College of the Atlantic is committed to providing a safe, thoughtful, academically inspiring environment for our students, staff, and faculty. Together, with grace and empathy, we will co-create our community of human ecologists this winter. We will adapt to the protocols and guidelines that come with our efforts to stay safe, and we will find ways new and old to communicate, connect, and create.

College of the Atlantic is committed to serving our students by using science-informed plans to reduce the spread of COVID-19, accommodate vulnerable members of our community, respond to incidents of COVID-19 infection, and protect each other and our community. We seek to limit the transmission of the virus through baseline and surveillance testing, isolation, quarantine, and a strong community commitment to physical distancing, wearing of masks, and other public health measures.

COA spring term 2021 begins on Monday, March 29. The first week of the term will be entirely online while we complete baseline COVID-19 testing.

Review the updated COA 2020-21 Safe Campus Plan

A message from COA COVID-19 Coordinator Deb DeForest

March 24, 2021

Hi all,
We are looking forward to the start of spring term next week. I am hoping you might take a few minutes to make sure you are familiar with our start-of-term plans.

  • Baseline COVID-19 testing for the entire in-person community remains an important part of our Safe Campus Plan. Testing during week one will take place on Monday, March 29 and Friday, April 2, from 12-4:30 p.m., in Gates community center. You can enter by the front door this time! Those who have traveled out of state over break will receive two tests, while the rest of the in-person population will receive one. Please use the CoVerified app to schedule your test(s) for the appropriate days.
  • Week one testing for all students, staff, and faculty taking part in the in-person program this spring:
    • Monday, March 29:
      • First round of testing for all students, staff, and faculty who have traveled to and from Maine over break
    • Friday, April 2:
      • Testing for all students, staff, and faculty who did not travel over break (one round only)
      • Second round of testing for all students, staff, and faculty who have traveled to and from Maine over break
  • Students will not be allowed to attend in-person classes or to access resources on campus until quarantine is complete and you have received negative test results, so if your travel prevents you from testing on the dates above please contact me.
  • Community members who have been vaccinated are still required to take part in our testing program.
  • Week one of spring term: all classes will be conducted entirely online during week one. We expect housemates, on and off campus, to wear masks even inside houses for the first week of term in order to reduce the risk of virus transmission as people return from the various places they have been over break, except in cases where no one in the house has traveled.
  • For those of you joining us in person: one of the very best things you can do right now to contribute to a successful start of the term is to quarantine at home until your return. If you cannot do so, please wear a mask, keep physical distancing as much as possible, and try to avoid indoor gatherings.
  • Maine’s vaccination schedule has been advanced! Beginning March 23, Maine residents age 50 and older are eligible for the vaccination. Beginning April 19, all Maine residents age 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination. The accelerated timeline comes as some Maine vaccine providers are reporting availability of appointments and as Maine anticipates an increase in vaccine supply from the Federal government.
  • We are currently working with our medical partners and contacts in Maine CDC to understand what options might be available for our community and how Maine is defining “residents” in relation to vaccine eligibility. We will share this information as it becomes available.
  • Our surveillance COVID-19 testing this week included 99 community members and turned up 0 positive cases. This included second tests for those who may have been exposed to the virus while in contact with our recent positive case. All of those tests came back negative as well.

Thank you so much for your continued commitment to this process. As always, feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns you may have.


COVID-19 Coordinator Deb DeForest, on behalf of the COA COVID-19 health and response teams

COVID-19 testing

COVID-19 testing is an important part of our plan to keep campus open and have a productive winter term. Every member of our in-person community for winter term 2021 is required to participate in our testing program, including baseline testing for all at the start of the term, followed by weekly surveillance testing of a selected portion of the community to monitor the ongoing public health of our campus program.

View the COA Covid-19 Dashboard

Face covering considerations

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people wear face coverings in public settings and when around people who don’t live in the same household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Face masks are required in all common areas and classrooms on the COA campus.

Masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others, and are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings.

Proper face masks include disposable medical face masks and cloth face masks or gaiters with at least two layers of material. Masks should be snug but comfortable against the sides of the face, secured with ties or ear loops, allow you to breathe without restriction, and should be able to withstand machine washing and drying and not get damaged or change shape.

Masks with exhalation valves or vents should NOT be worn, nor should bandanas. For more mask information, including laundering instructions:

Campus updates