Columbia University and Barnard have canceled in-person classes for the fall 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns.
Columbia and Barnard join many universities moving to online only classes for the Fall of 2020. Columbia will also be scaling back on the number of students it will allow to live on campus, while Barnard will be shutting all its residence halls.
“A very large percentage of our residence hall population falls into this category,” Columbia President Lee Bollinger said in a statement, referring to students who would be required to quarantine.
“While I am supportive of the measures New York State has imposed,” he said, “and while I have no doubt that we could ensure a safe quarantine period from a public health standpoint, two weeks is a long time to endure isolation, especially for students who will be leaving home for the first time. Conditions for all students in quarantine will be austere, to say the least.”
Barnard President Sian Leah Beilock said the school does not have the facilities to accommodate the state's quarantine mandate.
“It has become clear that the state-mandated quarantine ... would put an unreasonable burden on many of our students and their families,” she said in a message to the college. “Although we have confidence in our plans to reopen campus, the current situation in the country and the resulting New York State mandates make an in-person start to the academic year untenable."
Some students have already moved back to New York to quarantine and living in off-campus housing are upset over the timing of their decision. One student, Alexis, on Twitter writes, "columbia really said “we gonna make u enroll and pay and get housing in nyc but wait... 3 days before we gonna tell u it’s cancelled hehe."