Update on the Campus-Wide Masking Mandate

On Nov. 10, Vice President for Campus Life Josh McIntosh and Vice President for Finance and Administration Geoff Swift sent out an email regarding a change of the mask policies on campus. In the email, McIntosh and Swift wrote that these changes are due to our “high vaccination rate,” “sound public health practices” and “rigorous testing program.” 

The email focuses on two major changes: the space and context of when to wear a mask, and how this translates into college-sponsored events such as performances and productions. 

McIntosh and Swift also stated that they “will continue to monitor the public health situation” at Bates and in Androscoggin County, as well as “seek guidance from our advisors at the Mayo Clinic.” Bates College also received guidance from public health experts at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Maine CDC. The full updated masking policy can be found here.

When to Wear a Mask

The first policy regards overall masking requirements for both vaccinated and unvaccinated Bates community members. 

The policy states that all members of the Bates community must wear masks indoors, with the exception of “when seated in Commons or at a college-sponsored indoor event with food” like Commons, Chase or Mays; however, masks “will be required while entering” these spaces and “in the servery or procuring food.” Exceptions also include when in residential halls and when in “other private campus indoor spaces by oneself.” This policy in particular has not changed since the masking policy was updated last in August.

Music, Theater and Dance

In any college-sponsored indoor performance, “students, faculty, and staff actively participating” may be “unmasked while participating in the rehearsal and performances (i.e. on the stage).” 

Other than during a performance, participants will remain “masked at all other times (i.e. off-stage, between sets).” However, for “productions involving singing, brass and/or woodwind instruments” there should be “at least 12 feet” between the front of the stage and where the audience sits, which “may result in certain rows of seating not being used” to achieve this. 

Sports and Athletics

With discretion and monitoring of the head coach, students and coaches that actively participate in “practice or competitions in indoor athletic events (i.e. on the court) may be unmasked” but “will remain masked at all other times (i.e. on the sidelines).” For students and athletes in the athletic facilities, “masks must be worn at all other times.”

For more information on the athletics masking update click here

The campus-wide email noted that “while wearing a mask may not be required under these conditions, students, faculty, and staff always have the option of continuing to wear a mask.” 

McIntosh and Swift are hopeful and committed to trying to “bring back important aspects of our experience on campus as public health conditions permit.”