COA is a fully vaccinated community. All COA community members participating on campus during the 2022-23 academic year are required to be fully vaccinated. Please review our community expectations and reach out with any questions.

College of the Atlantic is at green status level. Masks are optional in shared indoor spaces.College of the Atlantic is at green status level. Masks are optional in shared indoor spaces.


COVID-19 messages to the community

SUBJECT: Summer COVID-19 protocols
June 10, 2022

I hope that you are enjoying this beautiful, green spring and gaining some much needed space and time to rejuvenate from the school year. I am writing to share some updates to this summer’s COVID-19 campus protocols that we’ve made to align our campus approach more closely with the guidance and recommendations of the US Centers for Disease Control. Please note that the following is for the summer season; we will develop our fall term and academic year protocols later this summer, based on the status of the pandemic at that time.

Campus status levels
To bring our Campus Status Levels color-coded chart in line with the CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels, we have shifted the determination of when we consider campus to be under green or yellow status. As of Monday, June 13, campus will be in green status if the CDC Hancock County level is either low or medium, and will move to yellow if the county moves to high, or if we have an outbreak of multiple cases on campus.

In summary: masks will be optional in most shared indoor spaces on campus beginning Monday, June 13.

While Hancock County is at a low or medium community level (currently it’s medium), masks are optional in public spaces, including shared common spaces and shared offices on campus. If you review the CDC’s Community Levels recommendations, you will see that this masking protocol now matches with what the CDC recommends.

Please note that the CDC updates the county levels every Thursday night, so we will be updating our color on coa.edu/covid19 on Fridays. Also, it’s important to note that public-facing areas of the college, such as the library and the Dorr museum, may choose to require masks even while the rest of the campus is in green status.

COA protocols for positive COVID-19 cases
The college will continue to follow the CDC’s Quarantine and Isolation guidelines for COVID-19. Anyone testing positive for COVID should stay home and isolate for at least five days. We also ask that you notify covid19coordinator@coa.edu of your situation, as we are continuing to track the total number of cases in the COA community (those living and/or working on campus this summer).

One important change for the summer is that the COVID coordinator will no longer be tracing and contacting close contacts to positive cases. We will be asking that anyone who contracts COVID-19 reach out to their close contacts and notify them of their exposure. Close contacts, in turn, are expected to mask up, watch for symptoms, and take rapid tests—the same protocol we have had.

Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to stay up to date on campus and CDC protocols. Please remember that we have plenty of rapid tests on hand—reach out if you need any.

Thanks,
Rob Levin, on behalf of the COVID-19 response team


SUBJECT: Campus status change: Yellow
May 18, 2022

As the end of the spring term draws closer, the pandemic continues to impact us here in Hancock County and at COA. As of today, we have nine active cases in the COA community, down from a high of 16 at one point last week. In the last seven days, there have been two new positive cases among COA community members. Both cases were isolated from the COA community in the days prior to testing positive, with no close contacts in our community. In this week’s PCR testing we conducted 120 tests, with no positive results.

The data tells us that COVID is still here in our local communities (Hancock County’s COVID-19 community level is still High according to the CDC), but we believe we are seeing this drop in on-campus cases in large part because of all we have been doing, particularly in our social interactions, to take precautions and limit transmission. This is good news for our campus and our primary goal: to keep COVID down and allow everyone the chance to participate in year-end activities, final projects, and our upcoming 49th commencement ceremony on June 4. So please continue to be thoughtful in your interactions and behaviors, it really does help.

With less transmission and our COA community “outbreak” (three or more linked cases) no longer active, we are changing the campus status level from Orange to Yellow, effective today. Please refer to the campus status chart for a full explanation of our protocols in Yellow status, but in summary:

  • Indoor masking continues in all classrooms and public spaces; distancing remains important, even if you are outdoors/unmasked. Please remember that COA requires an N95, KN95 or equivalent, or a well-fitting medical-grade mask.
  • Students may visit other residences if fully masked when indoors with others from outside your household.
  • Due to a staffing issue, TAB will continue to offer takeout-only for the moment, although indoor dining will resume once staffing issues are resolved. Stay tuned for a future announcement about a timeline for resuming indoor dining.

