Spring 2022 FAQ

Arrival Week | Spring Semester PCR Testing | Proper Masks | Isolation Procedures | Other

Arrival Week (January 24-31)

When should be students be back on campus?

All students should be back on campus by Sunday, January 23, except for those students who are recovering from COVID or who test positive on an antigen test prior to departing home.

What prearrival testing is required for students returning to campus?

Each student is required to take an at-home rapid antigen test before returning to campus, in addition to the required testing upon arrival. Students should look for an at-home test as soon as possible, since supplies are limited, and take the test within twelve hours of their departure for the College. The College will reimburse students for the cost of the test, if requested. After taking prearrival tests, students are asked to limit contact with others as much as possible, especially while traveling.

What should students do if they test positive on the prearrival at-home rapid antigen test?
Students who test positive for COVID-19 should NOT travel and should contact Bowdoin Health Services (207-725-3770; healthservices@bowdoin.edu) to discuss a return-to-campus plan.

What testing is required when students arrive on campus?

Students will be required to take an observed rapid antigen test immediately upon their return to campus, and then a PCR test on a test date closest to their arrival. Students should pick up an eMed rapid test kit at the OneCard office in Coles Tower and perform the test immediately upon return to campus following the break (this includes students who will be returning early for athletics, Sophomore Boot Camp, or for other reasons). The OneCard office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and will also be open from noon to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 22, and Sunday, January 23. Students are asked to follow all instructions so that the test can be observed and documented.

IMPORTANT: Students who do not take an observed eMed antigen test when returning to campus will not have OneCard access to campus facilities, including residence halls.

What is the PCR testing schedule for arrival week?

PCR testing will be on the following dates:

Monday, January 10—8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, January 13—8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Wednesday, January 19—8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 22—11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Monday, January 24—8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Do students need to stay in their rooms until they receive their initial PCR test result?
Students are asked to observe a “hibearnation” period upon arrival until they receive their initial PCR test result. This means:

  • remain as much as possible in your residence halls;
  • pick up food to go from the dining halls;
  • eat in your rooms; and
  • generally minimize interactions with others until they have tested negative for COVID-19 using a PCR test.

How will meals work during arrival week?
All meals will be grab-and-go at least until the College has received the results of two rounds of PCR testing (likely to be Saturday, January 29, at the earliest).

Are students allowed to go off campus during arrival week?
We ask that students limit their trips off-campus during the first week of classes.  Students should come to campus with all of the items that they will need for their first week, including medications, toiletries, school supplies, and other items. Students who volunteer or work in the community should not participate in those activities during this time.

When will student activities, programming, and other events begin?

Once the College has the results of the first two rounds of PCR tests (no earlier than Saturday, January 29). There should be no student parties until other activities have resumed.

Proper Masks

Are students, faculty, and staff required to wear masks on campus?
Masks will be required at all times in indoor settings except when eating or in private offices. Masks must also be worn inside college vehicles carrying more than one person. 
NOTE: Effective this Wednesday (January 12) the Town of Brunswick is requiring all employees and customers to wear masks when inside a public building (e.g., grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, etc.).

Are there any restrictions on what kinds of masks must be worn to meet the masking requirement?
Only surgical, KN95, or equivalent (N95, KF-94) masks are acceptable on the Bowdoin campus. Cloth masks are no longer approved for use at the College. Surgical masks are available at no cost to members of the Bowdoin community and may be obtained at the OneCard office on the ground floor of Coles Tower. 

Spring Semester PCR Testing

What is the testing protocol for the spring semester?

Due to the higher positivity rates during this Omicron surge, the College is delaying the start of the previously announced pooled testing program for now and will continue instead with the individual PCR testing program used since the start of the pandemic (in a higher positivity-rate environment, pooled testing is more inconvenient for many of the individuals being tested and more burdensome to manage for the College). Students will continue to be required to test twice a week and faculty and staff once a week.
IMPORTANT: Students who have more than two unexcused missed tests may be cited for conduct violations by the Office of the Dean of Students. 

What are the testing days and times for the spring semester?  

Beginning the week of January 24, the testing center in Farley Field House will be open this semester on Mondays and Thursdays ONLY from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Students must test on both days; faculty and staff are required to test once a week and can test on either day, according to their schedules.
Will the College continue to provide weekly antigen tests to faculty and staff?
The College will no longer provide weekly antigen tests to faculty and staff but will make antigen tests available to employees with symptoms. 

Isolation Procedures for Those Who Test Positive

What is the isolation period for fully vaccinated students who test positive?

The College is adopting the CDC’s recommendation of a reduced isolation period for fully vaccinated individuals who test positive for COVID-19. This means that fully vaccinated students, faculty, or staff will need to isolate for a minimum of five days (instead of the previous ten-day requirement), with “Day Zero” being “the day of symptom onset or (if asymptomatic) the day of collection of the first positive specimen.”
Due to the possibility of a number of positive cases caused by the highly transmissible Omicron variant and the likelihood that fully vaccinated and boosted individuals may be asymptomatic or experience mild symptoms, we are changing our isolation process and will not be separately housing every student who tests positive, instead reserving isolation housing for any students with more serious symptoms.
Can students who test positive and who have the ability to home via a private vehicle isolate at home?
Yes. Students who test positive and who have the ability to go home via a private vehicle may isolate at home.
After testing positive for COVID-19, when may students resume regular activities?
Students will be permitted to leave isolation and resume regular activities when they:

  • are asymptomatic throughout the isolation period or, in the case of residual symptoms, when all symptoms are improving; AND
  • when they test negative for COVID-19 on day six (if still positive on day six, students will remain in isolation and wait forty-eight (48) hours to retest.

Students released from isolation, and faculty and staff who end isolation at home, are required to wear masks at all times (other than when eating or alone in a private space) for five days after leaving isolation.
Students recovering in place or in College-provided isolation housing are responsible for contacting their professors for assistance with missed classwork.
What is the isolation period for fully vaccinated faculty and staff who test positive?

Faculty and staff who test positive should contact Mary Cote in Human Resources (725-3033 / mcote@bowdoin.edu) and isolate at home for five days.


How will the College notify the community of new COVID-19 cases on campus?

The College will post a daily accounting of new and active cases of COVID-19 on the Spring 2022 COVID-19 Dashboard but will no longer issue individual email notifications about new cases. Members of the campus community will receive email notifications if campus guidelines or restrictions change in any significant way.

Will the College be using the color-coded campus status levels for the spring semester?
For additional clarity, we are moving from the previous color-coded campus status levels (green, yellow, orange, or red) to specific guidelines and restrictions that will be updated as needed on the "Current Guidelines" page on the COVID-19 site and through email messages.
What testing will be required for faculty and staff returning to campus after the holiday break?
Faculty and Staff are asked to take a Binax antigen test no earlier than twelve (12) hours before their return to work from winter break. For most employees, this means taking the test no earlier than 8:30 on the evening of Sunday, January 9, or before leaving home for campus on Monday, January 10 (employees with different start times at the College should plan accordingly). The extra BinaxNow test kit can be picked up from either the Smith Union Mail Center or the Coles Tower OneCard office the week of December 20.
Faculty and Staff are also required to take a PCR test on the date closest to their return to campus. For most employees, this will mean taking a test on Monday, January 10 (employees with return dates after January 10 should plan accordingly). Faculty and staff must wear a face covering indoors (except in private offices) at least until a negative result from their first PCR test is received
Is College-sponsored professional travel for faculty and staff permitted?

College-sponsored professional travel for faculty and staff is permitted and standard travel policies are in effect.