Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College

COVID-19 Updates

In the fall 2020 semester, Simon’s Rock welcomed students back to campus for primarily in-person instruction. Through ongoing testing and strict health and safety protocols, we’ve cultivated an active, engaged, and protected learning environment on campus—our Contained Community. We’re committed to preserving the rich and engaging education that students expect from Simon’s Rock by maintaining our safe in-person experience throughout the spring 2021 semester.

 
 View our 2020–2021 Reopening Plan
 Learn More About Our In-Person Experience

Campus Messages

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced yesterday that effective this season, all students, daycare through college, are required to get a seasonal flu shot.

How are we going to help you all out with this? On Sept. 24 we will be having our annual flu clinic on campus. This clinic is for staff, faculty, students who are at least 18 years old, and community members. More details will come closer to time.  Additionally, we will make arrangements for a separate clinic for residential and day students who are under 18. Again, we will update you as plans solidify.

 

FAQ:

So if I’m a student I need a shot? Yes. Unless you have already filed an immunization waiver with us because of sincere religious beliefs or a specific medical condition, you will need a flu shot.

What if I’m not a student? Do I have to get a flu shot? No, but we know you’ll want to (see below).

What if I’ve already been immunized or want to get immunized somewhere else? That’s fine, but if you are a student we will need documentation of that immunization in order for you to return to campus next semester. The vaccine must be done by Dec.31, but the CDC is recommending being immunized much earlier in the season that that.

What do you think about this new requirement? I’m thrilled.

But we’re in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic, why do I need to worry about something as innocuous as the flu? I am so glad you asked! First, flu can be a big deal. It can cause hospitalization, prolonged and devastating illness, or death. We had an especially bad season two years ago with 80,000 deaths nationally. Second, every winter emergency rooms and hospitals are overwhelmed by people sick with flu, a situation we all want to avoid during a pandemic. By minimizing or preventing a local flu epidemic, we prevent the inundation of the medical system. Third, flu and COVID-19 have many of the same symptoms. If you develop headache and fever, no one is going to know whether you have flu or COVID-19 without sending you for a COVID-19 test and waiting anxiously for the result. Simplify things; get a flu vaccine and remove flu from the equation.

But does the vaccine really prevent the flu? Yes, that’s why we give it. It doesn’t prevent all cases, but it prevents many and lessens the symptoms in many others.

Can’t you get flu from the vaccine? No, you can’t.

But I don’t need the flu shot. I’m healthy. Everyone, six months and older needs the flu shot. First, anyone can get very ill or die from the flu. Second, it’s not all about you. As with COVID-19, you don’t want to be the one spreading the disease. By getting vaccinated, you protect those around you, especially the sick, elderly, and immunocompromised.

Wow, sounds like I should get this vaccine! Is there anything else I can do to keep myself and my community protected? Sure. Luckily it’s all the things you’re already doing: socially distancing, wearing a mask responsibly and keeping your hands clean. If we all keep doing all these things we’ll have a healthy winter: no COVID-19, no flu, no colds…..

Stay well and keep everyone else well by getting vaccinated,

Diane



Dear Students and Families,
 
The Centers for Disease Control has updated its guidance regarding face coverings, and it no longer recommends using masks with one-way valves or vents. In order to create our contained community, we are asking students, faculty, and staff to avoid wearing these masks. If you need a replacement mask once you are on campus, please contact Campus Safety.

CDC Information on Masks with Exhalation Valves or Vents
The purpose of masks is to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others to aid with source control. Masks with one-way valves or vents allow exhaled air to be expelled out through holes in the material.  This can allow exhaled respiratory droplets to reach others and potentially spread the COVID-19 virus. Therefore, CDC does not recommend using masks if they have an exhalation valve or vent.
 
 
Thank you for understanding and working together for the safety of our community.

Warm regards,


Sue Lyon, Vice Provost
Dear Students,

All of us at Simon’s Rock are thrilled to welcome many of you back to campus this semester. I, too, personally look forward to meeting and getting to know you for the first time.

In anticipation of our first group of students arriving on campus next week, I write today to underscore the importance of adhering to all safety protocols on campus this semester. For those fortunate enough to return to campus, it is both a great privilege and an opportunity. By choosing to return to campus, you are making a commitment to our entire community to follow the guidelines and protocols required of in-person learning. If you cannot follow these guidelines, you will not be able to continue in an on-campus learning environment.

The key to making in-person learning safe and successful will be our ability to work together to create and maintain our contained community. Following is a visual depiction of how we will achieve this.
 
 
Maintaining our Contained Community Through Mutual Responsibility and Support

Over the summer, there have been several committees working hard to prepare for our return to campus. These committees have explored nearly every facet of our operations through the lens of safety and preparedness, and I’m extremely proud of the work they have done.

To ensure this careful planning results in a successfully contained community, we must all work together to follow every COVID-19-related guideline and procedure on campus. Your adherence to these guidelines—as well as the Return to Campus Pledge that you’ve signed—will foster and maintain a community of care and support on campus and beyond.

I am confident we can achieve this by operating under a philosophy of mutual responsibility. Simon’s Rock’s faculty and staff are here to support you, and we expect that you will support and look out for each other, in turn. We all must ensure our own wellbeing while also looking out for the wellbeing of others—this includes respectfully reminding one another of safety expectations and setting an example with our own behavior.

Ensuring Open Dialogue and Consistent Adherence

In the spirit of community success and support, we will foster a culture of open, transparent dialogue as we face both the challenges and the opportunities of operating in this new reality. If at any time you feel the need to talk to somebody about difficulties you may be facing this semester, I encourage you to reach out to me, to your residence hall directors or peer mentors, the Wellness Center, or any member of the faculty or staff for support.

If adhering to the behavioral requirements of living on campus is not feasible for you, we will work with you to make arrangements for remote learning status. Those who are unwilling to follow campus safety guidelines will be subject to disciplinary procedures. Violations of these guidelines will result in students being asked to leave campus to complete the semester remotely, or, for certain violations, in full suspension.


Ultimately, our ability to establish a contained community that accurately follows safety procedures will enable us to have fewer restrictions during the semester. Our failure to come together as an adherent community would result in a more restrictive campus life experience, which I know we all wish to avoid.

We understand that the guidelines we are asking you to follow this semester will not always be easy, but they are intended to preserve everyone’s safety while delivering meaningful educational experiences. I have the utmost confidence that together we will make this semester a rich and fulfilling one.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions. As always, thank you for your cooperation and support!


Sincerely, 

John
Dear Families,

To our new students, welcome to the Simon’s Rock community; to our returning students, welcome back. There is always apprehension, along with excitement, for a family when a student begins the new school year. There is for us, too, at Simon’s Rock, and especially this year as we navigate so many unprecedented challenges. We thank you for your trust in us and ask you to understand that we cannot stay well as a community without full cooperation of all community members. As part of the Wellness team, I am reaching out to you to stress some key points.

Because of COVID-19, we have had to restructure virtually everything about our operations, and those changes will be apparent on campus as soon as you arrive. You can assist us by doing everything we ask of you before you come to campus.

Please do not come to campus on your arrival day if you have any symptoms of coronavirus. We will make arrangements for you to arrive at a time when you are healthier.

You are coming to a community that currently has a low COVID-19 rate. It is essential that we not import illness into this campus and our greater community. Prior to traveling to campus, please ensure that you have reviewed and adhered to the latest Massachusetts travel order for visitors coming into the state.

Required Materials/Health Forms Prior to Arriving at Campus

We ask that you complete all necessary Simon’s Rock forms now, as we will not be able to meet with you individually on arrival day to process them. These include all health forms for new and matriculating Academy students and consent forms for COVID-19 testing for all students. Failure to complete forms ahead of time will delay the arrival process.

All students and parents/guardians must have also reviewed and electronically signed the following materials that were shared via email yesterday; for the safety of our community, students’ return to campus is contingent on completing these materials:
Arrival and Testing Procedures

On arrival day, students will have their first screening for COVID-19; they will be screened twice/week throughout the first two weeks, and weekly thereafter. Any student who tests positive will go into isolation for 10 days and may be expected to do that at home if they live within a day’s drive. There will be strict expectations that students quarantine in their housing unit, with group time allowed outside, likely for their first two weeks. An email with more details on the initial quarantine period will follow this week.

Throughout the semester, all community members are expected to practice social distancing, use good hand hygiene, and wear masks when outside their rooms. Students should come with enough reusable cloth masks that they can wear a clean one each day. Students should also come with thermometers (view our recommended packing list).

For arrival day, you will have a time slot for testing and entrance to your dorm. It is important that you arrive at that time so that we are able to process all arrivals smoothly. Please do not expect to visit Great Barrington on arrival day, again out of respect for our greater community.

The testing itself consists of self-swabbing in the front of the nose under supervision. Continued testing throughout the semester is essential, and students are expected to make themselves available at their scheduled testing times. Watch this video to learn how the test works.

