Bard closes college to all visitors

Bard College - photo provided.

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON – Bard College has been operating this semester with in-person classes; however, as a precaution with regional upticks in COVID-19 cases, the school will now be operating as a closed campus.

Bard College President Leon Botstein and to students had recently lost a court battle to move a polling place to the Bard campus for the upcoming elections.  The college has since decided to appeal the court’s decision, in an attempt to move the polling place from an off-campus church to the campus.

“A person who does not live, work, or study at Bard will not be allowed access to the campus without prior approval from the college,” school President Leon Botstein announced on Monday.

The action is not in response to something taking place at the college but is “a precautionary measure” based on recommendations from their consultants at Nuvance, he said.

The decision to close the school to all outside visitors also applies to Montgomery Place.

In-person admissions tours and athletics recruitment visits, which have been limited to one family per day and remained outdoors, will now be virtual until further notice.

“By working together and maintaining our vigilance, we have been able to sustain the health of the campus community and in-person teaching through to the midpoint of the semester,” Botstein said. “In order to continue with in-person classes and operate the spring semester with in-person teaching, we must stay attuned to the evolving public health conditions, and, when necessary, adjust our policies accordingly.”

“Bard’s plan is quite obvious,” said Republican Dutchess County Elections Commissioner Erik Haight, who opposed moving the polling location to the college. “Get the court to move the poll site on campus and then close it to the public under the guise of the pandemic so only students can vote. Clearly my position has been affirmed and vindicated. I will never back down from protecting the needs of all the voters.”

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