Fall 2021 Public Health Policies Frequently Asked Questions

Maintaining the health and safety of the Bates community remains the top priority for the 2021-2022 academic year. The requirement that all students be vaccinated for COVID-19 supports this goal, and allows us to interact in an environment that fosters community and connection in ways that we deeply missed during the past academic year. 

Our public health policy decisions will continue to be informed by science and the guidance from public health experts at the Mayo Clinic, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the Maine CDC.

Please keep in mind that these policies may shift based on the public health landscape and guidance from experts.

What is the Public Health Agreement?

All students were required to read and electronically sign the Student Public Health Agreement documents prior to returning to campus for the Fall 2021 semester. The full Student Public Health Agreement can be found here.

What is the COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement?

All students are required to be fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine prior to their arrival on campus for the Fall 2021 semester. The deadline for submitting information about COVID-19 vaccination on the Garnet Gateway was Sunday, July 11. More information about submitting your COVID-19 vaccination information can be found here.

Will masks be required on campus?

All Bates community members, vaccinated and unvaccinated, must wear a mask while indoors, both on-campus and off-campus, effective Tuesday, August 17. The limited exceptions to this requirement, where you do not need to wear a mask, include:

  • When seated in Commons or at a college-catered event (though masks will be required while entering Commons and in the servery or procuring food);
  • When in residence halls; and
  • When in other private campus indoor spaces by oneself.

What will the COVID-19 arrival and onboard testing look like?

Onboarding Testing for Students

  1. When students first arrive on campus, they will need to go to the Underhill COVID-19 Testing Center.  

All vehicles arriving to campus with students will be directed to the parking lot behind Merrill Gym and Underhill Arena to drop off students. Family members and others dropping off students must stay in their vehicles until students have completed their COVID-19 testing and check-in and are ready to go to their residence halls.

  1. Prior to entering the Underhill COVID-19 Testing Center all students must put on a mask.
  1. Students will receive both a rapid antigen test and a PCR test. No student will receive access to their housing before testing. Please remember that you must bring a valid photo ID to the COVID-19 Testing Center – your Bates student ID is appropriate. Note that only students who test positive will be contacted to provide the antigen test results.
  1. After being tested in Underhill, students will go to Merrill Gym, where student ID cards will be activated and students will receive their keys to their rooms. Students may then proceed to their residence hall to move into their room.
  1. Students will continue onboarding testing and undergo two additional testing days after their arrival day in their initial days on campus. Students will receive rapid antigen tests on Thursday, September 2 and Thursday, September 9.

What will COVID-19 testing during the semester look like?

All students are required to be tested every Tuesday and Thursday at the Testing Center. Students can log into Garnet Gateway to schedule their Tuesday and Thursday testing times.

Any student with a COVID-19 vaccine medical exemption may be required to follow additional testing requirements as directed by the Testing Center.

Will students be able to travel out of Maine during the semester?

We ask that all students keep their out of state travel to a minimum during the semester. Many cases of COVID-19 from last academic year came from off-campus locations, and remaining on campus and in-state is a great way to support the health and safety of your peers.

When travelling out of state during the semester, all students should follow Maine CDC guidelines

Any student with a COVID-19 vaccine medical exemption will need to report their travel to testingcenter@bates.edu as it occurs throughout the semester. This will be to ensure that these students remain on their testing schedule.

What do I do if I had COVID-19 in the last 90 days?

If you were diagnosed with COVID-19 by a medical provider within the last 90 days, please email Student Support Coordinator & Specialist Brenna Callahan at healthservices@bates.edu

Will guests be allowed in residence halls during student arrival?

Guests arriving to help a student move into their residence are expected to have to have taken one of the following actions prior to arriving on campus, and are required to be masked when inside residences.

1. Be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 – Be fully vaccinated prior to arrival on campus, which means being two weeks past a second Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shot or two weeks past a single Johnson & Johnson shot.

2. Test negative for COVID-19 – Have a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of arrival on campus or a negative COVID-19 antigen test within 24 hours of arrival on campus. This page includes a testing sites and options in Maine.

3.  Be medically cleared of a recent COVID-19 Diagnosis – If you have tested positive for COVID-19, be medically cleared and at least 10 days from, and within 90 days of, the date and time that you tested positive or received your clinical diagnosis from a medical provider.

Will non-Bates guests be allowed in student residences during the semester?

Students are not permitted to host non-Bates individuals in their residence hall during the semester.

Will Bates faculty and staff be allowed in student residences during the semester?

Only Bates faculty and staff required to provide services in student residences are allowed in residence halls at this time.

Will non-Bates guests be allowed to attend Campus Life events?

No. Campus Life events will only be open to Bates students, faculty and staff.

Are students allowed to access residences other than their own?

All Bates students will have access to all residence halls.

Will international students be required to quarantine upon arrival?

Any international student with an FDA-EUA approved COVID-19 vaccine will not have to quarantine upon arrival.

International students who have not had access to an FDA-EUA COVID-19 vaccine in their home country will be permitted to travel to campus 7 days early. New international students without prior access to an FDA-EUA will be allowed to return on August 15 and returning international students on August 23. Students will be tested at the completion of their 7 day quarantine, and pending a negative test result, will be able to fully participate in International Circle and First Year Orientation.

What is the policy around singing and woodwind instruments?

Students who received a medical exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine may not share or play musical equipment that touches their eyes or mouth on campus, including woodwind instruments. Students who received a medical exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine may participate in chorus, singing, and musical theater activities as long as they remain masked at all times and are in compliance with testing requirements.

Will students diagnosed with COVID-19 need to isolate?

Vaccinated, asymptomatic students who are diagnosed with COVID-19 will need to follow isolation protocol in a single occupancy space or with another individual who has already been diagnosed with COVID-19 for 10 days from their positive test result.

Students with a medical exemptions who are diagnosed with COVID-19 must move out of their residence hall room and to a designated isolation space and follow isolation protocol for 10 days from their positive test result.

A medical provider will speak with any student following isolation protocol and ensure that they are safe to discontinue their isolation at the end of 10 days.

How will close contact quarantine work this academic year?

Any student who is fully vaccinated will not need to follow in-room quarantine based upon close contact with an individual who was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Students who are fully vaccinated and have been identified as a close contact of an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 will be required to wear a mask until receiving negative test result of day 5 since their exposure to the positive individual.

Any student with a medical exemption will need to quarantine for 10 days from the date and time of exposure to the positive individual.