Provost: Summer Classes Will Continue Remotely

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In addition, athletic camps and other on-campus residential programs have been canceled.

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Dartmouth Hall with budding tree
Photo by Eli Burakian ’00
4/20/2020
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Dartmouth students will not be returning to campus for summer term and will continue with remote learning, Provost Joseph Helble announced in an email today.

In addition, athletic camps and other on-campus residential programs have been canceled, the Hopkins Center for the Arts will remain closed through August, and the Hanover Country Club (which is owned and operated by Dartmouth) will not open for the season.

“This has not been the spring term that I nor any of us imagined we would experience just a few months ago, and now the same must be said of summer. This kind of change, of such extraordinary magnitude and in such a short period of time, is challenging for every member of our community,” wrote Helble.

Sophomores traditionally take classes on campus in what’s called “sophomore summer.” The current sophomores will be given the opportunity to spend the summer of 2021 on campus taking classes, said Helble.

“We have heard from alumni and older students alike how fondly they recall (the sophomore summer) experience. That is one important reason why we waited as long as we could,” the email said.

This summer’s online classes are scheduled to begin June 25. The term’s final exams end Sept. 1. The current spring term ends June 4, with the conferring of degrees to graduating students to be held online June 14. Planning for the degree-granting program is currently in the works. As with sophomore summer, the 2020 graduates will be invited to campus in June of 2021 for a commencement celebration.

Hopkins Center programming will continue to take place online through the summer in the Hop@home series.

Helble wrote that he and members of Dartmouth’s COVID-19 task force waited until now to make a decision about summer term, hoping that there would be a way to hold classes on campus.

“We waited as long as was practical to find out whether the spread of the virus had peaked, whether the predictive modeling matched the data, and whether state and federal governments could offer updated guidance that might allow residential education to resume,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, after several weeks of careful consideration, we have concluded that the facts are not in our favor.”

“A residential summer term relying on social distancing and severe restrictions on activities and gatherings would pose a significant public health risk to our students and to our faculty and staff, their families, and the Upper Valley community.”

“Put simply, given the continuing progression of the disease, a wide geographic disparity in its containment, the continuing lack of adequate testing capability, and no widespread effective treatment, with the health and safety of our community being of paramount importance we cannot offer a residential summer term.”

Faculty and staff will continue to work remotely through the summer when possible, Helble wrote, adding that in late spring and early summer Dartmouth officials will explore scenarios for fall term and consider when to restart on-campus operations, based on state and federal guidance.

Almost all students left for home in March, with approximately 180 undergraduates who could not return to their homes remaining on campus. A small number of staff have continued to work on campus, providing take-out food for the on-campus residents and maintaining buildings and other campus properties.

“To those employees who remain working on campus, we extend our gratitude and appreciation,” Helble wrote. “I remain inspired by the way our faculty and staff have remained focused on our students’ education, and how our students have responded with understanding and compassion for the faculty and staff working on their behalf. These collective efforts and sacrifices, while difficult for all, are keeping our families, friends, and neighbors safe. As we continue on, I remain grateful for the resilience, creativity, compassion, and support of our extraordinary Dartmouth community.”

For the latest information on Dartmouth’s response to the pandemic visit the COVID-19 website.

Susan J. Boutwell can be reached at susan.j.boutwell@dartmouth.edu

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Susan J. Boutwell