We have a deep commitment to higher education and the importance of the campus experience. Members from all parts of Simon’s Rock have been working hard to assure that the fall semester is as successful as possible. We are following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the American College Health Association, and the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. These guidelines are updated frequently as more is learned and we will continue to maintain practices that are safest. This is new territory for us all, and we will need to approach it with patience and compassion for others.

Thank you for your cooperation in helping safeguard the Simon’s Rock community.


Peace, 

Diane Piraino, MD
Campus Physician
Dear Simon’s Rock Students and Families,

We are thrilled to begin welcoming our new and returning students back to campus!

In order to do this safely while meeting Massachusetts guidelines for reopening, we are asking all students and their parents or legal guardians to take a virtual COVID-19 training, sign a commitment pledge affirming their understanding of campus procedures and policies, and sign a COVID-19 testing consent form. This is intended to ensure our entire community understands and agrees to follow the guidelines that will keep all of us safe and healthy. Staff and faculty are also required to complete the training and sign the pledge.

We are also sharing the Return to Campus Guidebook for Students that we ask you to review. All Simon's Rock’s policies and protocols for responding to COVID-19 are formulated to protect the health and safety of all of our students, faculty, staff, and the broader community.

Your support and adherence to these guidelines will foster a community of care on campus, and extends into our communities near and far as a way of demonstrating support for those most impacted by the virus.

The following are immediate actions we are asking you to take before arriving at campus. Any student or parent/guardian who cannot complete the training, pledge, or consent form due to accessibility-related concerns should contact Jean Altshuler, Director of Accessibility and Academic Support.


1. Complete the Return to Campus Training & Sign the Pledge
All Simon’s Rock students and their parents or legal guardian are required to complete the Return to Campus Training & Pledge before they arrive at campus. Students’ return to campus for the fall is contingent on completing the training and signing the pledge; those students and parents who have not done so will not be allowed to access campus. Note: you cannot access the pledge without first completing the entire training. The training takes approximately 20 minutes.

>Complete the Return to Campus Training & Accept the Pledge

2. Students and Parents/Guardians: Sign the COVID-19 Testing Consent Form
In addition to completing the training and signing the pledge, all students and parents/guardians are asked to sign a COVID-19 testing consent form for the ongoing testing of students during the semester. Simon’s Rock has partnered with the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to provide COVID-19 testing on campus throughout the semester via a minimally-invasive, self-administered nasal swab, and conducted under observation by a trained professional.

>Review and Sign the Student Consent to COVID-19 Testing
>
Review and Sign the Parental/Guardian Consent to COVID-19 Testing
>
Watch this video to learn how the test works


3. Review the Return to Campus Guidebook for Students
All students are expected to review the Return to Campus Guidebook for Students to understand expectations and guidelines while on campus, including policies and protocols, health and safety guidelines, campus contacts, and external resources. This guidebook has been developed in accordance with Massachusetts and CDC guidelines and will continue to be updated and shared with students as those guidelines evolve.

>Read the Return to Campus Guidebook for Students 

We thank you for your continued patience and cooperation as we work together to look out for one another and to keep our community safe as we return to campus.

If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to preparedness@simons-rock.edu.


Sincerely, 

Sue Lyon, Vice Provost

Effective August 1, 2020, all visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts must follow new travel orders. The Commonwealth has made great progress to slow the spread of COVID-19 and gradually re-open the economy, and all visitors have a responsibility to help us keep transmission levels as low as possible. 

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.

Find more information, including the list of lower-risk states, exemptions, business guidance and other details.

Dear Students and Families,

We hope this note finds you well. We are excited for your return to campus in a few short weeks!

In this message, you will find information to plan your return to campus. For returning residential students, August 23 and 24 will be your move-in day and your initial COVID-19 test. For returning day students, these same dates will be for your initial COVID-19 test.

We determined that the most effective way to schedule these days was to allow you to reserve a time. The sign-up links are provided below.

Reservations will be first-come, first-served, and should be made by August 10. 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.

Reserving Your Time

Arrival and Move-In Info for Residential Students
Due to the increased demands on the Simon’s Rock staff to ensure a safe, pleasant, and effective arrival experience for all residential students, we would like to underscore key reminders and updates to make arrival a bit easier for you:
If you are arriving by car, only one person may accompany you, and that person will need to remain with your vehicle while you unload your belongings.

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

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!

Required Training, Pledge, and Testing Consent Form
In advance of returning to campus, we are requiring that students complete a virtual Return to Campus Training and sign a Return to Campus Pledge. We also ask that all parents/guardians review these materials and sign the pledge as well as a COVID-19 testing consent form so that we can ensure our entire community understands and agrees to follow the guidelines that will keep all of us safe and healthy. Staff and faculty have also been required to do the training and sign the pledge.

We will be sending the training, pledge, and parent/guardian consent form in the coming week with further instructions.

Please note that students’ return to campus is contingent on completing the training, signing the pledge, and providing parental/guardian consent to testing; those who have not done so will not be allowed to access campus.
As always, please refer to the Fall 2020 Reopening Plan on our website to find answers to Frequently Asked Questions and the latest updates and information on arrival and the fall semester.

We look forward to welcoming you back to campus! And thank you for your continued cooperation as we work together to make the fall semester a safe one for both Simon’s Rock and our broader community.

Sincerely,

Sue Lyon, Vice Provost

Dear Simon’s Rock Faculty and Staff, 

We are pleased to announce that Simon’s Rock has established plans and protocols for remote employees to begin a safe and gradual return to campus. Developed in accordance with Massachusetts and CDC guidelines, our Return to Campus Plan puts the health and safety of our community first and enables departments across campus to apply the required protocols to the specific needs of their departments. 

Essential employees have continued to work on campus throughout the spring to support ongoing operations and ensure the safety and wellbeing of the students who remain here. Now, with the state preparing to enter Phase 3 of reopening, we can bring additional employees back to campus.
 
In an effort to ensure the ongoing safety of our community on campus while meeting Massachusetts guidelines for reopening, we ask you to take the following immediate actions before returning to campus (whether for work or an errand). Department supervisors with employees who do not have computers should provide them access to all required reopening training/documentation as outlined below.

  1. Complete the Return to Campus Training & Pledge
    All Simon’s Rock faculty and staff are required to complete the Return to Campus Training & Pledge before their next visit to campus. If you reside on campus, please complete the Training & Pledge as soon as possible. Note: you cannot access the pledge without first completing the entire training. The training takes approximately 20 minutes.


  2. Non-Faculty Department Supervisors to Submit Departmental Return to Campus Plan by July 1.
    All non-faculty department supervisors must submit the Return to Campus Plan for all employees in their department by July 1, 2020. Faculty will be receiving instructions on a Return to Campus Plan closer to the fall semester.

  3. Review the Return to Campus Guidebook for Employees
    All employees must review the Return to Campus Guidebook for Employees to understand workplace expectations and guidelines while on campus, including policies and protocols, health and safety guidelines, campus contacts, and external resources. This guidebook will continue to be updated and shared with employees as local, state, and federal guidelines evolve.

    Read the Return to Campus Guidebook for Employees

  4. Review the Massachusetts Higher Education Control Plan for Phase 2
    All employees should refer to the Massachusetts Higher Education Control Plan for Phase 2 of reopening to understand the measures Simon’s Rock has taken to ensure adherence to state guidelines.

    Read the Simon’s Rock Phase 2 Control Plan

Our reopening task forces and subcommittees are hard at work finalizing comprehensive plans for the full reopening of campus operations in the fall. In the coming weeks, we will be sharing these detailed plans to ensure appropriate social distancing and maintenance of health and safety measures as outlined by public health and government authorities. 

We thank you for your continued patience and cooperation as we work together to look out for one another and to keep our community safe.

If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to preparedness@simons-rock.edu.

Sincerely, 

Sue Lyon, Vice Provost, Bard College at Simon's Rock 

Dear Bard Academy Community,

I hope you and your families are well. With the many changes that we are all navigating this year, I am writing to share an updated academic calendar for Bard Academy at Simon’s Rock for the fall 2020 semester.

The revisions in this document are guided by our intention to support the health and safety of our community. While we remain fully committed to maintaining the same levels of academic rigor and engagement, we have restructured our fall calendar to best position us all for a safe and productive semester.

Within our updated fall calendar, courses will take place in person on campus until November break. Students who are living on campus will be expected to stay on campus until they depart from school for November break. All students, both residential and non-boarding, will finish the rest of the semester’s classes and exams at home, online, following the November break. The intention is for students to arrive and depart campus only once during the semester in order to limit the potential for exposure to COVID-19 during travel to and from campus.

Main updates to the fall academic calendar include:

  • The first full day of classes is Monday, August 31.
  • The regular full-week October break will be replaced with a two-day break from regular classes. Students will take part in Symposium Day, a campus-wide tradition, 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 will be conducted online.
  • Winter J-Term Session and the spring semester will remain as originally scheduled. However, we will update the calendar in the fall if conditions require changes.

