Fall 2021 FAQ

Last updated: December 8, 2021


Are all Bowdoin students studying on campus this fall? 
Yes, all students are studying on campus this fall. 

Is there an opportunity for Bowdoin students to study remotely this fall?
We are not offering students the opportunity to study remotely for the fall 2021 semester—all enrolled Bowdoin students are required to study in person, on campus.

Are classes being taught in person this fall? 
Yes, all classes are being taught in person this fall.

Are campus grounds open to the general public this fall? 

When the College is in campus status level green or yellow campus grounds remain open to the members of the public with the expectation that they are fully vaccinated, if eligible. The campus will be closed to the public if the College is in campus status level orange or red
Are College events and facilities open to the public this fall? 
Generally, access to college buildings is restricted to students, faculty, and staff using their OneCard, and this includes the College’s libraries. When the College is in campus status level green or yellow public campus events (e.g., athletic competitions, lectures, performances, etc.) are open to guests who are fully vaccinated—regardless of whether the event is inside or outside. The Bowdoin College Museum of Art is open to the fully vaccinated public, but the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and special collections and archives are open by appointment only. Please note: Bowdoin is requiring all guests attending campus events or visiting the Bowdoin College Museum of Art to provide proof of full vaccination status through the smartphone app Health Pass by CLEAR.

Are Thorne, Moulton, and Jack Magee's open to faculty and staff when the campus is in campus status level green?

  • Thorne is open to faculty and staff for breakfast and lunch (not dinner); Polar Plus only/no cash sales.
  • Moulton is open to faculty and staff for breakfast and dinner (not lunch); Polar Plus only/no cash sales.
  • Jack Magee's food service remains open to students only, but faculty and staff may use the seating areas in the pub to eat their carry-in lunch.

Do the temporary academic policies in place for the 2020-2021 academic year remain in place for the 2021-22 academic year?
No, we have returned to the standard academic policies and have discontinued all temporary academic policies that were put in place for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

Where can I find the 2021-2022 academic calendar?
The Bowdoin College calendar for the 2021-2022 academic year is available on the academic affairs site.

Is the College holding in-person campus tours and information sessions this fall?
We are currently offering in-person campus tours and information sessions, but due to continuing COVID-19 precautions, tour sizes are limited, guests must be fully vaccinated, and pre-registration is required (walk-ins are not permitted). You can find information about registering for an in-person tour, our self-guided tours, and our virtual offerings on the admissions site.

Health and Safety

Is the College requiring students, faculty, and staff to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 for the 2021–2022 academic year?
Yes. In order to ensure that our campus is as safe as possible for all of us and for our neighbors, we require all members of the campus community to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Additionally, effective January 21, 2022, Bowdoin is requiring all students, faculty, and staff to receive a COVID-19 booster shot within thirty (30) days of becoming eligible. For all but a small number of our faculty and staff, this means they will need to get a booster on or prior to January 21. Exemptions have been granted for medical reasons for students (and for medical or religious reasons in the case of employees). More information about Bowdoin's vaccination requirement is available on the vaccination policy FAQ page.

Are face coverings required outdoors on campus?   
Bowdoin is not currently requiring fully vaccinated members of the Bowdoin community or campus visitors to wear face coverings outdoors. The College continues to monitor the rise in COVID-19 cases locally and around the country and we may, at any time, implement other health and safety protocols. A handful of staff who have been approved for a medical or religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement and any students with a medical exemption are required to wear face coverings at all times, except in a private office or bedroom. Please note: Some fully vaccinated members of our community may wish to wear face coverings at all times and we encourage them to do so if they wish.
Where am I currently required to wear a face covering on campus? 
When the College is in campus status level green, face coverings are required:

  • in all classroom/lab spaces during scheduled classes;
  • in all health care facilities (e.g., the testing center, health services, and the counseling center);
  • in densely packed indoor gatherings;
  • in dining facilities while entering/getting food/leaving;
  • for spectators at all indoor athletic events; 
  • at indoor events that are open to the public;
  • in library service areas where students interact with staff, or at the request of librarians;
  • in College museums; 
  • in individual offices when requested by the occupant; and 
  • at the request of faculty and staff when interactions are in close proximity

Where are face coverings currently not required on campus?
In campus status level green, face coverings are not required:

  • outdoors;
  • in student residence halls;
  • in academic and administrative buildings;
  • work spaces in the library (face coverings ARE required in library service areas where students interact with staff, or at the request of librarians);
  • in Smith Union; or
  • in athletic facilities (including the Buck Fitness Center) during regular use (face coverings ARE required of spectators at indoor games).

