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Bowdoin increases COVID testing frequency for students

September 10, 2021

In light of the recent number of positive COVID-19 cases on campus, the College has increased the number of mandatory PCR tests from once a month to twice a week. COVID-19 Coordinator Mike Ranen announced the change in an email to the community on September 3.

“We always planned on the fact that we may need to increase testing. Even last year, we increased at times and then went back to our normal cadence. The number of cases that we’ve had since the school year began is enough that we thought that for the time being, we should switch to more rapid testing to help control the outbreak,” Ranen said, referring to the rapid antigen tests administered to close contacts of positive cases, in addition to the increased testing schedule.

Beginning this week, students with last names beginning with the letters A through L will be tested on Mondays and Thursdays, and students with last names beginning with the letters M through Z will be tested on Tuesdays and Fridays. Testing will take place in Farley Field House from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Students will no longer be asked to sign up for a time slot prior to their test.

“Last year we were testing a lot of people and we found that we can handle an increased number of people without having to have them sign up for test slots,” Ranen said. “And what we’ve seen is that over the course of a few days students correct it and realize that if they don’t go at lunch time they will have a much shorter line. So we’re able—with the staffing that we have in the test center—to manage the flow and over the course of the week students will figure out the best times for them to go.”

Ranen noted that the College is prepared to move to a higher-frequency testing plan both financially and logistically. In addition, if the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to drastically increase, an even more rigorous testing schedule is a possibility.


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