Important Information for Returning Students
Dear Members of the Classes of 2024, 2023, and 2022,
I hope this message finds you healthy and having a good summer. I write today to provide a number of updates related to your return 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.
Priorities for the Upcoming Year
Throughout this past winter semester, members of the Student Affairs team engaged in a series of important conversations with students, faculty, and staff about the values at the core of our work at the college and the need to further strengthen the student experience. Central to these discussions were the following three priorities:
- Improving the student experience on weekends, including the relationship between Campus Safety staff and students;
- Further integrating and coordinating our student support programs and services; and
- Revitalizing the Office of Intercultural Education through the appointment of permanent staff.
To help advance the first two priorities, Erin Foster Zsiga has been promoted to Dean of Students. Erin has been at Bates for 22 years and has been exceptionally effective in building trusting relationships with students, families, faculty, and staff and designing, implementing, and evaluating programs that serve as a foundation to the student experience at Bates. In her capacity as Dean of Students, she will bring together those programs and services that shape the student experience after hours and on weekends, including Bates EMS, Campus Life, Campus Safety, Community Standards/Student Conduct, and Residence Life & Health Education.
In addition, this reorganization presents us with the opportunity to further coordinate and integrate our student support services, including Accessible Education & Student Support, Counseling & Psychological Services, Health Services, and Student Support Advising. Over the summer, the Dean of Students team, along with help from students, has been making progress to strengthen the student experience on the weekends.
As part of the Student Affairs organization, the Office of Intercultural Education is central to helping us live our mission at the college, and I am pleased to share that three staff have been hired to lead our efforts in the Office of Intercultural Education. Tevis Bryant is the Assistant Dean for First-Generation Students & Bobcat First, Dri Huber is the Assistant Dean for LGBTQ+ Programs, and Mana Abdi is the Program Coordinator. The search for the Associate Dean & Director will continue into the fall semester. I am grateful to the many students and staff who participated in the search and selection processes to identify this talented team.
Programs for the Class of 2024
I am mindful that for many students in the Class of 2024, it was difficult to build community and connection last academic year while following the public health guidelines required to keep the Bates community healthy. We were pleased that we were able to offer all students the opportunity to come to campus last year to advance their educational and personal goals, but it was a very complicated year for first-year students to begin their Bates experience.
With this in mind, heading into the upcoming academic year, campus partners, including Campus Life, the Harward Center for Community Partnerships, the Multifaith Chaplaincy, and Residence Life, are committed to ongoing support for the class of 2024 in building community and connection with each other and the broader Bates community. There will be special Class of 2024 events, and as always, we will work with students on an individual basis to connect them with other students, clubs, and organizations to support them in forming meaningful relationships that sustain and endure.
Please see the below links for information from some specific offices who will be sponsoring programs focused on the Class of 2024:
- Campus Life will be offering trips specifically designed for the Class of 2024 such as tickets and transportation to a Portland Sea Dogs game, the Maine Botanical Gardens where Thomas Dambo’s amazing giant trolls are currently on display, and a night at the Rollerdrome. Trips to other places in Maine will also be available to all students throughout the academic year. The Class of 2024 can also look forward to events led by student clubs, organizations, and Campus Activities & Traditions (CAT).
- The Multifaith Chaplaincy will continue to offer opportunities to create meaningful friendships and build community in creative ways. The Class of 2024 will receive special invitations to: Hearth, Telescope and Touchstones, & Anam Cara.
- The Harward Center for Community Partnerships will also offer opportunities for the Class of 2024 to get to know the local off-campus community, their home away from home during college. Programs for the Class of 2024 include student-led walking tours, Local history tours of Lewiston-Auburn led by historian and Harward Center staff member Sam Boss, a Volunteer Fair where off-campus organizations such as Tree Street Youth, ArtVan, the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine, and Lots to Gardens come to campus to share their work with students and invite them to get involved in projects that take local aim at global challenges, and upperclass students who serve as Community Outreach Fellows and help Class of 2024 students connect to off-campus events and opportunities.
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 and all upperclass students arriving August 29 – 31 will need to sign up for an arrival time on the Garnet Gateway.
When you get 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.
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.
Orientation week leaders including JARC staff, OWLs, and AESOP leaders
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 email@example.com.
Onboarding Testing for Students
When students first arrive on campus, they will need to go to the Underhill COVID-19 Testing Center.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
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 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.
Virtual Information Session Tonight
Last week you received an invitation to register for a Zoom webinar we are hosting tonight at 8:00 p.m. EDT to discuss our fall plans and to answer questions. You will receive another email about this Zoom webinar later this morning in case you have not yet registered for it and wish to do so.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Vice President for Campus Life