Student Spring 2021 FAQ
Key Dates and Deadlines
November 6: Deadline for first-year students with challenging home environments to submit a request to be on campus in the spring
November 19: Courses go live in Class Finder
November 21: All first-year students must be out of their residence halls (with the exception of those students with permission to stay)
November 30: All students must have formally informed the College via the appropriate form of their spring plans, including if they will be on campus, studying remotely, taking a personal leave of absence (PLOA), or living in residence off campus
December 1: Housing lottery begins
December 1: Course registration begins
February 5–6: Students move into residence halls and College houses for the spring semester
February 8: Spring semester begins
Overview | Academic | On-Campus Privileges | On-Campus Students | Mail Center | Dining | First-Year Students | Personal Leaves of Absence | Graduation | Other
1. What factors did Bowdoin consider in determining its Spring 2021 plan?
Bowdoin’s decision is anchored by our twin priorities of protecting the health and safety of our campus and local communities and delivering an excellent Bowdoin education to all of our students. To accomplish the first priority, we are relying on a three-part program: reduced density on campus and in the residence halls, compliance with safety protocols, and frequent testing with quick turnaround and accuracy.
2. Which students are able to be on campus this spring?
Seniors, juniors, and sophomores, and first-year students who have home situations that make online learning nearly impossible are able to be on campus this spring. Seniors will have also the option to live off campus, participate in the testing protocol, and have on-campus privileges at the College.
3. What does it mean to be an off-campus household with in-residence privileges at Bowdoin for Spring 2021?
Seniors who live off-campus in Maine may receive in-residence privileges, which gives the entire household access to all facilities and resources available to students living on campus except Bowdoin's residential spaces. This option is only available if the entire household opts in and commits to the Campus Community Agreement. These households will be considered an extension of Bowdoin’s residences and will be held to the same standards as our on-campus residential spaces.
4. How will the testing program work for the spring?
We are again using the Broad Institute for COVID-19 testing, including a similar “entry program” at the beginning of the semester used this fall. Students will be tested twice immediately upon their arrival, and there will be a period of restricted movement and access (campus status level “orange”) for three weeks of testing, during which students will be tested three times a week so that we can begin the semester with a virus-free environment. After the “entry program” testing, all on-campus students and off-campus students with on-campus privileges will be tested twice each week. Additionally, prearrival COVID-19 testing and proof of a seasonal flu vaccination will be required of all students.
5. When does the spring 2021 semester begin?
The semester will officially begin on Monday, February 8, 2021—two weeks later than normal. Students will be able to move into their residence halls on February 5 or February 6. You will need to formally sign up for a time to arrive to campus. Your options will be February 5 or February 6, 9:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m. Registration will be available shortly and will happen on CampusGroups (aka The Bowdoin College App).
6. Are students able to study away for the spring 2021 semester?
Information about study away for the spring 2021 semester is available here.
7. What is happening with winter and spring sports and other athletic activities?
Information about winter and spring sports and other athletic activities for the spring 2021 semester is available here.
8. Will there be a spring break?
A short spring break will begin after the last class on Friday, March 19, with classes resuming on Wednesday, March 24. Students will not be permitted to travel off campus or, in the case of those seniors in residence but off campus, leave their area of residence during this short break.
1. How will courses be offered in the spring and how are they defined?
- Online: The instructor intends to teach this course online in Spring 2021.
- Online with In-Person Components: The instructor intends to deliver this course online and provide in-person experiences (such as discussion groups) for students on campus and equivalent experiences for students taking this course online. Additional details about in-person components of particular classes can be found (when available) in the “comments” section of Class Finder.
- In-Person: The instructor intends to teach this course in-person and therefore it will only be available to students with permission to be on campus.
How courses will be offered is listed in the “Location” section of Class Finder—please carefully choose your classes with your learning location (remote or in-residence) in mind.
2. Will in-person classes also be available to students studying remotely?
No. In-person classes will only be available to on-campus and in-residence students.
