COVID-19 Policies and FAQ for Employees

Last updated June 13, 2022

This website summarizes the current college policies in response to COVID-19. Together, these public health measures have been shown to reduce transmission of COVID-19 and increase the health and safety of the community. Employees must also familiarize themselves with the Bates College Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan which contains more detailed information. All employees are required to follow all public health policies. Failure to comply with these policies will result in progressive discipline.

Vaccination Policy

Bates College requires that every employee disclose their vaccination status. Bates strongly encourages every employee to be vaccinated. Unvaccinated employees may be subject to additional policy requirements depending on the level of transmission within the college or the community. 

Vaccination Policy FAQs

How do I disclose my vaccination status?

To update your vaccine status, simply login to Garnet Gateway, select “COVID-19 Immunization Status” from the To-do list, and indicate your status. If you are vaccinated, you will be asked to upload a photo of your vaccine card. If you are having trouble logging into Garnet Gateway or uploading your card, please contact Mike Milliken (mmillike@bates.edu or 207-753-6936) in Human Resources for assistance. You may return to update the information if your status changes.

My vaccination status has changed since I first reported it. Can I update it?

Yes. To update your vaccine status, simply login to Garnet Gateway, select “COVID-19 Immunization Status” from the To-do list, and indicate your status. If you are vaccinated, you will be asked to upload a photo of your vaccine card. If you are having trouble logging into Garnet Gateway or uploading your card, please contact Mike Milliken (mmillike@bates.edu or 207-753-6936) Human Resources for assistance.

What if I do not want to disclose my vaccination status?

College policy requires all employees, regardless of employment status, to disclose whether they are: (1) unvaccinated; (2) in the process of being vaccinated; or (3) fully vaccinated. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in progressive discipline, beginning with a three-day unpaid suspension. If after that time, you still refuse to comply, you will be placed on unpaid suspension for one week. Continued non-compliance will result in termination.

What do I do if I do not want to get vaccinated?

While the college strongly encourages every employee to be vaccinated, you are not required to do so.  Should there be an outbreak of cases on campus or in the local community, other policies or practices may be put in place for unvaccinated employees.

If I am unvaccinated, may I simply work remotely?

No. Decisions about remote work are not tied to an individual’s vaccination status. Given the breadth of services offered at the college and the multiple ways in which they are delivered, departmental managers have the discretion to determine whether their team members are eligible for remote work and, if so, the nature of that arrangement.  Individuals who desire to work remotely should discuss this with their supervisor.

Employees who are unvaccinated because of a serious underlying health condition may request an accommodation. Employees should contact Hope Burnell (hburnell@bates.edu or 207-786-8388) in Human Resources to begin the interactive process to discuss possible reasonable accommodations.   

All discussions about possible accommodations must include a representative from Human Resources, the employee, and the employee’s manager. Every accommodation situation requires an individualized assessment of the employee’s medical situation and the essential functions of their position. The college may request and obtain medical certification from the employee’s health care provider to assist in exploring an appropriate accommodation plan.

Additional information for individuals who are at high risk can be found here.

Masking Policy

Effective June 13, 2022 the Bates Campus is a mask-optional campus. Bates reminds our community that you may choose to wear a mask at any time based on your own level of comfort, personal medical status, family medical status, and personal risk.

Our clinical advisors continue to stress that the best mask is the one that fits closely around the nose and mouth and needs no adjustment. Surgical masks have been distributed throughout campus by EHS to AAAs and departmental contact points.

More information about masks is available from the CDC. While we expect employees to provide their own masks, we have supplies of surgical masks across campus.

N95 masks are available for employees, prioritized for those with frequent close contact with students and those with certain health conditions. Similarly, “masks fitters” are available for those who would like to improve the fit of their surgical mask. If you have specific need for an N95 respirator, such as working in close proximity or due to health conditions, please contact Jim Morrison, Director of Environmental Health and Safety.

Please be sure to discard masks properly and do your part to keep our beautiful campus clean.

Masking Policy FAQs

I forgot my mask or need assistance getting one. Is there a place on campus to get a mask?

