Community Conversations, May 13, 2020 Transcript

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May 13, 2020 TRANSCRIPT

Joseph Helble:

Welcome everyone to our third community conversation, addressing planning, response, and operations at Dartmouth College in the time of COVID-19. I'm Joe Helble, provost at Dartmouth College, and I'm joining you this afternoon from the Star Instructional studio in Berry Library on a beautiful, but very quiet spring day on the Dartmouth College campus.

I'm joined this afternoon by Justin Anderson, our VP for communications from another studio here on campus, by our dean of the College and professor of sociology, Katherine Lively joining us from her home, and by our VP for campus services, Josh Keniston, who is also the co-chair of our COVID-19 taskforce, also joining us from his home in the Upper Valley.

This afternoon, I'll provide a brief update on some of our planning and decision making related to COVID-19, talk about developments since our conversation last week, take some live Q&A from you our viewers, and then turn to Katherine and Josh will speak about some of their work and specifically Dean Lively's announcement this morning detailing some of the work that the task force has been conducting around the returning of student possessions that have been here on campus since we made the decision to go to a term of remote learning in early March.

Our goal through these community conversations is to expand on our written communications, provide a weekly update on what we're working on, and as always, answer your questions as best and as openly as we can.

Now, over the past two weeks, the task force has been focused on developing the logistics around several plans through its different working groups. One working group has been focusing on the details of a virtual ceremony to confer degrees to graduating students this June and also planning for the June, 2021 commencement ceremony for the graduates of the class of 2020. They've also been working through a different working group on plans associated with the gradual reopening of research facilities on campus, and also, as I mentioned at the outset, the plan to return your belongings.

Now, the ladder has been on the questions of many, Dean Lively, VP Keniston, co-chair Dr. Lisa Adams and I have been hearing about it as have others on campus, almost from the moment that students left campus in mid-March. We understand its importance to our community, and even though it was a relatively simple question, how will belongings be returned? As I'm sure many can imagine the details and logistics were extraordinarily complex. In this morning's message Dean Lively provided some of those details. I'll just provide you now with a very quick high level summary.

Our goal in developing this plan, a plan that the task force developed in consultation with our student affairs community and staff, was to give our students a choice to store, ship, or allow pickup of their belongings over the course of the summer, following public health guidance and the guidance and assessment of the task force. We're going to start that process by collecting information on student preferences and as Dean Lively's message this morning to the student community indicated, you will be hearing from the student affairs office and the student affairs team over the next two days by email. And so students who left belongings on campus, we ask you to please be attentive to and responsive to that email. The sooner we have your preferences, the sooner the campus team can begin to act on those and put in place plans to return belongings.

Our intention is to start with seniors first and then move to the remainder of our residential undergraduates. And again, details were in the note and Dean Lively and VP Keniston will be with us shortly to address any questions that may be on your mind.

Our intention is to complete the process by late summer in time to prepare and transition our undergraduate residential facilities for use by residential undergraduates at the start of fall term.

Now, with the belongings plan now developed and shared with the community, let me turn briefly to the question of research. As I mentioned last week, research has in fact continued throughout this period of remote operations at Dartmouth, but there is a need on the part of some investigators in some research projects to return to the laboratory, to return to the bench, to be able to collect data, to make progress against a defined research agenda. The research continuity working group has been making great progress and while it may take a few days longer than the end of this week to finalize plans, we anticipate that by the latest, by the middle of next week, we will be able to announce to the community, our initial plan for beginning to bring some gradual research activity back to campus over the course of the summer. We anticipate being able to bring some activity back to campus as early as June 1 or perhaps earlier, and again, details will be announced by the middle of next week. And in next week's community conversation, Vice Provost for Research Dean Madden will join me to speak about the details of the plan and answer questions about the slow ramp up of research activity on campus over the course of the summer.

As I said last week, as we ease restrictions incrementally, I need to stress that it will not be business as usual in all research laboratories immediately at the beginning of June. It will be a slow and gradual ramp up, and I understand and have heard from many the desire to move as quickly as we can, but we are very intentionally taking a deliberate and deliberative approach to this so that we can move slowly, but with confidence and also the capacity to identify, isolate and address any unanticipated problems that may arise to learn safely as we go along.

