Campus Safety Measures and Protocols

Revised 8/21/20
Polar bear weathervane close-up


The science is clear that a combination of face coverings, social distancing, proper hygiene, and symptom monitoring is very effective in preventing transmission of COVID-19 and that regular and frequent testing and contact tracing are the most effective ways of interrupting the spread of the virus and preventing outbreaks.

Pre-Arrival Testing

The College has invested significant time and resources to offer a robust testing program this fall for the campus community. Given recent nationwide developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, Bowdoin has sent self-administered COVID-19 tests to students currently in the continental United States who will be on campus this fall. We have implemented this requirement in order to:

  • determine your COVID-19 status before you arrive so that, if you test positive, you can recover and quarantine safely and comfortably at home, rather than having to move to our isolation building during your first days on campus; and
  • reduce the risk to the local Brunswick community as students travel and arrive on campus.

The sample collection is self-administered using a shallow nasal swab, much like a Q-tip. For more information, you can watch this video describing LGC’s at-home sample collection process.

Students received the kit in the mail the week of August 17. They should hold onto the kit and keep it in a safe place. Bowdoin asks that you take the test on the morning of Friday, August 21. The kit comes with a prepaid envelope that you will need to drop off at a UPS store or other UPS pick-up location by noon on Friday, August 21.

Semester Testing

Bowdoin College has developed a testing protocol in partnership with the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that is central to our return-to-campus plan. For the first fourteen days on campus, all students residing on campus will be tested three days a week. Following this fourteen-day period, all students residing on campus will be tested twice a week, either on a Monday/Thursday schedule or a Tuesday/Friday schedule, to maximize a fast response to any potential campus outbreak.

Diagram of testing stations in Morrell

Bowdoin’s testing site will be in Morrell Gymnasium, and students, faculty, and staff will schedule their test times in advance. Testing will be via a self-administered, observed nasal swab. Results should be provided within twenty-four hours. (See Student Self-Quarantine and Isolation for more information about isolation after a positive test.) Faculty and staff who are likely to interact with students often will also be tested twice a week. Faculty and staff who will be on campus daily or occasionally but are not as likely to interact with students will be tested once a week. In the unlikely scenario that you need to change the time of your scheduled test, please email

To help protect both them and our local community, students living off campus in Brunswick this fall will be offered a convenient COVID-19 test once a week. Kits will be collected and dropped off at Mid Coast Hospital’s Parkview facility, located just five minutes from campus. Students will receive results within twenty-four hours via an email from NorDx Laboratories with instructions for next steps. While the College will not receive these results, off-campus students are expected to avail themselves of this free resource and take seriously the CDC- recommended isolation period of ten days after the date of a positive test or, for those who develop COVID-19 symptoms, after at least ten days have passed since the onset of symptoms and at least twenty-four hours since the resolution of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is the process used to identify those who come into contact with a member of the on-campus Bowdoin community who has tested positive for COVID-19. Working in conjunction with Maine CDC, the College has trained professional staff to perform contact-tracing procedures. Procedures include remote interviewing of an infected member of the community and contacting Bowdoin community members who were in close contact with the infected individual for more than fifteen minutes within seventy-two hours of the positive test. Throughout the process, the identity of the infected individual will remain anonymous. Students identified as a contact will have to go into quarantine. (See Student Self-Quarantine and Isolation for details on what it means to be in quarantine.) Faculty and staff identified as contacts will be asked to stay home until medically cleared by their primary care physician.

Symptom Tracking

Bowdoin community members will utilize a symptom tracker for self-reported symptom screening. Students residing on campus will complete a daily survey prior to leaving their residence halls and will receive direction from Health Services if symptoms are reported. Faculty and staff will complete a symptom survey prior to arriving to campus for work and will be directed to their primary care physician if they are symptomatic.

Face Coverings

Students, faculty, and staff will all receive two cloth face coverings. Faculty and staff are required to wear face coverings at all times indoors on campus except when alone in a private office or research lab. Face coverings are required to be worn by students at all times in common spaces indoors, with the exception of certain times in a student's residence hall. Please see the information in the On-Campus Student Living and Learning for more information. Face coverings are also required outdoors when you are not able to keep at least a six-foot separation from others. If the campus status level is red, adequate face coverings are required at all times, inside and outside. Bandanas, neck fleeces or gaiters, and turtleneck sweaters are not protective face coverings and so are not adequate. Students who have a medical condition that precludes the use of a mask must register with Lesley Levy, director of student accessibility. Faculty and staff who have a medical condition that precludes the use of a mask should contact the Office of Human Resources. Certain staff whose work tasks have been evaluated and require a more protective level of PPE may be issued a KN95 mask. Faculty who are teaching in-person first-year writing seminars may also request a KN95 mask or face shield via the office of environmental health and safety.

Social Distancing

Students, faculty, and staff will be asked to maintain at least a six-foot separation from others at all times. Where applicable, floor markings for queuing will be used to show a six-foot separation.

Sample of campus signage reminding people to maintain six feet of distance