The Peter J. Gomes Chapel at Bates College is seen in this 2016 file photo. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Bates College has given each of its students 25 free surgical masks as the spring semester gets underway.

The college announced on Jan. 14 that it would require students to wear surgical masks, N95 or KN95 masks while on campus. The school started the semester with online classes, but on Tuesday, students went back to in-person classes, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Students will be required to test on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the college will revisit the requirement as the semester progresses.

As of Jan. 14, 50 students with the intent to return to campus had tested positive for COVID-19. Those students have returned to campus, and will be able to participate in campus activities once they have quarantined and have been cleared by school administration to do so.

Another 50 students tested positive during the return to campus testing phase, which started on Jan. 9 and has continued through Wednesday. Those students have been asked to remain in isolation until cleared to return to campus activities.

Throughout the semester, capacity for all indoor activities will be limited to mitigate the chance of spreading COVID-19.

The college will now allow students to travel between residence halls, but those allowed on campus are limited to staff, students and faculty, along with vendors or contractors.

Students will be able to pick up grab-and-go dining, which will be in place until Jan. 30 or until administrators deem it safe enough to open communal dining spaces.

The college will continue to conduct contact tracing and will notify close contacts of a positive coronavirus case, and will provide dining delivery and package delivery options for students in mandatory isolation.

Bates announced on Dec. 16, 2021, that all students, except those with medical exemptions, would be required to receive a booster shot once they became eligible.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the type of masks that Bates students were given. The students were given 25 free surgical masks.

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Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.