Sept. 10: Important Update about COVID-19 Testing for All Students

Dear Students,

I write today to share the news that next week we will begin testing all students for COVID-19 two times per week until further notice. 

Why are we doing this?

We are fortunate that our campus has achieved a 98% vaccination rate among students, faculty, and staff. However, we know from our public health advisors that the Delta variant of COVID-19 is highly contagious, and that vaccinated individuals can still contract and spread the virus. Vaccination can help to lessen symptoms and allow people to recover more quickly than those who are unvaccinated, but transmission among the vaccinated population remains a real concern even with active cases on our campus as low as they are at the moment. 

As you have likely heard, a number of colleges and universities are now dealing with outbreaks among highly vaccinated populations, and in one case, a NESCAC peer institution has had to temporarily switch to remote learning, grab-n-go meals, and significant limitations on co-curricular and social activities. Simply put, we are not out of this pandemic yet. Increasing the frequency of testing will allow us to identify COVID-19 positive individuals sooner so that we may isolate them and mitigate the risk of transmission on our campus.

How will it work?

All students are required to be tested every Tuesday and Thursday, beginning Tuesday, September 14. Please log into Garnet Gateway today to schedule your Tuesday and Thursday testing times. As you have now experienced, we operate an extraordinarily efficient COVID-19 Testing Center, and I am confident that this additional day of testing will not be too burdensome.

Where do I direct questions?

Should you have any questions and not know to whom to direct them, please email studentaffairs@bates.edu and you will be connected to the right person to assist you.

Finally, I want to underscore the importance of masking at all times when indoors, which everyone is required to do except when in the residence halls, when seated in Commons, or when in other private campus indoor spaces by oneself.

Have a great weekend.

All my best,

Joshua McIntosh

Vice President for Campus Life