Jan. 14: Campus Update for Employees

Dear Colleagues, 

I hope your 2022 is off to a good start. It’s great to have our students back on campus. Thank you to all of the staff and faculty whose participation made this possible. A particular strength of the Bates community is how everyone contributes towards our mission.

Updated Campus COVID Information

The COVID-19 Cases webpage provides a summary of student testing for the return to campus this week, and moving forward will be updated on Wednesdays and Fridays once we have received all of the test results from the Broad Institute.

Testing Next Week

We will begin our regular COVID-19 testing program at Muskie Archives on Tuesday, Jan. 18 which will shift back to using PCR pooled testing. All employees are encouraged to test weekly. Please take a moment today to log into Garnet Gateway to set or change your scheduled testing time.

Vaccinations and Boosters

Bates continues to strongly encourage all employees to be vaccinated and to get their booster shot as soon as they are eligible. Information on eligibility for booster doses may be found on the Maine COVID website. While vaccinated and boostered individuals may get “breakthrough” infections, severe illness and hospitalizations are rare for fully vaccinated and boosted individuals. Local hospitals are also finding that the booster is essential for additional protection from the omicron variant. In the coming days, we will add functionality to Garnet Gateway to allow employees to upload updated vaccination information.

With over 95% of Bates employees vaccinated and all students required to be vaccinated, the campus community has a vaccination rate over 98%, which has made Bates one of the safer places to be throughout the pandemic.

Masking

Masking continues to be a critical public health measure, both at Bates and beyond. Students and staff must continue to mask in all indoor common and public spaces. It is important to not only wear the right mask, but to wear it correctly. Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 18, all employees must wear a surgical mask, a KN95, N95, or equivalent mask.

Our clinical advisors continue to stress that the best mask is the one that fits closely around the nose and mouth and needs no adjustment. Surgical masks have been distributed throughout campus by EHS to AAAs and departmental contact points.

More information about masks is available from the CDC. While we expect employees to provide their own masks, we have supplies of surgical masks across campus. 

N95 masks are available for employees, prioritized for those with frequent close contact with students and those with certain health conditions. Similarly, “masks fitters” are available for those who would like to improve the fit of their surgical mask. If you have specific need for an N95 respirator, such as working in close proximity or due to health conditions, please contact Jim Morrison, Director of Environmental Health and Safety.

Please be sure to discard masks properly and do your part to keep our beautiful campus clean.

Reopening The Den and Catering

The Den will reopen on Monday, Jan. 17 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for limited “grab n’ go” lunch service. There will be no seating available and menu options will be limited. We are hopeful to return to full service by early February. 

Catering service will remain closed until further notice.

Thank You

Thank you to the entire Bates community for your ongoing dedication to public health on the Bates campus and beyond.

Yours,

Geoff