We want to remind everyone that the transmission we have seen within the COA community has come almost exclusively from unmasked, social activities. If you want to be unmasked around others, doing so outdoors and distanced (at least three feet) is the way to go. If you’re involved in outdoor activities that are likely to spread aerosols further, like speaking loudly, singing, or physical exertion, plan for extra distance to prevent possible transmission.

In addition to COVID-19, there are other viruses (with similar symptoms) circulating in the community right now, including some cases of influenza A in the local schools. So: keep washing those hands, stay home and wear a mask if you’re feeling unwell, and reach out to the COVID coordinators (covid19coordinator@coa.edu) if you test positive, have an off-campus close contact, or if you have any questions.

>>If you have any symptoms, please report them using this form.

>>For current campus status and our COVID-19 dashboard data, visit coa.edu/covid19

Thank you, again, for all you are doing to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Best,

Heather Albert-Knopp for the COVID-19 Team


SUBJECT: COVID-19 campus status update
May 9, 2022

As many of you who have been designated as close contacts in recent days may be sensing, we are seeing a small but steady stream of COVID-19 cases at COA in recent days. And, not just here—our area, Hancock County, is now designated by the US Centers for Disease Control as a high, or red, community level, which reflects on hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. We are certainly not alone in seeing COVID on the rise right now.

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen an average of one new COVID case per day in the COA community. A number of students have had to spend well over a week in isolation, and many of you have been notified more than once that you have been a close contact, which can be nerve wracking. This is definitely not an easy time to be in school, or just to be navigating the world in general, and you should know that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed by it all—many of us do.

Due to the rising number of COVID cases in the COA community, we are, as of today, shifting our campus status to Orange. This both reflects the situation and provides a couple more restrictive protocols meant to help limit spread of the virus. Namely, the TAB and Sea Urchin dining rooms will be closed to indoor dining, and most indoor events will be curtailed. While admittedly disruptive, we feel that taking these precautions is the appropriate thing to do at this time.

One thing that it’s very important for everyone to know: there has been no transmission in COA classrooms. National studies, scientific evidence, and our own observations over the waves of COVID we’ve experienced since this winter have shown us that, in a well-ventilated classroom where everyone is wearing a well-fitting, protective mask (like an N95, KN95 or equivalent) there is essentially no COVID transmission occurring . For this reason, we are not considering moving classes online—doing so would be unnecessarily disruptive, and would not make us any safer. We do continue to send close contact notifications for classes because the CDC makes no distinction between masked and unmasked contact in their protocols, but these are considered extremely low-risk points of contact.

The places where we are, however, seeing considerable spread of COVID-19 are residential and social settings. There are a couple of things that we can all do to help reduce risk in these areas. First off, if you are not feeling well, or have been designated a close contact, please wear a mask, even when at home. Secondly, if you are gathering socially, please consider doing so outside, distanced, and be cognizant of who you are interacting closely with. Note that being outdoors is not necessarily safer if you are within inches of someone with COVID—some distancing is still important. Third, please remember to read your emails and if you have been designated a close contact, wear a mask and cohort for the allotted amount of time, and do not attend social gatherings.

For full details on Orange status, please see the campus status chart. We have updated the chart to reflect current best practices. And please remember you can check the coa.edu/covid19 for all updated information.

Thank you for your ongoing grace with regards to all things COVID, this is not an easy situation for any of us. Please be kind to one another.

Thanks,

Rob Levin, on behalf of the COVID-19 response team


SUBJECT: COVID-19 updates, Yellow status to continue
April 27, 2022

Good afternoon,

I’m writing today to share some quick updates on the state of all-things-COVID-19 here on campus.

You may have seen yesterday’s comments from Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Adviser to President Biden, that the US is now out of the pandemic phase of COVID-19 and seems to be moving towards controlled endemicity. This means while COVID-19 is still present in our communities, it is not currently causing the high levels of hospitalization and death that have been seen at other times, as recently as this winter. While this is generally good news, monitoring and limiting the spread COVID-19 on campus remains a high priority. By working together and continuing with appropriate precautions, we aim to limit COVID-related disruptions through the end of the academic year.

