With consistently low case numbers in recent weeks, the College further loosened its COVID-19 restrictions throughout campus this week. In a campus-wide email on February 11, COVID-19 Resource Coordinator Mike Ranen announced that Bowdoin Dining Services would return to full capacity beginning on Monday, February 14. In addition, Clare McKenzie announced in an email to all music students that students are now welcome to rehearse and attend lessons in Gibson Hall and Studzinski Hall without masking, at the discretion of faculty.
As of this past Monday, the College will no longer provide to-go containers in the dining halls.
“Having a meal with people is a really important part of the college experience,” Ranen said. “We’ve decided, for now, to go to 100-percent in-person dining while still offering fast track and express lunches as a separate to-go dining for people.”
To-go dining also poses issues to the College in terms of sustainability.
“People take more unnecessary food,” Ranen said. “There is a lot of food waste and excess trash.”
Following Ranen’s email, students have voiced concerns about current dining restrictions and the complete absence of take-out containers.
“I kind of get it from a financial standpoint, but also, some people might have immune issues or other pre-existing conditions that make it unsafe to eat in the dining halls constantly,” Elijah Dumdie ’25 said.
For students in isolation, there will continue to be a place for to-go meals at Thorne Dining Hall. Isolated students are the only exception to the new in-person dining requirements. With dining halls at full capacity and to-go containers no longer available, seats can fill up quickly.
“I went to Moulton [Union] for dinner, and there was no seating there,” Dumdie said. “I went everywhere trying to find a spot to sit.”
Faculty are now allowed back in the dining halls but are limited to one dining hall for lunch and dinner. Ranen attributes this decision to staffing and occupancy concerns.
“We want to make sure the dining halls are not overcrowded,” Ranen said. “It is wonderful that faculty eat at the dining halls, but we want to make sure that they’re not taking space from students.”
Since the start of the pandemic, Bowdoin has restricted guests’ ability to enter spaces on campus, and these rules still remain in place for the time being.
“Right now, inside buildings—except for public spaces, such as the museum and athletic facilities—all guests still need to be registered,” Ranen said.
“Each week we’re going to evaluate what restrictions we have on campus and we’ll assess what coming back from Spring Break will look like,” Ranen said. “For the last three weeks we’ve been able to loosen some restrictions so, hopefully, we’ll be able to continue to do so.”