3. Are there any changes in policy for the fall 2020 and the spring 2021 semesters?
Through the spring and fall semesters of 2020 a number of temporary policies have been in place. The following have been extended for the spring 2021 semester:
- Normally, Credit/D/Fail is an option that students may choose by the sixth week of the semester, for one course in a full load of four, and for up to four courses total. This spring we have Emergency Credit/D/Fail, allowing students to choose up to two courses in this grade mode, and the window to choose this is longer. This same policy will be in place this spring. Dates can be found on the registrar’s calendar.
- Students may choose one course Credit/D/F with a full load of four credits, and this will not count against their career total of four; this option will be open 2/8/2021 to 5/3/2021.
- As is standard policy, students may not choose the Credit/D/Fail mode for first-year writing seminars, distribution and division requirements, and in most cases, major and minor requirements, though there are temporary adjustments in place for some major/minor requirements.
- From week seven to eleven (3/31/2021 to 5/3/2021), all students carrying four credits or more who have already chosen to take one course Credit/D/Fail will be able to choose to take a second course Credit/D/Fail, and it will not count against the student's career total of four Credit/D/Fail courses. Students will initiate this request via a form that must be approved by the instructor of the course, the student’s advisor, and the student’s dean.
- Some departments have decided to allow some courses to be taken credit/d/fail and count toward the major or minor; a list of these courses is available on the Registrar’s Office website.
- Limits on a Fifth Full Course: Students will be allowed to add a fifth full credit, but only during Add/Drop II in the spring semester and only with advisor permission. This has been extended to reinforce the findings that taking four online courses is already a heavy load.
- AP/IB score submission: Normally students must have all AP/IB scores submitted to the College by the end of their sophomore year. Last spring CEP temporarily lifted this deadline to accommodate students. This policy has been extended through the spring 2021 semester.
- Community College credit for transfer: Last spring CEP also temporarily authorized the use of community college credit, as long as the normal transfer credit process was followed. This has been extended so that students can take courses at community colleges for transfer credit through next summer. Courses that take place after next summer may not be from community colleges.
4. If I took a leave and now want to remain at Bowdoin for an additional ninth semester, do I need special permission?
In the Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook, it states, “No student will ordinarily be permitted to remain at Bowdoin for more than eight semesters of full-time work.” All Bowdoin students must be enrolled full time and are expected to make normal progress toward their degree, which includes taking no fewer than four credits each semester. See the Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook for more information. Generally, students are not allowed to remain at Bowdoin for a ninth semester. There may be rare and exceptional circumstances that impact a student’s ability to complete their degree within eight semesters. Students should speak to their dean for more information.
5. Has class scheduling changed for the spring?
We will be using the time block system again for the spring, but with some changes based on what we learned this fall. The spring 2021 timeblock schedule is available here.
6. Will the College try to offer more synchronous, rather than asynchronous, classes this spring?
All online courses will include a combination of both synchronous and asynchronous activities.
7. What is Bowdoin doing to gauge the difficulty of students’ online workload?
Bowdoin surveyed faculty and students about their experiences this fall, including an assessment of course workloads, and is using that information to gauge the difficulty of students' online workload.
8. When did course registration take place?
The course registration period was Tuesday, December 1, through Friday, December 11.
9. When will classes end for the semester, and what is the schedule for exams?
Classes will end on Tuesday, May 18. Reading period will be May 19–20, with final exams conducted May 21–24.
OFF-CAMPUS HOUSEHOLDS WITH ON-CAMPUS PRIVILEGES
1. Will seniors living in an off-campus household with on-campus privileges be included in the testing program?
Any senior living in an off-campus household with on-campus privileges will be required to fully participate in College’s testing program.
2. How did seniors living off campus secure on-campus privileges and ensure that they are able to take in-person classes and have access to College facilities?
Seniors who wanted to have on-campus privileges but not live on campus were required to notify the Office of the Dean of Students by Monday, November 30.
3. Will seniors living in an off-campus household who wish to have on-campus privileges be required to sign a community agreement that outlines behavioral protocols and possible sanctions if protocols and the Code of Community Standards are violated?