View the 2020 Academy Academic Calendar.

The school will be providing more specific information on move-in and arrival days—as well as other plans and protocols related to academics and campus life for the fall—as those plans are finalized in the coming weeks. All of us here at Simon’s Rock thank you for your continued patience and commitment to Bard Academy as we work together to plan for a safe and meaningful fall semester.

Please reach out with questions you may have.
Sincerely,

Kristy McMorris, Dean of Bard Academy at Simon's Rock

Dear Simon’s Rock Community,

We hope this finds you well. We write to share an update on the academic calendar for Bard College at Simon’s Rock for the fall 2020 semester.

The number one priority of Simon’s Rock is the safety of our community. We believe that restructuring our fall calendar will best position us to ensure a safe and productive semester while maintaining the same levels of academic rigor and engagement that we have always provided at Simon’s Rock.

Notably, key updates to the fall academic calendar plan for students living on campus to stay on campus through October break, to remain at home once they depart for November break, and to finish the rest of the semester’s classes and exams at home, online. The intention is for students to arrive and to depart campus only once during the semester in order to limit the potential for exposure to COVID-19 during travel to and from campus. Day students will follow the same schedule, and will also complete the semester online after November break.

Main updates to the fall academic calendar, for all students, include:
The first full day of classes will start on Monday, August 31.
The regular full-week October break will be replaced with a two-day break from regular classes; Symposium Day will occur at 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, plus 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.
View the Fall 2020 Academic Calendar .

We will be providing more specific information on move-in and arrival days—as well as other plans and protocols related to academics and campus life for the fall—as those plans are finalized in the coming weeks. We thank you for your continued patience, cooperation, and commitment to Simon’s Rock as we work together to plan for a safe fall semester.

Please reach out to Academic Affairs, acaffairs@simons-rock.edu, with questions you may have.
Sincerely,

Pat Sharpe, Dean of Academic Affairs, Bard College at Simon's Rock

Dear Simon’s Rock Community,

I write to share an update on our planning and preparedness efforts as we look to the fall 2020 semester. Following Governor Baker’s May 18 guidance on the reopening of Massachusetts, we have been hard at work establishing policies and protocols to meet state guidelines for a safe reopening of campus. While it remains our goal to provide in-person classes as safely as possible, life on campus will likely look and feel different from our pre-pandemic days, and the ultimate form is contingent on state public health guidelines. Nevertheless, we intend to preserve the same rich, meaningful, and engaging education that students expect from Simon’s Rock.

To guide our strategic planning, we have expanded our task force into additional committees and subcommittees that include members from across all campus departments. These groups include the Infectious Disease Task Force, the Campus Reopening Committee, the Academic Reopening Committee, and small working groups within each of these. We are also in contact with leaders and healthcare professionals in Great Barrington and in Berkshire County, as well as our peer institutions in Berkshire County and across the state, through our affiliation with AICUM, the Association of Independent Colleges & Universities in Massachusetts.

The specifics of our plans are in active development and will undergo a process of review and approval by our Board of Overseers. We are working toward a firm plan to share with you in early July. In the meantime, I want to share the scope of our ongoing work. We are focused broadly on the following five areas:

  1. Academics
  2. Campus Life
  3. Infrastructure
  4. Communication
  5. Workplace


Here are some of the central tasks within each of these areas:

  • Developing required COVID-19-related training and education for staff, faculty, and students
  • Coordinating with local government, public health authorities, and healthcare facilities
  • Developing social distancing and sanitation guidelines for every building and office
  • Developing procedures for testing and monitoring of COVID-19, including evacuation and contingency plans
  • Developing protocols and support for international students
  • Creating protocols for key gathering spaces on campus including classrooms, residence halls, and dining hall
  • Creating protocols for all campus events and gatherings, i.e., arrival/move-in days, athletics, arts, admission events, etc.
  • Developing best practices for travel and visitors to campus
  • Ensuring adherence to all campus protocols


When we return to campus, we will operate under the philosophy of mutual responsibility. As we have always done at Simon’s Rock, 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.

The first and foremost priority of Simon’s Rock is the health and safety of our community—our students, families, faculty, staff, and neighbors—and every aspect of planning for the fall is being viewed through this lens. And while we must be humble in the face of many unknowns, we can assure you that Simon’s Rock is committed to preserving academic excellence and innovative engagement for students across all learning scenarios this fall, whether in-person, virtual, or a hybrid approach.

Lastly, we know that you likely have many questions. We will continue to update you on our plans as they move toward finalization, and you can expect regular updates on our progress throughout the summer. We sincerely appreciate your patience, cooperation, and commitment to Simon’s Rock as we work together to define the path ahead.
Thank you, and be well.

Sincerely,

Dimitri Papadimitriou, Acting Provost, Bard College at Simon's Rock

Dear Simon's Rock Community,

I hope this message finds each of you and your families safe and well. As we conclude the spring 2020 semester, I want to thank all of you for your extraordinary patience, understanding, and support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your efforts to adapt to remote, online platforms in challenging circumstances have helped sustain our sense of community and our commitment to the Simon’s Rock educational values and philosophy.

At Simon’s Rock, we have always relied on inventiveness and ingenuity to achieve improbable solutions, but this spring's experience has strengthened our resolve to ensure that our community can safely return to campus as soon as possible. Bard Academy and Bard College at Simon’s Rock will begin the fall 2020 semester as scheduled, with in-person classes.

The fall, and perhaps even the spring of 2021, will likely require new campus protocols related to person-to-person contact, class size, formats, location, and meeting times. Patience is needed on all our parts, as there are many unknowns with respect to the pandemic. On May 18, 2020, Governor Baker is expected to provide institutions of higher education additional guidelines for reopening campuses across the state. We expect these guidelines will answer some of the questions that still remain.

We continue to actively monitor local, state, and federal guidelines and consult with state and county officials as we create a clear path to reopening the campus. We are determined to do our best to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, and employees, and to continue to offer innovative opportunities for engagement for our students. Moreover, I am pleased to report that our Board of Overseers maintains an unwavering commitment to supporting the institution through this unprecedented time.

I want to again thank each and every one of you for all that you are doing to see us through this challenging time. It is my hope and belief that we will meet again on campus as soon and as safely as possible. Until then, please stay well and healthy.
Sincerely,

Dimitri Papadimitriou, Acting Provost

The Baker-Polito Administration issued an order that goes into effect on Wednesday, May 6, that all MA residents over the age of two are required to use a face covering or mask in public places where maintaining proper social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are not possible. This statewide order supersedes previously issued guidance relative to mask use.

This order applies to all workers and customers of businesses and other organizations that are permitted to operate as COVID-19 Essential Businesses, which includes Simon's Rock. 

On our campus, face coverings/masks must be worn when going to the Dining Hall to pick up meals, going to the Mail Room to retrieve mail/packages, and at any other time when proper social distancing are not possible. If you are utilizing a reusable cloth mask, please be sure to wash your mask after each use to ensure efficacy.

A face covering may include anything that covers your nose and mouth, including a mask, scarf or bandana. Cloth masks should not be worn by young children under the age of two, persons with difficulty breathing, or those who are unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

CDC instructions on how to make a cloth mask

Read the full press release

Dear Students and Families,

In recognition of the stresses brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, at the request of the faculty, all final grades for the Spring 2020 Semester will appear on the end of semester grade report as Pass (P) or No Credit (NC). 

A grade of Pass is acceptable in courses taken in Spring 2020 to meet A.A. or B.A. Concentration requirements; P grades do not affect the GPA. A grade of NC indicates that the student attempted the credits indicated, which may be important for financial aid eligibility; NC  also does not affect the GPA (unlike an F).

Faculty will also submit letter grades for each course, which will appear below the comment on the grade report for each course. Students may request to have their letter grade replace the P on their transcript for any or all of their courses. This request can be made by using the links in their final grade report or by communicating directly with the registrar (acaffairs@simons-rock.edu). 

Students are encouraged to discuss the decision about opting for grades with their Academic Advisor. We ask that you make this determination in advance of placing an order for a transcript, ideally by Wednesday, July 1. 

If you have any questions, please email acaffairs@simons-rock.edu.

 Stay safe and be well,


Pat Sharpe, Dean of Academic Affairs on behalf of the Infectious Disease Task Force (IDTF)


IDTF

Mickey Spaulding, Interim Dean of Students

Sue Lyon, Vice Provost

Sharon Hartunian, Director of the Wellness Center

Kellie Cournoyer, Director of Campus Safety

Jenn Frederick, Director of Marketing and Communications

Barb Shultis, Director of Plant Operations

Meriweather Clark-Connors, Director of Dining Services

Phil Morrison, Director of Finance and Administration

Pat Sharpe, Dean of Academic Affairs

Charlie Derr, Director of Instructional Technology

Dear Members of the Bard Academy Community:


Given the challenges that we are all navigating due to COVID-19, Bard Academy will change its grading policy for the Spring 2020 semester. In adherence to the recommendations of the state of Massachusetts and in alignment with emerging best practices among independent and public schools across the country, all final grades (i.e., grades of record) in Bard Academy classes will be assessed on a “pass or no credit” basis. This is meant to account for the many shifts we have bravely undertaken as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and closure of school campuses, including our own. Thus, as a community, we have prioritized our daily exercises of learning, our continued exploration of knowledge, and our collective work within Bard Academy. This change to our grading policy symbolizes all of the ways that we have demonstrated our individual resilience as well as our mutual support of each other despite the vast disparity present even within our small community. 


