COVID-19 Employee Resources

Spring 2021 FAQ


1.What is the testing schedule this spring?
The College is working to make the testing schedule as convenient as possible for faculty and staff. For the first several weeks of the semester, while students are being tested three times per week, employees will be required to test on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Starting in March, testing for employees will be limited to the Monday/Thursday, Tuesday/Friday cohorts for those testing two times per week and Wednesdays for those testing one time per week. The Calendar of testing days and times is available here.

2. How do I reenter the testing protocol after missing scheduled tests?

Employees who are regularly tested in the College’s testing protocol (i.e., Testing Groups A, B, and C) must notify of any planned or unplanned absence and follow these guidelines after missing a test(s) in order to return to work on campus and to testing.

(Updated 2/17/2021) The guidelines will now be structured according to the COVID risk level established by Daily New Cases in Maine— This information changes often, so be sure to check the status before returning to campus from any absence that results in a missed test(s). If you are unsure of the status or have questions, please contact Mary Cote ( or Cindy Bessmer (

Time away from campus but in Maine (while Maine Daily New Cases are COVID risk level green or yellow)

If you are away from work on campus (on vacation, travel for work, sick day, etc.), do not come to campus or to your campus testing appointments. If your time away includes one or more of your normal testing day(s), you should not test during this time away from campus, but you may return to work at the end of your absence and to your regular testing schedule.

Time away from campus but in Maine (while Maine Daily New Cases are COVID risk level orange or red)

If you are away from work on campus (on vacation, travel for work, sick day, etc.), do not come to campus or to your campus testing appointments. If your time away includes one or more of your normal testing day(s), you should not test and instead follow these procedures:

  1. At the end of your time away, remain off campus until your next scheduled campus testing day. Depending on the weekly testing schedule in place at the completion of your time away, it may be possible for HR to arrange campus testing on an alternate day upon return from travel. Please contact Cindy Bessmer ( or Mary Cote ( for guidance. 

Example: You have been on vacation in northern Maine for a week (Monday to Friday). If you contact Cindy or Mary in advance of your leaving, they can arrange for you to test on the Monday of your return (even if that is not your normal testing day). If you have a negative test result from that day, you can return to work on Tuesday (or Wednesday, if the results are later in coming in).

  1. Come to the Testing Center only to be tested and go directly home to await your results. After receiving the email from with your negative result, you can return to work on campus and to your regular testing schedule.
  2. Please contact Mary Cote ( to determine requirements for reporting time for the days between the end of your time away and the day you resume work.

Time away from campus that includes out-of-state travel (this policy is not dependent on the rate of Maine daily new cases)

The College strongly recommends that faculty and staff working on campus do not travel outside of Maine at this time. If travel out of state is unavoidable, please check the Maine CDC website for updates before you travel and before reentry to the state of Maine. (Note that you may travel to current exempt states without the need for quarantine or post-travel testing.) In addition to the Maine CDC requirements, the College has more restrictive requirements for returning to work on campus, including TWO negative test results. Your options are:

  1. Quarantine for ten days or;
  2. Obtain a first test (PCR or antigen) that is collected no more than seventy-two hours before arriving in Maine, as required by the Maine CDC, using an external testing service (e.g., Walgreen’s, Convenient MD, etc.). You may be tested upon arrival in Maine instead, but you must quarantine while you await the results, and this may further delay your ability to work on campus. Send your negative results to Mary Cote in Human Resources.
  3. Obtain a second test on a regularly scheduled testing day at the Testing Center in Morrell Gym; however, this second test must be no sooner than day number five from your first full day back in Maine (see example below). Taking this test any earlier ignores scientific evidence that the incubation period for COVID-19 is generally four to six days from time of exposure. For this second test, come to campus only to be tested and go directly home to await your results. After receiving the email from indicating a negative result, you can return to work on campus and to your regular testing schedule.
  4. For the days between the end of your travel away and the day you resume work, you must use additional vacation time if your work cannot be performed remotely. Please be sure to consider this carefully as you calculate your return to campus and resumption of testing after out-of-state travel!

Example: My out-of-state travel begins on February 21, 2021, and I return to Maine on Saturday, February 27, at 6:00 p.m. My first full day back in Maine is Sunday, February 28, 2021. February 28 is day number one. I normally test on Mondays and Thursdays in the College’s testing program, which is March 1 and March 4, respectively. Although I am back home, I will skip the regular Monday, March 1, test and quarantine at home until my regularly scheduled Thursday, March 4, test, which falls on day number five. I will come to campus for my test that day and go directly home to quarantine until results are received. I should receive my negative results for the second test on March 5 and be cleared to return to campus on Saturday, March 6. If I cannot work from home, the days that I was out of state (February 22–26) and the days I missed due to testing (March 1–5) will need to be vacation days.


Out of state vacation:                                                     Feb 21–Feb 27

First full day in Maine (day 1 after travel):                    Feb 28

Second test (on campus) on regularly scheduled testing day

no sooner than five days after first full day in ME (day 5):     Mar 4

Await results from second test:                                      Mar 5

Return to campus office or work:                                     Mar 5 if results come early enough or March 6

Return to regularly scheduled testing days:                   Week of March 8

Note: Visitors are currently prohibited from campus but in the event this restriction is lifted, the same requirements outlined above would apply to out-of-state visitors.

