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Bates College imposes temporary quarantine to slow COVID-19 outbreak – Portland Press Herald


Parker Hall, the oldest dorm at Bates College. Steve Collins/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — To stop a sudden spread of COVID-19 on campus, Bates College on Thursday imposed a “temporary, campus-wide, in-room restriction to significantly reduce in-person interactions.”

The college said it has 34 active student cases in isolation housing and another 50 students, who were close contacts, in quarantine. It expects the number of quarantined students to rise as it continues contact tracing.

A week ago, it had one student in isolation housing.

This is the worst outbreak at Bates of the potentially deadly disease since the pandemic began more than a year ago.

Joshua McIntosh, vice president of campus life, told students that starting at 2 p.m. Thursday, they could not leave campus or leave their residential room, save for limited reasons, until Tuesday afternoon.

He said the college needed to “stabilize the spread of COVID-19 on campus” because of “a sudden, sharp rise in cases” since last weekend.

McIntosh told students that all classes will be done remotely until at least Wednesday and perhaps longer. The college will reevaluate what to do after it sees the results of COVID tests on Monday.

It suspended all activities, including use of the library and gymnasium.

“I am very sorry that we need to take these actions at such a stressful point in the semester,” told students in a message Thursday.

It said Bates needs their help “in adhering strictly to these guidelines so that we succeed in containing this outbreak.”

Students who violate the new restrictive rules, or existing ones related to COVID-19, will likely be removed from college housing and switched to remote learning for the rest of the semester, McIntosh said.

Any student who violates the in-room restriction, or other public health protocols, will be in violation of the Public Health Agreement. Failure to follow campus in-room restriction directives will result in immediate referral to the student conduct system, which will likely result in being removed from college housing and being switched to remote learning for the remainder of the semester.

This story will be updated.

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