(Update—Please Read) Controlling COVID on Campus—September 9, 2021
As you are all aware, COVID has made its presence felt at Bowdoin in the past week. At last count, thirty-four students are isolating, both in our hotel facility in Freeport and at home. Despite our fully vaccinated status, the virus has shown clear evidence of spread through close contacts, leading us to review and reevaluate the ways in which we are managing COVID on campus.
I am writing to alert you to a new development in our protocols and to remind you of our gold standard practices—these are the simple but effective preventative measures that keep us all healthy and safe. Given the current situation, and the fact that no one wants to escalate to more draconian measures, I am confident that you will do your part in adhering to all of these in the days to come:
- Navica App for Close Contacts (NEW). Students who are identified as a close contact or who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will be issued BinaxNow eMed home-test antigen kits. 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 you have the Navica app on your phone.
TO DO: This afternoon, students who have not already connected Bowdoin to the Navica app on their smartphone will receive an email invitation to connect with the subject line “Navica Invitation from Bowdoin College.” Do not ignore this email. Follow the instructions to install the app, create your account, and connect your Navica profile with Bowdoin College using the Connect Code provided in the email. In the event you are identified as a close contact, a member of the COVID-19 Isolation Team will contact you with instructions for picking up your BinaxNow eMed tests. No more than two tests will be issued at a time and the tests should be taken 24 hours apart. Do not open the box and go to eMed.com to start testing. Wait times may vary, so please be patient. Close contacts must test for five days after last known exposure.
- PCR Testing. All students should be reporting for a Broad PCR test two times/week in Farley Field House. Missed tests constitute a violation of the Code of Community Standards, not to mention, they deter us from capturing an accurate picture of COVID on campus and isolating anyone who is at risk for spreading the virus.
TO DO: Remember to test based on your last name—Monday/Thursday (A-L) or Tuesday/Friday (M-Z).
- Symptom monitoring. All students should be monitoring for symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (fever or chills, shortness of breath, muscle and body aches, congestion, loss of taste or smell, nausea, sore throat).
TO DO: If you have symptoms, BinaxNow eMed tests may be collected 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 24 hours apart.
- Masking. All students should be masked when indoors, per our current mandate.
TO DO: Remember to always have a mask with you and to wear it when warranted.
- Limiting social gatherings. We know this one is hard. It is also at the top of the list of effective ways to control the spread of COVID.
TO DO: Please think carefully about your socializing in the coming days, and whenever possible, limit your close contacts.
As always, reach out if you have any questions or concerns (Fall21@bowdoin.edu), and take care of yourselves and each other.
Janet K. Lohmann
Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs
Brunswick, Maine 04011
Grace. Growth. Gratitude.