On-Campus Student Living and Learning

Revised 8/26/20
Foliage on a tree in front of Searles

Residential Community Agreement and Expectations of Students in Residence

Commitment to the common good is a hallmark of Bowdoin’s community standards. In an effort to keep Bowdoin’s residential community as safe and healthy as possible, and to promote the ability to continue some in-person operations during the 2020–2021 academic year, this residential community agreement aims to lay out the essential need to focus on the common good and the standards by which we will keep our community safe. Our community must make a collective effort to minimize person-to-person transmission of COVID-19 and to protect all of those who are in our educational community.

Students in residence must comply with all health and safety guidelines and requirements outlined by the Campus Status Levels (CSL) of yellow, orange, and red. Students are responsible for knowing the current status level and for following all corresponding health and safety protocols. Students must comply with the residential community agreement as well as any other policies governing student conduct.

Prior to Arrival

All students should plan to self-quarantine for fourteen days before arrival and to take extreme care while traveling to campus. As previously stated, students will be mailed a pre-arrival COVID-19 test kit to be completed and mailed by noon, August 21; any students who test positive will be asked to defer their travel to campus until they are cleared by a healthcare professional. Additionally, any students showing symptoms associated with COVID-19 are asked to postpone their arrival on campus until cleared by a healthcare professional.

Student Move-In

First-year students will move into their residences on Saturday, August 29. Students will be given a specific window of time to arrive on campus and will immediately check in at Morrell Gymnasium for testing before being allowed into their residence hall. One parent or guardian will be allowed on campus with each student on move-in day, though only students may enter residence halls or other campus buildings. Restroom access will be provided for family members, and a bag lunch for students and one family member each will be available for pick-up at Coe Quad. Upperclass students will be permitted to move into their residences either on August 29 or August 31 and will also immediately report to Morrell Gymnasium for testing upon arrival. All arriving students are asked to self-quarantine in their rooms until they are cleared by two negative test results, with the exception of limited movement for meal pick-up, personal exercise, and any orientation programming. During the first two weeks on campus, all students will be tested three times a week. First-year students who have questions should contact Melissa Quinby, dean of first-year students, and upperclass students who have questions should contact Lisa Rendall, director of housing and residential operations.

Packing Checklist and Evacuation Plan

Students will be provided with a move-in checklist for packing. Students should plan on packing lightly so that they may easily vacate campus if that becomes necessary. Prior to the start of the semester, students in residence must develop an evacuation plan in the event that Bowdoin is required to close campus due to a public health emergency. This plan should include how the student will leave campus, where they will stay, and how they will remove or store their belongings. The College will be unable to store student belongings or to assist financially with departure from campus. Students will have seventy-two (72) hours from the time that any announcement is made in which to depart campus.


The first-year deans and orientation interns in the Office of the Dean of Students have developed a comprehensive orientation for first-year students. Orientation will consist of both remote sessions, some of which will be viewed prior to arrival, and in-person events designed with health and safety in mind.

Off-Campus Travel

When the campus status is yellow, students may conduct essential personal business off campus, but students are expected to observe health and safety protocols, such as properly wearing face coverings or masks and washing hands. “Essential personal business” includes obtaining food, off-campus appointments, banking, etc. Students are not allowed to visit a private residence off campus, including those lived in by Bowdoin students.

While in residence, students may not leave Maine, except with written permission from the dean of students or their designee. The College requires written permission in order to: 1) keep campus as safe as possible from the spread of illness; and 2) work with a student to create a customized quarantine plan for their return to campus through Health Services.

Vehicle Policy for First-Year Students

Specifically to facilitate timely departures should a campus closure become necessary, the College has chosen to forego its normal first-year student vehicle prohibition and permit first-year students to have cars on campus during the fall 2020 semester.

All student vehicles must be registered with the College and display a current student parking decal. Online student vehicle registration opened on Monday, August 3. The cost for a fall semester parking decal is $50, which is billed to your student account. Your parking decal will be sent to your Smith Union mailbox. Place the decal on the right side of the rear bumper.

To help prevent the spread of the virus and keep our campus and local community safe, we have placed special restrictions on first-year student vehicle use.

  • Registered first-year student vehicles must park in the Farley Field House parking lot only. This parking lot is located on Watson Drive (off Harpswell Road). Please park on the north end of the lot closest to the tennis courts.

  • Nonessential travel is prohibited. First-year students are not permitted to use their cars on campus other than to unload on arrival day (Saturday, August 29) and to drive to the Farley Field House student parking lot. For example, discretionary vehicle use (i.e., driving to class or to a dining hall) is not permitted.