To any of the scientists in our community, I would say it will not be a linear process and it is intentionally going to start slowly, but as we move along, as we learn, and as restrictions are lifted, we will begin to bring more of our research activity to campus at an accelerating rate as we can over the course of the summer.

As with everything, our goal is to ensure the health and safety of our community, faculty, staff, students, and the broader Upper Valley community in every action that we take, in every decision that we put in place.

Next, let me turn briefly to the question of grading and specifically grading of summer courses during summer term. Dean Elizabeth Smith and I announced in early March when the transition to remote learning for spring term was made, that while spring term would be graded on a credit/no-credit basis, our anticipation was that summer term would be a return to graded courses across the curriculum. That remains the case, and the question that has been discussed by faculty and by faculty committees over the past few weeks is whether there would be any adjustments to the grading policy, whether an expanded NRO option would be considered, or whether it would be a typical term of grading such as you would have in a residentially operated term.

Over the course of the past week and a half the committee on instruction, the committee on organization and policy and other faculty groups have met to discuss the proposals and the options, and next the opportunities and different ways of considering grading will move to the department and program chairs within arts and sciences, that will happen over the course of the next week. So I therefore anticipate that we will be able to put out an announcement describing the details of summer term grading around Memorial day, either late next week or very early the following week shortly after. Now, let me comment briefly on the status of our planning for fall term. President Hanlon and I have made a commitment to announce our decision, the decision of the campus regarding full term operation by June 29, and that commitment remains intact.

Over the course of the past week, the joint Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Dartmouth Working Group has begun to meet and address questions related to healthcare considerations. They are a health management working group that is helping us think through how best to protect campus and community health as we return larger number of students to residential learning and residential operations over the course of the fall term. There are two high level questions that they are helping us work through. One is first, what is the maximum number of students that we can bring back and host in a residential learning environment beginning in fall term. And then second, a higher level question, whether we should focus on fall term alone in our planning, or we should step back and think of the entire academic year as our planning horizon in an integrated fashion. And should we even think about summer as part of that?

So these are the options that are being thought through. These are the options that we are going to be considering. And in both of those, I cannot say often enough, it is the health and safety of the community that is going to guide and drive our decision making.

Now, I know on the minds of many, as soon as we speak about potentially operating in an environment that is not a full residential environment with every student on campus, is the question of who will be on campus. If it's not everyone who will those students be? And here I have to ask for your patience and say again, it's premature for us to discuss who until we decide how many, and whether we address this as a fall term question or a question covering the full academic year.

What are the factors that guide that decision? Again, first and foremost, they are health-related questions, things, as you might imagine, how often do we test members of the community? Who do we test? Do we test only individuals who are symptomatic or do we test everyone according to some frequency? How do we test? Viral test or antibody test? How do we sample? How feasible is it to do that on a frequent schedule? How do we treat a positive test? Managing quarantine capacity is a very different consideration with a heavily occupied campus as compared to our situation during spring term, with only approximately 180 students resident on campus. How do we monitor? Is self-reporting sufficient? How do we contact trace? So on and so forth?

So as the working group helps us work through these questions, we will get closer to a determination of the maximum number of students we feel that we can safely and comfortably support, and that in turn will drive other decisions and we will announce these as we work up to a final decision associated with fall term.

In all of these, let me say that I appreciate the interest in the community and are making this decision as quickly as possible, but we will adhere with other decisions, be methodical, be thorough, be thoughtful and be data-driven. There are no shortcuts to getting to a thoughtful decision, and there is a lot of uncertainty associated with the development of this disease, it's infectious pathway and what the summer and fall term are projected to look like. So please bear with us. We will be as open and honest as we can about our conversations and deliberations, and again, remain committed to providing a decision by June 29.