This week, we ran PCR tests for 175 community members and returned zero new positive results. Many of this week’s PCR tests were close contacts from cases identified last week, indicating there is currently no evidence of community transmission on campus. Our community’s adherence to masking, isolation, and close-contact practices have continued to play an important role in limiting spread.

There are currently six COA community members with active cases of COVID-19, an increase of two new cases since our last communication. These cases are unrelated and were contracted through off-campus contacts and activities. Recent cases have experienced cold-like symptoms including cough, sore throat, congestion, and fatigue.

Given the current number of cases on campus, and the challenges created by frequent changes to our campus status level, we plan to continue with mandatory indoor masking, and stay in our Yellow campus level, through at least the end of week 8.

With recent cases coming from off-campus contacts and activities, we encourage everyone to be mindful of the ways in which you are interacting with the broader community, and to limit activities with high exposure risk whenever you can reasonably do so.

Please remember that you can always check the dashboard at coa.edu/covid19 for the latest information. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please use this form to report or reach out directly to COA nurse Barbara Logue, nurse@coa.edu.

As always, thank you for your compassion and care for each other, and for all you are doing to help limit the spread of COVID-19 on our campus.

Rob Levin for the COVID-19 Response Team


SUBJECT: COVID-19 Campus Status Change - Indoor Masking Resumes
April 25, 2022

Greetings all:

This email is to notify you that as of today there are 4 active cases of COVID-19 in the COA community, and the campus is now in Yellow status.

Full information is available on on our campus status level chart, but the most important message is that mandatory indoor masking in public spaces is once again in effect, and will remain in place at least through Tuesday, May 3.

TAB remains open for dining; masks are required in the line, but not when eating (unless you are a close contact, in which case please follow the instructions you received for remaining masked).

If you were selected for testing today, or receive a close contact notification, please be sure to go to Deering for your PCR test. The remaining testing window is from 3:30-4:30pm today.

If you are experiencing symptoms, please use this form to report or reach out directly to COA nurse Barbara Logue, nurse@coa.edu.

We do realize that regular changes in campus status can be confusing or frustrating. Our aim is to allow for flexibility with masking whenever possible, while remaining nimble and taking action when needed to limit the spread of COVID-19 on campus. Your consideration for each other and your respect for these protocols is greatly appreciated.

Yours,

Heather Albert-Knopp for the COVID-19 Response Team


SUBJECT: COVID Update: COA Campus in Green Status
April 22, 2022

Greetings all:
This email is to notify you that as of yesterday evening, 4.21, the CDC has updated Hancock County’s COVID status to low.

With this change, and until further notice, the COA campus has now been changed to Green status, as described on our campus status level chart.

The highlights for all of us:

  • Indoor masking is now optional in public spaces, unless otherwise directed in classes or campus services, or as a result of a specific COVID protocol you are following (such as close contact).
  • Faculty may require masking in their classes, and masking may be required in some offices/areas of campus.

As part of this week’s surveillance testing we conducted 119 PCR tests and there were no positive results. We do have one known active COVID case within the COA community at this time. All close contacts have been notified and given instructions, and are required to remain masked in public.

If you are experiencing symptoms, please use this form to report or reach out directly to COA nurse Barbara Logue, nurse@coa.edu. We will arrange for rapid testing and provide guidance.

Thank you for your patience and kindness as our community continues to rapidly adapt to the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic. We will continue to follow our campus status protocols, and the CDC.

Yours,
Heather Albert-Knopp for the COVID-19 Response Team


SUBJECT: COVID-19 Campus Status Change - Indoor Masking Resume
April 14, 2022

Greetings all:
This email is to notify you that as of this Thursday evening, 4.14, the CDC has updated Hancock County’s COVID status to medium.

With this change, and until further notice, the COA campus has now been changed to Yellow status, as described on our campus status level chart.

What does this mean for all of us? The highlights are:

  • Mandatory indoor masking in public spaces is once again in effect, beginning Friday, April 15. This includes classrooms, campus buildings, and vans.
  • TAB will remain open for dining — masks are required in the line, but not when eating.
  • Masks are not required in COA housing.

