom will vary by residence hall. There will be daily cleaning of bathrooms, and sanitation products will be provided to students. We plan to limit access to common rooms and rearrange furniture in gathering spaces for safety.

Housing assignments for deposited new students will begin in early August. Returning students will be advised of their housing assignments in early August, as well.

Q. How will I social distance with my roommate?

A. Under Massachusetts State guidelines, students who share a room are considered a household. Masks/face coverings must be worn in communal areas, but are not required when only roommates are together in their room.

Q. What is the plan for social distancing within the residence halls?

A. Students must wear a mask/face covering whenever they are out of their rooms/living spaces. To use a lounge, kitchen, study room, or to access the laundry room in Residence Halls, students must sign-up with their Residence Director. Each space will have a posted capacity limit which must be adhered to to allow for adequate social distance.

Students are not permitted to visit or gather in residence halls other than the one in which they reside.

Q. What if I want to switch roommates or change my room to a single?

A. Students who wish to change rooms must submit a petition to their Residence Director. Reassignments are made based on space availability and the housing needs of the campus as a whole.

Q. What is the plan for Day Students on campus?

A. There will be designated time and space for day students to gather and socialize safely on campus in between classes. Day students are not permitted in residence halls.

Scheduled lunch periods will offer mask-free time, and we will also offer a time period for students to gather mask-free and socially distanced in the first floor of the Student Union in the presence of Simon’s Rock staff. Examples of additional gathering spaces our day students have on campus include the Alumni Library, the Game Room, the Sprague Lounge, and the Meditation Room in the Student Union, as well as outdoor spaces across campus.

In order to accurately track who is on campus each day, day students should email preparedness@simons-rock.edu if they will not be coming to campus on a day they are scheduled to be there for class (including the reason for the absence).

q. can students have cars on campus?

A. Students with vehicles can bring their cars to campus. They will be limited to one passenger and must ride with the windows open, and they will be expected to limit off-campus travel to within Great Barrington.

During any quarantine periods (such as the start of semester) or isolation periods, students will be required to turn their keys into Campus Safety for the duration of the quarantine/isolation.

Q. Will students continue to have card swipe access to all residential buildings on campus?

A. Residential card access will be limited to the dorm or building in which the student lives.

Q. Can students have visitors on campus?

A. In an ongoing effort to protect the safety and wellbeing of our community, students, as well as faculty and staff (including most live-in staff), are not permitted to have guests on campus until further notice. Employees who live in single dwelling houses on the campus periphery may have guests as long as they are not accessing the main areas of 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 there be opportunities for student socialization/gatherings?

A. In recognition that socializing and recreational time together is a large part of the Simon’s Rock experience, various spaces will be identified on campus where students can gather and socialize while maintaining a social distance of six feet. Like in residence hall common areas, each of these spaces will have a posted capacity limit, which must be adhered to. When the weather permits, students are encouraged to socialize outdoors following the most current guidelines for group gatherings. Students are not permitted to visit or gather in residence halls other than the one in which they reside.

Q. Will the Dining Hall be open?

A. Yes. The Dining Hall will open for primarily grab-and-go dining; however, there is limited capacity for in-person, socially distanced dining. Plexiglass partitions will be installed at all serving stations and tables and chairs will be placed six feet apart, with up to three chairs at each table to ensure social distancing.

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

  • Guests will verbally select food choices from the menus at each station.
  • 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.
  • Dependent on the Service Tier Level allowed by Massachusetts state guidelines, some meals and items may be pre-packaged and available for immediate pick-up.

Students will be assigned a one-hour lunch period that works with their class schedule in order to minimize traffic at the Dining Hall. Afternoon class schedules will be adjusted by one half-hour to make this possible.

The Rock Café Snack Bar will also be open for all meals on weekdays, including breakfast, lunch, and late dinner.

