Aug. 3: What to do when you’re planning to return for the fall semester

With arrival now on the horizon, here is information about getting ready to travel to campus, traveling, arrival, and move-in — what you can do all the way through to the first day of classes. 

If any of these plans make you uncertain or concerned about returning to campus in the fall,  you should elect to remain home and do remote learning. Please notify Student Affairs staff member Faith Hauger,, by Friday, Aug. 7, if you wish to change from on-campus to remote learning for the fall semester.

What to Do Today Until You Travel

All students will arrive on campus between Aug. 25 and 27, according to their assigned arrival time. This staggered arrival ensures that everyone is spread out and able to access what they need as quickly as possible, including required testing. 

Key Takeaway: You can take constructive steps that will help you arrive at Bates coronavirus-free. Be proactive about your health before traveling. 

New students have received their assigned arrival day and time. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors need to sign up for your arrival time on Garnet Gateway. 

Get Tested If You Can (Including Fellow Travelers)

No matter where you are, if COVID-19 testing is available in your area, get a test before you come. If you are able, take your test 72 hours before travel. Reminder: Regardless of your negative test prior to arrival, all students will be tested upon arrival. If you test positive, contact your local medical provider and contact Bates Health Services,, to let Bates know of your situation.

Anyone traveling with a student must follow Maine CDC guidelines for entering Maine, including a 14-day self-quarantine in some cases. The state will allow adults to forgo the 14-day quarantine if they have a negative COVID-19 PCR test collected no more than 72 hours before arriving in Maine. Information is widely available about how one can be tested for COVID-19.

Close Your Social Circle

Fourteen days prior to arriving on campus, start to limit non-essential interactions with other people outside of those you live and work with. As much as you can, be mindful of who you are exposed to and how you can reduce your chances of exposure. This is a great time to revisit virtual ways of connecting with friends via video games, online trivia, and other ways of staying connected. 

Remember that COVID-19 spreads most easily between people who are in close contact with each other. As always, wear your face covering.

Self Screen Prior to Travel

Self-screening is an important first step in identifying possible cases of COVID-19. 

In the final days before you begin your travel to Bates, take a moment to check in with yourself about how you are feeling. You’ve probably seen self-screening questions used if you have gone to a medical appointment in the last several months, or if you entered a store or community gathering place where these types of questions are posted. 

Ask yourself: 

  • Are you experiencing any severe muscle aches or pains with a cough and/or chills?
  • Are you experiencing a new lack/loss of smell?
  • In the last 14 days, have you had direct, prolonged contact with someone you know who is COVID-19 positive?
  • Are you experiencing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing?
  • Is your temperature 100.4 or greater?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, do not start traveling to Bates. For everyone’s safety, it’s very important not to travel with symptoms. 

Instead, stay put and contact your local medical provider so you can get tested and travel to campus when it is safe for you to do so. Contact Bates Health Services,, to let Bates know of your situation.

Prepare to Travel Light

Even in a typical year, we encourage families to travel light and then determine what their student will need. This is even more true in fall 2020 because the move in process will not permit visitors into campus residences to help with moving in.

Think about what you absolutely need from arrival through Thanksgiving. Bringing fewer items to campus will also make your departure, should the campus close due to COVID-19 concerns, much easier. 

“Travel light” also means the number of people with you. To assist with managing congestion and density on campus, we recommend students travel alone to campus. If this is not possible, we suggest no more than one person travel with you.

What to Do While Traveling

While traveling, put into action all that you have learned over the last few months about keeping yourself safe. 

Key Takeaway: Anticipate all your travel interactions. Follow appropriate precautions.

Think carefully about what types of transportation you will be using to get to campus. Will you be getting on a plane? Taking a bus? Riding in a car? Make sure to think about what strategies may be helpful to you given your travel plans. Some general ideas to prompt your thinking include: 

  • Wear your face covering at all times
  • If possible, always sit at least 6 feet away from others 
  • Frequently wash or sanitize your hands 
  • Avoid contacting high-touch surfaces
  • Consider bringing your own hand sanitizer and/or cleaning wipes if available
  • Drink and eat prior to getting on public transportation to avoid having to take your mask off while in public 
  • If you are driving, keep abreast of changing travel guidelines for any states where you may need to stay overnight.

What to Do Upon Arriving at Bates

Whether this is your first moment on campus or one of many returns, this is a big moment. We will be so happy to have you here.  

Key Takeaway: All arrivals are at the Underhill Arena parking area. It’s vitally important that you arrive on your assigned time.

If You Are Arriving by Plane at the Portland International Jetport

Chartered, free bus service will be available to transport students from the Portland International Jetport to Bates. 

Chartered buses will pick up Bates students and depart from the Portland Transportation Center at 10am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, and 7pm and arrive at the Jetport for pick-up at 20 minutes past the hour. Staff will be present to assist Bates arrivals at both locations.

Students must reserve a bus ticket for the day they arrive. Click this link to reserve a ticket for your arrival.

Please note that all occupants of vans and buses must wear face coverings and sit as physically distant as possible (one occupant per row). Sitting in the front passenger seat is prohibited. Please direct questions about transportation to the Office of Campus Life,

Where You Arrive

All vehicles arriving to campus with students will be directed to the parking lot behind Merrill Gym and Underhill Arena (145 Russell St., Lewiston ME) to drop off students for testing. Parents and others dropping off students must stay in their vehicles until students are done with testing and check in and are ready to go to their residence halls.

