COVID-19 Policies

Last updated on April 30, 2020

Caring Commons: Community Resources

The Caring Commons is designed to share community support resources among Bates faculty and staff. While the resource list is not intended to be exhaustive, it will be updated periodically as new major or particularly relevant resources become available. 

Faculty-Staff Working Group on Fall Planning & College Finances

On April 14, 2020, President Spencer announced the formation of an ad hoc working group, composed of faculty and staff, to advise senior staff on institutional decisions with respect to academic plans for next year and college finances. The membership of each team can be found here.

Monitoring & Institutional Response

Bates has activated its emergency response team, chaired by Vice President of Finance and Administration Geoffrey Swift and composed of the President, the Dean of the Faculty, the Dean of Students, and the entire leadership team, as well as leaders from a wide range of functional areas, including Security and Campus Safety, Dining, Facilities, Environmental Health & Safety, and Human Resources. The full team meets weekly to coordinate the college’s overall response, and a smaller, coordinating group confers as needed, typically multiple times a day. Additionally, teams focused on particular functional needs (e.g., off-campus study, academic technology, and quarantine contingency planning) are working concurrently and reporting to the full emergency response team.

Travel Guidance

With the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, travel increases the risk of contracting and transmitting the disease more widely. Bates continues to closely monitor travel information from the CDC to inform decisions related to college-sponsored travel, defined as trips paid for directly by Bates or for which the traveler receives reimbursement from the college. 

College-Sponsored Travel

Effective immediately, all college-sponsored, non-essential travel for students, faculty, and staff is prohibited. This applies to both domestic and international travel. If you believe your college-sponsored travel may be essential, this must be approved by the senior staff member in charge of your department. Staff should consult first with supervisors before reporting to their respective senior staff member. For faculty, please contact the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.  

In lieu of travel, please consider using technology to conduct business or convene meetings virtually. Information is available through Bates Information and Library Services. 

We realize these restrictions impose a burden on your professional activities and may create unexpected business expenses due to cancellation or change fees. Finance and Administration will work with managers to ensure that reimbursements to staff and faculty are processed appropriately.

Personal Travel

Until further notice, Bates strongly discourages all personal international travel and urges caution and careful judgment for domestic trips, particularly to areas where COVID-19 cases have been reported and to destinations involving large public gatherings.
Per CDC guidelines, any member of the Bates community or visitor who travels to or through a CDC Warning Level 2 or 3 country for any reason must remain home and away from campus for a period of 14 days upon re-entry to the United States.

Events, Gatherings, and Visitors/Guests

Per CDC guidance, effective immediately and until further notice, large gatherings on campus of 50 or more people may not proceed. Please consider canceling or postponing large convenings, or conducting programming online. Any events and functions that include outside guests or visitors require review and approval by SERG. Please reach out to SERG at for those events or functions that require review and approval.

Access to campus buildings is limited to individuals with a valid Bates ID. While we have historically welcomed the public into our facilities, this is a temporary mitigation measure in response to the global COVID-19 health crisis.

For information about how this will affect Bates Athletics, please see this message from Director of Athletics Jason Fein.

Preventive Measures

Campus offices are working proactively to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases.

  • Facilities Services staff have intensified cleaning practices on campus, using CDC-recommended guidelines for disinfecting common areas and touch surfaces. 
  • In Commons, we have increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning for high touch areas and increased the frequency of serving utensil replacement. 
  • The college has also implemented a campus-wide health information campaign with signs, flyers, and campus display monitors, sharing CDC recommendations designed to prevent the spread of disease.

Social Distancing Guidance

At this time of unexpected goodbyes and emotional intensity, it is natural to want to express care and closeness through hugs, handshakes, and other forms of interpersonal touch. In light of the current circumstances, however, these norms conflict with the best practices recommended by the CDC, which include avoiding close physical contact. 

The COVID-19 virus is transmitted easily through these types of contact, and can be spread even before affected persons develop any symptoms. In your greetings and goodbyes over the next few days, please be mindful of physical contact with others and follow the tenets of social distancing outlined below. This is the most effective tool we have to protect each other and our community.

Specifically, try to keep in mind the following as you interact with others:

  • Avoid physical contact (handshakes, hugs, kisses hello, etc.)
  • Maintain physical distance between yourself and others 
  • Wash your hands frequently (especially after being around others)
  • Avoid passing shared communal objects between people
  • Do not share food or beverages

Academic Considerations

The Dean of the Faculty has appointed a team, consisting of designees from the Dean of the Faculty’s Office and Information and Library Services, to work with faculty to prepare for the possibility of completing the semester’s coursework in ways that would not require in-person teaching. To support this effort with technology, Information and Library Services (ILS) has taken steps to increase connectivity options and network capacity for online course offerings. ILS staff have prepared resources on remote teaching and learning options for faculty and students. In addition, a number of training workshops will be offered to faculty beginning next week.

Prior Communications

The college continues to closely monitor all developments and will actively respond to conditions if they warrant action. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, Bates will provide updates and information about any changes to college policies and programs to the campus community.

Campus messages will also be posted below.