COVID-19 Campus Guidelines: Are They Inconsistent?

Hello! The Features Section is starting “The ‘Cat Corner,” a weekly column expressing students’ perspectives on campus culture and Bates life. Articles can be between 150 and 400 words and may include a photo!

An example for a piece in The ‘Cat Corner could be about your experience going to in-person, “normal” Commons for the first time in more than a year — maybe ever. Or how you and your roommate came to a solution regarding any disagreements you might have. Any hot goss’ or love life advice are welcome, too! The Bates Student would love your take on campus life, so please submit your articles to [email protected] or [email protected]!


Najá and Ilana 🙂

Disposable utensils wrapped in plastic but communal serving spoons? Gatherings in residences but mandatory masking in the library? Masks while working out at the athletic center but not while dining indoors? These are just some of the inconsistencies plaguing the student body as Bates tries to navigate the transition back to quasi-normal life.                                                                 

The end seemed in sight when the Bates student body received an email from Josh McIntosh, Vice President of Campus Life, on Jul. 27 stating that students would only be required to wear a mask for their first hour on campus while awaiting rapid test results.

However, this relief was short-lived. In mid-August, concerns over the highly transmissible delta variant caused Bates to update their masking policies for the upcoming school year. In a letter to students, McIntosh stated: “all Bates community members, vaccinated and unvaccinated, must wear a mask while indoors, both on-campus and off-campus, effective Tuesday, August 27.”

While there appears to be relatively explicit rules about masking, campus policies concerning social-distancing, indoor capacity limits and social gatherings have seemed relatively ambiguous, leaving a lot of room for self-interpretation. 

Life on campus last year was overrun by direct — and highly enforced — public health policies. For better or worse, it was clear what was and what was not allowed on campus. While no one is arguing for a return to Grab-n-Go meals, access to only one’s own residence hall or perpetual mandatory masking, a little more clarification and consistency would be well-received by the student body.