Ninety-four students test negative for COVID-19 in first round of testing

After a long, uncertain summer, the first wave of students moved into Bates this weekend.  

Students were tested for COVID-19 on Sunday morning and received their results 23 and a half hours later, on Monday. All of the 94 students tested negative, according to Bates’ COVID-19 dashboard.

The first group of students primarily consisted of Residence Life staff and Orientation Week Leaders (OWLs). The rest of the student body will move in between Aug. 25-27 during their designated time slot. 

As part of Bates’ reopening plan, students will be tested for COVID-19 on arrival at the testing center located in Underhill Arena. Students will be tested a second time a few days later and twice weekly for the remainder of the semester. 

Students are asked to remain in their rooms, except for picking up Dash meals, while awaiting their first test result.  

Students who test positive will be moved to isolation housing. According to the COVID-19 dashboard, Bates has set aside 113 rooms for this purpose. Frye, Milliken, and Clayson Houses, in addition to some overflow housing, will serve as isolation housing this semester. 

COVID-positive students will remain in isolation housing at the discretion of the medical director in consideration of numerous factors including further test results, time in isolation, symptoms and other factors, according to Bates’ definition of isolation housing. 

In the last week, Bates also tested 576 staff and faculty. All tests were negative. Testing for staff and faculty is optional, but encouraged by the college. 

The Broad Institute, affiliated with MIT and Harvard, is responsible for processing Bates’ tests. Many New England colleges are also partnered with the Broad Institute, including Colby, Middlebury, Wesleyan, Williams and Amherst.

The next two weeks will be critical for Bates’ reopening plans. Other schools planning to teach in person this fall have experienced outbreaks after bringing students back to campus. A rigorous testing procedure and strict adherence to social distancing guidelines will be necessary to protect the Bates community.