Q. Can students leave campus?

A. Residential students are requested to limit all travel to stay within Great Barrington during the semester; however, we understand that employment or an appointment may necessitate travel outside of Great Barrington. In these instances a travel form will be made available for students to submit a request by contacting preparedness@simons-rock.edu. Students leaving campus must wear a mask/face covering, practice social distancing, and continue to follow all CDC guidelines while off-campus.

Day students are asked to exercise care and caution while they are off campus, including limiting travel outside of their immediate hometown area and the Simon’s Rock campus.

Massachusetts issued new travel order taking effect on August 1, 2020;
all visitors entering Massachusetts (including returning residents) who do not meet an exemption are required to:

  • Complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival, unless you are visiting from a lower-risk state designated by the Department of Public Health.
  • Quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts.
    • If your COVID-19 test result has not been received prior to arrival, visitors, and residents must quarantine until they receive a negative test result.

Failure to comply may result in a $500 fine per day. No one should travel to Massachusetts if they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

Q. What safety measures are being taken for campus transportation/campus vehicles?

A. Capacity in campus transportation vehicles will be limited to allow for six feet of social distancing. Vans will be limited to two passengers and the driver; buses will be limited to six passengers and the driver. All required personal safety protocols will be followed by drivers.

Additionally, the following transportation guidelines must be adhered to:

  • Drivers and riders must wear masks/face coverings at all times while in the vehicle.
  • No eating or drinking will be allowed during transportation.
  • Cabin filters will be replaced more frequently and only the fresh air setting may be used.

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 should not travel outside Great Barrington on the BRTA.

Q. Will there be student employment opportunities this fall, whether on-campus or for remote work?

A. With many college operations continuing in a remote fashion, some administrative departments may not have the same student employment needs as they have had in the past. We expect there will be a need for some on-campus jobs, such as peer tutors.

Q. Will remote learning students be allowed on campus?

A. Only those students who enroll for the fall and choose the on-campus living option, along with day students and those students who have been pre-approved to live off campus, will be allowed on campus. All other students will require permission in advance from the Dean of Campus Life or the Vice Provost to come to campus and use college facilities.

Q. If we return to campus and a resurgence of COVID-19 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-19. 

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Faculty & Staff

Q. Are health and safety protocols in place for faculty and staff?

A. Per the Simon’s Rock Return to Campus Guidebook for Employees , all employees will be required to conduct a daily health screening prior to coming to campus, wear masks/face coverings, practice physical distancing, and follow all recommended public health guidelines. If concerns arise during the self-administered health screening, they will be required to self-isolate until it is determined that it is safe for them to return. In the case of a positive test result, contact tracing protocols will be initiated. If needed, employees will quarantine and isolate in their own homes.

Q. Is there guidance around the use of face masks/face coverings on campus?

A. Masks/face coverings must be worn by all faculty and staff working on campus when in the presence of others and in public settings where other six feet of social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., common work spaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.). Appropriate use of face masks/face coverings is critical in minimizing risks to others near you. It is possible to spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The mask/face covering is not a substitute for social distancing.
Simon’s Rock will provide masks/face coverings, if needed.

Please contact Campus Safety at 413-528-7291 if you need a mask/face covering.

Q. Where can I find support for online instruction?

A. There are a number of online tools available on campus that faculty can leverage to keep connected to students during this disruption to campus life. Establishing a communication plan and maintaining consistent contact with students are key. Bard has established several resources available to all faculty within the Network.

Q: How will meetings be conducted?

A. Where feasible, meetings should be held in whole or part using available collaboration tools (e.g. Zoom, Google Meet, telephone, etc.). Meetings may take place outdoors, if necessary, to mitigate risk.

In-person meetings are subject to the restrictions of local, state, and federal orders and should not exceed 50% of a room’s capacity, assuming individuals can still maintain six feet of separation for social distancing requirements. Departments should remove or rearrange chairs and tables and/or add visual cue markers in meeting rooms to support social distancing practices between attendees. All attendees should wear a face mask/covering while sharing space in a common room. Where possible, meeting spaces should be ventilated with outdoor air to the greatest extent possible while maintaining safety protocols.