Yes. All seniors who wish to live off campus with on-campus privileges are required to sign the spring semester community agreement.
4. I am living off campus, but have on-campus privileges. I would like to forfeit those and study completely remotely now, what do I do?
You must fill out the Learning Location form. Please note that you will be dropped from any in-person courses in which you are registered.
1. What is the status of the housing. lottery?
The spring semester housing lottery was held December 4–14, 2020. Information about how the housing lottery worked for the spring is available here. The fall 2021 housing lottery is not yet scheduled.
2. Will all residence halls and College houses be used?
Yes. In order to accommodate all of the upperclass students, every residence hall (including the Bricks) and house on campus—with the exception of Stowe Inn, Howard Hall, and Stowe Hall, which will be used for quarantine and isolation housing—will house students.
3. Will all students be accommodated in single bedrooms for the spring?
Yes. This is the recommendation of many public health officials and scientists.
4. When can students get into their residence halls?
Students may move into their residence halls on February 5 or February 6. More specific information about arrivals is available here.
5. Will sophomores and juniors have the option to live off campus with on-campus privileges like seniors?
No, sophomores and juniors must live on campus if they want to have access to campus, in-person courses, etc.
6. With the increased number of students on campus, does the College have enough rooms for students needing to quarantine or isolate?
We will have sufficient space to isolate and quarantine students for the spring semester.
7. Can upperclass students choose to not be on campus?
Yes. Seniors, juniors, and sophomores may choose to study remotely for Spring 2021.
8. When do non-graduating students need to be out of their residence halls?
College housing will close for non-graduating students at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 25.
9. Will on-campus students be required to get a flu shot?
All students living on campus or off campus with on-campus privileges will be required to provide proof that they have received the flu vaccine prior to their arrival at Bowdoin.
10. Will there be on-campus jobs available for students living on campus or off campus with on-campus privileges?
Yes, there will be on-campus jobs available for students living on campus or off campus with on-campus privileges for the spring semester. Additional information is available here.
11. I have permission to live on campus, but now plan to study entirely remotely. What do I do?
You must fill out the Learning Location form. Please note that you will be dropped from any in-person courses in which you are registered.
12. Can I order course materials and school supplies and have them delivered to my dorm?
Yes. For students living on campus, if you place your online orders for course materials and school supplies before February 1 at store.bowdoin.edu and address them to your Smith Union Box number, they can be delivered straight to your room, ready for you when you arrive. Please see package delivery details in the Mail Center FAQ section below.
1. When will the Mail Center stop forwarding packages?
For students who are living on campus for the spring semester, mail forwarding will end on Friday, January 15. Packages received after this date and before February 1 will be delivered to your dorm building. Letters will be held at the Mail Center and can be picked up from there. If you are sending any packages that you need to receive off campus after January 15, please double-check that you have changed the delivery address so that it does not arrive on campus. Mail forwarding will not change for students living off campus for the spring semester.
2. How will package delivery to my dorm building work?
Any packages received at the Mail Center by February 1 will be delivered to your dorm building. Packages will be left in the hall, directly outside of your room for most buildings. For Brunswick, Pine Street, Park Row, and Mayflower Apartments, packages will be left in the shared living area of the unit. We cannot guarantee that packages will be fully secure. If you have items of high value that you do not want to be left outside your door, you should plan to either bring them with you to campus or ship them so they arrive on or after February 4 so that you can pick them up from the Mail Center.
3. When should I send my packages to have them delivered to my dorm?
Packages may be sent out starting January 11. Please keep in mind that your package must arrive at the College by February 1 to ensure that it will be delivered to your dorm building.
1. How will dining services work this spring?
There will be three meals available daily with a variety of menu options. Both Thorne Hall and Moulton Union will be open, and they will offer the same menu selections and accompaniments. Students will be assigned a meal location where they will eat for the semester. There will be a 2.5–3-hour window for each meal to make it as easy as possible for students to find a mealtime that works for their schedule. Webcams will be installed in each dining hall in order for students to observe the length of queuing lines. Dining service will follow the Maine CDC guidelines to protect the health and safety of students and staff.