Please note that there is one known active COVID case within the COA community at this time. This individual was self-quarantined prior to testing positive, and has had no close contacts within the campus community.

As part of this week’s surveillance testing we conducted 93 PCR tests and all were negative. We have also conducted rapid tests on several individuals with cold symptoms, and these have all been negative as well.

We will continue with regular surveillance COVID-19 testing on Monday. If you are experiencing symptoms, please use this form to report or reach out directly to COA nurse Barbara Logue, nurse@coa.edu.

Thank you for your patience and kindness as our community continues to rapidly adapt to the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic. We will continue to follow our campus status protocols, and the CDC.

Yours,
Heather Albert-Knopp for the COVID-19 Response Team


SUBJECT: COVID-19 status update
April 8, 2022

Hello all,

We have reached the end of the scheduled protocol for COVID-19 positive cases and close contacts outlined by the United States Centers for Disease Control and we have no evidence that the virus has spread on campus. As such, and based on the CDC’s Hancock County community levels, our campus status level is now green.

You can refer to the Campus Status Levels chart for applicable protocols, but, basically, masking in shared indoor spaces is now optional, unless otherwise directed in specific classes or campus services, or as a result of a specific COVID protocol you are following (such as close contact). We welcome this change and also respect each person’s decision to wear masks if they so choose. TAB and Sea Urchin will reopen for indoor dining on Monday.

Please remember that the campus status level will be updated every Friday by noon on the color-coded banner at the top of the COVID-19 response webpage. If the county level moves back to yellow, we will also be shifting the campus level, so please check in there.

Today is my last day as the COVID-19 coordinator. Moving forward, members of the COVID-19 response team, who continue to meet weekly, will be sharing duties to respond to inquiries, manage weekly surveillance testing, and coordinate other COVID-19 tasks as needed. Please continue to use covid19coordinator@coa.edu if you have COVID-related questions or concerns, report symptoms using this form, and request PPE using this form.

Thank you, as always, for your patience, cooperation, and kindness—it makes all the difference.

Sincerely,

COA COVID-19 Coordinator Amanda Mogridge, on behalf of the COVID-19 health and response teams


SUBJECT: COVID test results, current mask protocols
April 3, 2022

Hello all,

I am writing to let you know that out of 383 COVID-19 PCR tests on Friday, we identified three positive cases. We’ve talked on the phone with all three individuals and discussed their isolation protocols. All identified close contacts (tracking back to last Wednesday) have been notified of the protocols they must follow, including rapid testing, and will be included in Monday’s PCR testing. All positive and close contact protocols can be found here.

Out of an abundance of caution, we are going to keep our indoor mask requirement in place at least until we are through with the protocol period for close contacts and are reasonably certain there has been no further transmission. Even though Hancock County is currently at low community level for COVID-19, as per the US Centers for Disease Control, we will remain in Yellow campus status, with masking required in indoor public spaces. Take-a-Break will also remain takeout only through this period. We hope that you will understand the need for these inconveniences.

It is not unexpected to have some positive cases after spring break since we know how highly contagious COVID-19 is. Our medical partners at Mount Desert Island Hospital have confirmed that we are taking the right precautions to mitigate as much risk as is reasonable on our campus with vaccinations and boosters, using good ventilation/airflow as much as possible, our weekly testing regimen, and the availability of high-quality N95 masks.

Remember, you can request PPE on this form. Also, please report any COVID-19 symptoms on this form.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation, and also for your compassion towards others during this time.

Sincerely,

COA COVID-19 Coordinator Amanda Mogridge, on behalf of the COVID-19 health and response teams


SUBJECT: COVID-19 updates
March 29, 2022

Sign up for Friday testing; testing results; current protocols

Testing reminder

Reserve your testing time for Friday, April 1 if you haven’t already, and please don’t forget to show up! All* are required to attend this testing in addition to last Monday’s testing. Times and location are the same as Monday this week (10am to 4:30pm, Deering 1st floor).