During your time on campus, you are encouraged to communicate with your colleagues and supervisors as needed by email, instant message, telephone, or other available technology rather than face-to-face.

When you are accessing a building that is not where your office or classroom is located, it is expected that you make an appointment ahead of time with the person or department with whom you have business. 

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Community & Events

Q. What is the plan for Commencement?

A. Given state restrictions on gathering sizes in Massachusetts, Simon’s Rock will combine the 2019–2020 and 2020–2021 Commencement ceremonies. The ceremony will take place for graduates in May 2021. More details will follow as the planning continues.

Q. Are public events canceled at Simon’s Rock?

A. Many campus events have been postponed, canceled, or moved online. Visit the campus calendar to browse virtual events. Simon’s Rock continues to offer virtual performances, lectures, and conferences—many of them free—and we welcome and encourage our neighbors to join us.

Q. Will campus be closed to visitors?

A. The following visitor guidelines will go into effect as of August 3:

  • Students, faculty, and staff, including most live-in staff, are not permitted to have guests on campus until further notice.
  • Employees who live in single dwelling houses on the campus periphery may have guests as long as they are not accessing the main areas of campus.
  • Kilpatrick members only are allowed on campus as far as the Kilpatrick Athletic Center.
  • Simon’s Rock has a partnership with the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center for a drive-in theater. Ticket holders to each drive-in movie will be allowed access to the designated area of campus.
  • The campus will be closed to casual visitors, including dog walkers and campus walkers.
  • Only individuals with business with the College may be on the campus. All authorized campus visitors must be registered through the department with which they have business, must follow public health protocols and conduct symptom monitoring, and must be logged in to campus with date, time, and contact information at their destination.
  • The gates will be closed at Lake Mansfield Road and the Gatehouse entrance so that all entry to campus is only via the Lower Pond entrance.

While on campus, all students and employees must wear their identification card in a way that others can easily see (e.g. a lanyard or name badge). This will assist in assuring that the main areas of campus are being used by students and employees only. 

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Recreation & Athletics

Q. Will the Kilpatrick be open this fall?

A. Yes. The Kilpatrick will operate in accordance with all updated guidelines for Massachusetts’ reopening of gyms.

Q. Will visitors/non-members be able to use the Kilpatrick this fall?

A. No.

Q. Will there be team sports this fall?

A. Simon’s Rock will be offering intramural sports in the fall semester. There will be no competition against other institutions.

Q. Will there be intramural sports this fall?

A. Yes. We will be offering intramural sports with options including soccer, swimming, and cross country.

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Facilities

Q. How are you ensuring the safety and cleanliness of facilities and buildings on campus?

A. Custodial staff will continue to clean and disinfect all campus buildings in accordance with CDC guidelines and health and safety protocols.

All members of the Simon’s Rock community must show diligence in personal hygiene and sanitizing of personal spaces—as required in the Return to Campus Pledge for all students, faculty, and staff—in concert with the ongoing health and safety efforts of our custodial staff.

Q: Will access and the flow of movement in buildings and on campus grounds be modified?

A. Where feasible and appropriate, hallways and stairwells may be one-way only. Doors similarly may be exit-only or enter-only. Safety and accessibility will guide these considerations. When tight spaces cannot be made into single direction use, there may be a directional-priority indicated. Signage and floor markings will be put in place to clearly communicate this information. Any COVID-19-related adjustments to building traffic flow will be suspended in the case of a building emergency (e.g. fire alarm).

On campus grounds more broadly, directional signage will indicate instructions for maintaining social distancing, such as yielding to oncoming pedestrians on bridges or outdoor stairs. Everyone is asked to be mindful of other pedestrians on pathways and to pass each other while maintaining as much social distance as possible.

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