Incoming Students – COVID-19 Plans for Fall Semester

Dear First-Year and Transfer Students,

We are so excited to welcome you to your new home in Lewiston, Maine on August 31st. We’ve been preparing for your arrival all summer long and are writing today with details on our approach to COVID-19 for the fall semester. It is important that you read the entirety of this message as there are things you need to know and do before you arrive on campus. The below plans have been developed in consultation with our advisors at the Mayo Clinic and our Medical Director at Bates Health Services. 

This message covers nine important topics:

  1. Pre-arrival COVID-19 testing
  2. Masking on campus
  3. COVID-19 vaccine requirement
  4. COVID-19 testing
  5. Students who test positive for COVID-19
  6. Student agreements to sign
  7. Move-In Visitors in Residence Halls and Visitors to Campus Policy
  8. Additional Information
  9. Monkeypox

Pre-Arrival Testing

All students are expected to test and get a result for COVID-19 within 48 hours prior to departure to travel to campus this fall. Tests can be taken at-home or at a medical provider/pharmacy. If you are unsure of where to secure a test in your area, this website may be helpful for those in the United States. . 

If a student tests positive for COVID-19 on the pre-arrival test, the student should not travel to Bates and should take the following steps:

  • If the test was taken at a pharmacy or with a medical provider, send the contact information for the pharmacy or medical provider and documentation of the positive test result to Brenna Callahan at Bates Health Services at healthservices@bates.edu.
  • If the test was an at-home test, please make sure that the test has not expired and send documentation of the positive test result to Brenna Callahan at Bates Health Services at healthservices@bates.edu. Please include (1) a photo of the test, (2) the type of test, (3) the date of your test, and (4) the best phone number to reach you.
  • After receiving the email, Brenna will be in touch to assist with your late arrival plans.

Masking Expectations

Bates will be mask-optional in indoor and outdoor campus spaces for all students. 

The only planned exception to this is that masks are required in healthcare facilities on campus, including Bates Health Services, Bates Sports Medicine, and Counseling and Psychological Services. Please note that faculty will have the ability to require that students wear masks in their classrooms and other teaching spaces at their discretion.

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 Vaccine Requirement

All students are required to be fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine and booster.

COVID-19 Testing

The college will not run a testing program for asymptomatic students. For students who experience symptoms of COVID-19 once on campus, testing will be available at Bates Health Services. This testing will be conducted at the discretion of medical staff based on clinical presentation of symptoms. COVID-19 testing can also 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 St. in Lewiston. 

Students can also purchase rapid tests — at Walgreens, CVS, or Walmart. If a student tests positive using a self-administered rapid test, they should contact Bates Health Services.

Students Who Test Positive for COVID-19 

Returning to classes and activities:

  • Any student who tests positive will need to follow clearance criteria from Bates Health Services before returning to class or participating in co-curricular programs, which will be a minimum of five days from the day of the positive test. The duration of this period will be determined by the range and severity of symptoms.
  • Any student who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to mask in all indoor spaces for 10 days from the day of the positive test.

Bates Health Services will provide medical care as needed for students who test positive for COVID-19. 

A student who tests positive and lives in a single-occupancy room (e.g., single or single within a suite) will: 

Remain in their existing room assignment and follow all public health policies, leaving only to secure grab-n-go meals from Commons and to access bathrooms and medical care, which is consistent with how we support students with other illnesses.

A student who tests positive and lives with roommates in multi-occupancy rooms will: 

Remain in their existing room assignment and follow all public health policies, leaving only to secure grab-n-go meals from Commons and to access bathrooms and medical care, which is consistent with how we support students with other illnesses. 

Sign Four Student Agreements by August 17, 2022

As was shared with you on August 1 in an email from Bates Health Services, all students are required to review and sign four student agreements by August 17, 2022. You can access these documents in Garnet Gateway in the new student checklist items by expanding the August tab.

  1. Student COVID-19 testing authorization form
  2. COVID-19 Broad testing consent form 
  3. Acknowledgement of shared responsibility & risk
  4. Academic year 2022-2023 Public Health Agreement

These agreements are required to remain enrolled in courses and to remain in college housing. Those who do not complete the agreements will be unenrolled from courses for the fall semester and will forfeit their housing assignment. 

Please direct questions about the Public Health Agreement to Student Affairs: studentaffairs@bates.edu.

Please direct questions about public health policies and protocols to Student Health Support & Outreach Specialist Brenna Callahan: healthservices@bates.edu.

Move-in Visitors in Residence Halls and Visitors to Campus Policy 

Family members and support team members are welcome to enter their student’s residence hall during the move-in process as long as one of the following conditions is met. Guests must be able to show (1) proof of being fully vaccinated and boosted or (2) proof of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR, rapid antigen, or at-home) within the previous 48 hours. We ask parents and support team members to be mindful of the time that they are spending in the residences. Please try to get outside the residence to other move-in day events and de-densify the indoor space as soon as possible. Please stay tuned for additional move-in day information coming later in the month.

You may find the college’s general visitor policy here.

Additional Information about COVID-19

For additional information about COVID-19, please review the 2022–23 Public Health Policies Frequently Asked Questions on the Bates Health Services website.

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.

Monkeypox

We are closely monitoring the developing situation with the MPX virus, commonly referred to as “Monkeypox.” The MPX virus is primarily spread through very close contact with a symptomatic person, including skin-to-skin contact and sexual intimacy. 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, and we   are working with our advisors at the Mayo Clinic and our Medical Director at Bates Health Services to develop the necessary public health plans and protocols for the possibility of monkeypox cases at the college. You may find information about the prevention of Monkeypox here.

We would like to give you a warm welcome to Bates from Health Services, and we look forward to seeing you when you arrive on campus.

Sincerely,

Blake Reilly, Associate Dean of Students

Brenna Callahan, Student Outreach and Support Specialist, Bates Health Services