For Academy students currently enrolled in college courses, please refer to the College grading policy statement on this web page. 


Many thanks to our faculty members for all of the ways that they have reimagined and shifted their teaching practices. Many thanks to our families and staff for helping to ensure that our students are supported in their efforts to continue learning in their classes and beyond. And ultimately, we are grateful for our students for their deep investment in their learning and continual efforts to sustain the community among their peers and with the faculty and staff at Simon’s Rock.


With immense gratitude,


Kristy McMorris 

Dean of Bard Academy

Dear Simon's Rock Community,

We hope that you are settling into a new routine with your remote classes and activities. We are delighted to see so many of you partaking in our virtual events! We also hope you are remaining connected to your academic advisor to help support you through your remote classes over the coming weeks—please don’t hesitate to reach out should you need assistance or have questions.

Today we are writing with responses to some questions we have been receiving as well as some updates and reminders about how to connect with us remotely.
 

Academy Matriculation, Affinity Graduation, and College Commencement Ceremonies

As we have reported, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has ordered the cancellation of all gatherings of 10 or more people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave similar guidance, recommending that events with more than 50 people be canceled through at least mid-May. Given that our Matriculation and Commencement ceremonies were scheduled soon after, it is with a heavy heart that we have made the decision to postpone these events. However, we are committed to offering an opportunity to all come back together, hopefully later in the summer, to recognize the many accomplishments of our students. We will continue to follow federal, state, and local guidelines regarding gatherings, and will let you know as soon as a date has been finalized. We understand that this is a great disappointment to many, especially our matriculants, graduates, and their families, but it is imperative that we continue to do everything we can to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
 

Mid-term Grades and Comments

Mid-term grades and comments will be available to students and families electronically beginning Monday, April 6. Grades and comments will be emailed to students, advisors, and the parent(s) or guardian(s) the student has indicated can receive grades. For security and privacy reasons, the grades and comments will be attached to the email as an encrypted, password-protected PDF (recipients will receive notice of the password). Additionally, the mid-term grades and comments will be available to students and advisors through Banner Self-Service.


Extended Moderation, Leave to Study Away, and Scholarship Application Deadlines

 
Moderation: Sophomore students who would like the option of continuing for the BA at Simon’s Rock, but who have not yet moderated are encouraged to do so now. You can do so by writing to your Academic Advisor and/or a faculty member in your field(s) of interest. You should send a statement about your past work, your interest in the field and how it has developed, and your ambitions and plans. If you hope to include a semester or year studying abroad, please include that, as well as thesis ideas if you already have them. You can find more detailed information on moderation on the portal, my.simons-rock.edu.
Moderation Packet

Returning Student Scholarships: Students entering the BA program are welcome to apply for one of the named scholarships for BA students, which recognize and support students with a range of interests and life experiences in honor of past faculty and students. Students interested in Politics and Activism, International Relations, Economic and Environmental Justice, International Relations, or Literature and the Arts are particularly encouraged to apply. You may access the application on my.simons-rock.edu.
Returning Student Scholarships

Leave to Study Away: Students thinking about pursuing a semester away next fall (study abroad or domestic visiting student) must submit a contingency plan. Please contact Sara Mugridge (smugridge@simons-rock.edu) with questions.

Campus Life Activities

Have an idea for a virtual event? Reach out to your Residence Director or email campuslife@simons-rock.edu to collaborate!

To keep current with virtual programming activities, please bookmark the Events Calendar and check your email for updates and instructions for joining these exciting events!
 

Virtual Office Hours

Campus Life

Sherri Brown
Fridays, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Kit Danovsky
Wednesdays, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Lisa Donahue
Thursdays, 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m & Fridays, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Rochelle Duffy
Wednesdays, 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Valerie Fanarjian
Mondays, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. & Fridays, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m

Mafalda Gueta
Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. & Thursdays, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m

Jane Kungu
Mondays, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

José Martinez
Mondays, 10:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Brandon Pare
Mondays, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Rebecca Patterson
Thursdays, 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Max Taylor
Tuesdays, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. & Fridays, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


If you would like to connect outside of these times, please reach out to the individual RD.
 
Senior Leadership Team

Dimitri Papadimitriou, Acting Provost
Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Please email provostadmin@simons-rock.edu to indicate how you would like to connect.

Sue Lyon, Vice Provost
Mondays, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Please email slyon@simons-rock.edu to indicate how you would like to connect.

Cathy Harding, Director of Institutional Advancement
The 2nd and 4th Friday of the month, 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Please email charding@simons-rock.edu to indicate how you would like to connect.

Mickey Spaulding, Interim Dean of Students
Thursdays, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Please email mspaulding@simons-rock.edu to indicate how you would like to connect.

Pat Sharpe, Dean of Academic Affairs
Monday–Thursday, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Please email psharpe@simons-rock.edu or call 845-443-3375 to indicate how you would like to connect or to schedule another meeting time.

Cindi Jacobs, Director of Admission & Enrollment
Every other Tuesday, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Google Hangout

Eden-Reneé Hayes, Dean of Equity & Inclusion
Mondays, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Zoom Meeting 
Kristy McMorris, Dean of Bard Academy
Mondays, 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Please email kmcmorris@simons-rock.edu to indicate how you would like to connect.
 
Have a wonderful weekend. Stay healthy and safe.

Sincerely,
Sue Lyon, Vice Provost, on behalf of the Infectious Disease Task Force (IDTF)

IDTF
Mickey Spaulding, Interim Dean of Students
Sue Lyon, Vice Provost
Sharon Hartunian, Director of the Wellness Center
Ken Geremia, Director of Campus Safety and Emergency Planning
Jenn Frederick, Director of Marketing and Communications
Barb Shultis, Director of Plant Operations
Meriweather Clark-Connors, Director of Dining Services
Phil Morrison, Director of Finance and Administration
Pat Sharpe, Dean of Academic Affairs
Charlie Derr, Director of Instructional Technology
Dear Students, 
Welcome back, remotely! We are writing to remind you about the resources and activities available to you all, how to access them, and to reinforce existing health protocols to keep us all safe and healthy as we complete the semester.
 
First and foremost, we must remember to practice social distancing wherever we are. For those on campus, we ask that you maintain six feet of distance between you and the people in front of and behind you in line when picking up meals from the Dining Hall. A distance of six feet between people should be maintained in all spaces on campus.
 
All Simon’s Rock students, regardless of location, continue to have access to student support services, academic support services, and activities. Please stay engaged with the activities you love and the supports you need as we create a new sense of community. 
 
The Wellness Center – Counseling Services
Counselors are available to schedule remote sessions. If you have previously been working with a counselor, please reach out via email to that counselor directly to schedule a time. If you have not worked with a counselor in the Wellness Center previously and would like to schedule a remote session, please email wellnesscenter@simons-rock.edu to make arrangements.
 
 
The Wellness Center – Medical Services
Currently, the Wellness Center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday with Dr. Piraino and one of the nurses available for backup after hours and on weekends. Students should call to speak with the doctor or a nurse about health issues in order to get advice and/or an appointment. Those requiring an appointment will be booked and individually let into the Wellness Center. If you are too ill to come to the Wellness Center, they will come to you. Please call campus safety at 413-528-7291 to be put through to a member of the team.
 
RISE
Though the call center will not be open, RISE is still here for you. RISE Advocates will be creating a mental health resource guide to share with the community. You can also follow us on Instagram, @riseadvocates. We will share helpful information on coping, self-care, and how to have healthy relationships online. We will keep the community updated with live streaming events to come soon!
 
Campus Life
Each Residence Director in the Academy and the College is available for virtual office hours and will send out connection information to students. To schedule a time directly, please reach out to your RD. 
Academy students are already connecting via our own Discord server and additionally can look forward to upcoming virtual movie screenings, game nights, and more. The first Academy Game Night will take place tonight, Tuesday, March 24 at 8:00 p.m. EST. Academy students should check their email for the link to join. 
 
Campus Life has moved their programming efforts to remote and virtual options. This week you can enjoy a TED Talk, participate in a painting session, or watch our new talk show, The Valerie Show: Live from Dolliver. Information for these programs is listed below, please check your email for weekly programming updates.
All students are welcome to participate in the activities listed below. 
  • Tuesday, March 24: TED Talk Tuesday featuring Deanna Van Buren’s What Would a World Without Prisons Look Like?
    Please follow @simonsrockhw on Instagram to discuss this TED Talk or email Residence Director Sherri Brown (sbrown@simons-rock.edu). Be sure to follow this Instagram accountfor additional details regarding upcoming Health & Wellness programs and activities.

