Booster Requirement and Clinic (December 8, 2021)

To the Bowdoin campus community,

I am writing today with an important update related to the College’s ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of our campus and local communities, and our plans to ensure a robust academic and student experience when we return to campus for the spring semester in January. Please review this message carefully, as it includes policy updates and changes and other information relevant to students, faculty, and staff.

This message will address the following topics:

  1. COVID-19 booster shot requirement for students, faculty, and staff
  2. Dates and times for a campus COVID-19 booster vaccination clinic
  3. Spring semester COVID-19 reentry testing
1. COVID-19 Booster Shot Requirement for Eligible Students, Faculty, and Staff

Today, Maine is reporting 1,275 new cases of COVID-19—the highest number of new cases reported in a single day. COVID-19-related hospitalizations in the state also reached an all-time high this week, with 367 people hospitalized, including 110 in intensive care and 59 patients on ventilators. The data also show that roughly two-thirds of these serious cases involve Mainers who are not vaccinated, and that those hospitalized who have been fully vaccinated are generally older or have chronic medical conditions. The head of the Maine CDC, Dr. Nirav Shah, has pointed out that unvaccinated people with COVID-19 are twelve times more likely to end up in the hospital and eleven times more likely to die from the virus.

The vaccines are highly effective and are our most powerful tools in protecting the health and safety of everyone here and in Brunswick.

To return to campus next semester you will be required to have your COVID-19 booster. More specifically, effective January 21, 2022, Bowdoin is requiring all students, faculty, and staff to receive a COVID-19 booster shot within thirty (30) days of becoming eligible. For all but a small number of our faculty and staff, this means you will need to get your booster on or prior to January 21. If you have already received an approved exemption from a COVID-19 vaccination, you will continue to be exempt from this requirement.

Eligible individuals are those who received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccination at least six months ago or those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccination at least two months ago. If you have questions about your eligibility date or timeline to meet the booster requirement, please refer to the CDC website or contact Mary Cote in human resources (x3033, mcote@bowdoin.edu).

Once you have received your COVID-19 booster, you will be required to provide proper verification to the College. For students, this means you should upload a copy of your vaccination card using the student health portal (preferred method) or contact Health Services for an appointment to present your card in person. For faculty and staff, updated instructions for recording booster shot information in Workday will be shared the week of December 20.

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages on the Bowdoin website for more information about the booster requirement and the verification process. 

2. On-Campus COVID-19 Booster Clinic

We recognize that, with wide eligibility for boosters, there may be difficulty at times scheduling a booster appointment. To make obtaining a booster more convenient for students, faculty, and staff, the College, in partnership with Mid Coast Hospital, will provide a COVID-19 booster clinic on campus next week. Clinic details are as follows:

Location: Farley Field House
Dates: Monday, December 13, Wednesday, December 15, and Friday, December 17
Hours: 8:00 a.m. to noon
For whom: Bowdoin students, faculty, staff
Booster: Pfizer

We are grateful to Mid Coast Hospital for their assistance in providing this clinic. Please look for an email message from our COVID-19 coordinator, Mike Ranen, with additional information about the booster clinic, including the sign-up process and the required paperwork.

Appointments will be limited, but a second booster clinic on campus is planned for the week of January 17.

IMPORTANT: Please remember to bring your COVID-19 vaccination card to your booster appointment, or a copy/photo of your card, so that the clinic can verify your original vaccination dates. Also, please be mindful of your responsibilities and obligations when scheduling your booster shot, as some individuals may experience side effects similar to those after the original two-dose or single-dose vaccinations. 

3. Spring Semester Arrival and Regular Testing

As we did after the Thanksgiving break, we will require every member of the campus community to test for COVID-19 when we return to campus in January. We will also continue with regular PCR testing in Farley Field House but will switch from individual to pool testing beginning the week of January 10 (additional information about the pool testing program will be shared next week). The testing center reopens on Monday, January 10, and will be open on the following days in January:

Monday, January 10
Thursday, January 14
Monday, January 17
Wednesday, January 19
Saturday, January 22
Monday, January 24
Thursday, January 27
Monday, January 31

Student Testing

Students are asked to pick up an eMed test kit from the OneCard office in Coles Tower and to 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 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 22, and Sunday, January 23.

OneCard access to College facilities will be denied to students who fail to perform an eMed antigen test upon arrival.

Students are also required to take a PCR test on the date closest to their return. Twice-a-week PCR testing for students will begin on Monday, January 24.

Faculty and Staff Testing

Faculty and staff are asked to take a BinaxNow 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 p.m. 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.

Faculty and staff will continue with PCR testing once a week throughout the semester on Mondays or Thursdays—either day is acceptable.

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Thank you for your close attention to this information and to the details that will follow in the coming days. And thank you for everything you have done this semester to stay safe and to protect the health of others, and also for your many contributions to the life of the College. I hope you will enjoy the break with family and friends. I look forward to seeing you in January.   Best wishes for a very happy and healthy holiday season.

Sincerely,

Clayton