Important Information for New Students

Dear Members of the Class of 2025,

I hope this message finds you healthy and having a good summer. I write today to provide a number of updates related to your arrival to campus in the fall. After the many challenges of the past year, I am optimistic that our COVID-19 vaccine requirement for students will enable us to return to many, if not most, of the curricular and cocurricular experiences that are so important to the student experience at Bates.

Details for Opening in the Fall

As you make plans for the fall semester, I want to provide some important details about arrival on campus and public health policies for the fall. As you know, the COVID-19 landscape continues to shift, and our policies and protocols may also need to evolve. However, our current plans for student arrival are as follows:

Sign up Now for Your Arrival

All first-year students arriving on August 26 will need to sign up for an arrival time on the Garnet Gateway.

After logging into the Garnet Gateway, you will see that your second action item is “Bates Campus Arrival & Testing.” You must complete this action item by August 15, 2021 to register for your arrival and testing time.

Move-In Dates

Students will be welcomed back to campus over a series of days based on their obligations during the beginning of the year. First-year students, upperclass students facilitating Orientation events, and fall varsity athletes will return first, followed by the remainder of the student body. Please see below for date information.

August 21-22

Orientation week leaders including JARC staff, OWLs, and AESOP leaders

August 22
  • Bobcat First participants
  • New international students
August 23
  • Fall pre-season athletes
  • International Circle Orientation participants
August 26

First-year student arrival day

August 29-31 Upperclass student arrival days


Students with arrival questions should contact the Office of Residence Life & Health Education at

Onboarding Testing for Students

    1. When students first arrive on campus, they will need to go to the Underhill COVID-19 Testing Center.
    2. All vehicles arriving to campus with students will be directed to the parking lot behind Merrill Gym and Underhill Arena to drop off students. Family members and others dropping off students must stay in their vehicles until students have completed their COVID-19 testing and check-in and are ready to go to their residence halls.

    3. Prior to entering the Underhill COVID-19 Testing Center all students must put on a face covering. You will need to wear a face covering for the first hour you are on campus. This will give the COVID-19 Testing Center staff time to process your rapid antigen test results.
    4. Students will receive both a rapid antigen test and a PCR test. No student will receive access to their housing before testing. Please remember that you must bring a valid photo ID to the COVID-19 Testing Center. Note that only students who test positive will be contacted to provide the antigen test results.
    5. After being tested in Underhill, students will go to Merrill Gym, where student ID cards will be activated and students will receive their keys to their rooms. Students may then proceed to their residence hall to move into their room.

    Guest Arrival Requirements

    All guests coming to campus to assist a student with move-in must have taken one of the following actions prior to arriving on campus.

    1. Be fully vaccinated for COVID-19
    You must be fully vaccinated prior to arrival on campus, which means being two weeks past a second Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shot or two weeks past a single Johnson & Johnson shot.

    2. Test negative for COVID-19
    If you have not had access to one of the three U.S. vaccinations listed above because of residence abroad or other reasons, you must have proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of arrival on campus or a negative COVID-19 antigen test within 24 hours of arrival on campus.

    3. Be medically cleared of a recent COVID-19 diagnosis
    If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you must be medically cleared and at least 10 days from, and within 90 days of, the date and time that you tested positive or received your clinical diagnosis from a medical provider.

    Guest Face Covering Policy

    All guests must wear a face covering while indoors, including while helping a student move into their residence.

    Guest Limited Time in Student Residence Halls

    In addition, to de-densify the residences with visitors, we ask that all guests limit their time inside a student residence to one hour while their student is moving in. After this, we ask that guests leave the residence and enjoy time outdoors while on campus.

    Public Health Expectations and Policies

    Maintaining the health and safety of the Bates community remains the top priority for the upcoming academic year. The requirement that all students be vaccinated for COVID-19 supports this goal, and allows us to interact in an environment that fosters community and connection in ways that we deeply missed during the past academic year. Our public health policy decisions will continue to be informed by science and the guidance from public health experts at the Mayo Clinic, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the Maine CDC.

    It is our intention to implement the least restrictive policies required to keep our community safe, but we also must recognize that there may be moments where we call upon the collective strength of our community—a community that supports and looks out for one another—to move back to transmission mitigation strategies to keep each other safe should such actions be necessary. I sincerely hope that we do not have a moment where we need to do this, but we are prepared to manage through it if such a moment comes.

