BRUNSWICK — Bowdoin College updated its COVID-19 campus status to a designation that softens some restrictions from its initial reopening phase, according to the school’s website.

Throughout the rest of the semester, the campus will operate under three COVID-19 severity levels: yellow, orange and red.

“While we cannot let our guard down and must continue to wear face coverings, maintain physical distancing, practice good hygiene, and participate frequent testing, we are ready to move out of ‘hibearnation’ and into status level orange,” wrote COVID-19 Resource Coordinator Mike Ranen in an email to the Bowdoin community.

Bowdoin College’s mascot is a polar bear, thus “hibearnation.”

Ranen wrote that under its new status, outdoor gatherings and programs are allowed for groups of up to 20, and students are permitted to gather “within a single pod in private common areas.” Students must continue to adhere to social distancing, room occupancy limits and masking guidelines.

According to Bowdoin’s website, students are still not permitted to visit other residence halls, and permission is required from the dean of students to leave campus for personal reasons.

The college currently has three active cases of COVID-19: Two students and one employee, according to the school’s COVID-19 dashboard. The two students are in isolation.

“We have had a terrific first week of the spring semester,” Ranen wrote. “Our testing levels remain low, campus compliance is strong, and it’s been wonderful to have students back.”

Through February, students will continue to be tested three times a week.

“We hope to move to status yellow on Wednesday when in-person classes may begin and students have greater access to buildings on campus,” Ranen wrote. “This would be announced by Tuesday evening.”

Under yellow status, in-person classes would be allowed in certain “designated classrooms,” and students would be permitted to leave campus for “essential purposes only,” according to their website.

More than 1,000 students, making up roughly 65% of the student body, returned to Brunswick on the weekend of Feb 5.

So far this spring, the college has administered 3,336 student and 6,473 employee COVID-19 tests.

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