College takes ‘endemic’ approach to Covid-19 and provides air purifiers to students – The Bowdoin Orient

This week, students returned to a campus with dramatically reduced pandemic-related protocols.

Under the new guidelines, the College does not require on-campus masks or PCR testing mandates. As the College moves to a endemic approach at Covid-19, the management of positive cases and questions about the virus are being integrated into Bowdoin’s pre-pandemic return structures.

These changes were preceded by the decision to move Associate Dean of Academic Administration Mike Ranen from his role as Covid-19 Resource Coordinator and Director of Residential and Student Life.

From this fall, instead of having an individual or single office to oversee matters related to Covid-19, the College has implemented a decentralized system. As part of the new organizational structure, students are encouraged to call the Covid-19 Helpline at 207-208-2514 or email [email protected] After their initial call, students are directed to internal resources including Health Services, Counseling and Wellness Services, and the Office of Safety and Security. Bowdoins Covid-19 Resource Guide encourages students to contact these offices if they have a problem.

To mitigate transmission of the virus, the College purchased 1,300 air purifiers over the summer which were placed in all student rooms on campus. Purifiers deliver four air changes — or the time it takes a purifier to clean a room — per hour in small rooms. Personal purifiers are an extension of the air purifiers and filters provided to all classrooms when returning to in-person classes.

“It was part of the holistic approach to mitigating the transmission of [Covid-19] on campus,” said Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration and Treasurer Matt Orlando. “It’s pretty clear that the air quality in our buildings is one of the best lines of defense against the transmission of [Covid-19].”

With the end of PCR testing on campus, the Covid-19 dashboard has been discontinued. After two years of regularly reporting the number of cases in the campus community, Covid-19 is now being monitored as a common endemic disease.

“Just like we don’t have that for the flu or other viruses that may be circulating, we’re not going to have an official count anymore,” Orlando said. “It will be more of a conversation with public health centers and the [Bowdoin] Health Center and what they see, and we’ll make decisions from there.

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