Employees – COVID-19 Plans for Fall Semester

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you’re enjoying your summer and looking forward to welcoming students back to campus later this month. I am writing today with an update on Bates’ approach to COVID-19 for the fall semester. The below plans have been developed in consultation with our advisors at the Mayo Clinic. 

Masking Requirements

Bates will be mask-optional in indoor and outdoor campus spaces for all students and employees. Masks are required in healthcare facilities on campus, including Bates Health Services, Bates Sports Medicine, and Counseling and Psychological Services. Members of our community may choose to wear a mask at any time for any reason including and not limited to their own level of comfort, personal medical status, family medical status, or personal risk. We encourage you to be courteous and respectful with regard to the needs and choices of others about masking. Someone you interact with on campus may request that you wear a face mask when indoors with them, and we hope that you will honor this request.

COVID-19 Testing

Bates will not provide testing for students and employees this fall, except for symptomatic testing for students at Bates Health Services. COVID-19 testing can be accessed by scheduling an appointment at a local pharmacy or urgent care, such as Walgreens or CVS, or Maine Urgent Care at 685 Sabattus Street in Lewiston. Rapid tests may be purchased at Walgreens, CVS, or Walmart.

Employees who test positive for COVID-19 will continue to follow our policies.

COVID-19 Vaccination and Booster Guidance

Vaccines remain our best protection against severe disease, and Bates continues to strongly encourage all employees to be current with all vaccinations and boosters to lower the risk of infection, and to lower the likelihood of severe symptoms if infected. We continue to ask that employees provide their current immunization status to ensure our policies reflect the highly-vaccinated status of our community. Please provide any change in status within Garnet Gateway

Additional Information about COVID-19

For additional information about COVID-19, please review the employee policies and  frequently asked questions, and the college’s visitor policy here.


We are closely monitoring the developing situation with the MPX virus, commonly referred to as “Monkeypox.” It is not a respiratory illness and thus does not present the same risk of broad contagion typical of COVID-19 or influenza. Researchers and public health authorities are closely monitoring the developments in the disease globally and in the United States. As with COVID-19, we are consulting with public health advisors to develop the necessary public health plans and protocols for the possibility of monkeypox cases at the college. You may find information about Monkeypox here.

As we have done throughout this pandemic, we will adjust our policies and protocols in response to public health conditions. This will require all of us to continue to be flexible and adaptable, as you have so generously been throughout the pandemic.

A message to new students and a message to returning students about our COVID-19 plans for the fall semester were sent today.

I hope the remaining weeks of your August are healthy and safe!


Geoffrey Swift