  • Tuesday, March 24, 6:00 p.m. EST: Happy Accidents with Rebecca
    Join RD Rebecca Patterson (rpatterson@simons-rock.edu) as she embarks on a weekly painting journey—crafting along is strongly encouraged! You can join tonight’s session using the information provided below, Rebecca will be posting these sessions for all to view—more details to follow. 
Join the Zoom meeting here
Meeting ID: 158 032 170
Password: 413528
  • Wednesday, March 25, 7:00 p.m. EST: The Valerie Show: Live from Dolliver
    This show will be a mix of music, interviews, projects, and a lot of fun. Please send videos of your pets, crafts, or any projects you’d like to share to Valerie Fanarjian at vfanarjian@simons-rock.edu. Valerie will send out connecting instructions prior to showtime.

  • Sunday, March 29, 6:00 p.m. EST: Trivia Night!
    Join RD Brandon Pare for a weekly night of trivia and fun! Categories will come from student suggestions. Please email bpare@simons-rock.edu with category suggestions and with the names of those on your team (1–4 people per team). Trivia Night! will be hosted via Zoom. Brandon will send out connection information just before game time. 
CEI
The Council for Equity and Inclusion will still be hosting weekly meetings online through Zoom!
Mondays: 2:30 p.m – 4:00 p.m.
Join the meeting here
Meeting ID: 292 826 217
 
We will also continue to support you through bias-related concerns with the Bias Response Team. If you have experienced bias, please do not hesitate to reach out to anyone on the team (i.e., erhayes@simons-rock.edu), the whole team at biasresponse@simons-rock.edu, or use this Google form. Team members are listed in the form.
Look for an email about our VIRTUAL PRIDE WEEK celebration starting next week! Positive Practice emails will also return to remind us all to take a little self-care time each week. Have an idea for a remote event or just want to talk? Email us at cei@simons-rock.edu, mguetaserrano@simons-rock.edu, and/or erhayes@simons-rock.edu
 
Alumni Library
The library's online subscription resources—including JSTOR, Project Muse, EBSCO databases and more—are always available from any location. These resources include more than 200,000 ebooks, 50,000 full-text electronic journals and magazines, streaming music and video, and more. Use the links to these resources from the library's webpage, because the necessary authentication procedure is initiated by clicking those links. Librarians will also be offering virtual services to assist students with research questions. Interlibrary loan will be available as usual, with the exception that for students who are not on campus it will be limited to article requests. While we develop the details of library hours and virtual services, please feel free to contact library@simons-rock.edu with any questions.
 
Win Student Resource Commons – Academic Support
The Win Commons continues to provide academic support—tutoring, “drop-in” hours, accommodation support, academic transition (matriculation/moderation/transfer), study abroad, and career advice. Please be in touch via email or phone to arrange support.
Manat Wooten (mwooten@simons-rock.edu / 413-528-7248)
Jeannie Altshuler (jaltshuler@simons-rock.edu / 413-528-7383)
Nancy Bonvillain (nbonvillain@simons-rock.edu / 413-528-7233)
Sara Mugridge (smugridge@simons-rock.edu / 413-528-7445)
 
Title IX
The Title IX office is available to support students remotely. To schedule a virtual meeting or for resources, please email titleix@simons-rock.edu.
 
If there are other forms of support that would be helpful to you, please contact a member of the Task Force. 
 
Sincerely, 
Mickey Spaulding, on behalf of the Infectious Disease Task Force (IDTF)

Mickey Spaulding, Interim Dean of Students
Sue Lyon, Vice Provost
Sharon Hartunian, Director of the Wellness Center
Ken Geremia, Director of Campus Safety and Emergency Planning
Jenn Frederick, Director of Marketing and Communications
Barb Shultis, Director of Plant Operations
Meriweather Clark-Connors, Director of Dining Services
Phil Morrison, Director of Finance and Administration
Pat Sharpe, Dean of Academic Affairs
Charlie Derr, Director of Instructional Technology

To the Simon’s Rock Community,

A Simon’s Rock employee has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). This is the first confirmed case at Simon’s Rock.

In line with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the employee has been self-isolating at home for two weeks and reports they are feeling much better. We wish them all the best as they continue to recover.

Berkshire Public Health authorities, in coordination with Simon’s Rock, will be reaching out directly to anyone who may have been in close contact with the employee. Those individuals may be asked to self-isolate and maintain contact with health department officials.

Please send any questions you may have to the Infectious Disease Task Force at preparedness@simons-rock.edu.

Sincerely,

Mickey Spaulding, Interim Dean of Students
Sue Lyon, Vice Provost
Sharon Hartunian, Director of the Wellness Center
Diane Piraino, Campus Physician
Ken Geremia, Director of Campus Safety and Emergency Planning
Jenn Frederick, Director of Marketing and Communications
Barb Shultis, Director of Plant Operations
Meriweather Clark-Connors, Director of Dining Services
Phil Morrison, Director of Finance and Administration
Pat Sharpe, Dean of Academic Affairs
Charlie Derr, Director of Instructional Technology
Simon's Rock Infectious Disease Task Force

Dear Simon’s Rock Community,

Over the past few days, we have had to make many tough decisions in response to this unprecedented public health crisis. We sincerely regret that we couldn't grant every student's request to return to campus. We share your sense of loss at these changes to the spring semester.
Simon’s Rock is a part of a larger community in the Berkshires, and we must be cognizant of our role within that community—a community that is home not only to our students but to our staff and faculty and their families. Within the state of Massachusetts, Berkshire County has the highest rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases outside of Boston. In a previous communication, we shared that there were nine confirmed cases in Berkshire County. Today, that number has grown to 18, and Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield has more than 150 healthcare workers quarantined because of possible exposure to the virus. Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington is responding to community-spread cases in town, but their facilities are limited.

We are excited to be with you all again as classes resume remotely on Monday. Faculty have been working hard to plan how to deliver the remaining weeks of class as if you were in the classroom. We anticipate there may be bumps ahead, but working together, we will find the best solutions. Advisors are available as a resource, and the Win Commons will continue to provide tutoring, academic transition, career, and accessibility support remotely to all students.

In addition, early next week Campus Life will share an updated activities calendar where you will find an exciting schedule of remote and virtual activities led by the Residence Directors. We plan to keep you engaged with many of the activities that have become part of your life at Simon’s Rock. The programs will be offered both live and pre-recorded so you can access activities at times that work best for you. Upcoming events and activities include guided museum tours, ACE-related programming, and a new talk show hosted by Valerie Fanarjian herself, streaming live from Dolliver! Additionally, the Kilpatrick Athletic Center will be offering remote classes to keep us all moving. If you have ideas that you want us to facilitate, please be in touch! The Wellness Center will remain open, and counselors are available to be in touch remotely.

While the remaining weeks of the semester will certainly be much different than any of us could have expected, we are committed to providing you with the quality social and academic experience you deserve. Our hearts go out to all of you as you are experiencing this extraordinary disruption to your lives and academic work. We know that these changes have been especially difficult for seniors in the midst of “thesis season.” Still, we know the Simon’s Rock community will remain connected and engaged by supporting each other through this surreal time.


Sincerely,
Mickey Spaulding, Interim Dean of Students
Sue Lyon, Vice Provost
Sharon Hartunian, Director of the Wellness Center
Diane Piraino, Campus Physician
Ken Geremia, Director of Campus Safety and Emergency Planning
Jenn Frederick, Director of Marketing and Communications
Barb Shultis, Director of Plant Operations
Meriweather Clark-Connors, Director of Dining Services
Phil Morrison, Director of Finance and Administration
Pat Sharpe, Dean of Academic Affairs
Charlie Derr, Director of Instructional Technology
Simon's Rock Infectious Disease Task Force

To the Simon’s Rock Community:
Over the past few days, additional local, state, and federal mandates have been communicated and will be followed by Simon’s Rock:
The state has closed all K-12 schools, public and private, for the next three weeks, with the likelihood that this will be extended. All Bard Academy students will complete the semester remotely from off-campus.

  • Beginning today, all restaurants in Massachusetts will be closed to the public. They will continue take-out and delivery service only. This mandate applies to the Simon’s Rock dining hall, which will operate on a take-out only basis until further notice. Meals will be available at designated times for pick-up, however, seating will no longer be offered in the dining hall.

  • The state has also closed fitness and athletic centers. The Kilpatrick Athletic Center is already closed for scheduled renovations this week and will remain closed until further notice.

  • New federal guidelines limit gatherings to 10 people. Therefore, the Student Union is open for mail pick-up and room key drop-off only. The Alumni Library, Daniel Arts Center, Fisher Science Center, Lecture Center, classroom buildings, Kilpatrick Athletic Center, and Kellogg Music Center will be closed. The Hall College Center and Blodgett remain open on a limited basis with reduced services.