    I have highlighted some key policies below.


    As a reminder, all students are required to read and electronically sign the Student Public Health Agreement documents prior to returning to campus for the Fall 2021 semester. The deadline for signing these documents was Sunday, July 25. More information on these documents and instructions regarding how to review and sign them can be found in the Garnet Gateway.

    Face Coverings

    To start the academic year, fully vaccinated students will not need to wear face coverings while on campus. However, all students should arrive on campus with multiple face coverings in case we should need to change policy and require the use of face coverings for vaccinated students.

    Students who received a COVID-19 vaccine medical exemption or are awaiting full vaccination will need to wear a face covering while indoors. You will encounter many people wearing face coverings this fall for a multitude of reasons. Some students are taking a more cautious approach, some have medical exemptions, and some will have traveled to Bates internationally and are unable to be vaccinated in their home country, and will wear a face covering as they await full vaccination status. I ask all members of our community not to make assumptions about why people may be using face coverings.

    COVID-19 Testing

    Given that we will be bringing 1,800 students from around the country and globe to campus, all students are required to have a series of rapid-result antigen tests. All students will undergo three testing days in their initial days on campus.

    The testing schedule is:

    • Arrival Day: Antigen and PCR tests

    • Thursday, September 2: Antigen test

    • Thursday, September 9: Antigen test

    Following analysis of our initial test results, we will determine a testing strategy for the remainder of the semester. The frequency of testing is likely to be greatly reduced from last academic year.

    The arrival testing schedule is now available on Garnet Gateway and you may select your arrival time now. The sign-up for the subsequent two Thursday tests is not yet available, but will be available prior to your arrival.

    Finally, any student with a COVID-19 vaccine medical exemption will be required to test weekly for COVID-19, and you will receive more information as the semester draws nearer.

    Out of State Travel During the Semester

    We ask that all students keep their out of state travel to a minimum during the semester. Many cases of COVID-19 from last academic year came from off-campus locations, and remaining on campus and in-state is a great way to support the health and safety of your peers.

    When travelling out of state during the semester, all students should follow Maine CDC guidelines. At the moment, all individuals may travel freely to Maine from other states within the United States.

    Any student with a COVID-19 vaccine medical exemption will need to report their travel to as it occurs throughout the semester. This will be to ensure that these students remain on their testing schedule.

    If You Have Had COVID-19 in the Last 90 Days

    If you were diagnosed with COVID-19 by a medical provider within the last 90 days, please email Student Support Coordinator & Specialist Brenna Callahan at

    Guests in Residence Halls

    After move-in, students are not permitted to host non-Bates people in their residence hall. However, all Bates students will have access to all residence halls.


    We are excited to welcome the Class of 2025 to campus on August 26. Students, faculty, and staff have been collaborating all summer to put together an Orientation schedule that introduces you to Bates and provides you with opportunities to form meaningful connections in your initial days on campus.

    Some highlights of new student Orientation include getting to know students on your residential floor, meeting with your academic advisor, AESOP on August 28 & 29, Orientation Week Leader Events where you get to meet other first-year students, and Convocation on August 31. For a more detailed draft Orientation schedule please click here.


    We expect Commons will return to standard capacity with communal student dining this fall, and with enhanced offerings including extended hours and limited Grab n’ Go offerings for lunch. The facility will be open to the Bates community (i.e. faculty and staff) only for brunch and dinner. Lunch access exceptions for faculty and staff will be made for groups who have booked rooms in Commons and are utilizing through-the-line dining, the Take a Faculty Member to Lunch program and Language Tables. Student guest passes can only be used for members of the Bates community.

    Beginning August 17, the Den will be open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. We hope to return to the full schedule in early September and will forward updates as they become available. This facility will be open to the Bates community only and a Bates I.D. will be required for entry.

    If you are a student with a special dietary need please reach out to All other questions about Dining can be directed to

    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 and we will connect you to the person best situated to assist you.

    As we move closer to the beginning of the fall semester, you can expect to receive emails from other offices on campus, which will contain important information about the fall semester. Please monitor your Bates email account carefully.

    Please continue to enjoy your summer and I look forward to seeing you on campus in August.


    Joshua McIntosh
    Vice President for Campus Life