Quarantine and Contact Tracing FAQs

Who is responsible for contact tracing? Does Bates have trained contact tracers on staff or is it an outside provider?

Bates has six staff members dedicated to the contact tracing process for students. All six have participated in Maine CDC Contact Tracer Training Certification through the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO).

How did Bates develop its contact tracing procedures?

Bates developed contact tracing policies and procedures to align with Maine CDC guidance. All Bates contact tracers went through Maine CDC Contact Tracer Training. For more information about Bates contact tracing, please visit the Fall 2020 helpful definitions page. More information about Maine CDC contact tracing guidelines and programs can be found here. The U.S. CDC website also presents information about contact tracing.

Some individuals may have different levels of exposure when identified as close contacts. Some are masked the whole time while others are unmasked. Some are close contacts from being together for 15 minutes and others spent six hours together. How do contact tracers differentiate between various types of exposure?

The CDC does not differentiate between types of exposure nor does it account for source control (i.e. masking) for close contacts. Once an individual meets the threshold to be considered a close contact, they must quarantine for 14 days in accordance with state regulations. Bates is following the Maine CDC definition of a close contact. Additional information from the U.S. CDC is available here.

How did Bates develop its quarantine policy for close contacts?

Bates developed its quarantine policies in accordance with guidance from the Maine CDC and public health professionals. The State of Maine mandates that “individuals asked to quarantine [due to being a close contact] should do so for 14 days from their last exposure to the individual with COVID-19.”

What is Bates policy with respect to in-room quarantine?

Based on contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or someone who has COVID-19 symptoms, students are required to follow in-room quarantine protocol until they have been cleared by a medical provider at Bates Health Services. 

  • Students identified as close contacts through contact tracing will follow quarantine for 14 days per Maine CDC guidance.
  • Students who have symptoms of illness are required to remain in quarantine until a negative COVID-19 test result from BHS returns, and they’ve been asymptomatic for COVID-19 symptoms for 24 hours per CDC guidance.

Students practicing in-room quarantine must follow the directives below:

  • Return immediately to their assigned room, and remain there until given permission by Bates Health Services to discontinue quarantine.
    • If the student has not already been to Bates Health Services to be tested, they should schedule an appointment to be tested and come at that time.
  • Avoid contact with all other community members.
    •  If using the bathroom, the student must wear a mask and physically distance themselves from others.
  • The student may perform outdoor activities alone, with no one around them, while wearing a mask. This includes running alone, sitting alone, reading outside alone, etc.
    • They must stay a minimum of 12 feet away from others while outside.
  • The student may not enter any indoor spaces other than their residence.

Bates will continue to respond to updated guidance from the Maine CDC, and all COVID-19 policies will be revised accordingly. 

If a student is required to follow in-room quarantine, how many more tests should they expect to receive? 

Students practicing in-room quarantine are assigned a personalized testing regime by a medical provider that corresponds with their specific symptoms and date of exposure. 

What college resources and supports are available to students while required to follow in-room quarantine?

We understand that quarantining can be difficult, and we will work with students to ensure that they are supported emotionally and medically throughout this process. Student Health Support Services staff at Bates Health Services, Brenna Callahan, will be the primary point of contact for supporting students in quarantine.

  • If students have any medical questions, they can call Bates Health Services at (207) 786-6199. After hours, this number will direct a student to the medical provider on call.
  • If a student needs counseling or psychological support, they can call Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at (207) 786-6200. After hours, call (207) 786-6200 to speak to the counselor on call. 
  • In case of emergency while in quarantine, students can contact Campus Safety at (207) 786-6111.
  • A student’s Student Support Advisor (SSA) will reach out to check-in and is an additional support.
  • All campus offices are open for remote meetings and conversations as needed.
  • Students may contact Campus Life to learn about remote campus events.
  • We will offer a weekly group Zoom session for students in quarantine with Student Health Support Coordinator and Specialist Brenna Callahan. These sessions will be at 4:30 pm on Wednesdays. Brenna will send the link to students in quarantine weekly.
How do students get meals when required to in-room quarantine?

Students required to quarantine who are on the meal plan are asked to have a friend bring them meals for the period of their quarantine. If a student on the meal plan is unable to arrange for someone to bring them food please contact Donald Desrosiers at ddesrosi@bates.edu to make alternative arrangements. If a student on the meal plan needs meal support around dietary restrictions, please email Christine Schwartz, cschwart@bates.edu.

How do students receive mail when in quarantine?

Students in quarantine may still receive campus mail or packages. To receive mail, please email (qimaildelivery@bates.edu) with your:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Mailbox number
  • And needing mail or a package, etc.

Mail will be delivered to students’ rooms two times a week.

Can a student do laundry while in quarantine, and what happens if a student’s laundry card runs out while in quarantine?

Students may do their own laundry while in quarantine. The student must be physically distanced and masked at all times while doing laundry.

If a student’s laundry card runs out while they are in quarantine, they should email qimaildelivery@bates.edu to receive support in filling their card.

Can a student order food delivery when following quarantine protocol?

A student may order food delivery while following quarantine protocol. This must be contactless delivery; the student should pay over the phone, and food should be delivered by dropping it outside the residence door, physically distanced.

What happens if a student does not adhere to quarantine policies?

Students are required to follow all public health directives related to testing, quarantining, and isolation, detailed in the Student Public Health Agreement. A first violation may result in a referral to the student conduct process where the likely outcome will be immediate removal from campus housing, removing access to campus facilities, and a requirement that the student return to their home residence to continue the semester via remote learning if their courses can be completed remotely. Subsequent violations may result in a referral to the Student Conduct Committee where a minimum one-semester suspension will be the likely outcome. Such students may also be suspended provisionally in order to protect the wellbeing of our community.

A COVID-19 related policy was different a couple days or weeks ago than it is now, what is going on?

We are frequently monitoring public health best practices, as well as evolving state and federal regulations. Clinical knowledge about COVID-19 is rapidly increasing over time in the scientific, infectious disease, and public health communities. As Bates continues to respond to updated guidance from the Maine CDC, COVID-19 related policies will adapt accordingly throughout the academic year. In addition, the college may learn of better ways to do things based on the student experience, and we are prepared to adjust accordingly as long as any changes align with CDC regulations and responsible public health practices.