  • ITS is available to assist faculty, staff, and students remotely. Please reach out to them at its@simons-rock.edu if you need assistance.


We will continue to monitor local, state, and national directives and will update our community accordingly. Please continue to monitor your email and our COVID-19 webpage for further updates. Please also refer to the CDC and WHO websites for the most current guidance on health protocols and travel.

Please email preparedness@simons-rock.edu with any questions.


Warm Regards,

Infectious Disease Task Force
Mickey Spaulding, Interim Dean of Students
Sue Lyon, Vice Provost
Sharon Hartunian, Director of the Wellness Center
Diane Piraino, Campus Physician
Ken Geremia, Director of Campus Safety and Emergency Planning
Jenn Frederick, Director of Marketing and Communications
Barb Shultis, Director of Plant Operations
Meriweather Clark-Connors, Director of Dining Services
Phil Morrison, Director of Finance and Administration
Pat Sharpe, Dean of Academic Affairs
Charlie Derr, Director of Instructional Technology

Dear Bard Academy Students and Families:

Last night, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker issued additional parameters and guidelines in an effort to mitigate risks associated with COVID-19. Through these parameters, he has ordered that all K-12 schools, public and private, must close beginning tomorrow, March 17, for the next three weeks, with the likelihood that it will be extended.

Unfortunately, for our community, this means that in order for Simon’s Rock to remain in compliance with these state regulations, Bard Academy students cannot petition to return to campus after spring break ends this weekend, and must make plans to remain off-campus for the remainder of the semester. As stated in previous email messages to the Simon’s Rock community, your faculty have been hard at work planning lessons for remote learning and will be sharing their plans with each of you over the next week.

As you all likely packed in anticipation of a two-week break, we understand that some of you will need to retrieve belongings from your room. To make arrangements for this, please email academyrd@simons-rock.edu. There are shipping, storage, or self pick-up options available.

Please continue to monitor your email and our COVID-19 webpage for further updates. Please also refer to the CDC and WHO websites for the most current guidance on health protocols and travel.

Please email preparedness@simons-rock.edu with any questions. We thank you for your continued cooperation and support in helping to prevent the spread of this pandemic.

Warm Regards,

Michelle Spaulding, Interim Dean of Students

To the Simon’s Rock Community,

As you may be aware, a Bard College employee on the Annandale-on-Hudson, NY campus has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). This is the first confirmed case at Bard and they are following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and county health department.

As we disclosed on Thursday, in Berkshire County there are currently nine people who have tested positive for COVID19. These are community transmitted cases, with no known high-risk travel history. Since then, most K-12 public and private schools in the county have closed for the next two weeks and social gatherings have been canceled. The primary goal in this moment is to contain and manage the spread of the virus and to allow our medical community to attend to the members of the community who are especially affected. We are taking measures to protect the health of our community and appreciate your understanding that we are actively working to address the multiple concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Simon’s Rock has been working hard to provide flexible options for students to complete the semester remotely, whether on campus or from away, given the rapidly changing advisories about best practices to mitigate further spread, we are now requiring all students interested in returning to campus to complete this petition for permission to return to campus by Wednesday, March 18.

In order to return to campus you must receive explicit permission. Decisions regarding returns will depend on circumstances both locally and from where students have been traveling, as well as the specific need to be on campus. Students who have traveled to any Level 3 countries will not be approved to return to campus.

The campus will remain open for those who need to stay. Students who cannot travel, or return to families, or have constraints and needs that are best served by staying on campus, will have a home at Simon’s Rock for the duration of the crisis and until the end of the semester. However, those who remain on campus must agree to follow guidelines and instructions issued by Simon’s Rock as well as public health recommendations. This may include types of self-isolation/quarantine procedures. Given the state of emergency, social gatherings should be limited to no more than 20 people, and all public events are suspended. Other modifications of our regular services will be announced as the situation evolves.

Campus Life will continue to work with students and families to retrieve or store belongings. Please email campuslife@simons-rock.edu to make a plan.

Please continue to monitor your email and our COVID-19 Webpage for further updates. Please also refer to the CDC and WHO sites for the most current guidance on health protocols and travel.

We thank our community for your continued cooperation in helping to prevent the spread of this pandemic. Please email preparedness@simons-rock.edu with any questions.

Cordially,
Michelle Spaulding
Interim Dean of Students

The Infectious Disease Task Force

Mickey Spaulding, Interim Dean of Students
Sue Lyon, Vice Provost
Sharon Hartunian, Director of the Wellness Center
Diane Piraino, Campus Physician
Ken Geremia, Director of Campus Safety and Emergency Planning
Jenn Frederick, Director of Marketing and Communications
Barb Shultis, Director of Plant Operations
Meriweather Clark-Connors, Director of Dining Services
Phil Morrison, Director of Finance and Administration
Pat Sharpe, Dean of Academic Affairs
Charlie Derr, Director of Instructional Technology

What is the status of COVID-19 in Berkshire County?

Currently, nine people in Berkshire County have tested positive for COVID19. These are community transmitted cases, with no known high-risk travel history. 

The Boston Globe published an article related to the virus in Berkshire County: Read the article

Finally, you are encouraged to access these resources for additional information: 

 

Academic Questions

Are classes being offered exclusively remotely or will they be offered in person as well?

When classes resume on Monday, March 23, they will be offered using remote modes of instruction only. Faculty will not be holding classes on campus. All students will complete the semester remotely whether on campus or away. Labs and studio classes will also be delivered remotely. 

 

What are the arrangements for students who need to collect their books?

Please email campuslife@simons-rock.edu to make arrangements to retrieve student belongings, including textbooks. 

 

How will students complete Bard courses?

Students enrolled in courses at Bard College will continue with their regular courses via  new formats when classes resume at Bard. Students should remain in contact with their Bard faculty. We expect that all students will be able to complete all of their courses satisfactorily.

 

Will tutoring be available?

Yes, virtual tutoring will be available for students. We will be sending out additional information regarding the new tutoring system. 

 

How will I access library materials?

The library's online subscription resources - including JSTOR, Project Muse, EBSCO databases and more - are always available from any location. These resources include more than 200,000 ebooks, 50,000 full text electronic journals and magazines, streaming music and video, and more. Use the links to these resources from the library's webpage (https://simons-rock.edu/student-life/campus-experience/alumni-library/), because the necessary authentication procedure is initiated by clicking those links. Librarians will also be offering virtual services to assist students with research questions. Interlibrary loan will be available as usual, with the exception that for students who are not on campus it will be limited to article requests. While we develop the details of library hours and virtual services, please feel free to contact us at library@simons-rock.edu with any questions.

 

What are the plans for Commencement?

As of today, March 13, 2020,  Massachusetts Governor Baker issued an order prohibiting gatherings of over 250 people until further notice.  We are striving to celebrate our graduates, keep the community safe, and follow state and local orders. We do not currently have enough information yet to make a final decision on Commencement; we ask that students and families ensure their travel plans are as flexible as possible should cancellation or rescheduling be required. 

 

Campus Life Questions

If I decide to complete the semester from away now, can I return at a later date?

No, we are asking students and families to make a final decision and notify us by submitting this form no later than Monday, March 16.

 

If a student chooses to complete the semester on campus, when must they return?

Students returning to campus for the semester can arrive on Sunday, March 22. Students must return to campus by Monday, March 23 to begin the semester. Students cannot return before or after these dates without prior permission from Campus Life. 

 

If a student chooses to remain on campus, can they travel/leave the area?

Students who opt to complete the semester on campus will not be permitted to travel outside of Great Barrington and return to campus. If a student on campus later decides that they would like to return home for the remainder of the semester, they must notify campuslife@simons-rock.edu immediately. 

 

If I have a fever, cough, or flu-like symptoms can I return to campus?

To protect the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, anyone returning to campus must be symptom-free for 14 days before returning.

 

If a student is returning from a study abroad trip and needs to self quarantine for 14 days, can the student return after the quarantine period.

We ask that any student returning from abroad complete the quarantine process at home. After the quarantine period has ended they may return to campus.  

 

How can students, who choose to finish the semester from away, retrieve their belongings? Can this be done during spring break? 

Residence halls are open and students who decide to finish the semester off-campus can work with Campus Life to make an appointment to retrieve your belongings from campus, please email campuslife@simons-rock.edu to make arrangements. 

 

Do I need to return my room key?

Yes, students who will not be returning to campus must mail their keys back to campus: 

Attn: Campus Life
84 Alford Rd
Great Barrington, MA 01230

Students who are currently on campus can turn their key into Campus Safety.

 

Can families help their students move out?

Families can assist students with moving out by appointment with Campus Life, please email campuslife@simons-rock.edu to schedule a time. We ask that all family members follow CDC prevention guidelines and limit their time on campus to assisting with the move. Any person who has traveled from a country with a CDC level 3 warning within the last 14 days should not expect to assist with moving a student off-campus. 

