Public Health Agreement and Acknowledgement of Shared Responsibility and Risk

Updated Jan. 22, 2021

Among the documents that Bates students were asked to read and sign as part of their return to campus for winter 2021 were a Student Public Health Agreement and an Acknowledgement of Shared Responsibility and Risk. The text of those two documents is below:

Winter 2021 Public Health Agreement

This document outlines the public health and behavioral expectations of all students upon their return to campus, and also outlines the potential consequences for not adhering to these requirements.

In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Bates College asks all students to do their part to protect themselves and other members of the campus and surrounding communities. All students have a responsibility to their peers, to the faculty and staff of the college, and to the Lewiston-Auburn area and beyond to follow the directions of public health and college officials to keep our communities and those we care about as healthy as possible.

In addition to individual actions and expectations, we also have a collective responsibility as members of the Bates College community. This responsibility includes mutual support and respect in addition to accountability to each other for the collective health and wellbeing of all members of our community. At Bates, we pride ourselves on a culture of mutual caring and respect, and given the current circumstances, these attributes must be even more amplified. 

With this in mind, all students are expected to adhere to the policies outlined below. These policies should be followed at all times, including while on campus, in off-campus housing, and when off campus in the community. These policies are subject to change as the local and global situation evolves and as public health guidance is updated. Updates will be emailed to students as soon as they are available.

  • Students are required to adhere to physical distancing standards whenever feasible. This means staying at least six feet apart from each other in all possible settings.
  • Students are required to wear face coverings or masks that cover the mouth and nose in all indoor and outdoor areas on campus, which includes all classrooms, study spaces, and lounges. Exceptions to the policy are (1) eating outdoors, when appropriate distance is maintained; (2) eating in designated indoor spaces, when appropriate distance is maintained; (3) students spending time in their own residence hall room; (4) and when working in private offices on campus.
  • All informal student gatherings are limited in size to 10 or fewer individuals. This includes in on-campus residence halls, off-campus residences, and any other gathering places. Face coverings or masks must be worn at all times at any such gatherings as described above.
  • Students are not permitted to leave the state of Maine from arrival on campus through departure at the end of the semester. Exceptions to this policy (e.g., medical needs or bereavement) can be requested by contacting Senior Associate Dean of Students Carl Steidel at
  • Students are required to participate fully in population screen testing for COVID-19, contact tracing, and to self-monitor for symptoms for COVID-19.
  • Students will have access only to their own, assigned residence hall. Students will not have access to and may not enter residence halls other than their own.
  • Students are required to adhere to all dining policies regarding meal locations, timing of meals, face coverings, and physical distancing while eating.
  • Students are required to comply with any public health directives issued by college officials. This includes directives related to quarantining, isolating, completing and keeping current a campus evacuation plan, pre-arrival symptom screening, and following all policies listed in this document.

Although we anticipate that all students wish to do their part to keep our campus safe, students who choose to put the health and wellbeing of their peers and the faculty and staff of the college at risk by not adhering to these policies will be referred to the student conduct system.

The college takes seriously its responsibility to our own community and to the wider world. As such, the college cannot tolerate violations of these policies. A first violation will likely result in a referral to the student conduct process where the likely outcome will be an immediate removal from campus housing, removing access to campus facilities, and a requirement that the student return to their home residence to continue the semester via remote learning, if the courses for which they are enrolled can be completed remotely. Subsequent violations will likely result in a referral to the Student Conduct Committee where a minimum of a one semester suspension will be the likely outcome. Such students may also be interimly suspended in order to protect the wellbeing of our community.

Students should also be aware that egregious or intentional violations of these policies will likely result in an immediate interim suspension followed by a referral to the Student Conduct Committee where a minimum of a one semester suspension will be the likely outcome. Egregious or intentional violations of these policies include, but are not limited to: hosting a gathering or party of more than 10 individuals at your on- or off-campus residence and not following directives regarding quarantining or isolating when required to do so. Hosts are defined as those students assigned to the room or suite if in on-campus housing and tenants for off-campus residences who were present for the party or gathering in question.

Acknowledgement of Shared Responsibility and Risk

This document asks students to acknowledge that they understand the shared risks and responsibilities of returning to campus for the winter 2021 semester.

I understand that the coronavirus pandemic has temporarily, but significantly, altered the Bates College academic and residential life experience. I understand and accept that the college is implementing many changes in response to the pandemic, including but not limited to class scheduling, classroom density, instructional methodology, residence hall occupancy and behaviors, and extracurricular programs. I understand that information relating to academic and financial policies, curriculum and courses may be found in the Catalog

I understand that the college is also implementing prevention and mitigation measures including health screening and testing, social distancing, use of face-coverings, hygiene, and when necessary, isolation and quarantine. I understand that prevention and mitigation of the spread of the coronavirus is a community responsibility, and that I will be required to comply. 

I agree to comply with all required actions relating to infectious disease prevention and mitigation. I understand that I will be required to undergo frequent COVID-19 testing, including immediately upon my arrival on campus as a condition of enrollment, again that same week, and one or two times per week for the duration of the winter 2021 semester.  

I agree to undergo all testing as may be required by the college. I understand and accept that my failure to comply with any required actions relating to such prevention and mitigation may lead to discipline up to and including suspension and even expulsion.  

I understand that the risk of becoming exposed to or infected by COVID-19 at the college may arise from the actions, omissions, or negligence of myself and/or others, including, but not limited to, college trustees, employees, agents, contractors, volunteers, and students. 

I acknowledge that the college is an open campus, which limits the college’s ability to control students and visitors on campus. I recognize that the college cannot limit all potential sources of COVID-19 infection. 

I acknowledge that I have asked for and/or been given any information that I may need to determine the risks associated with returning to the college campus and to make an informed assumption of those risks.  I alone have to determine the sufficiency of any precautions that I am required to take, or that I decide to take, to minimize the risks of exposure and infection.  

I have not relied on representations or warranties from any party related to the college, including any officer, employee, agent, volunteer, or student, regarding the safety of, or the risks of, returning to campus. I have relied instead on my own judgment as to whether to undertake the risks.  

I acknowledge and agree that by committing to attend Bates College as an on-campus residential student, I am voluntarily assuming any and all risks that notwithstanding the college’s best efforts to implement and require compliance with these prevention and mitigation measures I may be exposed to the coronavirus and may become ill with COVID-19, and that such exposure and illness may result in personal injury, illness, temporary or permanent disability, or even death.