Returning to Campus for Winter Semester – What to Expect

Dear Students,

I hope that most of you have successfully wrapped up your classes for the semester and are looking forward to a relaxing break.

I write today to provide you with important information about what to expect as you return to campus in January for the winter semester. Please take a few minutes to read this message carefully, as it requires you to take timely action.

Arrival Testing

Beginning this winter semester, the COVID-19 Testing Center will relocate to the Muskie Archives. When you first arrive on campus on January 9, 10, or 11, you will need to go to the Muskie Archives to complete a rapid antigen test and to check-in for ID card activation.

The arrival testing schedule is available now on Garnet Gateway and will continue to be available until Friday, December 31. If you have any conflicts or last minute changes with your arrival, please email the COVID-19 Testing Center team at testingcenter@bates.edu

Arrival Dates 

Access to campus for the winter semester begins on Sunday, January 9 and continues through Tuesday, January 11. Students should plan to arrive on campus between 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., as these are the hours of operation for the COVID-19 Testing Center. Students who must arrive at a time outside of these hours must contact housing@bates.edu with a description of their circumstances and request after-hours arrival. 

Moving In or Getting Resettled in Your Residence Hall

All students will arrive on campus, complete a rapid antigen test, and then be checked in at Muskie Archives. During the check in process, your ID card will be activated and your key issued (if you were not on campus for the fall semester). All students, even those living in off-campus apartments, must be tested and checked in at Muskie Archives on January 9, 10, or 11 between 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.. 

Once you are checked in, you will be able to go to your residence hall. You will be able to have a masked visitor assist you with moving into or getting resettled in your room. Visitors must be either fully vaccinated, have a negative PCR test within 48 hours, or be medically cleared from a recent COVID-19 diagnosis. Please note that after move-in is completed on January 11, students are not permitted to host non-Bates people in their residence hall.

COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters

Many of you have recently become eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster or will become eligible over the winter break. We were successful in managing through COVID-19 this past semester as a result of our exceptionally high vaccination rate. There is good evidence that protection wanes over time, and the booster is necessary to reset protection at a high level. While we will continue to offer transportation to our local vaccine clinic in January, I strongly urge you to get your vaccine booster shot over the winter break. In February, we will have a tool in Garnet Gateway for you to provide the college with your booster vaccine information.

Public Health Expectations for Winter Semester

Overall, you should anticipate the winter semester to be similar to the fall semester with regard to public health policies, which includes the same masking policies. We will make decisions about the COVID-19 testing program for the winter semester as we move closer to the start of the semester. 

We continue to monitor public health conditions and to consult with advisors at the Mayo Clinic and the Maine CDC to inform our decisions, and we will adjust our policies when it makes sense to do so. We continue to navigate the uncertainty of this pandemic, and students coming to campus for the winter semester should do so with the understanding that our public health policies may need to become more restrictive, as outlined in our public health agreement. We certainly hope this is not the case, but as we have seen with the Delta variant and the emerging Omicron variant, it is difficult to predict the next six months.

Where to 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.

In closing, I want to thank you for a remarkably successful fall semester. It has been great to see so many aspects of the student experience come back to life over the past few months. I know that the necessary ongoing public health policies can sometimes feel onerous, but it is thanks to your diligence that we are able to mitigate transmission on campus. I appreciate your commitment to the well-being of the Bates community and for being in this together. I hope that you are able to rest and relax over the break and to spend quality time with family and friends.

Sincerely,

Joshua McIntosh
Vice President for Campus Life