3. What if one of my family members is identified as a close contact of another person who has tested positive for COVID?
If an employee learns that one of their family members has been identified as a close contact of a COVID positive person AND it is not possible for the family member to quarantine separately from the employee, then we respectfully ask the employee to quarantine as well for 10 days according to CDC guidelines.  For example, your child who lives with you is identified as a close contact of a schoolmate who tested positive and has been directed by the school to quarantine.  If you are unable to limit contact with your child in the home (separate bathroom, separate bedroom, eat in separate rooms, avoid shared spaces and shared personal items), it is best for the whole household to quarantine at home to be on the safe side.

An individual who is in quarantine cannot test out of quarantine, i.e., if an individual obtains COVID testing and the test comes back negative, they must still adhere to the 10-day quarantine.  If you do decide to obtain COVID testing for yourself or your family member in quarantine, the CDC recommends you wait for 5 – 7 days after the last point of exposure to obtain the test so the results will be more accurate.  If you or your family member tests positive anytime during a quarantine or develops any symptoms of COVID-19, then the 10 days may be extended.

When you have been cleared from quarantine you will then be required to continue to stay home until your next scheduled on campus COVID test and come to campus only to be tested and go back home to await the results before being cleared to return to work on campus and to your regular campus testing schedule.

If you or a family member has been identified as a close contact of a COVID positive person, it is important that you notify Mary Cote in Human Resources as soon as possible ( or by calling 207-725-3033).

4. Do I get paid for the time it takes to be tested?

Hourly staff will be paid for the time it takes to get tested, including if their test falls on a day they are not regularly scheduled to work.

5. What if I need to change my testing group (A/B, C, D) and/or cohort?

If you need to change your testing group, please contact

6. If I have questions regarding COVID-19 testing center procedures, who do I contact?

7. Can I be tested two days in a row?

No, there should be at least forty-eight hours between tests. It is critically important that people do NOT schedule COVID-19 testing on back-to-back days; we must wait until we get the results back from the first weekly test before the second weekly test is administered. If you have a scheduling change, please contact as soon as possible so we can work with you on scheduling appropriate testing days.

8. I've received my test results, but they are "invalid." What does that mean?

"Invalid" means there was not enough sample on the swab to be tested. In most cases, this is due to not blowing your nose before testing or not swabbing adequately. Be sure to blow your nose prior to arrival at the test center and be sure that the swab stays in contact with the lining of your nostrils to limit the possibility of invalid test results.

9. What should I do if I receive an "invalid" test result?

You should receive an email from with an invitation to retest even if it is not on your scheduled testing day. If not, contact as soon as possible to schedule a retest.

10. If my colleague has received their test results already, why haven't I?

The test results are released by the Broad Institute on a rolling basis, so some results may be received sooner than others. You should expect to receive your test results within twenty-four hours.

11. What if I have to miss a testing date (due to absence/illness/vacation/other) or cancel a previously scheduled testing time?

If you need to miss a testing date or cancel a previously scheduled testing time, you MUST contact to advise the testing center administrators and arrange alternative testing. Failure to follow the cancellation procedures for absences will not be tolerated.  Employees who miss two tests on campus will receive a warning. Employees who miss a third test will be removed from the campus testing protocol and will be unable to work on campus until they have received a negative COVID-19 test from an outside provider. In addition, they may receive further disciplinary action.

12. Do I still need to use the Campus Clear symptom tracker every day I am working?
Yes, Bowdoin community members will still use Campus Clear for self-reporting symptom tracking. Students residing on campus will complete a daily survey prior to leaving their residence halls and will receive direction from Health Services if they report symptoms. Faculty and staff will complete a symptom survey prior to arriving to campus for work and will be directed to their primary care physician if they are symptomatic. Employees entering the testing center will need to show their “You are Good to Go!” screen as they arrive at the test center.


1. May employees work overtime?
No, overtime continues to be prohibited, except for limited exceptions made on a case-by-case basis focused on critical operational needs. Any overtime must be approved in advance by the responsible senior officer and by Tama Spoerri, vice president for human resources.  

2. I have an employee who does not have enough work to meet their scheduled hours and is available to help out in other areas. How do I find out what needs there might be in other areas?
Human Resources has created a Talent Request and Talent Share database and will be working with department heads to identify staff who have available hours, as well as areas that need additional staff. Contact Brian Robinson or Cassie Christie with questions.

3. Is the Bowdoin College Children’s Center (BCCC) open?
BCCC is currently open with operating hours of 8:30 a.m.–5:15 p.m. Enrolled families should visit the Parent Portal for COVID-19 information specific to BCCC.

4. Are athletic facilities and the Buck Fitness Center open?
The College has developed a campus color status system and access to facilities and services will depend on the current status level.

5. Who is eligible to be vaccinated in Maine? Is Bowdoin working to provide access to the vaccine for employees who qualify on the basis of their employment?
The Maine CDC is currently prioritizing COVID-19 vaccinations on the basis of an individual’s employment circumstances or their age. For those at Bowdoin who qualify on the basis of their employment—including front-line health care workers, public safety officials, and child-care workers—the College is working to provide access to the vaccine. As other groups become eligible for a vaccination based on their employment, and if these groups are represented at the College, we will work to help provide access to the vaccine. For more information on vaccines in Maine, please go to the State's "COVID-19 Vaccination in Maine" site:

6. Where can I find more vaccine information?
Please visit our Vaccine FAQ resource page for more information.