On-Campus Student Living and Learning

Foliage on a tree in front of Searles

Campus 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, the Spring 2021 campus 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 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 Spring 2021 campus community agreement as well as any other policies governing student conduct.

Students are required to wear an appropriate face covering at all times indoors, except in a student’s private residence or when in the presence of a student’s “pod” (see Definitions below). Bowdoin will provide all students in residence with two cloth face coverings, and students may bring and wear their own appropriate face coverings. Students should possess one face covering of their own to be worn upon their arrival to campus to move in. Bandanas or gaiters are not appropriate face coverings. 

Students must conduct a daily symptom check using the Campus Clear app before leaving their rooms each morning. Students must report any new or unexplained symptoms using the app and follow the linked instructions if they are not cleared for campus access. (Symptoms may include: feeling feverish or unexplained chills; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fatigue; muscle or body aches; headache; loss of taste or smell; sore throat; congestion or runny nose; or nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.) 

Students are expected to keep themselves informed and educated on the latest information about COVID-19. The College is committed to assisting in this effort. Information about the illness and how to safely interact with other people will be distributed throughout the semester through signage, email bulletins, “town halls,” and other communication methods. Please continue to check Bowdoin’s COVID-19 website for updated information. 

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, January 29. Any students who test positive will be asked to defer their travel to campus until they are cleared by a health care professional. Additionally, any students showing symptoms associated with COVID-19 are asked to postpone their arrival on campus until cleared by a health care professional.

Student Move-In

The move-in dates for the spring 2021 semester are Friday, February 5, 2021, and Saturday, February 6, 2021, between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Students will be required to have two COVID-19 tests prior to moving into their residence. Students will be able to sign up for a testing timeslot for one of these days in mid-January. Students will immediately report to Farley Field House where they will receive a rapid antigen test. Students will then wait in Watson Arena for a negative result. Then they will travel to Morrell Gymnasium where they will receive their new One Card as well as a PCR test. There will be designated areas for students to drop off their belongings while they receive the two tests. 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 retrieving any mail. During the month of February, all students will be tested three times a week.

Students living in residence in the local community will also be required to sign up for testing on either February 5 or 6. In-residence students will also receive their One Card once they complete their test at Morrell Gymnasium and are expected to follow the same precautions as on-campus students, including limited movement except for meal pick-up and personal exercise.

Packing Checklist and Evacuation Plan

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 on campus 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. 

Off-Campus Travel

When the campus status is yellow, students may conduct local essential personal business off campus, but students are expected to observe health and safety protocols, such as properly wearing face coverings 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. See Definitions for what is “essential.” 

Travel within the Brunswick area: Students may leave campus to attend to essential personal business or other matters within the greater Brunswick area. The College expects students to be responsible and to use their best judgment when conducting essential personal business. For example, a student should not enter a business establishment where customers or workers are not practicing physical distancing. See Definitions for what is “essential.” 

While on campus or 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

All on-campus student vehicles must be registered with the College and display a current student parking decal. Registration details can be found here. The cost for a spring 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 student vehicle use.

Nonessential travel in student vehicles is prohibited.

To maintain social distancing, a student driver who needs to carry another passenger for essential business is required to have everyone in the vehicle wear a face covering with the car windows down to allow for proper ventilation.

Residential Life

All students will choose a single bedroom, though they may share a suite or apartment with other students. During the spring 2021 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 not be permitted to keep personal items such as shampoos and other toiletries in the bathroom.

Common Spaces: Each residence hall public common space will have a maximum occupancy posted in order to ensure physical distancing. Students may use public common spaces if health and safety standards can be maintained.

Pod: A pod is a self-identified group of not more than eight (8) students living on campus during the spring 2021 semester. All pod members must reside in the same building. Pod members do not have to wear face coverings or be physically distant from one another when the campus status is yellow and they are in their private common spaces only, such as their apartments, private common rooms, or College House living areas.

Students who select to live together in suites or apartments or who reside together within a College House will automatically constitute a pod. Off-campus in-residence students also constitute a pod. Students assigned to single rooms can join other students to form pods within the same building. Except for College House pods, which will encompass all students living in the House, pods cannot exceed eight (8) individuals. Students in suites, apartments, or single rooms located in the same building may combine into a single large pod of up to eight (8) total students; however, students may only belong to one pod, and all students within a pod must live in the same building. 

Students will be asked to submit the names of people in their pod in January. Once established, pods can divide or individuals can leave, but new pods cannot be formed. Please note that, if one member of a pod tests positive for COVID-19, it is likely that all members of that pod will be required to quarantine.  


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:

In status-level orange:

  • Students must wear face coverings at all times when not in their individual private bedrooms. Face covering requirements during orange includes apartment common spaces such as kitchens and living rooms, College House living areas, and apartment bathrooms. Gatherings among pod members are permitted, but face coverings must be worn at all times, and physical distancing and occupancy limits must be followed.
  • No gatherings are permitted among individuals of multiple pods.

In status-level yellow:

  • Students of one pod may gather in private common spaces without needing to wear face coverings, maintaining physical distancing guidelines, or abiding by occupancy limits.
  • If students of multiple pods are present, students may gather, but face coverings must be worn at all times, and physical distancing and occupancy limits must be followed.
  • Regardless of who is present, when gathering in public common spaces, including outside, face covering requirements, social distancing guidelines, and occupancy limits must be followed.
  • 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 fifteen (15) students or fewer depending on the occupancy level of the space. 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. Gatherings hosted by professional staff may be eligible for a larger size.

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.

Helpful Definitions for On-Campus Living

  1. Gathering: The convening of two or more students, whether planned, casual, or spontaneous, in any space on campus, whether indoors or outside. It includes parties, organized events, casual socializing, or activities. Permissible gatherings must comply with campus status level and space occupancy limits and social distancing at all times. 

  2. Guest: Anyone other than an enrolled Bowdoin student in residence or with on-campus privileges. “Guests” include but are not limited to family members, non-Bowdoin friends; prospective students; enrolled Bowdoin students without permission to be on campus; and Bowdoin students who are on a leave of absence (e.g., personal, medical, disciplinary, etc.) from the College.

  3. On-campus privileges for seniors off campus: Access to any resources, buildings, and services available to students in residence (except residential buildings). On-campus privileges will be extended to members of the Class of 2021 (based on credits earned), who reside off campus and in Maine, and who agree to sign and comply with the campus community agreement. Examples include access to dining (through board plans), weekly testing, building campus athletic facilities, and on-campus classes. In order to have on-campus privileges, the entire house must agree to the terms of the campus community agreement. Note: Students with on-campus privileges but who do not live on campus may not enter or occupy College residential spaces, including private bedrooms. If any member of an approved household violates this Agreement, the entire house may be held accountable. This may have serious consequences on an individual student’s academic progress if they are enrolled in an in-person course.

  4. Pod: A self-identified group of students living on campus during the spring 2021 semester. Students in pods do not have to wear face coverings or be physically distant from one another when in their private common spaces, such as their apartments, private common rooms, or College House living areas. Students who select to live together in suites or apartments or who reside together within a College House will automatically constitute a pod. Off-campus in-residence students also constitute a pod. Students assigned to single rooms can join other students to form pods. Except for College Houses, pods cannot exceed eight (8) individuals. Students in suites, apartments, or single rooms may combine into a single large pod of up to eight (8) total students; however, students may only belong to one pod. Students will be asked to submit the names of people in their pod in January. Once established, pods can divide or individuals can leave, but new pods cannot be formed. Please note that if one member of a pod tests positive for COVID-19, it is likely that all members of that pod will be asked to quarantine.