Bates will provide masks to any employee, as needed, and they may be issued as part of one’s uniform in certain departments.  If you need a mask, contact Environmental Health & Safety at (207) 786-8226 or jmorriso@bates.edu.

COVID-19 Testing Policy

The college is not currently providing asymptomatic testing of employees, nor requiring testing for any employee. Employees who are traveling for college business may request an Abbott BINAX-NOW over-the-counter test kit to enable travelers to test before and after travel per CDC guidance. Tests for business related travelers may be found at the Human Resources office at 215 College Street. Free tests are available from the government to be sent to your home; please see here.

Self-Monitoring and COVID-19 Related Absences

Bates requires all employees to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and remain at home if they are sick.  Employees who experience the onset of symptoms while at work are required to notify their manager and Human Resources, and leave the workplace.

  • Positive COVID-19 Tests
    • Employees who test positive for COVID-19 are required to report the diagnosis to Human Resources (HRCovid@bates.edu or 207-795-5100) and their department head within 24 hours. Similarly, employees are required to report to Human Resources if they receive an order from a state or local public health agency directing them to self-quarantine. All records regarding the diagnosis and report to Human Resources will be maintained as a confidential medical record.
  • Pandemic Sick Bank
    • A Pandemic Paid Sick Leave Policy was implemented effective July 1, 2020 to ensure that all staff employees eligible for leave have paid time off specifically for COVID-19 absences. This policy has been updated effective July 1, 2022; the details of this policy are available on the HR website and should be reviewed by all employees.
  • Returning to Work After a Positive COVID-19 Test
    • Employees are required to follow CDC guidance regarding discontinuing home isolation. Please reach out to Human Resources if you have questions.

Visitor and Event Policy

Visitors, including family members of a student, may not enter any building on campus, except under particular conditions as outlined in the visitor and event policy.

Most events on campus are currently restricted to Bates faculty, staff and students.  Events should be held outdoors whenever possible.  More detail about event policies can be found here.

In-Person Interview Policy

When the hiring process begins, hiring managers will determine whether or not to invite finalist candidates to campus for final interviews for that position. If in-person interviews are offered, all finalist candidates must be provided the option to attend an in-person interview. Finalist candidates are not required to attend an in-person interview, and candidates will not be asked to provide proof of vaccination.

Hosts of finalist candidates must escort their candidates during the entire visit to campus. All finalist candidates shall be advised of and required to follow all safety protocols.

  • Candidates who test positive for COVD-19 prior to their scheduled interview should not come to campus until symptoms are resolved and they are released from isolation per CDC guidelines.
  • Candidates who test positive for COVID-19 within 48 hours of their on-campus interview should notify their host immediately.
Employee Travel Policy

Employees may travel domestically, using the regular approval procedures.  International travel must be reviewed and approved by the relevant Vice President and will only be approved in exceptional circumstances.

Employees who are traveling for college business may request an Abbott BINAX-NOW over-the-counter test kit to enable travelers to test before and after travel per CDC guidance. Tests for business related travelers may be found at the Human Resources office at 215 College Street.

Miscellaneous Public Health FAQs

How does the college determine its public health policies?

The college bases its public health policies on science and data. We regularly consult with public health and clinical experts, including the Maine CDC. The policies are developed to provide for the well-being of the entire community as we live, learn, and work together.

What do I do if I have a serious health concern that might affect my safety on campus?

Employees who are at high risk for developing complications associated with COVID-19 due to an underlying health condition may request an accommodation. Employees should contact Hope Burnell (hburnell@bates.edu or 207-786-8388) in Human Resources to begin the interactive process to discuss possible reasonable accommodations. 

All discussions about possible accommodations must include a representative from Human Resources, the employee, and the employee’s manager. Every accommodation situation requires an individualized assessment of the employee’s medical situation and the essential functions of their position. The college may request and obtain medical certification from the employee’s health care provider to assist in exploring an appropriate accommodation plan.

Additional information for individuals who are at high risk can be found here.