 

Which campus facilities will remain open? 

  • The Kilpatrick Athletic Center will be closed beginning Saturday, March 14, at noon for planned renovations. Currently, it is scheduled to reopen Monday, March 23.  
  • The Student Union remains open 24/7. 
  • The library will remain open, however hours of operation may change.
  • All other campus buildings will open for use.

 

Will the dining hall be open for the remainder of the semester?  How will you handle large groups eating at once? 

At this time the dining hall is expected to remain open. We have already moved to a plated system to reduce the handling of serving utensils. We continue to work with Chartwells regarding other options such as moving to a boxed system. We are actively working with Dining Services to ensure that transmission mitigation procedures are in place. Once we have a final count of students on campus, we will arrange seatings so that the numbers are small enough to avoid crowding. 

 

If a student develops the virus, what arrangements are in place for meal delivery to their rooms, separate bathroom access, and so on?

We have a designated space on campus in the event that quarantine or isolation is necessary. Dining Services and Campus Life will work together to ensure isolated or quarantined students receive meals without risking exposure or transmission. 

 

If a student needs to store belongings on campus for the summer, what is the process? There are limited on-campus storage options available to students who need them, please email campuslife@simons-rock.edu for more information and to make arrangements. 

 

What is the refund policy?

We have received some questions regarding our refund policy for student departures, since our current refund policy is structured on students who withdraw from Simon's Rock. These are unprecedented times and we are currently focusing our energy on student safety and academic continuity. We appreciate your patience as we work through the options available. It is clear that tuition billing and payments plans will continue as scheduled.

Dear Simon’s Rock Community,

In a letter to the Bard Community earlier today, President Botstein outlined the overarching policies for Bard College in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. His complete letter is included below for you. Bard Academy and Bard College at Simon’s Rock have a somewhat different academic calendar and class configuration than the Annandale campus of Bard College; the key dates and elements that will be in place for Simon’s Rock are as follows:


  1. When classes resume on Monday, March 23, they will be offered using remote modes of instruction.It appears that social distancing is an important step to protecting against the spread of the virus.Therefore, faculty are developing study plans for the remainder of the semester. Support for senior theses, advisees, and students in our courses will be available. These plans will be communicated to students by their faculty in the coming days. 

  1. Residence halls and campus facilities will be open for students who remain or decide to return to campus.The spring semester will continue, and students have the option to complete the semester from on- or off-campus. For students who decide to finish the semester off-campus, Campus Life will work with you to retrieve your belongings from campus, please email campuslife@simons-rock.edu to make arrangements. If you are currently on campus and need transportation to an airport, train station, etc. please email transportation@simons-rock.edu to make arrangements.

    For students who decide to complete the semester on campus, we ask that you continue to follow the CDC guidelines and if you should develop symptoms, reach out to your Residence Director for support. If you have been off-campus during the break and are currently experiencing symptoms such as a fever or cough, we ask that you remain off-campus. All students must indicate their plans via this form by Monday, March 16.

    Do not return to campus if you have traveled to any area that the CDC considers to be high risk (Level 3) for COVID-19 within the last 14 days. Healthy travelers from these areas need to self-quarantine for 14 days, and you should not expect to do that on campus.

  1. The Wellness Center will remain open, although delivery of services may change based on student needs. More information will be sent to students in the coming days.

  1. Campus meetings and events for 20 or more people will be offered virtually. If a virtual alternative cannot be offered, the event will be postponed or canceled.

We thank you for your patience, creativity, and flexibility as we navigate the remainder of the semester together. Our work is to keep the safety of our students, faculty, and staff paramount to any decision we make. As the pandemic continues to evolve, we will be in communication with you with further updates and information. If you have any questions, please email preparedness@simons-rock.edu for the most accurate information. 


Thank you for your support,

Dimitri Papadimitriou

Ian Bickford

Sue Lyon


Simon’s Rock Covid-19 Updates Web Page

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Letter from President Botstein


Dear Bard College Faculty, Staff, Students, and Families,

 

I am writing to you all with regard to Bard College’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bard’s primary concern is the health and safety of all members of this community, its students, faculty and staff.

 

We remain in daily contact with our peer institutions as well as with local, county, and state officials and health care providers and experts. In making plans we are also taking into account the rapidly evolving national, regional, and global context.

 

Students who wish to leave campus may elect to do so without prejudice or disadvantage as of today, but they must inform the College. All students are required to register their plans--to leave or to stay--by Monday, March 16th (via this FORM). For those who depart, we ask that they adhere to government recommendations about travel. Students who depart will not be allowed to return to campus without explicit approval.

 

Bard College is open for those who need to remain for personal or academic reasons, and understands and supports the decision by those who can do so to return home. The College will also adapt to circumstances as they change. Students who cannot travel, or return to families, or have constraints and needs that are best served by staying on campus, will have a home in Annandale for the duration of the crisis and until the end of the semester. However, those who remain on campus must agree to follow guidelines and instructions issued by the College as well as public health recommendations. This may include types of self-isolation/quarantine procedures. Students who elect to remain must inform the College. They must also inform the College if they decide to leave at any point.

 

Students should keep in touch with teachers and administrators to ensure continuity in their coursework, which will be conducted, in whole or in part, through remote learning. We encourage students to stay in close contact with faculty members and advisors.  Let me emphasize once more, however, that those students who need to remain on campus are welcome to do so. We are able to be flexible and to accommodate diverse needs because we are comparatively small and remain committed to high quality instruction and learning.

 

Faculty and Continuity of Instruction

 

Bard expects that all students will be able to complete the semester. Faculty are now engaged in adapting their courses to remote learning strategies so that students are able to continue their studies. We are working through multiple modalities that are consistent with Bard’s individualized approach to learning. The Center for Faculty & Curricular Development (CFCD) has been a platform for curricular planning here in Annandale. We are reaching out to our international partners and drawing on the experience of educators in all parts of the Bard network to meet the challenges ahead.

 

Therefore, coursework will continue. We expect faculty in the last week before spring break to work with students and colleagues to facilitate the transition to remote instruction. At the same time, we will not prevent those faculty who wish to meet with students on campus and hold classes from doing so. Most, if not all, of our classes are quite small. It is important to note that Bard’s flexible strategy may change at the direction of local, state, and national authorities. 

 

All undergraduate faculty and academic programs must file their plans with the Dean of the College for meeting the obligations to our students and ensuring thecontinuity of instruction by Friday, March 13. All graduate programs must file plans with the Dean of Graduate Studies by March 13. Optimal support for senior projects, advisees, and students in our courses will be the guiding criterion in our academic planning. I want to thank the faculty for its principled engagement with this process. I also wish to thank my colleagues in the administration.  

 

Bard’s approach to the COVID-19 crisis takes into account the College’s civic responsibility, which is to help slow the spread of the virus and help prevent a crisis that might derive from unmanageable pressure on the health care resources in our community. 

 

Facilities and Campus Operations

Campus facilities and residence halls will be open for students who remain. Our current plan is to keep the library, labs, studios, and learning spaces accessible.

 

We are moving to suspend all college-sponsored travel, limit the size of gatherings, and postpone larger campus events 

 

Many local community agencies, partners, and schools are already feeling the impact of this crisis and we anticipate closures and limitations for visitor and volunteers that typically help with Bard’s activities. We are actively working to develop virtual volunteer opportunities for the local community.  In this crisis there is an opportunity for all individuals to make their contribution to the public welfare. I encourage all of us to get involved and help at a moment when many in the community need us. If you are interested in lending your talents during this time to help, look for the communication that will be forthcoming. 

 

Please check your email and theCOVID-19 Bard Website for daily updates. If you have questions, as a student, faculty member, parent or staff member, do not hesitate to contact the appropriate office of the college or reach out to responseteam@bard.edu.

 

I want to wish good health and safety to every member of the Bard community. I also want to urge all of you to stay calm, and to consult only reliable sources of information, ones based on science and medicine. Please resist the self-interested exploitation of this crisis rampant within the media and among politicians. And also remember how much and how little we know and how quickly circumstances can change.

 

Most of all please remember that we need to work together not only in the near term, the period of the pandemic, but also beyond it. We need to see to it that the values of teaching and learning in real time, with students and teachers within a learning community, are not diminished, and that the short-term utility of the virtual and digital spaces does not lead to the devaluation of the virtues of human contact and community to the benefit of financial efficiency and mere technological progress.

 

The prominence of the arts in Bard’s academic culture helps highlight the obstacles and opportunities we face. Although there may be no adequate replacement for performance and exhibition in real time and space, the ingenuity of our practitioners in theater, dance and music, in particular, is adequate to the challenge. Most importantly, however, we need to remember there is no evidence that democracy and freedom can flourish without a public realm, and the gathering of communities together in common spaces. After COVID-19 recedes and danger and fear retreat, we must redouble our efforts to renew and sustain the spirit and practice of critical inquiry, the exercise of the imagination, the best practices of residential liberal arts colleges, and the teaching and learning they require.

