COVID-19 Update (September 5, 2021)

To the campus community,

Mike Ranen’s update from the weekend is appended below. In addition, I want to share a few thoughts with you.

We will continue the practice that we have had in place since the beginning of the pandemic of communicating with you whenever there is news to report regarding COVID-19—good or bad. In particular, Mike will update you on any new positive cases of COVID-19 on the day they occur, with any reports on weekends taking place on Sunday evenings unless there is a particular reason to be in touch earlier in the weekend.
As I have said regularly, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, will be with us for the foreseeable future, and we are learning both to stay safe and to return to something close to the normal rhythms of college and life. There will be times when more restrictions are necessary—restrictions that will be lifted when it is safe to do so. While I had some hope that we could avoid it, it is not surprising that we have had positive cases as we started the semester, and we should expect to see more cases during the semester.
The vaccines are doing their job. Those who have tested positive have either had mild symptoms or have been asymptomatic. This is very good news.
We have had thirty-two in our community test positive, with twenty-nine current cases and three released. Of the twenty-nine current cases, twenty-six are part of a single cluster. Most of these cases have been located in a single residence hall, and there has not yet been spread in that residence hall beyond the close contacts. We have done extensive rapid antigen testing over the last few days on close contacts and others. As Mike reports below, we have had only eight new positives since Friday—five on Friday, two on Saturday, and one on Sunday—and these are included in the twenty-nine current cases.
There was only one positive result reported by faculty and staff from their rapid antigen tests last week, and no one tested positive among the sample of faculty and staff in the Broad testing on Thursday.
We have the tools we need to manage the infections—including access to plenty of tests (both rapid antigen and Broad PCR), masks, and isolation housing. And we have the necessary protocols and ability to shift to more protective modes as needed.
Finally, the most important things you can do at the moment to keep yourself and others safe are to wear your masks indoors, to not gather in large groups indoors, to be careful when you are off campus, and to test at the College when you are scheduled to test.
Thank you for taking care of yourselves and one another.
All the best,
To the Bowdoin community,
Since I wrote to you last late Friday afternoon, we have identified eight new cases of COVID-19, seven of which have been from students known to have been exposed to the virus.
We continue to offer rapid antigen tests to close contacts and other students with symptoms and will increase student testing to twice a week to help stop the spread. We understand that it is a challenge, but we will have to live with these new restrictions for now and we are confident we will be able to get back to status level green soon. We appreciate the precautions all members of our community are taking and ask you to continue to do so, especially if you are known to be exposed.
Mike Ranen
Director of Residential and Student Life
Associate Dean of Student Affairs