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Bates College lifts COVID lockdown

In-person classes and student programs are scheduled to resume Wednesday

LEWISTON, Maine — Following a 12-day lockdown that kept students in their rooms nearly 24 hours a day, Bates College on Tuesday lifted its in-room restriction and said in-person classes would resume Wednesday.

In a letter Tuesday to students, Joshua McIntosh, vice president for campus life at the Lewiston college, thanked students for honoring the policy.

"Based on consultation with our medical advisors at the Mayo Clinic, we are confident that we have contained the outbreak that began with social gatherings on the weekend of March 26 and 27," McIntosh wrote.

On April 1, McIntosh announced the lockdown through April 6 based on 34 active student cases of COVID-19 and an additional 50 students in quarantine.

But the in-room restriction was extended on April 6 following reports of three student parties the weekend of March 26-27 at which masks were not worn. McIntosh said contract tracing indicated the parties were the common sources of many of the cases.

On April 8, the college said there were 78 active cases on the campus.

Over the following week, another 36 students received positive test results.

Currently, 38 students are in isolation with active cases, two were scheduled to be cleared Tuesday afternoon, and another 26 were scheduled to be cleared on Thursday, McIntosh said Tuesday.

Another six close contacts remain in quarantine.

McIntosh warned students on Tuesday not to "let down your guard," and said, "The events we have all endured should serve as a powerful reminder that poor choices by a small group of people can have a powerful negative impact on the campus as a whole."

RELATED: Bates extends student lockdown after reported parties trigger spike in COVID-19 quarantines