Cordially,

Leon Botstein



Dear Simon’s Rock Community,

Before many of us head off of campus for break, we want to provide some additional information and build awareness of best practices to combat stigma and bias in regard to COVID-19.

We also want to remind students to bring their books home in case your return to campus is delayed.

Through media coverage, social interactions, and even comments made by political leaders, there has been an increasing social stigma surrounding COVID-19. This means that people have been labeled, stereotyped, and/or discriminated against due to any perceived link with this disease. Aside from creating and perpetuating bias, this social stigma can also potentially prevent ill people from seeking medical care (regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19), can discourage them from adopting healthy behaviors (like covering one’s cough/sneeze), and can cause them to hide a potential illness in fear of discrimination.

We can fight stigma and help others by providing social support and communicating with facts.

Stay Informed
We urge each and every one of you to consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), MA Department of Public Health (DPH), and World Health Organization (WHO) for factual information regarding prevention, advisories, and potential risk.

Words Matter

Please be mindful of how you talk about COVID-19 in general and about those who may be affected by the illness directly or indirectly. WHO has created a helpful guide to social stigma and how to actively address and combat it, which we have linked below. It’s worth reading.

 A Guide to Preventing and Addressing Social Stigma
You will find a section on Frequently Asked Questions below to address some of the most common questions we, and public health officials, are receiving.
If you have not already done so, please share your spring break travel plans: 
 Spring Break Travel Plans Form

Please reach out to Mickey Spaulding, Interim Dean of Students, mspaulding@simons-rock.edu, with any questions.

And lastly, please refer to the quick tips from the Wellness Center on how to stay healthy and avoid this and other viruses, and read on for the FAQs.

Sincerely,

The Infectious Disease Task Force

Mickey Spaulding, Interim Dean of Students
Sue Lyon, Vice Provost
Sharon Hartunian, Director of the Wellness Center
Diane Piraino, Campus Physician
Ken Geremia, Director of Campus Safety and Emergency Planning
Jenn Frederick, Director of Marketing and Communications
Barb Shultis, Director of Plant Operations
Meriweather Clark-Connors, Director of Dining Services
Phil Morrison, Director of Finance and Administration
Pat Sharpe, Dean of Academic Affairs
Charlie Derr, Director of Instructional Technology

 

FAQs

What if I am sick before I leave school?
Please come to the Wellness Center ASAP!
We will evaluate you and treat you to help ensure safe traveling.

What if I get sick over break?
If you are sick during the second week of break, you or your parents should call or email Mickey Spaulding 
- Phone: 413-644-4711 
- Email: mspaulding@simons-rock.edu
- Please do not return to campus if you have a fever and cough. Check with a local health provider before traveling.
- Please do not return to campus if you are traveling from, or have been in during the past 14 days, any area that the CDC considers to be high risk (Level 3) for COVID-19. Healthy travelers from these areas need to self-quarantine for 14 days, and you should not expect to do that on campus.

What can I expect from airport screenings?
- Longer lines, longer waits, and more questions than usual. Be patient.
- Have all your travel documents ready (passport/ID, I-20, and I-94 for F-1 visa students) or permanent residency card (for green card holders) and Simon’s Rock travel letter (see below).
- Expect possible medical screening, such as having your temperature taken and/or a saliva swab.
- Expect to be asked to complete current health questionnaire forms.

What is a travel letter, and how will it help me?
A travel letter is helpful for students traveling internationally during break. It provides information about your enrollment at Simon’s Rock and your whereabouts since our second semester started in January. If you are asked to provide information about where you have been over the last few months, this letter will answer initial questions. 
If you need a travel letter, please reach out to Mickey Spaulding at 413-644-4711 or mspaulding@simons-rock.edu


Who do I call if I need help when I am traveling to or from campus?
Call your parents so they know where you are and can offer assistance.
Call Campus Safety at 413-644-4400.

What if my travel plans change or I am unable to return to school?
Call Campus Safety at 413-528-7291. 
Email Mickey Spaulding at mspaulding@simons-rock.edu

What will Simon’s Rock do if I cannot get back to campus?
Simon’s Rock will approach this on a case-by-case basis. Our primary interest will be to help students make progress toward completing the school year. Details of any arrangements will depend on the individual circumstances of each student who is unable to return to campus.

Please visit the CDC FAQs for any additional questions around travel, quarantine, or status of COVID-19. 
 CDC FAQs

Dear Simon’s Rock Community, 
 
We are writing with updates regarding our response to the COVID-19 virus. As you may know, this is a constantly evolving situation. We are monitoring this situation closely and will continue to send out regular updates to the community. 
 
Simon’s Rock has a task force in place to manage any public health emergency situations on campus, including preparedness efforts. This team is meeting regularly and is utilizing resources and advice from public health officials to stay abreast of the most current recommendations. On Tuesday, several of us had the opportunity to participate in a call with the Massachusetts State Department of Public Health (DPH). DPH officials assured us that the risk of contracting COVID-19 in Massachusetts remains low and that there has been no indication of community-level transmission in Massachusetts. We continue to remain in close consultation with local and state public health officials.
 
As we quickly approach spring break, we again urge you all to bookmark the CDC website to stay up to date on the latest travel advisories and general guidelines for COVID-19.
 
As many of you are traveling over the next two weeks, we also ask that you share your travel plans with us in the form provided below so that we can keep up-to-date with any travel delays or re-routes that you may experience. Of course, as soon as you are made aware of any delays or new route information, please call Campus Safety (413-528-7291) to let us know. Please let your Residence Director know if you have any concerns surrounding your spring break travel plans, they are here to help and support you. 
 
 
You can also visit our COVID-19 Updates page on our website to see campus messages that have been sent out.
 
Should you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Mickey Spaulding, Interim Dean of Students: mspaulding@simons-rock.edu 
 
Sincerely, 
 
The Infectious Disease Task Force
 
 
Mickey Spaulding, Interim Dean of Students
Sue Lyon, Vice Provost
Sharon Hartunian, Director of the Wellness Center
Diane Piraino, Campus Physician
Ken Geremia, Director of Campus Safety and Emergency Planning
Jenn Frederick, Director of Marketing and Communications
Barb Shultis, Director of Plant Operations
Meriweather Clark-Connors, Director of Dining Services
Phil Morrison, Director of Finance and Administration
Pat Sharpe, Dean of Academic Affairs
Charlie Derr, Director of Instructional Technology

Wellness Center Update 03/03/2020

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation is rapidly evolving with, as of today, cases reported in 64 countries on 6 continents. The basic advice on how to stay healthy remains the same: good personal hygiene. (See preventative measures listed above or click the image to download the quick tips.)

The Wellness Center has been, and will continue to, work with community resources and departments across campus on plans to keep us all safe in the event of a local outbreak. The current recommendations in Massachusetts are that you seek medical care if you have fever and cough and have, in the last 14 days, traveled to China, Iran, South Korea or Italy or been exposed to anyone with COVID-19. These recommendations are likely to change over the next few weeks as more is known about the virus and more resources become available for testing.

COVID-19 prevention

There is currently no treatment or vaccine for the virus. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is reminding us, however, that we are in the midst of a significant flu epidemic across the country and that unvaccinated people should still be getting vaccine. We recommend that all students under 18 be vaccinated at home during break if possible. Those 18 and over should be able to get vaccinated at a local pharmacy (just bring your insurance card).

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control both have excellent online resources that are constantly updated.

As Spring Break approaches, we have been monitoring updates and travel advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Below, we are including the current CDC travel advisories and encourage you to bookmark the CDC's travel advisory web page to monitor the latest developments. We want to highlight that these advisories are likely to change in the coming weeks and could even change as you are traveling, which could prevent or delay a return to the United States and campus. 
 
If you have any concerns surrounding your spring break travel plans, please connect with a Campus Life staff member. If you are re-routed or delayed while traveling, please let Campus Safety know so that we can make sure we have transportation arranged for you to come back to campus when you are able. Should a change in plans, anticipated or otherwise, require you to remain on campus for some or all of the break, please let your RD know immediately or call Campus Safety (413-528-7291) if your travel plans change during the break. 
 
Lastly, we ask that all in our community remain supportive of our students who are unable to travel home or who may have family members affected by this public health emergency.
 
The CDC's travel advisories are as follows:
 
Warning Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel
The outbreak is of high risk to travelers and no precautions are available to protect against the identified increased risk. 
  • South Korea
  • China (this does not include Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan)
Alert Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions
The Travel Health Notice describes additional precautions added, or defines a specific at-risk population. 
  • Italy
  • Iran
  • Japan
Watch Level 1
Practice Usual Precautions 
 • Hong Kong
 
Cruise ship passengers are at an increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, and as such they may encounter strict screening procedures, travel restrictions impairing itineraries, and quarantine procedures when disembarking. 

Helpful Resources

Links to the Mass.gov and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention