The College released its Campus Community Agreement on Blackboard Thursday for students who intend to live on campus or be in residence for the spring semester. Dean of Students Kristina Bethea Odejimi also sent the agreement to these students in an email yesterday evening.
Despite minor changes in definitions that altered the specific meanings of some guidelines as well as the creation of “pods” for on-campus students, the spring agreement remains relatively consistent with the Residential Community Agreement in place for this fall. Changes were made based on this semester’s successes and pitfalls in creating a campus community with COVID-19 safety as its top priority.
“This Campus Community Agreement (‘Agreement’) lays out the expectations of students for keeping our campus community as safe as possible and operational. To meet our goals, we must make a collective effort to minimize person-to-person transmission of COVID-19, which is highly contagious and life-threatening, and which can impact people of all ages,” the agreement states.
In an email sent by President Clayton Rose to the campus community on October 5 relaying the Spring 2021 plan, Rose wrote that the College would bring all seniors, juniors and sophomores back to campus. He also wrote that first-year students for whom home is not a place where they can learn, including first-year international students would also be invited back to campus.
This semester, only first-year students, Residential Life staff, transfer students, students with “home situations that make online learning nearly impossible,” senior students who are working on honors projects that require access to physical spaces on campus were invited to campus.
Students who return to campus are expected to comply with all safety requirements outlined by the Campus Status System (CSS) and CDC guidelines including physical distancing, wearing a face covering at all times and practicing good hygiene. In addition, all students must provide proof of current influenza vaccination prior to arriving on campus.
With the exception of students living in College Houses, whose pods will encompass everyone living in the house, all on-campus students will be allowed to form “pods” of up to eight individuals, consisting of others living in their residential building. If students are residing in suites, their pod will automatically contain all those who share a common room. They may also combine with another group, as long as their pod size does not exceed eight people.
While the campus is in “yellow” status, students in the same pod do not have to wear masks or observe physical distancing guidelines when in private common spaces. When campus is in “orange” status, pod members must be masked outside of private bedrooms and should maintain physical distance in private common spaces. During an on-campus public health emergency, students are not to gather at all.
Students who do not comply with these regulations or who engage in activities that bring them into close physical contact with others will face disciplinary action, “including immediate removal from campus or revocation of on-campus privileges.”
The College also plans to offer a few in-person classes and courses with “in-person components.” The Campus Community Agreement states “removal from campus or revocation of on-campus privileges, which could have an impact on a student’s academic progress if they are enrolled in an in-person class.”
Students living on campus and seniors living in-residence are permitted access to on-campus spaces, including academic buildings, offices, libraries, the David Saul Smith Union and athletic facilities. Seniors in-residence who do not live on campus are not permitted to enter residential buildings.
The agreement states that students may face disciplinary action for “hosting an individual from outside a student’s pod in a private residence, whether on or off campus.” Students are not permitted to host guests on campus, including Bowdoin students who have not signed the agreement. Additionally, students are allowed to leave campus for essential business when the College is in “yellow” status but are not to leave the state of Maine.
In the event that the College must close, students are to evacuate within 72 hours of a shutdown and must make their own emergency travel plans. Every on-campus student must register their Campus Departure Plan by February 17, 2021.
These policies are subject to change, as the status of COVID-19 both nationally and in Maine continues to develop. The agreement states that, should changes be made, updates will be communicated to students via email.