April 1: COVID-19 Campus Alert

Dear Students, 

I write with an urgent message about actions we need to take to stabilize the spread of COVID-19 on campus. Coming out of last weekend, we have seen a sudden, sharp rise in cases of COVID-19 on campus. As of this writing, we have 34 active COVID-19 student cases who are in isolation housing, and an additional 50 students in quarantine. As we continue with contact tracing today, the number of students in quarantine is expected to increase.

In order to interrupt the spread of the virus before it reaches levels that are difficult to contain, we will implement a temporary, campus-wide in-room restriction to significantly reduce in-person interactions, beginning at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 1, and extending through at least the afternoon of Tuesday, April 6. Students are not permitted to leave campus and may only leave their residence hall room or off-campus house/apartment to do the following:

  • Attend your scheduled and mandatory COVID-19 testing appointment, during which you may also stop by Post & Print after your testing appointment to pick up packages and mail;
  • Pick up your Dash meal;
  • Use the restroom;
  • Pick up prescription medication; or
  • Go to Bates Health Services or visit a medical provider.

The in-room restriction means that all classes will shift to fully remote learning until at least Wednesday, April 7. Please see the revised academic schedule below. We will use the results from Monday’s COVID-19 tests, which we will receive on Tuesday, to determine next steps. All in-person classes and activities, including use of the Merrill Gymnasium and Ladd Library, have been suspended, and you should work with your faculty to transition to remote learning. 

I am very sorry that we need to take these actions at such a stressful point in the semester, and we need your help in adhering strictly to these guidelines so that we succeed in containing this outbreak. We will also increase testing, as described below, which will help us identify positive cases and limit further spread. 

Please read this message in its entirety so that you are informed about expectations and resources.

Additional In-Room Restriction Information 

  • All students are restricted to their residence hall room, except for the reasons listed above.
  • All in-person activities, including gathering in small groups in your residence hall rooms, hallways, and common areas, are not permitted.
  • All in-person co-curricular activities are suspended, including all intercollegiate and club athletics contests and practices.
  • Students living off-campus or at the Hampton Inn must remain in their residence except for the reasons indicated above.

We recognize that these restrictions are difficult, and encourage you to be in touch with support systems should you need assistance.

Additional COVID-19 Testing

Student COVID-19 testing on Friday, April 2 and on Monday, April 5 will now include both an antigen test and a PCR test.

Violations of Public Health Policies

This is a time when we need you to increase your attention to adhering to sound public health practices. Please note that any student who violates the in-room restriction, or other public health protocols, will be in violation of the Public Health Agreement. Failure to follow campus in-room restriction directives will result in immediate referral to the student conduct system, which will likely result in being removed from college housing and being switched to remote learning for the remainder of the semester.

Effect on Module C Exams and the Start of Module D

The campus-wide in-room restriction will result in some changes to Module C final examinations and the beginning of Module D. All remaining final exams for Module C will be conducted remotely.

  • Final examinations scheduled for this afternoon (April 1, 2021) will move to the same times on Friday, April 2, 2021.
  • Final examinations scheduled for Friday, April 2, 2021, will move to the same times on Monday, April 5, 2021.
  • Classes for Module D will begin at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. There are no classes scheduled for Monday, April 5, 2021 or Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

The ILS Help Desk remains open for remote assistance. Call (207) 786-8222 if you need assistance.

Religious Observances

On campus religious observances and holidays, such as Passover, Holy Week, and Easter, occurring the rest of this week and this weekend will be virtual. Please see the Multifaith Chaplaincy webpage for links or email multifaithchaplaincy@bates.edu with questions. 

Dining Information

Students will be permitted to leave their room to access Grab n’ Go meals in the Commons. Convenience-packed breakfast items and snacks will be made available at dinner which students can bring to their room to provide additional support when dining is not available. 

Dining will be accessible at the following times:

Saturday and Sunday
9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
4:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Monday and Tuesday
7:00 a.m – 9:00 a.m
10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
4:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

The Den and Meet Me at the Mezz will be closed.

During the temporary, campus-wide in-room restriction period starting with dinner on Thursday, April 1 at 2:00 p.m. and extending through dinner on Tuesday, April 6, off-campus students may access Grab n’ Go meals in Commons. This service is meant to provide aid to those students who may not have food stores in their residence to support them through this period.

If you need dining assistance, or have specific dining questions during this period, please contact Jenny Graves at  jgraves2@bates.edu. 

Mail and Package Information

Students may only go to Post & Print following your COVID-19 testing appointments. This will help to de-densify foot traffic at Post & Print.

Health Services

Bates Health Services remains fully operational and open for all of student health needs while we follow the campus-wide, in-room restriction protocol. Please call Bates Health Services at (207) 786-6199 with any questions related to your health or to schedule an appointment.

Off-Campus Medical Appointments

While we follow in-room restriction protocol, all students must remain on campus unless approved in advance for extenuating circumstances; these circumstances only include timely and necessary medical appointments. If an appointment is essential, you must contact studentaffairs@bates.edu to receive permission in advance to leave campus.

All Bobcat Express shuttle services will be suspended until further notice. Students who are approved to travel to an off-campus appointment and require transportation may contact Campus Safety at (207) 786-6254 to request a ride. Please call at least one hour prior to your appointment. Students residing at the Hampton Inn may continue to ride the shuttle in order to come to campus to access the resources listed above (i.e. testing, dining, Bates Health Services).

Thank You and Where to Direct Questions

Thank you for your commitment to these public health practices to take care of yourself and members of our community. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the appropriate office, Student Affairs, or email us at studentaffairs@bates.edu.

I appreciate your ongoing partnership and diligence during this difficult year. Please know that this decision was not made lightly, but it is necessary to protect our campus and the broader community. I will be back in touch as soon as I have additional information to share with you.

All my best,

Joshua McIntosh
Vice President for Campus Life