This week, students returned to a campus with significantly reduced pandemic-related protocols.
Under the new guidelines, the College neither requires masks on campus nor mandates PCR testing. As the College moves to an endemic approach to Covid-19, management of positive cases and questions about the virus are being integrated into the returning pre-pandemic structures of Bowdoin.
These changes were preceded by the decision to move Associate Dean for Academic Administration Mike Ranen from his role as Covid-19 resource coordinator and director of residential and student life.
Beginning this fall, instead of having any individual or single office overseeing matters related to Covid-19, the College has implemented a decentralized system. Under the new organizing structure, students are directed to call the Covid-19 helpline at 207-208-2514 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. After their initial call, students are referred to internal resources including Health Services, Counseling and Wellness Services and the Office of Safety and Security. Bowdoin’s Covid-19 Resources guide encourages students to reach out to these offices with concerns.
To mitigate transmission of the virus, the College purchased 1300 air purifiers over the summer that have been placed in all student bedrooms on campus. The purifiers provide four air changes—or the time that it takes for a purifier to clean a room—per hour in small rooms. The personal purifiers are an extension of the air purifiers and filters provided to all classrooms in the return to in-person classes.
“This was part of the holistic approach to mitigating the transmission of [Covid-19] on campus,” Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Matt Orlando said. “It’s pretty clear that the quality of air in our buildings is one of the best lines of defense against the transmission of [Covid-19].”
With the end of PCR testing on campus, the Covid-19 dashboard has been discontinued. Following two years of regular information about the number of cases in the campus community, Covid-19 is now monitored as a common endemic illness.
“Just like we do not have that for the flu or other viruses that may circulate, we are not going to have an official count anymore,” Orlando said. “It will be more of a conversation with public health centers and the [Bowdoin] Health Center and what they are seeing, and we will make decisions from there.”