Click here for the latest coronavirus news, which the BDN has made free for the public. You can support our critical reporting on the coronavirus by purchasing a digital subscription or donating directly to the newsroom.
College of the Atlantic is planning to end its coronavirus lockdown and reopen its 36-acre campus in Bar Harbor for in-person instruction and residential life this fall.
College of the Atlantic joins Husson University, University of Maine and University of New England in announcing planned fall restarts. Other Maine schools, meanwhile, have yet to announce plans. Bates College shut down in late March and reported that losses caused by the pandemic could run as high as $2 million. Bowdoin College expects losses of up to $8 million for the spring semester.
The COA campus has been closed since mid-March, with almost all staff, faculty and students working from home. College officials will prepare the campus this summer for the reopening, President Darron Collins said.
“We recognize there are many forces beyond our control, so we are also developing contingency plans and are prepared to adapt as needed,” Collins said.
Changes to COA’s campus life could include social distancing and masking guidelines, arranging for vulnerable staff and faculty to work from home, forbidding large gatherings and starting on-campus COVID-19 testing, Collins said.
The COA spring term is being held online. A dozen students remain on campus and around 90 students live in Bar Harbor. The school canceled all in-person summer events.
Husson will make a final decision this summer on whether to reopen.
“We will be watching the developments of the coronavirus pandemic closely. We are committed to planning and delivering a safe return to our campus,” President Robert A. Clark said.
Watch: Janet Mills outlines her plan to reopen