Finally, I know many of you have questions on budget. I've described in the past steps we've taken as a community to address the immediate budgetary challenge associated with the change in operations in spring term of 2020 related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Non-compensation spending has been significantly reduced in the fourth quarter of this fiscal year, a hiring freeze has been put in place for the first half of fiscal year, 2021, through the end of the calendar year, a wage freeze has been put in place for all faculty and staff, and we are using the revenue stabilization reserve that president Hanlon helped create when he arrived as president in 2013, specifically to address moments like this, where revenue falls significantly before low projections.

Much remains uncertain regarding fiscal year 21, the fiscal year starting July 1 and beyond. Last week, I announced the process that would involve various committees, helping us work through some of the budgetary questions and decisions that need to be made around operations for FY 21 and beyond. Those committees have been meeting over the course of the past week and this week, and we have indicated that we intend to move forward with letting divisional leaders know FY 21 budget targets within the next several weeks, certainly by the end of May. That remains our goal.

So let me end simply on a positive note and with a thank you, a thank you to the generous members, those alumni and other members of the Dartmouth community who contributed to the development of an emergency student relief fund to help many of our students in challenging financial situations with the transition from winter to spring term and the abrupt cancellation of on campus classes. Through your generosity, we've received more than $185,000 and used that funding to support student travel home, supplemental employment awards in COVID related educational expenses for our students. Though we have received many questions on this funding, the funding has been fully allocated and was allocated by the financial aid office, according to their normal process for determining student financial need.

With the transition from winter to spring, and now approaching spring to summer complete or underway, we're turning our attention in our planning to the fall, knowing that the economic circumstances of many students, many families, and many members of the Dartmouth community have changed dramatically. We are fully expecting that there will be a need for increased financial aid over the course of the upcoming academic year, and we remain committed to our fundamental principles of being a need blind institution and meeting the full demonstrated financial need for our students.

So let me end by simply saying, I appreciate the engagement of the Dartmouth community, your questions, and your patience and understanding. With those of us who are seeking your input and working to make decisions to help this campus navigate its way through the COVID-19 pandemic and also your patients with one another in the global Dartmouth community. These are extraordinarily challenging and unprecedented times for all of us. And I asked for, and thank you for your support of one another as members of the Dartmouth community as we find our way forward. So thank you, and Justin, I'll turn to you now for some questions before we bring Dean Lively, and VP Keniston on to discuss some of the work of the task force, and the dean of the College area.

Justin Anderson:

Thanks so much, Joe, and nice to see you today.

Helble:

Great to see you, Justin.

Anderson:

As you might imagine, a vast majority of the questions that have come in so far pertain to the announcement earlier today about the return of the belongings, and I promise we will get to those questions, but we'll start, Joe, with some questions for you that are not related to that, and there are some, not many, but there are some. The first question, "Will the task force be issuing guidelines for return to work, where faculty, staff, students, union members, have typically worked at shared equipment? Will environmental safety and health be involved? Will cleaning supplies be provided, or will labs, studios, shops, et cetera, have to use their own funding to restock?"

Helble:

So Justin, that's a great set of comprehensive questions. Let me answer at a high level, and then perhaps, we can bring the question back when Josh and Kathryn are with us, because Josh, since he's VP of campus services, in addition to being co-chair of the task force, may have more information to provide. So at a high level, the answer is yes, environmental health and safety has been involved, and the task force is very attentive, through several working groups, to the need, to be careful and thoughtful about workplace regulations and rules, when we are bringing students, faculty, and staff back to campus, the need to be protective of the health of every member of the community, and the need to think about things like disinfection of shared spaces and shared equipment. And so, the questioner asked a great question. Yes, the task force is attentive to it, yes, EH&S is deeply involved, and in terms of the specifics, I'm going to defer to Josh.

Anderson:

The next question I have, Joe, is about the Dartmouth College Childcare Center.

Helble:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Anderson:

"Are there considerations for opening the Dartmouth College Childcare Center? Who is making this decision, and what is the timeline for sharing information with the community? Can any accommodations be made for faculty and employees, who are being expected to teach and work from home with small kids?"

Helble:

Yeah. Thank you, Justin. And so, this is one of the things we recognize as an extraordinary challenge for members of our community, and in some ways, particularly for faculty or for staff who will be involved in teaching over the course of the summer, without the availability of readily and reliably provided childcare. So we need to take our guidance from the state around the reopening of childcare facilities. This is something that EVP Rick Mills and I have discussed with the task force, and again, this is something that Rick and the task force are thinking about.

