In this March 2005 file photo, students make their way across campus at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. Credit: Pat Wellernbach | AP

Due to surging coronavirus cases across the state and country, Bates College has decided to extend winter break for an extra month, according to college president Clayton Spencer.

Under the new plan, students will be invited to return to campus on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, in time to complete two COVID-19 tests and get the results back before classes start on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

With the calendar change, the next semester will extend through Tuesday, May 25, and the college’s traditional Short Term will be eliminated for the second consecutive year.

It is a graduation requirement for students to complete two short terms before the end of their studies. Due to the cancellation, the college has waived that requirement.

“Our students would be traveling at or near the height of the current surge in cases, potentially creating health risks for these students and significant challenges for the college and student well-being once they arrive on campus,” Spencer said.

The college has been advised that the outlook with respect to COVID-19 transmission is expected to be better by early to mid-February, she said.

The school plans to email specific groups of students this week with additional information.

On Monday, the Maine CDC reported a record-high 425 cases across the state. There are now 3,402 active confirmed and “probable” cases statewide.

Watch more: