Overkill? Bates College locks down entire student body following 49 positive COVID-19 tests

Bates College locked down its entire student body after 49 students tested positive for COVID-19.

Students that violate protocols may face 'removal from campus housing' and suspension.

Bates College, located in Maine, placed its entire student body under a shelter-in-place order after 49 students tested positive for COVID-19.

“Given the continued high number of students testing positive and the number of new close contacts in recent days, this past weekend we once again consulted with our medical advisors at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Stacey Rizza and Dr. Jack O’Horo,” wrote Dean of Students Josh McIntosh in an April 5 statement. “They advised that we need to extend the in-room restriction until we see a consistent downward trend (into low single digits) in positive test results and sustain this pattern over several test cycles.”

Accordingly, the school extended “in-room restriction” through Sunday, April 11. Students were only able to leave their rooms to pick up meals, use the restroom, attend mandatory COVID-19 testing appointments, and complete other essential activities.

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According to Bates College's “Public Health Agreement and Acknowledgement of Shared Responsibility and Risk,” the school “cannot tolerate violations” of its COVID-19 protocols.

“A first violation will likely result in a referral to the student conduct process where the likely outcome will be an immediate removal from campus housing, removing access to campus facilities, and a requirement that the student return to their home residence to continue the semester via remote learning, if the courses for which they are enrolled can be completed remotely,” the document states.

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“Subsequent violations will likely result in a referral to the Student Conduct Committee where a minimum of a one semester suspension will be the likely outcome,” it continues. “Such students may also be interimly [sic] suspended in order to protect the wellbeing of our community.”

Bates College typically issues a shelter-in-place order in order to protect students from weather emergencies and any other “hazardous outdoor atmosphere.”

Bates College directed Campus Reform to the school's COVID-19 dashboard and McIntosh's April 5 statement. McIntosh did not respond to a request for comment.