March 31, 2020 — COVID-19 Update 3/31/20

To students, faculty, and staff,

We learned today that a second member of our campus community has been tested and is presumed to have contracted COVID-19. It can take up to seven days to receive the test results. Our hope, of course, is that these results will be negative, just as they were for the first presumptive case I reported to you last Tuesday. This latest individual was last on campus on Thursday, March 19, and is under a doctor’s care while self-isolating at home. This person has already reached out to those with whom they were in contact, and the College is following up to connect with others who may need to be notified. 

It is clear that the virus is still on the move in Maine. Today, the Maine CDC reported 303 confirmed cases of COVID-19—an 80 percent increase since my last message on Friday and, as was the case then, more than half of those confirmed to be infected are in Cumberland County. And, late this afternoon, Governor Mills announced new “stay at home” rules that will be in effect in Maine starting Thursday, April 2, through the end of the month.

Beyond this, there isn’t a lot to report today. Remote learning continues with all of its accompanying challenges, and with our faculty and students adapting and doing their very best to make the most of this new reality. Others of us are focused on many remaining issues and questions, including College finances and the status of summer activities, programs, and events. I anticipate that I will be able to provide some guidance on all of this when I write on Friday.

In the meantime, I do want to focus your attention on an informative and valuable website created by the McKeen Center that is aimed at supporting community organizations during this pandemic. Included here is information about the critical need for blood donations at a time when the COVID-19 crisis has forced the cancellation of thousands of blood drives across the country, including many here in Maine. To help, Bowdoin is joining with MaineHealth, the American Red Cross, and other organizations and area businesses to organize blood drives in Portland over the next ten weeks that will follow new, strict social distancing protocols and other necessary precautions. To learn more about this initiative, visit MaineHealth. I know many of you are regular blood donors, and with similar blood drives being organized across the country, I hope you will consider doing so again during this period of great need at hospitals in Maine and across America.

Thank you. I hope everyone will continue to be well and to focus on the things we can each do to protect ourselves, our friends and families, and others in our communities.

All the best,

Clayton