Mike Bergeron of Troy, New York, father of a Bates College senior, loads the last of his daughter’s belongings into their car Thursday morning before heading home. She was living off campus with friends at Elm and Oak streets. Bergeron said he didn’t want to wait any longer to get his daughter in case there was a tighter lockdown on travel because of the coronavirus pandemic. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Not every college student has gone home.

Though concern about the potentially deadly coronavirus caused area colleges to shut their doors this month – telling students to head home to finish semesters remotely – there are some who simply had nowhere to go.

They remain on closed campuses, required to keep their distance from classmates and staff as they wait for something to change.

At Bates College in Lewiston, where most employees are no longer on campus, about 100 students have been allowed to stay because they had nowhere to go.

Mary Pols, a spokeswoman for the college, said they remain because of travel restrictions that make it impossible to return to homes in other countries or because they have “significant extenuating personal, family or other circumstances.”

Students who remain at Bates are expected to move Saturday to three houses – Moody, Rzasa and Hopkins – that make up its Residential Village, a small residential complex erected in 1992 between Russell Street and Garcelon Field.


Elizabeth Bergeron of Troy, New York, a senior at Bates College, brings down the last of her belongings from the apartment she was renting with friends at the corner of Elm and Oak streets in Lewiston on Thursday morning. Most students had to vacate campus housing earlier this week but there are still a few off campus seniors who are sticking around until their lease is up or can arrange to get back home. Her father said that he didn’t want to wait any longer to come get her in case there was a tighter lockdown on travel because of the coronavirus pandemic. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

They’ll be fed a continental breakfast in the Benjamin Mays Center while obtaining lunch and dinner at the Bobcat Den on the other side of campus in small groups, with grab-and-go preferred to avoid much interaction with others.

The students housed on campus are barred from having guests who aren’t allowed in the dorms, including other Bates students who were sent home.

The college told the small number of students it has who live off campus to leave town with their classmates, but neighbors have complained that some remain anyway, partying more than they should.

Pols said students in private residences off-campus “may complete the winter semester via remote learning in their private apartments.” They don’t have any direct access to the college’s buildings or facilities.

At the University of Maine Farmington, a small number of students are still on campus, college officials said.

Spokeswoman April Mulherin said those who are left had extenuating circumstances that kept them from departing, including housing insecurity and homelessness that left them with no alternative.


Students at Farmington who couldn’t leave are being placed in single rooms in the Scott North and Scott South halls by Friday evening.

For safety, they are not allowed to have guests. Some activities are being planned for them, the college said on its website.

They’re being fed at Beaver Lodge with boxed lunches, to-go items and some dining-in options.

The dean of planning and public affairs at Central Maine Community College, Roger Philippon, said there are six students left in its dorms.

Some of them, he said, are international students who can’t return home and others live far away and haven’t been able to make a arrangements to depart.

They each have individual rooms, Philippon said, and no shared space to try to maintain social distancing to keep the virus from spreading.


With so few of them on campus, it’s not too hard to feed and care for them, he said.

Other students, who were on break when the college switched to remote learning, are coming at prearranged times to get their stuff from their rooms in a safe manner, Philippon said.

At Colby College in Waterville, which asked students to leave campus by this past Sunday and plans to launch remote courses on March 30, there were as of Thursday “fewer than 100 students” still on campus, the college said in a statement. That number will continue to decline, depending on travel availability, the college said.

“For some students, moving out has created special hardships that require a different consideration, which is why the College has granted permission to remain on campus,” the Colby statement said. “Colby is providing grab-and-go meals for them, and Health and Counseling Services continue to be available during normal operating hours.”

Colby’s faculty are also working from home in preparation to teach students remotely. The vast majority of staff members are also working remotely, the college said, and those who do come to campus are working under strict rules that require social distancing.

“For the health and safety of our community including in Waterville and throughout Central Maine, visitors are prohibited on campus until further notice,” the college said.


At Thomas College in Waterville, all campus student housing officially closed on Wednesday at noon to all students who did not receive an exception. That decision was announced Sunday and college officials plan to begin remote instruction for all students on Monday, March 30.

“Once closed, students will not be allowed to return to housing,” the college said in a statement online. “Housing will remain closed for the remainder of the semester.”

Citing privacy and security concerns, Thomas officials declined to say how many students did receive an exception to remain on-campus, but said everyone who did not get an exception was safely away from campus.

Thomas President Laurie G. Lachance said in a letter to students that she was proud and grateful that people moved safely off campus over the course of three days. “Through this act of social distancing, we will do our part to help ‘flatten the curve’ of Coronavirus spread, and improve the health and safety of the College community and our larger Central Maine community—the guiding stars of our decision-making efforts,” Lachance said.

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