We do hope to be able to reopen the childcare center at some point, I can't promise a specific date. Again, it's going to be driven by guidance from the state and our determination as to when it is safe to do so. If, and when we do reopen, it will likely not be at full capacity. But having said that, we recognize the importance of this as an important asset to the community, and the need for the faculty and the staff working with them, who will be delivering course content over the course of the summer. So I can't offer a date today, but I can tell you that it is something that Rick and the task force are keenly attentive to, and are working on right now.

Anderson:

Joe, in your opening remarks, you mentioned financial aid and the anticipation that the need will go up, and this is an issue that's on a lot of people's minds. A question that came in is about the decision making, "Will financial aid decisions for summer and fall 2020 tuition be delayed in any way, or can we expect them as usual?"

Helble:

We anticipate making decisions around the award of financial aid on the usual schedule, and that will be managed through the usual process, through our financial aid office. We recognize the demonstrated need will be changing and will be increasing, and as I said, we are committed to meeting that need. The process will not be changing.

Anderson:

And in terms of a return to work, you've covered a lot of different aspects of how and when we will be making decisions about the return. I do have a question in here about Dartmouth staff who work at the medical center, and how decisions are being made about when they will be able to return to work.

Helble:

That's a good question, Justin, and the honest answer is, I don't have an answer to that question. That's a question for me to put to the task force. Because they are physically working at the Medical Center, I imagine that that would be guided substantially, and perhaps entirely by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center return to work rules, but anything in a research laboratory will need to be done consistent with the guidance from the workforce. So we can put that question to Josh. It might actually be better to, if it's a research laboratory question, bring that question back when we have Dean Madden with us, the vice provost for research next week.

Anderson:

And here's another one that might be better addressed to say, Lisa Adams, Josh's co-chair but, but I'm going to ask you anyway, because I think it's a pretty good question. "How are community members with compromised immune systems or other health concerns going to be treated by these new policies for returning to work in school? Specifically, how will students with health concern access equitable education when they might not be able to return to campus at the same time as their peers?"

Helble:

Yeah, that's a question Justin, that's going to need to be answered on an individual basis. It's a question that's relevant for members of our faculty and staff, it's a question that's certainly relevant for many members of our student community. And so there, I can say we are conscious of the need to offer everyone equitable access, we are conscious of the need to protect the health of every member of our community. That means every student, and every member of the faculty and staff. And so, we will be working with students on an individual basis as we can, and we will also be providing guidance to make sure that any students who are in the situation such as the one you just described, are not put in a situation where they are uncomfortable or jeopardizing their health, simply by coming to school.

Anderson:

So I think we have time for one more question for you, Joe. The bulk of the questions that are coming in, really are about the belongings, but one interesting question that has come in is, "What do you believe will be the biggest challenge facing staff when they return?"

Helble:

The biggest challenge facing staff when they return? I think the biggest challenge facing staff is the same as the challenge facing faculty, and in some ways, facing students as well. It's adjusting to a work environment that's different than the work environment that we all left. We had to make a significant transition when we went to remote learning, and remote working, and remote teaching.

When we come back to campus, we know, without my being able to tell you the specifics today, we know that there will be different protocols in place for distance that individuals need to keep from one another. We know that there will be protocols in place where we need to be very attentive to cleaning of materials and equipment around us. We know that we are going to need to be interacting in meetings and in physical spaces in different ways. And we know that we are going to be needing to be thinking about things like wearing masks, perhaps in meetings, perhaps whenever we're at an indoor environment, we have not yet made decisions on some of those kinds of questions. And I think for all of us, that's going to be an adjustment and a new challenge as we return to work. It's not going to be exactly the way it was when we left, and that's going to take some getting used to.

