Health and Safety

Colby’s number one priority is the health and safety of the community. Robust testing and extensive safety measures will be implemented with consultation from leading health experts from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Massachusetts General Hospital, MaineGeneral Health, and the Broad Institute. While there is no way to ensure zero risk, our approach to ensuring the health and safety of our community involves a multiple and integrated approach. Active health management strategies, support systems, prevention, and mitigation tools will provide integrated layers of protection for community members.


Working in close partnership with the Broad Institute as our testing partner, Colby will have one of the most proactive and robust testing programs at any college or university in the country. Everyone will be tested prior to their arrival on campus, and everyone will be tested twice per week during the academic year. Participation in the program is required for all students, faculty, and staff.

The program includes a lower-nasal self-swab, provided by the College, that will be collected at various points across campus, with results expected back from the Broad Institute within 24 hours. Any student with a positive test will be immediately isolated in a dedicated facility and will receive ongoing medical, emotional, dining, academic, and residential life team support. Staff and faculty with a positive test will be required to self-isolate at home and will not be permitted to come to campus until healthy. Additionally, the Maine CDC may provide additional direction and instructions to test-positive members of the Colby community. See the Broad Institute’s description of its COVID-19 diagnostic testing for further information.

Throughout the year, the College may employ other testing techniques as the accuracy and reliability of various techniques evolve.

Cleaning Protocols and Signage

Cleaning protocols reflect best practices developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that reduce potential exposure to COVID-19. These best practices include routine disinfection of high-touch surfaces, such as door handles and handrails, communal-use areas, restrooms, and many other locations. Members of the Facilities Services team continue to use hospital-grade cleaners. Hand sanitizing stations will be available, and physical interventions such as partitions and plexiglass barriers will be installed where appropriate. Wayfinding and health signage will aid the community with protocols from both the College and the Maine CDC. Efforts also include additional cleaning in the Health Center itself as a precaution.

Face Coverings

All available evidence suggests that wearing a face covering, or a surgical or industrial mask that covers your nose and mouth, significantly reduces the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. All members of the Colby community must carry a cloth face covering or any other appropriate face covering while on campus. This recommendation is consistent with Maine’s orders on cloth face coverings and also applies to approved visitors. 

Face coverings are required in buildings, including in common areas, hallways, stairwells, and elevators, with the exception of in one’s private office. They are also required outdoors when physical distancing is not possible or is likely to be difficult.

All members of the community will receive two washable face coverings before the beginning of classes. Students, faculty, and staff can also bring their own face coverings to campus.

Students for whom wearing a mask or facial covering is detrimental to their health due to a personal medical issue should contact Health Services to discuss accommodations. Faculty and staff should contact Human Resources.

Health Self-Screening

All members of the community will be asked to complete a confidential health-related screening questionnaire on a daily basis.

Any faculty or staff member who exhibits symptoms is prohibited from coming to campus (this is not optional) and must notify their supervisor immediately. The College will also provide such members with further information and instructions. Students should notify the Health Center immediately if they exhibit any symptoms. 

Later this summer, we will be providing information about a self-assessment mobile application that will need to be completed daily before entering campus, attending classes, or engaging in activities.

Contact Tracing

The effectiveness of our approach depends on our ability to identify and quarantine (or isolate) individuals who may have come in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 positive patient. A process of contact list generation through class registrations, housing assignments, teaching and staffing schedules and assignments, and possible athletics or other group participation will be developed and provided to the Maine CDC to facilitate their contact tracing efforts upon request. The College will also conduct its own contact tracing work using trained contact tracing staff to assist with notification of those who may have come in close contact with a test-positive individual. Individual privacy will be maintained in accordance with state regulations. 

Isolation and Quarantine Housing

The College has designated off-campus isolation rooms and quarantine housing for students who test positive for COVID-19. Students who have been notified by the contact tracing team that they have been exposed to a person who tests positive for COVID-19 will need to quarantine for 14 days (based on current CDC guidelines). Students in isolation and quarantine will be provided meals and will be monitored by medical staff using telehealth until they are medically cleared to return to campus. 


A flu vaccination will be administered to all students, faculty, and staff who are able to receive the vaccine. This will also occur when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.


Visitors are not permitted on campus, including student guests from other institutions, family members, community members, and outside speakers. Any exceptions require advance approval by the appropriate vice president, and visitors may need to supply information or a recent COVID-19 test before coming to campus, consistent with State of Maine requirements. Individuals seeking approval to visit campus must complete this form at least 48 hours before their requested visit date.

This includes vendors, suppliers, and any others scheduled to provide professional services to Colby.


College-sponsored travel outside Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont remains prohibited. Consistent with Maine’s recent guidance, employee travel between Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont is exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirement.

If personal travel outside of Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, or Vermont is required, faculty and staff must notify Director of Safety Wade Behnke (, 207-859-5504) and either provide a negative COVID-19 test or self-quarantine off campus for 14 days upon return.

Students may travel in Maine without restrictions. However, travel beyond Maine will only be allowed for extenuating circumstances and will require advance approval. More information will be forthcoming regarding the approval process.

This is subject to change if infection rates increase in these states or additional states are exempted by executive order.

Accommodations and Special Requirements

Based on individual circumstances, Colby will work to provide reasonable accommodations and appropriate adjustments for students, faculty, and staff who face serious challenges and risks due to COVID-19.


The health information the College receives from students, faculty, and staff is confidential and will only be used, shared with those who need to know, and retained in accordance with federal and state laws. If a member of the College community contracts the COVID-19 virus, the College will take significant measures to protect that information.

COVID-19 General Information

To learn more about COVID-19, please click the links below.

Policies, guidelines, and procedures are subject to change based on the latest health information, government guidelines, and best practices.