President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 and Provost Joseph Helble announced Thursday, March 12, the decision to move Dartmouth to a remote format for the first five weeks of spring term, until May 1.
To date, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the Dartmouth campus. However, in order to safeguard the health and well-being of everyone, Dartmouth is taking this and other steps.
Undergraduate students have been asked not to return after the break, with a small number of exceptions for students who will remain on campus due to medical, visa status, and other reasons. All undergraduate classes will be conducted virtually, and activities will be limited.
“Students who are currently out of town must not return to campus. We will work with those who are receiving financial aid to ensure that they are supported,” wrote President Hanlon and Helble in a communication to the Dartmouth community on Thursday afternoon.
“This difficult decision is made to reduce the risk of contagion, protect the most vulnerable members of our community, and eliminate more dramatic and problematic disruption later in the term.”
In the communication, they also announced:
- During the five-week period the Dartmouth campus will remain open, faculty and staff, including union employees, will be paid as usual, and graduate students will continue to receive their stipends. On Friday, March 13, Helble urged all members of the Dartmouth community to begin practicing social distancing as defined by federal and state health authorities, and asked all employees whose jobs enable them to work from home to do so beginning Monday, March 16.
- Graduate students are not required to leave campus and their housing situations will remain unchanged.
- Information about clinical rotation for MD students and guidance on other non-classroom academic activities for graduate and professional students will be provided by each school.
- All standard classroom-based graduate and professional school courses will be remotely available, clinical rotations for MD students will continue, and laboratory-based graduate and postdoctoral fellow research work with faculty and staff will continue.
- Graduate students and postdocs normally doing field research domestically or internationally will need to consult closely with their advisers, given the current travel restrictions listed on the COVID-19 website.
- Dartmouth is working with the faculty to identify additional courses that might be taught during the summer to provide opportunities for first-year undergraduate students and juniors to be on campus for that term and help them meet their academic requirements.
Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Dartmouth leadership will continue to evaluate whether it is possible to resume on-campus classes starting May 4 for the remainder of the term. This decision will be made by April 20.
“Because this situation is very fluid, we are advising all undergraduate students to plan for the possibility that they will be away from campus for the entire spring term,” Hanlon and Helble wrote. “We are committed to preserving academic continuity for all of our students and are working quickly with faculty to move all courses to a remote format.”
“We ask for your patience as we work through all aspects of this temporary interruption to ensure that every Dartmouth student will continue to receive a high-quality educational experience. Together we will do our best to make the coming term both healthy and productive.”
For updates, visit the COVID-19 website.