So thank you, Justin, thanks to everyone who wrote in with questions, and given the great interest in discussing belongings, and given that I think they both have something important to say, why don't we turn to Dean Kathryn Lively and VP Josh Keniston. So Kathryn, Josh, good to have you with us this afternoon. I'm going to ask you a few questions to get the conversation started, and then I think you've already heard, there's tremendous interest from our viewers today in putting questions directly to you, and Justin will moderate that conversation. So I'd like to start, Kathryn, with you, and just give you a chance, since not everyone will have seen the email that you sent out this morning describing the process for returning student belongings. At a high level, what's in the plan?

Kathryn Lively:

So there's a lot in the plan. As you might imagine, it's a very complicated plan. And so, for the individuals who did receive the email, I would recommend that you hold onto it and that you read it very closely, perhaps more than once. It's a two-pronged plan, we obviously need to take care of our seniors first. They are on much shorter time horizons when they need to get their things back. Many are starting jobs or internships in other places, and so we're starting there. We're going to begin by packing and shipping the materials for seniors first. We are going to be reaching out to all students over the next few days, again, starting with seniors first, and to allow them to indicate on the form, what their options are, like what would they prefer? Some students have already reached out and said, "I don't want my stuff back," other students want it now.

And so, one of the things that we're going to ask students to do is to give us their preference, how would they like to get their things back, with the caveat being if you have large things in your room for seniors, say, I don't know, a Maytag washer, for example, or a futon, those things will be going in storage locally, and you will have a year, and that will be a rolling deadline. So there'll be a rolling deadline for you to come get those possessions at your convenience, which will be orchestrated with the College. Everything else, for the most part, can be shipped, and that is assuming that you want it. And so, keep in mind that you'll have the option to work individually with the people who will be moving your things.

We will then, once we get the seniors taken care of, and we would expect most graduating students will have all of their possessions, except those larger items, back by mid-June at the latest, and then we will start the process with our other returning students. Again, each student will be given the option of keeping things here in storage, or receiving it where they are. The process is a little more complicated for international students, due to things like customs and things like that, we'll be working with them as well individually. And I know based on questions that I have received from students who are in College-owned Greek houses, is that the process will work the exact same way for them. We'll be working with students whose possessions are in privately owned Greek houses on an individual basis as well.

Helble:

Great. So thanks so much, Kathryn, and I know that this will go a long way to addressing many of the questions that have been on students' minds since, well, since they left campus in mid-March. So Josh, I'd like to turn to you now. In addition to belongings, the task force has been working on many issues associated with business continuity and continuity of operations for the campus, including the screening protocols that went into effect this week. Can you remind us of what that is, and how those screening protocols were developed?

Josh Keniston:

Yeah, sure, Joe. So the temperature self-assessment that we've been calling it, for short, TSA, which I know probably invokes thoughts of other travel-related things, but in this case, stands for temperature self-assessment, is really something that's been developed over the last week and a half in response to new guidelines that were put out by the state of New Hampshire on May 1st, as part of the stay at home 2.0 order, which is really looking at how do we move from a kind of blunt instrument of everyone has to stay home, to a phase where we start to ease some restrictions, but really need some better mechanisms around tracking, contact tracing, and testing overall.

And so, the temperature self-assessment is really part of that initiative, and it asks those that are coming to campus to do research activities, to work, so its employees, graduate professionals, school students, postdocs that are coming into our administrative and academic buildings, to go online every morning, take their temperature, report their temperature, and then respond to a series of five questions. And it's really just, it's a tool to make sure that everyone is screening themselves, monitoring themselves on a daily basis before they come to campus. Again, this is something that we'll likely scale up over time. We're really viewing it as a pilot this week, where we have relatively small numbers on campus, and hope to learn from it, so that as we think about bringing more folks on campus over the coming months, that we'll be prepared to welcome folks, and be able to have some of these screening protocols in place.

Helble:

All right, so thank you, Josh. So actually, I'd like to ask you a follow-up question, and I don't know if you heard the exchange, but I'm going to put to you a question that Justin put to me that I couldn't fully answer. As Duane Compton, the dean of the Geisel School often reminds all of us, the research facilities on the Lebanon campus at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center are in fact, Dartmouth research facilities. Do these protocols apply there, and how do we think about return to work guidance for researchers and staff at the DHMC facilities?

