Public Health Policies Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on August 8, 2022

Maintaining the health and safety of the Bates community remains the top priority for the 2022-2023 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 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 by August 17th. The full Student Public Health Agreement can be found here.

What is the COVID-19 vaccination requirement?

All students are required to provide proof of full vaccination and receipt of a recommended booster dose against COVID-19. The only exception to this requirement is the existence of a medical contraindication for receiving a vaccine as certified by a qualified healthcare provider and approved by the Medical Director of Bates Health Services. Additionally, if further booster doses are recommended by public health guidance and Bates updates its vaccination requirements for enrollment, students will be required to provide proof of receipt of further booster doses in accordance with these requirements.

What are the masking requirements?

Bates will be mask-optional in indoor and outdoor campus spaces for all students. Masks will still be required in healthcare facilities on campus, including Bates Health Services, Bates Sports Medicine, and Counseling and Psychological Services. Members of our community may choose and are welcome to wear a mask at any time for any reasons including and not limited to their own level of comfort, personal medical status, family medical status, or personal risk.

What do I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19?

Wear your mask, limit your contacts, practice social distancing and good hand hygiene. Avoid spending time around others and remain in your room as much as possible. Call BHS at 207-786-6199 for consultation with a nurse. If BHS is closed when you call, 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 Street in Lewiston. Students can also purchase rapid tests in stock at Walgreens, CVS, or Walmart. 

What will COVID-19 testing look like?

COVID-19 testing will be available at Bates Health Services for students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. 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 Street in Lewiston. Students can also purchase rapid tests in stock at Walgreens, CVS, or Walmart.

What do I do if I test positive for COVID-19 on an at-home test?

If you test positive for COVID-19 on an at-home test, take the following steps:

  • Stay in your housing assignment and begin masking in all communal spaces (i.e. restrooms and kitchens). This includes if you live in a multiple occupancy room. Limit contacts with others.
  • Wear a mask while in your room with a roommate. Please note, you do not need to wear a mask while sleeping. 
  • Email healthservices@bates.edu with documentation of your positive test.
    • If the test was an at-home test, please include (1) a photo of the test, (2) the type of test, (3) the date and time of your test, and (4) the best phone number to reach you.
  • Email diningfood@groups.bates.edu and let them know you need grab and go meals. Do not eat meals in Commons, instead follow instructions provided by Dining Services.

Note: If you email after business hours, Bates Health Services will contact you with further illness restriction information on the next business day – you will not receive any additional information if you test positive for COVID-19 after hours or on weekends until business hours.  Please be patient and remain in your semester housing assignment and access grab and go meals.

What is the housing policy for students diagnosed with COVID-19?

Students who test positive for COVID-19 will follow illness restriction protocols and remain in their existing room assignment and adhere strictly to all public health policies. It is important to note, students will be directed to stay in their existing room assignment even if they live in a multiple-occupancy room with roommates.

Students will be directed to wear a mask while in their room with a roommate. Please note, students do not need to wear a mask while sleeping. 

Students will also have the option to return home via car for the duration of their restriction period. 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.

What support is available for students diagnosed with COVID-19?

Students can access medical care at Bates Health Services. Telehealth appointments can be made by calling 207-786-6199. BHS is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Outside of business hours, students can contact the CMMC provider on call by calling BHS at 207-786-6199 and following the voicemail prompts.

For more urgent medical needs, students can access medical care at the CMMC Emergency Department at 300 Main Street in Lewiston or Maine Urgent Care at 685 Sabattus Street in Lewiston.

More information about accessing care when Health Services is closed can be found here.

Students can reach out to Health Services at healthservices@bates.edu for non-emergency health care questions and questions about navigating resources on campus, including resources to support them academically while recovering from illness. 

All students following restriction protocols will have access to Grab and Go meals from Commons.

For any questions or support needs, students can reach Student Health Support and Outreach Specialist, Brenna Callahan, by emailing healthservices@bates.edu.

If I test positive for COVID-19, may I return home for the duration of my restriction period?

Students who test positive for COVID-19 and can safely return home for the duration of their restriction period, should do so. In these cases, BHS will raise an illness flag to notify your faculty that you may need support around academic work in the coming week. When you are feeling better and return to campus, you may return to class similar to other illnesses.

What information do I receive when I report a positive COVID-19 test?

Students who report a positive COVID-19 test result to Health Services will receive this information during the next business day.

Housing: You will remain in your current housing assignment.

If you wish to return home for your 5 day restriction period: Students who would prefer to return home for the duration of their illness are able to do so. While traveling home, you should mask in all public locations and do your best to minimize contact with others.

Masking Requirement: You are required to mask for 10 days from your date of positive test in all indoor locations including residence halls and student spaces. You may end all masking requirements after 10 complete days. Please note, you do not need to wear a mask while sleeping.

Contacts and Movement about Campus: You are strongly encouraged to remain in your room as much as possible. Do your best to limit campus contacts over the next 5 days, leaving only to secure grab and go meals from Commons and access bathrooms and medical care. If you are still symptomatic at the beginning of day 6 days, please continue to limit contacts.

Dining: You will receive an email from Dining Services directing you on how to access your meals. You will be required to access Grab and Go meals from Commons for 10 days.

Classes: A BatesReach flag will be raised on your behalf to inform your faculty and advisors that you are unable to attend class in person for 5 days or more depending on symptoms. You should be in direct communication with your professors to make arrangements. You can reach out to Brenna for support in navigating your academic needs if you require. 

Failure to Comply: Students are required to follow all public health directives related to testing, quarantining, and isolation, detailed in the Public Health Agreement

Ending Restriction Protocols: 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. If you are not experiencing symptoms on the beginning of day 6 since your positive test, you may begin attending in-person classes and activities. Please note you must continue to mask and access grab and go meals from Commons until the end of day 10.  If you are still experiencing symptoms at the beginning of day 6, please continue to limit your contact with others and your movement around campus. If you still feel unusually ill on day 6, please contact Bates Health Services by calling 207-786-6199. 

Support: Please reach out to Brenna Callahan if you have any questions or need support.  You can reach her by emailing healthservices@bates.edu.

Notice Your Symptoms

 If you experience increased symptoms, including:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Seek Access to Medical Care Immediately:

Call BHS at 207-786-6199 to speak with a nurse.

Outside of business hours, students can contact the CMMC provider on call by calling BHS at 207-786-6199 and following the voicemail prompts.

For more urgent medical needs, students can access medical care at the CMMC Emergency Department at 300 Main Street in Lewiston or Maine Urgent Care at 685 Sabattus Street in Lewiston.

For non-urgent medical questions or needs, all students can email Bates Health Services at healthservices@bates.edu. The inbox will be monitored periodically throughout the summer.

In the case of an emergency, call (207) 786-6111 or (207) 786-6254 – this will connect you to Campus Safety.

I have an underlying medical condition that puts me at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, what support is available for me?

Students with underlying medical conditions that place them at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 can apply for year-long housing accommodations through the Office of Accessible Education or temporary housing accommodations through Bates Health Services.

With questions about applying for accommodations or clinical criteria, please email Student Health Support and Outreach Specialist, Brenna Callahan, at healthservices@bates.edu.

Will non-Bates guests be allowed to enter buildings on campus during new student arrival on August 31?

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.

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

Yes.

Where do I direct questions?

Should you have any general questions, please email studentaffairs@bates.edu, and you will be connected to the right person to assist you.

Please direct questions related to testing positive for COVID-19 or about restriction policies to Brenna Callahan, Student Health Support & Outreach Specialist, at healthservices@bates.edu.