2. What meals will be served?
Moulton Union and Thorne Hall will both serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday–Friday, and breakfast, brunch, and dinner on weekends.
3. What are the meal hours for the dining halls?
Meal hours at Moulton Union and Thorne Hall will be:
Monday – Friday
- Breakfast 7:30 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
- Lunch 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
- Dinner 5:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday
- Breakfast 9:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m.
- Brunch 11:00 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
- Dinner 5:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
If a student has an ongoing schedule conflict please contact the Assistant Director of Business Services, Trish Gipson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (207) 725-3912.
4. Will SuperSnacks be available?
SuperSnacks will not be available in the spring. Light snacks will be available each night at dinner for takeout.
5. Where will I eat my meals?
During the initial testing period, all meals will be available for takeout only. Limited seating in the dining halls may be available once it is determined safe to open those areas.
6. How will meals be served?
Dining staff will serve students their choice of entrees and side dishes in single-service containers with prepackaged accompaniments, condiments, and similar items available for student self-service. To maintain sanitary guidelines, beverage holders and bags will be provided. Disposable flatware will be available, although each student will be issued a personal reusable silverware kit. Wide-mouth reusable beverage containers will be allowed in the dining hall, backpacks will not be allowed.
7. May I make more than one trip through the food service line at a meal?
To allow all students to access the dining halls during each meal period only one trip through the serving line will be possible. However, students will be able to request more than one serving for most items when they go through the line to ensure they are able to get enough to eat. Paper bags and biodegradable plastic bags will be available to make it easy for students to transport their food from the dining halls.
8. What will the menus offer?
A variety of menu items will be offered each day, including many of the students’ favorite recipes. To accommodate the grab-and-go service we have made some menu adjustments and will be introducing some new menu items. We will continue to offer our high-quality dining program and are committed to using high-quality and local products. Menus will be posted at the queuing lines and on our website, and we encourage students to preview the menus before they arrive.
9. What if I have a special diet or allergy?
The menu selections available daily will meet the requirements of common restrictions for food allergies and intolerances. Food items are labeled at the service lines using special diet terms. A selection of special dietary items will be available as well. A trained chef is available at each meal to help students make safe choices. If you have a medical condition or concern that requires additional accommodations, please contact our Registered Dietitian, Susanne D’Angelo-Cooley, MS, RDN, LD, CDE at email@example.com or call (207) 725-3542 to make an appointment. Additional information is available here.
10. Will accommodations be made for religious diets and special holidays?
Information about menu accommodations for religious diets and special holidays is available here.
11. Will masks be provided at the dining halls?
All students will be issued two cloth masks when they arrive, and we encourage students to have those masks with them when coming to the dining hall. However, disposable masks will be available for students who forget their masks.
12. What physical changes will be made?
Entrances, queuing space, and exits will be adjusted to address distancing guidelines. Most dining seating will be removed to enable six-foot spacing and to allow the extra space required for dining staff workspace allowances. Plexiglass barriers have been installed at strategic locations.
13. What if I forget my ID card?
We are using a contactless entry system this spring that requires students to use their ID to enter the dining halls, so we strongly encourage them to make sure they have it before heading over! Using a card holder in a lanyard is a helpful way to remember.
14. Will the restrooms in the dining halls be open?
Yes, there will be designated restrooms open to students during meal hours.
15. Will there be a place to hang my coat/backpack?
Students will need to keep their coats and backpacks with them as they move through the serving area. Additionally, students will be asked to not handle personal items (cell phone, backpack, books, etc.) in the serving area after they have sanitized their hands upon entering.
16. Can I bring guests to the dining halls?
To allow students to get their meals as quickly as possible and to protect the health and safety of the community, access to the dining halls will be limited to students on a meal plan.
