Simon’s Rock's Spring Semester Plan adheres to the advice of public health experts and puts the health and safety of our community first as we establish a safe, in-person learning environment on campus.
Our plan is designed to replicate the success of our fall 2020 strategy through careful planning, ongoing testing with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, informed decision-making, and a culture of community support.
While we cannot completely avoid all risks of in-person learning during the pandemic, we are determined to work together as a community to mitigate risk to the fullest extent possible. On campus and off, 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. We expect all individuals coming to campus to act mindfully, in accordance with all Simon’s Rock policies and procedures.
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:
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:
A. Our Spring 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.
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 and sanctions would follow the process outlined in the Student Handbook.
A. The spring 2021 semester will be conducted similar to the fall 2020 semester, with primarily in-person, socially distanced classes. A number of courses will be hybrid as well as remote for students unable to return to the campus.
A. Students should consult with the Dean of Academic Affairs to create a plan for Remote Learning Status.
A. Yes. Simon’s Rock will offer both in-person and remote learning options for international students.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. As done in the fall, afternoon class schedules will be adjusted by one half-hour to make this possible.
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:
Masks with exhalation valves or vents are NOT allowed as they allow respiratory droplets to escape.
A. Per current state regulations, live performances are not permitted. However, under state education guidelines, certain classes may meet in performance spaces.
A. Yes, and we will support students as they transition to Remote Learning Status. Students will be expected to fully engage in their classes.
A. Individual instruction in voice and most instruments will continue to be offered, though some or all instruction may need to occur remotely.
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.
A. Every course will have letter grades during the semester.
A. The Alumni Library will be open to students throughout the year. 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.
A. All Academy students will arrive on Saturday, January 23, 2021. New College students will arrive on Friday, February 5, 2021. Returning College students will arrive on Friday, February 5, and Saturday, February 6, 2021.
A. Students arriving for the spring 2021 semester can make a shuttle reservation via the Student Transportation Request Form.
Additional questions can be directed to email@example.com.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The wall slots for mail should be used to deposit mail (intercampus and off-campus).
A.Yes. The student’s name should be clearly indicated on all shipments, along with the following mailing address:
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:
A. Writing & Thinking Workshop for new College students will be held virtually on Saturday, February 6 and Sunday, February 7.
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:
A. Yes. As of right now, we plan to hold in-person classes throughout the entire spring semester. The final day of classes is Wednesday, May 12, 2021. Non-degree students are expected to depart campus for summer break by noon on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.
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.
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.
A. Yes. Per Massachusetts requirements, any student returning to campus in January 2021 must have a flu vaccine prior to February 28, 2021, and be able to provide documentation. New students and students who did not receive their flu shot on campus during the fall semester must email, mail, or fax proof of their vaccination to the Wellness Center.
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 email@example.com. Simon’s Rock will conduct ongoing training with faculty, staff, and students during the semester to ensure expectations are clear and well-communicated.
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.
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.
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.
Residential students must monitor for symptoms 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.
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.
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.
A. Based on CDC and local public health guidelines, individuals who test positive for COVID and remain asymptomatic after recovery are not recommended to be tested within 90 days of their diagnosis or the onset of symptoms. If new COVID symptoms emerge during those 90 days, CDC and local public health guidelines recommend resuming testing.
Based on this guidance, individuals who test positive and remain asymptomatic would meet the criteria for exemption from our testing protocols for up to 90 days. These individuals must remain in close communication with the Wellness Center and monitor for the emergence of symptoms. These individuals would re-enter the Simon’s Rock testing program at the appropriate time, based on the details of their case and under the recommendation of public health officials.
Additionally, individuals who test positive will still be required to follow all safety protocols on campus, including wearing masks, social distancing, frequently washing their hands, monitoring for symptoms and staying home if and when symptoms occur.
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.
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.
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.
A. If you know ahead of time that you have a conflict and cannot make a Testing Tuesday
an urgent situation arises on a Testing Tuesday, you must contact
firstname.lastname@example.org with as much notice as possible. An alternative testing time
may be an option, however this is not guaranteed and you may be asked to quarantine on- or
off-campus until you test and have negative results. If you miss testing without notification,
disciplinary action will be taken, which could lead to suspension for multiple infractions.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact email@example.com.
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.
A. Yes. Please understand that if you receive a COVID-19 vaccination before or during the spring 2021 semester, you must continue to follow all Simon’s Rock COVID-19 protocols.
A. Simon’s Rock is working with local public health officials to plan for scenarios necessitating an exit from campus due to COVID-19.
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.
A. If you are experiencing a crisis or urgent situation related to your physical health at any time:
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.
A. Yes, all initial counseling intake appointments will be scheduled online and can be made on the Wellness Center website.
A. If you are experiencing a crisis or urgent situation related to your mental health:
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 January.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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).
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. Residential students with off-campus employment or an appointment that may necessitate travel outside of Great Barrington may request approval by contacting email@example.com.
A. Residential card access will be limited to the dorm or building in which the student lives.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 six feet apart, with up to three chairs at each table to ensure social distancing.
The following guidelines are in effect, until further notice, in the Dining Hall:
The Rock Café Snack Bar is also open for all meals on weekdays, including breakfast, lunch, and late dinner.
A. Students may order food delivery from local restaurants once notified by the Provost that it is safe to do so. Food delivery must be picked up in the parking lot of the Daniel Arts Center.
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, students must email the Preparedness Committee with advance notice to make a plan at email@example.com. 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:
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.
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:
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.
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 demand for some on-campus jobs, such as peer tutors, Dining Hall, and admission representatives.
It is the practice of Simon’s Rock to give employment priority to work-study eligible students. Work-study eligibility is noted on award letters from the Office of Financial Aid. Students who are offered campus employment but are not work-study eligible will need to have the hiring supervisor first receive authorization from the College’s Director of Finance and Administration.
Students who plan to seek employment on campus should contact the Payroll Office for available listings at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A. Only those students who enroll for the spring 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.
A. Per the Simon’s Rock Spring Semester Employee Guidebook , 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.
A. Masks/face coverings must be worn by all faculty and staff on campus at all times. 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.
Exceptions to the mask policy are as follows:
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.
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.
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 on Saturday, May 22, 2021. More details will follow as the planning continues.
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.
A. Yes. The campus is currently closed to non-authorized visitors. The following visitor guidelines went into effect as of August 3, 2020:
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.
A. Yes. The Kilpatrick will operate in accordance with all updated guidelines for Massachusetts’ reopening of gyms.
A. Simon’s Rock will be offering intramural sports. There will be no competition against other institutions.
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 Campus Pledge for all students, faculty, and staff—in concert with the ongoing health and safety efforts of our custodial staff.
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.