Keniston:

Yeah, so we've kind of taken a matrix approach here. And in some ways, the hospital campus over in Lebanon is a bit ahead of us just because the services that they have to provide and the requirements that they have for their physical spaces have been a bit heightened. So in terms of needing to actually go through this online screening process, those folks who are working over there don't need to do that. The DH campus has its own screening process in place that largely accomplishes the same goals as ours. So we don't need folks to do both.

But on the broader question, the process that we're putting in place to ramp up research, as well as to ramp up staff on campus across the board will apply to both campuses, whether you're on the Lebanon campus or the Hanover campus. And it will have the same series of protocols in terms of making sure you have the appropriate approval from the appropriate individuals to do the work that you're doing. And it will really be about how do we slowly ramp this up? How do we make sure that we don't just have kind of flip a switch and have everyone show up on day one, but have a trickle? And so there's a level of coordination that needs to happen there. And so both campuses will be part of that process.

Helble:

Great. Thanks, Josh. That's really helpful and I appreciate your answering that question. So Kathryn, I'd like to turn back to you now. One of the questions that I receive frequently, and I know you do as well, is to ask how students have been engaged in some of the processes and the decision making. And I know that you've been using some structured ways to collect and solicit input from the student community. Could you take a moment or two just to talk about what those have been and how those have helped determine where we've went today?

Lively:

Sure. First of all, I would like to give a quick shout out to the current leadership with Student Assembly and also Palaeopitus. They have been incredibly helpful of gathering all kinds of questions and concerns and comments from the student body and channeling them to the administration in rather large, imposing documents, but with really excellent questions. And, so one of the ways that the students have been able to interact with us in a very structured way is through those mechanisms, is through the traditional student governing bodies. And so I also meet with Student Assembly quite regularly. I've met with them in terms of their leaders, as well as some of their senators as well. I meet regularly with the co-chairs of Palaeopitus. I most recently met with, I wouldn't say all of, about half of Palaeopitus, as well as many of their subcommittee members to make sure that we're capturing some of the concerns of their constituents and to make sure that the work that they've been doing around COVID-19 doesn't get lost in the transition of leadership.

I've also been working with students, not really working with, but meeting with students during my office hours. I'm doing virtual office hours, which I must admit, are much more popular than my face to face office hours were when we were all still on campus. I know that President Hanlon also still has office hours. And these are all ways that students have been able to reach us through structured mechanisms. However, I've also been meeting with students individually, as well as groups of students who have particular issues that they're concerned about that they would like to get in front of the task force. And all of those conversations have been very helpful. Many student affairs staff are populating many of the working groups that we're on. So it's very easy for me to get the questions, collate them, and then either get them directly to the task force or to get them directly to the relevant working groups. There was one other thing I was going to say.

Helble:

Let me ask you, well, go ahead, but let me ask you a follow up question then if that thoughts escaped you. So one of the things you had mentioned to me recently is there were some plans for a student survey that your office was involved in. I don't know if that's what you were about to mention. But if not, could you take a moment to comment on that?

Lively:

Yes, actually. So last night, we sent out what we would consider the modified Dartmouth health survey. So typically, we conduct the Dartmouth health survey every other spring to assess sort of the state of health and wellness on our campus. Last night, actually it was at four o'clock in the afternoon, we invited a random sample of half of all undergraduates, as well as professional students, to take part in a brief modified version of the Dartmouth health survey. And this one was focused specifically on health and wellness during the time of this pandemic. And it captured all kinds of things, including behaviors and attitudes around social distancing recommendations. We need as many students as possible. So if you received the email and you're watching this, please complete the 10 minute survey as soon as possible so that we can obtain the most accurate information about what's going on in terms of student health and wellness this spring. And also so that we can have a better understanding of how students are thinking about public health recommendations around social distancing.

What we're going to do when we receive the data back is to then stand up a working group of students and student affairs staff, as well as potentially some of the members selected through the task force to really work together collaboratively to think about what are the norms? What are the mechanisms? What is social distancing going to look like? What is it going to need to look like so that we can bring students back and to create as safe as an environment as we possibly can in the fall, in the winter, possibly the spring or summer, if this continues to go on?