17. What should I do about meals if I don’t feel well?
Students who are not feeling well should not come to the dining hall! For details about getting meals for students not feeling well, please contact Health Services at (207) 725-3770 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
18. Will Magee’s Grill & Pub, The Café and Bowdoin Express Convenience Store be open?
Magee’s Grill and Pub, The Café, and the Bowdoin Express Convenience Store will be initially closed but will open within the first two weeks, subject to staffing availability and campus status level.
19. Will we have points to spend at Smith Union?
Points will be available to use at Smith Union this semester. Students with a full board plan will receive 75 points.
20. Are your takeout containers recyclable/compostable?
Dining service is committed to providing all compostable disposable products. There may be times, however, when some compostable products are not available and we will have to use standard-disposal products.
21. Can I use my meal plan off campus?
Bowdoin meal plans are available for use at Bowdoin dining halls only.
22. Will the dining halls open between meal periods?
The dining halls will be closed between meals so dining service staff can thoroughly sanitize and disinfect the facilities.
23. Will dining service have student jobs available?
We anticipate being able to have students work in the dining halls this semester—they are an integral part of our program and we look forward to seeing them again. Students interested in working for dining should contact the Student Employment Office. We will not be able to have student employees in our Smith Union retail operations.
24. What procedures are in place to keep students and dining staff safe?
Dining employees have an essential role in protecting the health and safety of students who are on campus. We take seriously the responsibility of providing a safe and healthy meal service for students and protecting the safety of the dining staff and have implemented processes and procedures to promote a safe environment during this health emergency.
1. What resources are available to first-year students who are struggling with the fact that they will not be returning to campus this spring?
There are many resources available to support first-year students—counseling and wellness, first-year deans, coaches, proctors, and others who are ready to help students who may be struggling with the fact that they will not be returning to campus this spring.
2. Is there an exception process that will allow first-year students who will be living in the Brunswick area spring semester to apply to have on-campus privileges?
No. First-year students will not have the opportunity to live off campus with on-campus privileges.
PERSONAL LEAVE OF ABSENCE (PLOA)
1. What is the process for requesting a personal leave of absence (PLOA) for the spring 2021 semester?
Students first must have a conversation with a dean about their interest in a PLOA (the initial deadline was November 24). After that conversation, and after consulting with the student's pre-major academic advisor, the dean sends them a form to finalize their decision. To schedule time to speak with a dean about a PLOA, first-year students should contact Kathleen King (email@example.com), and upperclass students should contact Lynne Yanders (firstname.lastname@example.org) for an appointment.
2. What is the process for applying to reenroll at Bowdoin after a PLOA?
The Office of the Dean of Students will send communication to a student's Bowdoin email address during the spring semester to explain the process and deadlines. In general, a student will need to submit a statement outlining what they did while on their PLOA and why they are ready for a return (for the fall 2021 semester). The reenrollment committee will convene near the end of the spring semester to consider the submitted requests regarding the fall 2021 semester.
3. If students opt to take a leave of absence, does that affect their class year?
No, a PLOA does not affect a student’s class year.
4. Will students who take a PLOA still be able to graduate with their class?
It is possible for students who take a PLOA to have sufficient credits to graduate with their class, but they should talk with a dean and/or their pre-major advisor to discuss their specific situation.
5. If students take a PLOA in the spring, will they be able to reenroll for the semester of their choice?
At this time we cannot guarantee that a student will be able reenroll in the semester of their choice.
6. If students take a PLOA, can they access CXD resources to research internships or job opportunities for the spring semester?
Students will continue to have access to some CXD resources and programming, but individual advising and some internship opportunities may not be available to students on a PLOA.
7. Does a PLOA impact a student’s financial aid?
Generally, a PLOA will not impact a student’s eligibility for financial aid in future semesters, but all students considering a PLOA should speak to their student aid counselor to discuss their specific situation.
8. Can students transfer credits to Bowdoin that they earned at other institutions while on a PLOA?
Bowdoin does not accept credit from other institutions earned while a student is on a PLOA.