Click on the map image to go to a the official campus map that offers an “Orientation and Arrival” layer with information for all arriving students. All students will arrive at the parking lots adjacent to Underhill Arena and Merrill Gymnasium. The address is 145 Russell St., Lewiston ME 04240.

What to Do at Testing and Check In

The arrival and check-in process will be highly structured and organized — and necessarily has to be that way for public health. 

Think of your arrival on campus like going through various checkpoints at an airport. It’s a multi-step process with safety as the goal — and only the person flying (the student) is able to access the gates.

All students will be tested for COVID-19 in Underhill Arena. No student will receive access to their housing before testing. As a reminder, the Bates Testing Center is only for people with no symptoms of COVID-19. Those with symptoms will not be tested at the testing center and will be referred to Bates Health Services. 

Key Takeaway: Think of your arrival on campus like going through various checkpoints at an airport. It’s a multi-step process with safety as the goal.

All vehicles arriving to campus with students will be directed to the parking lot behind Merrill Gym and Underhill Arena to drop off students. Parents and others dropping off students must stay in their vehicles until students are done with testing and check-in and are ready to go to their residence halls.

  • From the Merrill/Underhill parking lot, students will walk to symptom-screening tents in front of Underhill.
  • At the tents, receive a color-coded wristband and again be asked screening questions. As a reminder, no one with symptoms will be allowed to be tested at Underhill
  • The color-coded band (color depending on the day of your arrive) must be worn to gain access to your residence hall. The band also determines what time you will eat during the first several days. The band must be worn until Aug. 30. 
  • After screening, students enter Underhill, show a photo ID at one of the 12 registration tables, receive a test kit with a unique barcode, complete a COVID-19 test via self-administered lower nasal swab, and exit Underhill to go to Merrill.
  • In Merrill, student ID cards will be activated, and students will receive their keys to their rooms. Students will also receive a few other items during check-in, including two washable cloth masks. 
Test Results

Bates students and staff will receive their test results through the online portal CareEvolve. (Information about this portal will be distributed in the coming weeks.) 

If your test result is negative, CareEvolve will send an email informing you that a test result is available in your portal. If the result is positive, you will receive a phone call from Bates Health Services, which will begin the move to isolation housing. See: What Happens If I Test Positive for COVID-19.

Once you receive a negative test, within 48 hours, you may end Arrival Quarantine but still follow campus guidelines and policies according to the Student Public Health Agreement. (Bates faculty and staff are following a similar set of guidelines.)

What to Do at Move In

While we recognize that this new guidance is challenging for both students and parents, our goals during move-in are to ensure the safety of all; to help that families feel supported; and to meet that students’ and families’ needs are met to the best of our abilities given the necessary policies in place.

Throughout the arrival and move-in process, Bates staff will be onsite to welcome you to campus and answer questions.   

Key Takeaway: Parents and supporters can best help your students by adjusting expectations. Parents and supporters will not be allowed to enter residence halls and should plan to depart campus 10-15 minutes after belongings are unloaded. 

After you complete testing and check-in at Underhill and Merrill, students go directly to your residence hall to move belongings inside and say goodbyes. Students will not be allowed to leave campus at this point. Parents and families should expect to depart campus 10-15 minutes after their student’s belongings are unloaded. Once student enters their residence, they begin Arrival Quarantine. See: “What Is Arrival Quarantine?

Family members who come to campus should expect a brief curbside experience at the Merrill parking lot and then again at the residence hall. 

We know how important it is to say goodbye, so take those minutes for hugs and snapshots, but please understand that the move-in window is on a tight timeline specifically to avoid large groups congregating together.

As you move in, wear your face covering, wash your hands, and keep your distance from others. Visitors who do not follow guidelines will be asked to depart campus immediately.

Parents/supporters will have access to a small number of dedicated bathroom facilities, but will not have any access to campus buildings, including their student’s room. 

What to Do from Move In Until First Classes

During this initial arrival period, Campus Life will be running remote programming to keep everyone occupied while inside. Once test results are back, opportunities for physically spaced outdoor socialization will open up. Students who test positive will receive college support during an isolation period.

Both Campus Life and Athletics will offer outdoor activities to help everyone start to get settled into life on campus. New Students will engage in Orientation activities.

Ladd Library will open, so you will get a feel for the “new normal” of Bates spaces.


What to Do About Campus Services: What’s Open and When

Post and Print: Students can pick up only essential items through Aug. 29. ID required.

Essential items include bedding, luggage, medical supplies, and medicine. Any packages containing essential supplies should have “ESSENTIAL” written clearly on the exterior of the box/packaging. For questions or more specific guidance about a specific personal situation, please reach out to Post & Print at or by calling  207-786-6098

Dining: For the first five days, meals will be served on a grab-and-go (“Dash”) basis at the Library Quad. After that, students will dine according to the schedule they sign up for.

College Store: Open for in-person shopping on Aug. 31, and available 24/7 online at Textbook purchases can be made at  

Library: Opens Aug. 29 with ID access only.

Campus and Local Storage Retrieval: Begins August 29 to September 1.