March 23: Campus Updates

Dear Students, 

I write with a few updates:


Co-Curricular Programs

In addition to all of the programs and experiences that I shared with you in my last update on March 9, I want to provide some new programming updates.

Harward Center Programs

Volunteering and community engagement can be an excellent way to reduce stress while contributing to local social change efforts. The Harward Center supports a wide range of opportunities. In addition, consider these options:

  • Volunteer with a local vaccination clinic. The new mass-vaccination clinic hosted by CMMC will soon welcome student volunteers. Stay tuned for details.
  • Apply for a club- or team-based mini-grant to support your group’s community engagement. Community Liaisons apply on behalf of their group.
  • Think about summer. Summer is a great time in Maine, and many local organizations welcome Bates students as paid interns/employees. In addition to Purposeful Work internships, students who have Work Study in their financial aid package may apply for local Community Work Study summer positions through the Harward Center. Contact Marty Deschaines, mdeschai@bates.edu, to inquire.
  • Lay the groundwork for next year.
    • Apply now for a paid position for next school year as a Community Outreach Fellow, coordinating programs and recruiting volunteers in an issue area you care about, e.g., youth and schools, athletics and mentorship, the arts, food security, environmental justice and conservation, the elderly, and legal reform. 
    • Want to focus your thesis or capstone project on a real-world issue you’re passionate about? The Harward Center staff can help you explore possible community-engaged research topics and partners. Contact Sam Boss, aboss@bates.edu, to get the conversation started.
Multifaith Chaplaincy Programs

Finding spaces for reflection and connection feels more essential than ever. The Multifaith Chaplaincy has a vibrant array of programs that create meaningful relationships, explore life-giving spiritual practices, and facilitate meeting new people in meaningful ways. 

Multifaith programs are for students of any, multiple, or no religious and spiritual tradition.

  • Anam Cara, the Celtic concept of “Soul Friend,” will pair you with another Bates student for bi-weekly, cozy conversations rooted in thoughtful prompts. 
  • {PAUSE} is a restorative half hour of art, silence, and poetry in a candlelit Gomes Chapel from 9 to 9:30 p.m. bi-weekly on Wednesdays. 
  • Being and Becoming is a Module D group for graduating seniors to ponder important questions on meaning, how to build community, and what life will be like after Bates. 
  • Arts and Spirituality programs like “Haiku for Two” and “Care, Color and Connectivity” encourage you to find a sense of presence through art-making and aesthetic experience.
  • FreePress will be back again on May 6. Learn about and create social-justice-centered screen prints on tote bags, T-shirts, posters and more. 
  • Meeting with a Multifaith Chaplain. Need a loving listening ear? Any student can have a confidential, compassionate conversation with a Multifaith Chaplain about anything you are carrying on your heart. Email multifaithchaplaincy@bates.edu to find a time.

Social Gatherings Off-Campus

This past weekend, we received a number of reports from neighbors and others regarding off-campus social gatherings where individuals were not adhering to our public health guidelines. The Office of Student Support and Community Standards will be following up directly with those who may have been involved. However, we wish to ask all of you to please do your part to keep our community safe by adhering to the Student Public Health Agreement

If you live off campus, please keep all gatherings under 10 total individuals and be sure that everyone is properly masked and practicing physical distancing. Also, be aware of noise or disruption to your neighbors that may result in their calling the Lewiston police.

If you live on campus, please do not go to off-campus gatherings. This puts off-campus students in the difficult position of enforcing college policy with their peers. Additionally, noise that is generated from students traveling to and from campus can be quite loud and disruptive to our neighbors, which can result in a police response and citations. 

We know how challenging this year has been for the social life of our students, but we do not want to find ourselves having to send large numbers of students home because of public health violations, as some peer institutions have already had to do. Please do all you can to keep our campus healthy and to help keep us in a position where we can offer in-person learning.


Continuing to Follow Face Covering and Physical Distancing Protocols

While the country and the state of Maine continue to make progress on vaccine rollout, the public health conditions today don’t look all that much different than the fall semester. The vast majority of the country’s population, as well as the Bates population, remains unvaccinated and variants of the virus that are more transmissible and severe are gaining ground throughout the U.S., including Maine.

With this in mind, we are concerned with what we are observing on campus: more and more students not wearing face coverings or practicing physical distancing. This was particularly true this past weekend. It is certainly wonderful to have warmer weather that allows us to gather together outside, but we must continue to adhere to our public health policies, whether inside or outside.


COVID-19 Vaccines

Accessing a Vaccine in Maine

We continue to work very closely with the Maine CDC and local healthcare providers on the vaccine rollout. As you may know, the distribution of vaccines is being managed by the state, and two weeks ago Gov. Mills announced that we are moving primarily to an age-based system rather than a combination of age, medical conditions, and job function system.

In addition, this past Friday, the governor announced that beginning Monday, April 19, 2021, all Maine residents age 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination. The state is maintaining a website that is updated as timelines and eligibility change. We are actively working to confirm that students can be considered Maine residents for the vaccine.

In our work with the Maine CDC and our partners at CMMC, we continue to offer our facilities to assist with mass-vaccination efforts. As all of you have experienced at our COVID-19 Testing Center, we are very successful at establishing and maintaining these large-scale operations. We have already partnered with United Ambulance for three vaccine clinics on campus for local first responders, which have allowed us to test our capacity to do vaccine clinics on campus. 

Public Health Policies for Those Already Vaccinated

While we continue through the semester, it’s important to continue testing, masking, distancing, and keeping close contacts to a minimum, even for students who have been vaccinated. Here is why:

  • While greatly reduced, vaccinated individuals may still have some risk for contracting and transmitting COVID-19.
  • Researchers are continuing to learn more about the long-term efficacy of the vaccine.
  • A lot remains unknown about existing and future variants of the virus.

As a higher percentage of the global, U.S., and campus population becomes vaccinated, we will revisit campus public health policies in consultation with the Maine CDC and public health experts from the Mayo Clinic and Harvard T.H. Chan School. Based on local and national vaccination rates, it is unlikely that public health policies will be relaxed for the remainder of the winter semester, including out-of-state travel. 

It’s important to keep in mind that each individual who gets vaccinated contributes toward a community effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is the community effort as a whole that will allow us to relax public health practices.


Where to Direct Questions

If you have any questions and are not quite sure to whom you should direct your question, please send your inquiry to studentaffairs@bates.edu and we will be sure to connect you to the person best situated to assist you.

Thank you for your continued patience and cooperation.

All my best,
Joshua McIntosh
Vice President for Campus Life