  • To maintain social distancing, a student driver may not carry non-family passengers unless the vehicle is being used to depart campus at the end of the fall semester or in the event of a campus closure.

  • First-year students may not park on Brunswick town streets.

  • First-year students are not permitted to have motorcycles, mopeds, or motor scooters on campus. In addition, hoverboards or similar electronic devices are not permitted.

Campus parking regulations are strictly enforced. Fines for violations range from $25 to $200. Habitual violators will face disciplinary action, including revocation of campus parking privileges.

Residential Life

Housing will be available for the fall 2020 semester beginning on Saturday, August 29, 2020, until Saturday, November 21, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. All students will be assigned a single bedroom, though they may share a suite or apartment with other students. First-year students will be assigned to live in a residence hall or College House. First-year housing will be broken up into core groups, which will consist of a number of first-year students and two proctors, who are upperclass students trained in supporting first-year students and creating community among the core groups with programming, “flinners” (floor dinners), and other activities. Upperclass students will be assigned to live in an apartment and will have access to an RA for support and programming. Students may not have any guests in their bedrooms at any time this semester; however, when the campus status is yellow they are allowed to visit other residence halls. During the Fall 2020 semester, students are not permitted to host or allow guests anywhere on campus for any period of time. “Guests” include, but are not limited to, family members, prospective students, enrolled Bowdoin students without permission to be on campus, and Bowdoin students who are on a personal leave of absence from the College.

Bathrooms: Face coverings should be worn in bathrooms except when using the sink or shower. Students should use the same bathroom fixtures (e.g., stall, sink, shower, etc.) as consistently as possible. The highest level of hygiene and cleaning practices should be maintained in order to protect all residents. Students will be unable to keep personal items such as shampoos and other toiletries in the bathroom.

Common Spaces: Each residence hall common space will have a maximum occupancy in order to ensure physical distancing. Core groups may use common spaces if health and safety standards can be maintained. For students in first-year residences, face coverings are required at all times except in your own private bedroom. For students who reside in on-campus apartments, face coverings are optional in common areas of the apartments at all times when the campus status level is yellow and only residents of the apartment are present.


During the semester, the Office of Residential Life will not register parties or events. However, students will be able to gather within certain guidelines.

A “gathering” is defined here as the convening of two or more students, whether planned, casual, or spontaneous, in any space on campus, whether indoors or outside. It includes parties, events, casual socializing, or activities.

Gatherings are permitted under the following conditions:

1. Gatherings of students from one core group: These gatherings are limited to not more than twenty (20) students who are assigned to live in a single “core group.” For first-year students and transfer students, this core group consists of all students affiliated with a proctor group. For upperclass students, the core group is the student’s suitemates.

No one other than enrolled Bowdoin students assigned to live in that core group may attend the gathering. These gatherings can occur within that core group’s common spaces. Examples of common spaces include semiprivate areas like a suite’s common room or public spaces such as floor common rooms. Gatherings cannot be held within individual bedrooms. Face coverings or masks must be properly worn at all times.

2. Gatherings of students from at least two core groups: These gatherings can be attended by students assigned to different core groups in a common space where all students can practice physical distancing and remain six feet apart. If the gathering is held indoors, the total number of students cannot exceed ten (10). This includes inside residence halls and any other indoor gathering places on campus.

Examples of common spaces include semiprivate areas like a suite’s common room, floor common rooms, or other areas students have been given permission to congregate, such as 30 College Street or SWAG. Gatherings cannot be held within individual bedrooms. Face coverings or masks must be properly worn at all times. If a gathering is held outside, up to twenty (20) students may attend within physical distance guidelines.

3. College-sponsored: Indoor gatherings sponsored by the College—including those hosted by a recognized chartered Bowdoin student group with permission to host a gathering—are limited to the lower of fifteen (15) students in residence. Outside gatherings are limited to a maximum of twenty (20) people. Large outdoor gatherings may only take place in those spaces that have been designated to safely accommodate the size of the gathering.

No alcohol is permitted in any first-year residence, and hard alcohol is not permitted anywhere on campus. See Bowdoin’s Alcohol and Substance Use policy for more detail.

Students participating in any gathering must observe health and safety guidelines, including physical distancing practices, and properly wear a face covering or mask indoors as required by the CSL or the Maine Center for Disease Control.

Remember: the threat of a community outbreak increases as a result of irresponsible actions. If students are unable to abide by these guidelines, the College may need to limit the number of students permitted to gather, reduce spaces where students are allowed to gather, or cancel college-sponsored events.