LEWISTON, Maine — Bates College announced Friday it will suspend classes at the end of the day on Friday, March 13. The school will then resume classes remotely starting Monday, March 23.
Classes will continue through Friday, April 17 (originally exam week, now the last week of classes). Spring vacation will occur, as scheduled, from Saturday, April 18, through Sunday, April 26. Exams will be scheduled during the week of April 27 through May 2.
The school said students who need to make flight arrangements, or who have complex travel plans, must leave campus by 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17.
All students whose homes are within driving distance are asked to leave campus this weekend.
In a letter on the school's website, addressed to Members of the Bates Community, Bates College President Clayton Spencer wrote in part:
"Although healthy populations below the age of 30—like most of our students—do not typically contract severe cases of COVID-19, young people are highly efficient transmitters of the disease, especially when they live and learn in close proximity on a college campus. This poses a danger to anyone with compromised health, and especially to the significant numbers of faculty and staff on our campus in higher risk categories because of age or underlying conditions. I am also mindful that many students, faculty, and staff have expressed concern and anxiety about remaining on campus and in close quarters.
Because we are not in a position to manage a serious outbreak on campus, we must ask that our students return home, and that our faculty prepare to teach remotely. This will ensure that our students are able to complete their winter semester, while also safeguarding the health and safety of the entire Bates community."
Spencer did acknowledge the school's seniors and their Commencement ceremony, saying she'll keep them posted:
"Seniors, I know that it is particularly painful for you, as we enter a period meant to be marked by celebration, to learn that you will not be able to end your Bates experience in the ways that you expected and looked forward to. Please know that we are explicitly deferring any decisions regarding Commencement at this point. I very much hope that it will be possible by the end of May to welcome you and your families back to celebrate your accomplishments and receive your diplomas in person. We will keep you posted."