July 27, 2021 | Returning Parent Information Session

We encourage you to watch this returning parent/family information session in its entirety to hear from our campus partners, who provided useful information for returning parents. Remember that the information on this page was current as of July 27, 2021, and may have changed since then. For the most current information, visit our main parent page or the COVID-19 Information page.



How will students know if faculty changes have impacted their approved scheduled class for fall, in time enough to consider options in case staff was a factor in the course selection?

We will be communicating with students regarding changes to the fall Schedule of Courses in mid-August so they can make decisions before Add/Drop opens on the 31st.

In addition to Economics, which departments have been impacted by departure?

As is the case every year, faculty move to different positions outside of Bates. We have been fortunate to have solutions (e.g., hiring new tenure-track professors) in place long before the departures impact the courses offered in an academic year. That will be the case with the other departments that have shifts in personnel. Some of the details of those leaves are still in flux, but we have already covered courses that were anticipated for those colleagues for next academic year.

What additional resources will Bates allocate to support seniors majoring in Economics?

We are actively identifying a variety of supports for seniors majoring in economics. Our goal is to ensure that students have opportunities that meet or exceed the high standards for the major. My team and I will ensure that the appropriate resources are allocated to meet student needs as best we can. As department co-chairs, Professors Shea and Riera-Crichton are also evaluating a range of support options for our seniors. We are exploring all options and will continue to work to find qualified, talented colleagues who can add to the offerings this year.

Given that Bates has already hired new faculty, why will thesis be reimagined? 

Seniors will have the opportunity within advanced courses to craft capstone research projects that involve original empirical or theoretical content and collaboration with faculty, which are defining characteristics of the thesis. It is important to note in this regard that several Bates departments, including economics, have offered seniors the option to complete course-based capstone projects rather than individual theses for a number of years, and the course-based research experience has worked well for many students.

What experience do the new instructors in economics have?

Each of the three visiting assistant professors have taught at Bates and know the curriculum well. They each have several years experience teaching introductory and advanced economics courses, and they each have terminal degrees in the field. The bios of these faculty members are on the Economics webpage.

Given the current situation in the Department of Economics, will you ensure the seniors will receive their preferred elective courses?

Professors Shea and Riera-Crichton are working with their colleagues to create a fair and simple process to ensure seniors have the courses they need to graduate and courses that meet their academic goals. They are ready to work with the majors to find good outcomes.

Will Malcolm Hill be present at the department meeting for economics majors on Friday?
[Staff note: This question was asked prior to the July 30 meeting for econ majors.]

The Dean of the Faculty will be at the Friday meeting that the department will hold for economics majors. This is a useful opportunity for students to hear an overview of changes and updates and a forum for them to ask questions about their specific schedules and requirements to complete their major.


Have you hired a Dive Coach yet?

Unfortunately, we haven’t, although not for lack of trying. There are not many candidates out there at the moment, but we are continuing to expand our options and work on it.

Are there any updates regarding a new head coach for the mens and womens golf teams?

Yes! We have secured new coaches for both teams: Brendon Croteau for the men and Abby Spector for the Women. More information coming soon!

Can testing be moved to a different location, such as the Gray Cage in order for teams to be able to use Underhill ice arena?

Unfortunately, this not possible due to the renovations and multi purpose use of Gray Cage, but we are still working on alternatives

Will families be able to tailgate for fall sports?

Yes, pending any changes in public health guidelines.


If we come to campus for Back to Bates, can we visit student rooms?

We will follow the college’s visitor protocols in place during Back to Bates: Family Day, but it is our hope that masked visitors/guests will be allowed short visits to their students’ residence halls as they will be for drop-off. 

Campus Life

Is there a plan for an early in year, class-wide mandatory AESOP like trip/experience to drive cross class bonding?

We are not able to replicate another AESOP experience for the class of 2024, but spending time this academic year focusing on class bonding is a priority for us. This will include  day trips, programs, events, and other sundries.  We plan to keep this momentum going throughout the fall into the spring.

I appreciate Bates’ efforts to help the class of 2024.  However it would be great to really do a true AESOP replica – not optional one-off activities – for the class of 2024, such as a weekend trip this fall.

While we are not able to offer another AESOP  experience for the class of 2024, we will be working with the Bates Outing Club to offer sophomore specific trips. We cannot commit the Outing Club to a weekend trip at this time but we are looking into what might be possible. There will be program specific to Sophomores as well as outing opportunities for all students. We will focus on sophomore engagement specifically by offering events that are intentionally designed for the class of 2024.

Will students be able to sing indoors together? Like acapella practices, other music groups, and religious services?