Helble:

Great. Thanks, Kathryn. That's very helpful. So let me use that as a point to pivot back to you, Josh, and just ask you one or two final questions before we open it up to the broader group. And so it sounds as if, I mean, not sounds as if, clearly the information that the survey that Kathryn described is collecting and then the subsequent work with the students will be helpful to the task force in formulating recommendations. You've got extraordinarily challenging sets of parameters to consider and information to assimilate to provide me and the campus leaders with the information we need to make a decision. And part of this is tied to residence halls, part of it is tied to classrooms. And how are you thinking about those two pieces in that? Which is more challenging? And what kinds of questions are you asking as you help us figure out how to potentially operate in the fall in the presence of COVID-19?

Keniston:

Yeah. So the which is more challenging is an interesting question. And it really depends on what timeframe. In a lot of ways, the residence halls are initially more challenging because it is a more of a permanent situation. Once we move students in, we have to figure out what's the right way to do that and make sure that that's set up. But then largely, it's the same individuals that are in those spaces. The classrooms, on the other hand, are constantly have people changing in and out of them. And in both of those cases, neither of our systems were designed to be socially distant. In fact, pretty deliberately, we've tried to put as many people into those spaces as possible.

And so we're spending a lot of time with our colleagues in one of our working groups, the health and epidemiology group, thinking about how do we transform our spaces? How do we apply social distancing protocols there? And then in the facility side, how do we apply the appropriate cleaning regimens? There are some recommendations out there in terms of how often surfaces should be cleaned. And so we're looking at how do we ramp up some of the frequency in which we clean some of those common spaces? So it's a bit of a challenge and it's a different way of thinking. We've spent a lot of time thinking about how do we get kind of more people into these spaces? And now we're somewhat doing the opposite. So it's a fine dance to try and figure out how to do it right. But I think we have a good team in place and they're starting to figure out what this could look like for the fall.

Helble:

Yep. So thank you, Josh. And it's something I hear echoed on other campuses, as you know. I and many of us are in frequent conversations with our peers at our Ivy plus peer institutions and other institutions across New England. And we're hearing the same things, we are grappling with similar issues. And when one thinks about a residential college campus, one immediately thinks about the challenges of safe living in the residence halls and the presence of COVID-19. But in many ways, the shared campus facilities, including classrooms where there's such frequent changeover, are an even bigger challenge for us all to work through. So Justin, let me turn to you, given the broad interest in asking questions of Josh and Kathryn. Why don't you take us through the next set of questions?

Anderson:

Great. And just dive right in. And Kathryn, I'll start with a question for you. Question is regarding Dean Lively's email, could she please expand on what types of items will and will not be shipped for graduating seniors, particularly those who live far away from Hanover and may not be able to return easily? This is a particularly big issue.

Lively:

I don't know, what I've been told, and this is, my view, more of a question for Josh is that these are that we are going to be storing large items. And again, a washer, a futon, those types of items that would be particularly cumbersome. If the person is absolutely unable to return to campus, I'm not sure what the decision was from the working group on that, Josh. I don't know if that's something that you've come up with, but I can certainly add that to the working group and post that in an updated frequently asked questions.

Keniston:

Yeah. So I think we'll have to deal with those. The goal right now is to store them and give individuals up to a year. As with a lot of things, as things continue to play out, we'll have to update and revise as we go. But at this point, the plan is to just store those items. And it's large things like sofas, TVs, bikes, those kind of large things that can't easily fit into a box to be shipped.

Anderson:

Josh, I'll stay with you for two related questions. The first one is, is it possible to come up to pack my items and to have them shipped by the College? And then the related question is we are from Florida. Can I fly to campus with my student when permitted to pack up the room, bring most of the items home with us, and then store the other large items?

Keniston:

Yeah. So let me just echo what I think both Kathryn and Joe have said. This is a tricky situation and our solution is not perfect. Even in the best scenario, move out days can be a bit crazy. And so at this point, we're going to provide students options, but we're not going to provide different permutations of options. And that really is just how do we manage 3,200 students coming back? And the logistics of that get really complicated, really, really fast. So students that would like to come to campus will have an opportunity in July to do that, assuming things continue to progress on the public health perspective. But those who come will need to take their belongings. Or you can select to have your belongings stored or shipped.

