Aug. 21: It’s up to you — important reminders before coming to campus

Dear Students,

We look forward to welcoming you back to campus in a few short days. I write at this point to provide you with a few reminders about pre-arrival, arrival, and our community standards designed to help keep you and other members of our community healthy. I also want to address a couple of other matters before you begin traveling to Bates.

Questions? Don’t know who to contact?

 If you have questions over the next few days and are not quite sure what office to contact, please send your inquiry to  

As you have likely seen, many colleges are switching their fall plans from in-person to remote learning. Ithaca College recently announced they will not be bringing students back to campus.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill had students return to campus and then switched to all remote learning because of student behavior on and off campus.

Just yesterday, Syracuse University shared that student behavior is putting them in the position where they need to reconsider offering on-campus learning.

Faculty and staff at Bates have worked tirelessly over the past five months to make fundamental changes to just about every aspect of your on-campus experience. This was done with your interests in mind. Our goal was to find a way to support you in continuing with your residential college experience, if you wish to, while also keeping you healthy. 

However, I am mindful that there is only so much we can do. Certain factors, such as community spread in our state and local community, are not in our control. But what happens on campus is our responsibility. Your decisions — whether you live on or off campus — will have a huge impact on whether we are forced to close campus and go to remote learning or instead are able to be successful in continuing the on-campus student experience. I know how important it is to you to be back together at Bates, and I hope that you will keep this desire top of mind as you make decisions about how you spend your time with friends and fellow students, beginning when you arrive.  

As we consider the days and weeks ahead, I know we will continue to face uncertainty and complexity. Faculty and staff at the college have developed plan after plan, contingency after contingency, and I know that we probably have not gotten everything right. As students arrive on campus, we will certainly have to reconsider some decisions that we thought at the time were the right decisions, but may end up not being the right decisions. This will require us to be flexible, nimble, and adaptable — all good traits for people and for organizations, and traits that will serve you well in the future.

Under these circumstances, it will be important that we do our very best to approach each other with patience, grace, and kindness, and not move too quickly to criticism, frustration, and agitation. 

Finally, I would like to provide you with an update about our COVID-19 testing program. We began testing our faculty and staff this week, and I am pleased to report that we have been receiving results from the Broad Institute in less than 24 hours from the time that they receive our specimens in Cambridge. However, demand on the Broad Institute will be increasing in the coming days, and you should still plan on waiting up to 48 hours to receive your test results. We have released a dashboard so that you can easily see the results of our testing program and other important data.

I very much look forward to seeing you next week.

All my best,


Key Guidance

Below is the key guidance for your travel, arrival, and experience at Bates. Remember: #KeepBatesSafe

Before You Arrive

Do your very best to arrive coronavirus-free. 

In the days before your arrival try to limit unnecessary contacts

Get tested (72 hours) prior to your arrival (if you can)

  • If testing is available in your area get a test before you come
  • All students will still be tested upon arrival

Self-screen before you travel. 

Do not travel if you answer “yes” to any of the following questions…

  • Aches and pains?
  • Dry cough or chills?
  • Lack or loss of smell?
  • Temp of 100.4 or more?
  • Have you come in contact with anyone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
  • Shortness of breath?

Travel with less stuff and fewer people

  • Think about what you really need until Thanksgiving break
  • In order to manage campus congestion we encourage students to travel alone or with no more than one additional person

Take appropriate precautions during your travel.

  • Wear your face covering at all times
  • Keep your distance
  • Drink and eat prior to taking public transportation
  • Use hand sanitizer / wipes and avoid high touch surfaces

When You Arrive

Think of your campus arrival like a trip to the airport. 

  • Your arrival time is your testing time
  • Make sure to arrive on time for your test at Underhill Arena
  • Park in the Underhill/Merrill parking lot
  • Only the student will be allowed to access the gates
  • The test should only take about 15 minutes

Checking in and Moving in:

  • After your test, go directly to Merrill Gym to pick up your keys/ID card
  • Once you have your keys and ID proceed directly your residence hall to move your belongings inside

The short goodbye

  • Please keep your family goodbyes to 10-15 minutes 
  • Once your belongings are moved in, you will begin your quarantine and must remain in your residence
  • We know this one is really tough. We thank you and your family and supporters for helping to keep everyone as safe as possible

Begin arrival quarantine

  • Stay in your room except to use the bathroom and to retrieve your Dash (grab ’n’ go) meals
  • You must wear your mask in all hallways and bathrooms
  • Do not leave campus
  • Do not visit with friends in-person at all during this 24-48 hour period

The Virtues of Virtual

Take part in virtual Campus Life programming and reach out to friends remotely

During the Semester

Thank you! #KeepBatesSafe

  • We appreciate your efforts and we’re so glad you’re finally here!
  • Your Bates friends, your JA, faculty, and staff are here to support you
  • Reach out and together we can keep the Bates community safe

Eat here

  • Through Aug. 31, Dash pickup dining will take place at a tent on Bardwell Field (next to Garcelon Field)
  • You eat according your wrist-band color, which you will receive during arrival testing and check-in
  • Students will receive an email with information on how to select meal times and locations for lunch Monday through Friday. Please make your selection — it gives you access to food!

Test, test, test

Students are required to participate fully in population screen testing for COVID-19, contact tracing, and to self-monitor for symptoms for COVID-19.

Stay in your own residence

Students will have access only to their own, assigned residence hall. Students will not have access to and may not enter residence halls other than their own.


Students are required to adhere to all dining policies regarding meal locations, timing of meals, face coverings, and physical distancing while eating.

Remember to Wash, Wear, Watch.

  • Wash your hands (for 20 seconds)
  • Wear your mask
  • Watch your distance. Keep 6 feet between you and others

Rules to stay at Bates by 

Students are required to comply with any public health directives issued by college officials. This includes directives related to quarantining, isolating, completing and keeping a current campus evacuation plan, pre-arrival symptom screening, and following all policies listed in this document.

Mask up!

A mask must: 

  • Cover mouth and nose
  • Be worn in all shared campus spaces: congested outdoor pathways, residence corridors, residence bathrooms, private workspaces when others are present

Gather ’round

  • Informal student gatherings are limited in size to 10 or fewer individuals 
  • This includes on-campus residence halls, off-campus residences, and any other gathering places
  • Face coverings or masks must be worn at all times at any such gatherings as described above

The Way Life Should Be

Students are not permitted to leave Maine (who would want to?) from arrival on campus through departure at Thanksgiving. Exceptions, e.g., medical needs or bereavement, can be requested by contacting Senior Associate Dean of Students Carl Steidel at