Monday’s results

Our first day of baseline testing on Monday returned no positive results! While this is certainly great news, our indoor masking requirement remains in place at least through the end of the baseline period in order to remain cautious in the 5 to 7 day period after returning from spring break. Results of Friday’s test will likely come Saturday afternoon/evening and you will receive a message on Sunday with the results and the status of campus as it relates to COVID protocols.

After week one, how will I know when masks are required or when they may be optional?

Each week by noon on Friday, our new Campus Status Level banner at the top of the COVID-19 response page (see below) will be updated based on our Campus Status Levels document which outlines the protocols we all should follow in each color-coded status. Please note: We will only move to Green status (where masks may be optional) when the CDC community level for Hancock County is low.

COVID-19 coordinator update

After nearly 8 months as the COVID-19 coordinator, I will be taking a step back from that role on April 8 to focus on my work in the office of institutional advancement. I have been impressed by the commitment of the COA community throughout the pandemic and it has been an honor working with you all during this challenging time. I am so grateful for the COVID-19 response team who have been steadfast in policy making, problem solving, and support. We’ve developed many systems for safety, response, and flexibility, and I am confident that COA will continue to navigate this pandemic successfully.

Helpful links:

Thank you for your cooperation!

COA COVID-19 Coordinator Amanda Mogridge, on behalf of the COVID-19 health and response teams

*Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days are likely to still test positive on a PCR test even if they longer have an active case, because of the test’s high level of sensitivity in detecting the virus. For this reason, those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days are exempt from our PCR testing until out of that window. If you are symptomatic or designated as a close contact, a rapid antigen test will determine whether you have a new active COVID-19 infection.


SUBJECT: COVID-19 testing signup and protocol updates
March 25, 2022

Hello all,

With the opening of spring term right around the corner, I am reaching out today to provide the link to sign up for baseline COVID-19 testing next week (required) and to talk about our protocols for the term. I hope you’ve had some rest and rejuvenation over break—we’re looking forward to seeing you back!

Week one testing - both days are required
All College of the Atlantic community members* who will be on campus this spring are required to take part in two rounds of PCR baseline testing during week one of the term on Monday, March 28 and Friday, April 1, happening in Deering. Please reserve your testing times as soon as possible, and please don’t forget to show up!

Classes will be held in person and masks will be required in all shared, indoor spaces during the testing period. For added caution, there will be no indoor dining in Take-a-Break during this time.

Spring term updated protocols
In continuing to follow guidance and best practices from the the United States Centers for Disease Control, our regional scientific and medical partners, and other institutions of higher education in our state, the COVID-19 response team has updated the Campus Status Levels chart, which will allow us to stay nimble and responsive as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. You will notice in this document that campus will become mask-friendly, or mask-optional, when the campus status level is Green (corresponding with a low COVID-19 Community Level for Hancock County, per CDC), with some areas of flexibility where masks may be required, including classrooms and college transportation. Please familiarize yourself with this document and reach out if you have questions.

The COVID-19 response webpage will be updated every Friday by noon with the current status level for the week.

In addition to the guidance of the campus status levels, the following protocols remain in place:

  • Weekly PCR surveillance testing of 25% of the campus community
  • Up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination requirement
  • Ventilation/airflow as important ways to mitigate risk
  • PPE, such as N95 masks and sanitizer, provided upon request, and surgical masks available in campus mailboxes
  • Isolation and symptom reporting if symptomatic
  • Rapid antigen tests available on a case-by-case basis
  • Required isolation, quarantine, and masking protocols for positive cases and close contacts

While we have all experienced varying levels of disruption because of the pandemic, the guidance that we have been following and the resulting protocols have worked to keep the disruptions to our learning environment as minimal as possible. And we’re really grateful for that! Can’t wait to see you back on campus, enjoying the spring weather and mud season.

Sincerely,

COA COVID-19 Coordinator Amanda Mogridge, on behalf of the COVID-19 health and response teams

*Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days are likely to still test positive on a PCR test even if they longer have an active case, because of the test’s high level of sensitivity in detecting the virus. For this reason, those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days are exempt from our PCR testing until out of that window. If you are symptomatic or designated as a close contact, a rapid antigen test will determine whether you have a new active COVID-19 infection.