Fall '22 COVID-19 Protocols Update—September 19, 2022

To the campus community,

We are writing to provide an update on COVID-19 on campus and our protocols, including vaccinations. We can expect the virus to continue circulating on campus this fall, particularly as the weather turns colder, and encourage everyone to continue to follow best practices to protect yourselves and everyone in our campus community.

The new bivalent boosters

The new bivalent booster is now available, and we strongly encourage each member of our community to get this new booster as soon as you can. In addition to providing protection against serious illness, hospitalization, and worse, vaccinations continue to play a role in reducing the transmission of the virus. The Pfizer and Moderna new booster shots specifically target the most prevalent, highly contagious, Omicron subvariants (BA.4 and BA.5) of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and both booster vaccines have been recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and authorized by the FDA—the Pfizer booster for people ages twelve and older, and the Moderna booster for people eighteen and older.

Availability of the new bivalent booster

Both booster vaccines are now available in Maine and Mid Coast-Parkview Health may establish a booster clinic near campus. In the meantime, booster appointments can be scheduled at Mid Coast Hospital or at local pharmacies. Here is the link to the site to schedule a booster shot at a MaineHealth location, including Mid Coast Hospital: https://vaccine.mainehealth.org/. Importantly, there is no cost to receive the new bivalent booster from these providers.

Flu shots

An annual flu shot is also strongly encouraged for everyone. Flu shots are now available, and many pharmacies provide the option to receive a flu shot and the new bivalent COVID-19 booster at the same time and at no cost. Additionally, for enrolled students, there will be a clinic on campus to administer flu shots later this fall. More information about the student flu shot clinic will be coming from Health Services.

Masking

As a reminder, Bowdoin is a mask-friendly campus, and we encourage anyone who desires to wear a mask to do so with our full support. However, masks are only required on campus in the following circumstances:

  • Individuals, including visitors, who have not been fully vaccinated (i.e., have not completed their primary series of either the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine).
  • Individuals who are symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19 must wear masks.
  • Individuals who are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 are expected to wear masks indoors (except when eating) and in crowded outdoor environments for ten days after exposure.
  • Visitors to Health Services are required to wear a mask.

Symptoms

If you are experiencing COVID symptoms (e.g., fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, a new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea) please wear a mask and test every day until the symptoms subside or you test positive. If you are ill with a cold or the flu, please help to keep others from becoming ill by avoiding avoid contact with others as much as possible and wearing a mask when around other people.

Testing for Students, Faculty, and Staff

Antigen testing is available to students, faculty, and staff who are experiencing symptoms or after day five for those who have been notified of an exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 at the following locations:

  • Coles Tower/Thorne Hall, Monday–Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Health Services (students only), Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Tuesday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Additionally, antigen tests are readily available at local drugstores. We encourage all students to have at least two antigen tests available for use when on–campus testing locations are not open (weekends and evenings).

Questions

Please visit the Fall 2022 FAQ for more information. Please direct any questions about COVID-19 and the College’s protocols to covidtsa@bowdoin.edu.

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We are committed to doing all that we can to operate largely normally this year. Vaccination, including boosters, against COVID-19 continues to be the best way to protect yourselves and those around you. We strongly encourage you to get the new bivalent booster shot as soon as you can.

Sincerely,

COVID Planning Group