What are acceptable face coverings?
The US CDC website contains useful information about how to select and wear masks:

  • has two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric;
  • completely covers your nose and mouth;
  • fits snugly against the sides of your face without gaps;
  • has a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top; and
  • is NOT a gaiter (gaiters are not acceptable face coverings at Bowdoin).

In addition, surgical masks—which continue to be among the face coverings recommended by the US CDC—provide strong protection when worn correctly.

The College has a supply of appropriate masks that are available to student-facing faculty and staff upon request. Departments may order masks and other COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) by sending a request to stockroom@bowdoin.edu. Please include desired quantities, delivery instructions, and a departmental code for tracking purposes. There is no interdepartmental charge for PPE supplies. 

What is the current COVID-19 testing program? 
Bowdoin is partnering again with the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for our PCR testing program this semester. Currently, students are tested two times each week and all faculty and staff working on campus are tested once each week with individual PCR tests. Additionally, faculty and staff are provided one BINAX Now antigen test per week.

If I have COVID-19 symptoms this semester, what should I do? 
If students have COVID-19 symptoms, BinaxNOW tests may be obtained at Health Services during normal business hours or at security outside of normal hours and on weekends. No more than two tests will be issued at a time and the tests should be taken twenty-four hours apart. Students receiving these kits will take a virtually observed test through eMed.com with results reported automatically through Navica, the BinaxNow companion app. For this to work, it is critical that students have the Navica app on their phone. (Students received an email with the subject line "Navica Invitation from Bowdoin College" with instructions on how to download the app and connect it to Bowdoin.)

Employees should refer to the guidelines for employees experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and/or COVID-19 exposures.

COVID-19 symptoms may include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. 

Is there isolation housing for any students who test positive for COVID-19? 
Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be asked to isolate and placed in housing that has been reserved for this purpose. Based on medical and public health guidance, fully vaccinated individuals who are identified as close contacts are not required to quarantine. 

Are students required to get a flu shot this fall?
Yes, all students are required to be vaccinated for influenza by November 1. Students may receive their vaccination before arrival, after arrival independently, or through one of the health services clinics this fall. 

How high is the COVID-19 vaccination rate in Brunswick and its surrounding community, including Portland?
There is a very high vaccination rate of eligible residents locally and in Maine. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) estimates that 99 percent of those eligible in Brunswick are fully vaccinated, with more than 80 percent fully vaccinated in Cumberland County. 

How do campus visitors validate their vaccination status?
Bowdoin is requiring all guests attending campus events to provide proof of full vaccination status through the smartphone app Health Pass by CLEAR.

Are students, faculty, and staff required to wear their Bowdoin OneCards on a lanyard this fall?
Yes. All students, faculty, and staff are expected to wear their Bowdoin OneCards on a lanyard when in public spaces—indoors and outdoors—on campus. Lanyards are available at the mail center and the OneCard office in Coles Tower.

Housing and Student Life

Are all students housed in singles for the fall semester?
No. As in the past, all students are not housed in singles for the fall semester.

Can I leave campus during the semester? 
When the campus is in campus status level green or yellow students may leave campus, but restrictions will apply if the campus status level is orange or red. When traveling, the expectation is that you are following guidelines set forth by the CDC for safe travel during COVID-19.

How are dining services working this fall? Am I able to eat in the dining rooms for all meals? Do I need a reservation? 
When the College is in campus status level green students are able to go through the line, eat all of their meals at Thorne or Moulton, and do not need reservations to eat in the dining rooms. Please refer to the campus status levels chart for information about dining when the campus is in status level yellow, orange, or red.
May I have guests visit? Can they spend the night? 
When the campus is in green or yellow status, you may have visitors to campus who are fully vaccinated, but they may not spend the night and must remain outdoors. 
Will students be returning to campus after Thanksgiving break? 
Students will return to campus after Thanksgiving break to complete the semester in person. 

Are first-year students able to have cars on campus in the fall?
As in the past, we are not allowing first-year students to have cars on campus this fall.