9. Can Bowdoin help a student on a PLOA find a study-away program (non-credit) to participate in during their leave?
Bowdoin doesn’t offer any study away programs directly, and all of the programs we work with are intended for students enrolled at the College, so we aren’t able to assist students with finding non-credit alternatives.
10. Can a student who has taken a PLOA still apply for College-sponsored summer internship funding?
Availability of College-sponsored summer internship funding for a student on a PLOA depends on a number of factors including the sponsoring office or department, its sources of funding, placement location(s), relationships with employers, and other policies. Students taking a PLOA for the spring 2021 semester, but who plan to return for the fall 2021 semester (or when the College allows), are eligible to apply for funding opportunities through the McKeen Center and the Center for Co-Curricular Opportunities. Students taking a PLOA are not eligible to apply for funding opportunities through CXD. Specific questions should be addressed to the relevant office or department directly.
1. How many credits does a student need to have in order to participate in Commencement activities?
Students are normally expected to complete all degree requirements before they participate in graduation exercises. Students with two or fewer credits remaining may be allowed to participate in Commencement but will not receive a diploma until they have fully completed their degree requirements. Please refer to the Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook here for additional information about the College's policy about participation in Commencement activities.
2. Will the College allow students who have twenty-eight credits (one semester/four credits left at Bowdoin) to participate in “Senior Week” activities?
Students are allowed to participate in one "Senior Week," so a student with twenty-eight credits will be able to choose whether they would like to participate in “Senior Week” this spring or in a future “Senior Week,” regardless of when they participate in Commencement activities.
3. Will there be an in-person graduation for the Class of 2021 in May?
Our goal is to have in-person Commencement celebration, with some opportunity for family members to attend, but we will be in a better position to determine what will take place as we get closer to May.
4. Will the graduation date remain the same regardless of whether graduation is in person or virtual?
Yes, Commencement for the Class of 2021 will be held on Saturday, May 29, whether it is an in-person or virtual celebration.
5. When will “Senior Week” take place?
A “Senior Celebration” (slightly shorter than the normal “Senior Week”) will begin on Tuesday, May 25, and conclude on Friday, May 28.
6. When will the celebration for the Class of 2020 take place?
An on-campus celebration for the Class of 2020 is planned for Friday, August 13-Saturday, August 14, 2021.
1. Why is Bowdoin’s Spring 2021 plan more restrictive than that of other schools?
Some peer colleges had more students on campus this fall, others had roughly the same number as Bowdoin, and others have fewer students. Each school—including Bowdoin—is making decisions that are right for them based on their evaluation of the issues and risks and how they apply that analysis to their campus.
2. How long does it take to receive my Broad test results?
Your test results should be available by the evening of the day following your test.
3. Are there opportunities for student employment this spring?
There are opportunities for student employment this spring, although there will be fewer jobs available than usual due to COVID. Full details about those employment opportunities are available here.
4. Can on-campus students and students with on-campus privileges work off campus?
on-campus students and students with on-campus privileges may only work for off-campus employers if the positions are completely remote.
5. Why did housing and meal plans increase by $1,000 each for the spring semester?
The increase in room and board for the spring is a reflection of the extra weeks that students will be on campus for the spring 2021 semester versus the fall 2020 semester.
6. How safe is Brunswick and its surrounding community, including Portland, in regard to COVID-19 infection rates and testing?
Brunswick and Cumberland County have experienced a sharp increase in COVID 19 infection rates since November, and those increases have been sustained through the holiday season and into mid-winter. This will make following the guidelines set out by the Maine CDC and the College crucial, not just to keep Brunswick safer from an influx of people from all over the country and world, but to maintain a safer campus from a growing prevalence rate off campus.
7. Is there any chance that these plans could change?
Yes. If conditions change before the spring semester begins or during the semester then the plan will change and fewer students may be on campus.
8. Where can I find the town hall meetings held about the Spring 2021 plan?
The first-year student and upperclass student town halls are available here.
9. Where can I find the key information and action items for students returning to campus for the spring 2021 semester?
Please visit the onboarding page for all of the key information and action items for students returning to campus for the spring 2021 semester.