Bowdoin will open 12 apartment units for first responders—fire and emergency services personnel who come into contact with individuals infected by the coronavirus (COVID-19)—and 75 housing units for Mid Coast Hospital employees.
After receiving requests three weeks ago from Mid Coast Hospital Parkview Campus and the Town of Brunswick for housing units with an en suite bathroom and kitchen access, the College prepared units in Stowe Inn, 52 Harpswell, Brunswick, Federal Street, Mayflower and Pine Street Apartments, each unit designated to house only one individual to comply with social distancing recommendations.
The residences will be available for first responders and hospital staff to use between shifts. The College began working to prepare these accommodations after moving students who have been approved to stay on campus to Brunswick Apartments.
“The guests using these facilities are healthcare workers or emergency services personnel, trained in CDC guidelines,” wrote Catherine Ferdinand, Bowdoin’s government relations and land use specialist in an email to the Orient. “These professionals will be using our housing to rest and clean up between shifts.”
Ferdinand is the College’s point person for Mid Coast staff, while Associate Director of Security Tim Hanson is the liason for first responders. Hanson did not respond to comment.
In order to comply with Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, Ferdinand explained that the College will not permit visitors and will only provide rooms and furniture.
“No bedding, kitchen utensils/cookware, appliances, toiletry items, cleaning services or food will be provided by Bowdoin. Individuals will have access only to assigned units and will not be using other campus facilities, laundry rooms, or dining services. Visitors are not permitted,” she wrote.
Secretary of Development and College Relations John Cross, and Bowdoin’s unofficial historian, wrote in an email to the Orient that although the College has never faced the challenges presented by the novel coronavirus pandemic, it has a history of assisting the community in times of need. From supporting students and their families during the Great Depression to helping Brunswick fight wildfires in 1947 and other natural disasters over the years, Bowdoin has offered both financial and physical aid to its community.
“While Bowdoin as an institution and a community has been active in finding ways to serve the common good during difficult times, nothing is quite like the current pandemic,” wrote Cross.