Why Is Bard’s Campus Closed to Us?


Bard has had amazing success at managing the COVID-19 pandemic in its community. Over the last year, despite welcoming students on campus from around the world, it has had only 10 cases of COVID-19, six among students and four among employees. (Its COVID-19 dashboard is updated weekly.) The administration’s approach has one big lesson for all of us—make the hard choices. Every time we, as a people, have relaxed our vigilance and succumbed to that very human desire for normality, the virus has slipped in to get us.  

The Bard COVID Safety Committee decision most visible to LLI members has been to close the Bard campus to all outsiders. (As much as we love Bard and enjoy its facilities, that includes us!) As the pandemic has become more acute in the area, Bard has updated and tightened its protective measures. Montgomery Place and the Hessel Museum, both of which had been open on a limited basis, are now also closed. (You can check their websites to see when these restrictions are lifted). 

Strict Preventive Measures

Some of the measures Bard has taken are useful examples for the rest of us trying our best to remain safe. 

  1. Anyone who is not subject to Bard’s routine of COVID testing, even a student learning remotely, is not permitted on campus. The no-visitors policy applies to everyone, including friends and family. Access to the campus by members of the surrounding communities is prohibited and unauthorized visitors will be removed. 
  2. Students, faculty, and employees who are learning, teaching, or working on campus are subject to daily health screenings as well as periodic COVID testing.  
  3. Students are required to take COVID safety training and are asked to journal their daily contacts and interactions, both for contact-tracing purposes and to let them see how well they are adhering to social distancing. 
  4. Faculty, students, and employees are asked to avoid all nonessential travel. 
  5. Many activities have moved online, and these, of course, are open to the community. You can check the Bard calendar to see what’s happening and to participate. 

These policies, difficult and limiting as they are, have been largely successful in preventing the spread of COVID on the Bard Campus. They are a good example for the rest of us struggling against our natural instincts for human contact, exercise, and stimulation to follow.