April 27: COVID-19 Update – Plans for Starting Short Term

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

As you saw last week, we have experienced an increase in the number of students testing positive for COVID-19. The positivity rate for student testing on Tuesday, April 19, was 2.6% and on Thursday, April 21, was 1.9%. As of yesterday afternoon, we have 45 active student cases and 9 active employee cases. Most of the students who have tested positive have experienced mild or moderate symptoms or no symptoms at all. 

As you know, the operations to support these students (i.e., isolation coordination, food delivery, academic planning and coordination, accessing medical care) are significant and challenging. As we bring students back from around the country and the world, we want to closely monitor and mitigate transmission on campus. As such, we will continue with our masking requirement as shared with you on April 20 through the first week of Short Term classes as we complete testing on Tuesday, May 3, and Thursday, May 5. Masks continue to be required in all indoor common and public spaces, including academic, administrative, and athletic facilities.

There are a few exceptions to this ongoing masking requirement (changes from the April 19 guidance are noted in italics):

  • Students while seated and eating in Commons may be unmasked (staff may be unmasked while eating in appropriate break spaces or in approved meeting spaces).
  • Students while in the residence halls may be unmasked (all others must be masked).
  • 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), and productions involving singing, brass and/or woodwind instruments, must leave 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 club and varsity 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). BWell program participants may be unmasked while actively participating in class.

These policies will remain in place through the first week of Short Term classes and we will be back in touch with you by Friday, May 6 once we have reviewed the results from the two days of testing. 

For students, 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. For faculty and staff, please email hrcovid@bates.edu

Thank you for your continued cooperation and patience as we continue to navigate the challenges and complexities associated with COVID-19.

All the best,

Joshua McIntosh
Vice President for Campus Life

Geoffrey Swift
Vice President for Finance and Administration