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College to eliminate outdoor masking and distancing requirements and allow unlimited guests at commencement

May 15, 2021

The College will no longer limit the number of guests graduating seniors can invite to commencement, wrote COVID-19 Resource Coordinator Mike Ranen in an email to the Bowdoin community. Prior to today’s announcement, each graduate was allowed two guests.

Ranen also announced that, beginning on May 24, face coverings, physical distancing and restrictions on the size of gatherings will no longer be required outdoors. These updates to the College’s policies align with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The College will not be adjusting its health and safety protocols for indoor spaces, and it will remain closed to visitors not in the COVID-19 testing program until Commencement day, May 29.

Despite some loosening of health and safety protocols, the College differs from the guidelines issued by the U.S. CDC and Maine CDC, which were updated yesterday and today, respectively.

“Our protocols are in place as the best way to ensure that all the care and attention practiced so successfully by members of our community this semester can culminate in a full Commencement ceremony and ‘Senior Days’ celebration for our graduating students. As always, we will be monitoring conditions on campus, in our local community, and in Maine and will make other adjustments as warranted,” wrote Ranen.

Additionally, graduating seniors who were studying remotely and planned to come to campus for commencement may not arrive on campus Wednesday, May 26, instead of Thursday, May 27.

The College announced that the unlimited number of guests only extends to outdoor gatherings and that, if Commencement is held in Watson Arena due to extreme weather, each graduate will be limited to two guests.

Since the beginning of this semester, the number of guests each graduate may invite to commencement has changed from no guests, to two guests, to an unlimited number as a result of increased vaccination and loosened social distancing and masking restrictions from the CDC. The College plans to provide a section of distanced seating on the Quad and will still livestream commencement exercises. Guests are encouraged, but not required, to wear masks during the commencement exercises.

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