At this time, we do plan to allow students to sing together inside, but as is the case with all of these policies, they could shift based on the changing COVID landscape.

Can you confirm whether Bates students will be permitted to enter other dorms this year?

Yes, we plan to return to allowing students to have universal access to the residence halls. However, should we become concerned about transmission on campus and congregate housing, this policy could change.

Will there be restrictions on the number of students gathering?

At this time we have not established a max capacity for events, but for each larger event, we are seeing if there is a way to do it outside and if we can scale it down and space it out.  So, we will continue to be cautious about hosting really large gatherings inside.

Will dances be held in the fall?

Traditional dances will not be possible in the same way they were in the past given that they create environments that essentially stack students close together in ways that are not wise given the current climate. That said, performances and events that include opportunities to dance will be part of our programming but they will look different this fall.

Students are allowed to gather indoors and enjoy the dining experience again, as they should since they are fully vaccinated. How are dances any different risk than sitting shoulder to shoulder indoors eating?  

Commons is fundamental to the student experience, and therefore we are doing all that we can to get back to that experience. However, large scale social programs with hundreds of students side-by-side dancing are not as fundamentally important and we can support late-night social life in different ways, which we are planning to do. We are confident that we can return to a set of social experiences that students will enjoy.  Campus Life is working with students to plan these events for the fall.


Thank you for your support for catering for meals during Ramadan.

Many thanks to our student colleagues who partnered with us on this project. We are in the process of increasing the number and frequency of Halal protein offerings.

Will snacks be offered at Commons for students to take back to dorms?

As always students can take an apple, ice cream, or similar item out of Commons, but the racks of snacks which were available during COVID are no longer part of the offerings.

Health protocols

What will happen to students who test positive on the first couple days? Will they be required to quarantine?

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.

Do students enter their dorms after finishing the COVID Testing?

After your COVID test in Underhill, you will go to Merrill to get your ID card activated and get your key. You will then be able to go to your dorm. You will only be contacted by the Testing Center staff if your antigen test result comes back positive.

if a vaccinated student is a close contact of someone with COVID, will they have to quarantine?

Any student who is fully vaccinated will not need to quarantine based upon close contact with an individual who was diagnosed with COVID-19. Any student with a medical exemption will need to quarantine for 10 days from the date and time of exposure to the positive individual.

What’s the frequency of COVIS testing on arrival?

Testing will occur upon arrival to campus utilizing a PCR and an Antigen Test.  Following arrival there will be two follow up antigen tests on Thursday 9/2 and Thursday 9/9.

How is Bates dealing with potentially fake vaccine cards? 

All COVID-19 vaccination information submitted on the Garnet Gateway will be individually reviewed by BHS medical staff.

How often are students going to be tested this semester? What exactly is the policy for masking on campus? 

You can find more information here: https://www.bates.edu/health-services/2021/07/27/fall-2021-public-health-policies-frequently-asked-questions/

What about students who travel abroad for spring.  Will Wellfleet insurance cover them while abroad?  

Yes, the Wellfleet insurance covers Bates students while studying abroad. Many programs and schools require their own insurance, and it is important to have both.

What support will be offered to the new OIE hires? What will the B1st pre-orientation program look like for incoming first years? Will there be specified support towards 2024 B1st members that did not receive the same amount of support and guidance?

Tevis Bryant is working on a pre-orientation schedule, including what programming and support will look like for the class of 2024. He’ll be in touch around the mentoring program as well.

Is there a chance that campus visitor policies will evolve over the course of the semester?

Yes, they could evolve over the semester, but the density of our housing remains a concern. As such, it would be best to assume that we will continue to have a no guest policy for our residence halls. Many of our events with guests, especially large events, we are trying to move to outdoor venues, including nearly all aspects of the Back to Bates program.

Res Life

Will residence hall kitchens be available this year?

Yes, they will.

Do JARC staff need to sign up for a testing time slot if we’re moving in early?

Nope, your testing time is built into res life training and arrival. Expect more specific instructions over email in the next few weeks. 

Are faculty members going to be living in the dorms?

No, we don’t have faculty members living in dorms at Bates. There are a small number of residence life staff who live in certain residence halls.

Will there be one staff person per dorm to handle after-hours issues or will there be one per floor monitoring the comings, goings and doings of the students every minute?

Student res life staff will still live in buildings and be available to students at the floor level, particularly for first years. We will have five new professional staff members supporting all students on a rotating schedule.

Do you know how students will contact the new residence life coordinators yet?

Students will be able to call 24/7 to access the coordinator on duty.