Feb. 11: Campus Update for Students

Dear Students,

I hope you have enjoyed being back in Commons together this week. I write this afternoon to provide a summary of our test results for this week and to inform you about some additional changes to our public health policies.

Summary of Test Results

During the past week week (Feb. 4 – Feb. 11), 14 students have tested positive for COVID-19 across all testing sources (on-campus COVID-19 Testing Center, Bates Health Services, off-campus testing location, self-administered test, etc.) The positivity rate (positive results as a percent of all tests taken) for student testing this week was:

Tuesday, Feb. 90.6%
Thursday, Feb, 100.4%

It is also helpful to review data for the new cases that emerged over the past weekend, between the Thursday and Tuesday testing days (Friday through Monday):

Friday, Feb. 4 – Monday, Feb. 7: 1 new case

During the past week, employees have also participated in the testing program, and 0 employees tested positive for COVID-19 through the college’s testing program.

This afternoon, we have 19 active COVID-19 cases, representing 14 students and 5 employees. This includes all students and employees who tested positive for COVID-19, regardless of the testing source (on-campus COVID-19 Testing Center, Bates Health Services, off-campus testing location, self-administered test, etc.) You can see a summary of our testing results on the COVID-19 Cases webpage. Most of the students who have tested positive have experienced mild or moderate symptoms or no symptoms at all.

Public Health Policies

What remains the same?

  • Masks are required in all indoor common and public spaces, including the residence halls. (Please be mindful that we have custodial staff who work in our residence halls and residence life staff who both live and work in our residence halls. As you move around your residence halls, please be respectful of their health and well-being, as well as that of your fellow students.)
  • Students are required to test every Tuesday and Thursday at Muskie Archives.
  • Only Bates students, faculty, staff, contractors, and vendors may enter buildings on campus. (See limited exceptions here.)
  • Faculty and staff may use the college’s athletic facilities.
  • Students may participate in outdoor, in-person community engagement activities;
  • Indoor co-curricular activities no longer have a capacity limitation beyond what is set by fire codes, but sponsoring departments have discretion to establish lower capacity limits if they deem them appropriate.
  • Indoor arts and athletic events no longer have capacity limits on audience members and spectators beyond what is set by fire codes, but sponsoring departments have discretion to establish lower capacity limits if they deem them appropriate.

What has changed?

We have made some revisions to our masking policies for rehearsals in the arts and practices for athletic teams, which go into effect today:

  • Students, faculty, and staff actively participating on the stage in an indoor theater, dance, or musical rehearsal or performance may be unmasked but must remain masked at all other times (i.e. off-stage, between sets); For productions involving singing, brass and/or woodwind instruments, there must be at least 12 feet between the front of the stage and where people are seated, which may result in some rows of seating not being used.
  • Students on athletic teams actively participating in indoor athletic practice or competition (e.g., on the track, on the court, etc.) may be unmasked while practicing or competing, but must be masked at all other times (e.g., on the sidelines).

We have made some revisions to our guest policies for academic and administrative departments in the Arts and Athletics, which go into effect today:

  • College-sponsored indoor performances, productions, and exhibits are open to non-Bates guests. To be admitted to the venue, guests must mask at all times and show proof of being fully vaccinated and boosted at the door (digital image or hard copy of vaccine card, indicating final vaccination completed at least 14 days prior) or proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test within the previous 48 hours. The event host will provide a staff member to check for proof of vaccination for non-Bates guests. Guests unable to provide proof of being fully vaccinated and boosted or a negative test within the previous 48 hours will not be permitted to enter the venue.
  • College-sponsored indoor athletic events are open to non-Bates spectators. To be admitted to the venue, guests must mask at all times and show proof of being fully vaccinated and boosted at the door (digital image or hard copy of vaccine card, indicating final vaccination completed at least 14 days prior) or proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test within the previous 48 hours. The event host will provide a staff member to check for proof of vaccination for non-Bates guests. Guests unable to provide proof of being fully vaccinated and boosted or a negative test within the previous 48 hours will not be permitted to enter the venue.

Also, beginning on Monday, Feb. 14, students may participate in indoor, in-person community engagement activities. Please remember that students must remain masked at all times while indoors.

Finally, you may view our most up-to-date campus visitor policies here.

For the most part, our public health policies now reflect the policies we had in place at the end of the fall semester before the winter break.

Where to Direct Questions

If you have questions and are not sure where to direct them, please email studentaffairs@bates.edu, and you will be connected to the right person to assist you.

Have a nice weekend.

All my best,

Joshua McIntosh
Vice President for Campus Life