Anderson:

Well, and Josh, you mentioned July. And there are a fair amount of questions about that. Specifically, will there be restrictions on who gets to return to campus to pick up their belongings in July? And basically, what is that process and what would that actually look like for that period in July if and when people are able to return to campus?

Keniston:

So the restrictions that we're going to put on place are based off of number of people. And again, this is really about trying to limit how many people are on campus and needing to provide that social distancing space. So those will be specific limits that we put in place. And then we're really going to look to follow the best public health guidance. And so it is certainly going to be more challenging for those who are further away, but to the extent that the guidance that the CDC and others are putting out allows for folks to safely travel, we're not going to put additional limits on them.

Anderson:

Joe, if you don't mind, I'd like to come back to you with a question. This is about belongings, but I think he may be better situated to answer this question. Wouldn't it be better for students to know what the fall plan is so that they can decide how to retrieve their possessions?

Helble:

That's a good question. And so we are committed to making our decision for fall term, as I said, by the end of June. I think certainly Josh and the task force and I can take up that question if it would be in some students' interests to wait until July to make a decision. I don't want to commit the task force, but I suspect we may be able to accommodate that. If we are focusing on returning the belonging of seniors first, then returning the belongings to seniors is not dependent upon any decision about fall term. Josh can correct me, but I am pretty sure that's going to take us a good ways into June. At that point, we're very close to making a decision on fall term. And so I think it may work out that students will know what their fall term plans are or what the fall term plans are before they need to commit to retrieving their belongings one way or another. And I think Josh and the task force and I can take that up, but we would certainly like students to, as he said, it would be challenging for us to provide many different permutations on the options. Having said that, we would like to give people as much information as we possibly can when they need to make a decision.

Anderson:

Josh, I got sort of a followup to the July question in real time here, So I'm just going to give this question to you. Can you clarify that if a student chooses to return to campus in July, the student will be able to pack their own belongings and that those belongings must be taken by the student, i.e. the College will not store or ship.

Keniston:

Yeah. So the exact process for July is going to take a little bit of work for us to figure out so I can't guarantee anything on those fronts. At this point, the concept is really around students being able to come and retrieve their belongings in July. I think it's a fair question for us to look at the storage thing. So I'll take that back to the working group out of this call.

Lively:

So my understanding of the process is that students will not be allowed to pack their own things. And so that all things have been left in residence halls will be packed by packers and that even students who come back in July with family members to pick up things, that they will actually be picking up boxes from a location, from a central location.

Anderson:

Kathryn, if I can stay with you about packing of the belongings, I have a question. What is the training or the qualifications of the people who will be doing the packing. As a student, I have concerns about damage, and we'd like to know what steps will be taken to minimize potential damage.

Lively:

We're beginning the process and we may be able to continue the process throughout with professional packers, and there will be a reimbursement if there anything is lost or damaged. And importantly, on the form that students will be receiving, if there are certain items that they have, that they are concerned about, they will be able to identify what those are in special care will be taken with those particular items.

Anderson:

One of those items, Kathryn, I'll just stay with you. One of the items that people are asking about are cars. What about student vehicles, specifically in A lot, will the College pay to return vehicles, provide parking and A lot indefinitely. Can a student come pick up their car? If so, when? So a lot of questions about cars that are still here for students who are not.

Keniston:

Yeah. So at this point, again, this falls to the category of extremely bulky items. And so at this point, the plan around vehicles is really are on that July timeframe. So for offering students to come back and pick up their belongings, we would also in July allow for students to return to campus to pick up their cars, to the extent that they need to stay in A lot, and again, this is kind of across the board, we aren't currently charging for parking for faculty and staff that are on campus, so we'll be flexible on that front. And this is one that we'll have to see how things evolve. At this point, our hope is that most folks who need to come and pick up a car will be able to do that in July, or will be back with us at some point in the coming year to be reunited. But to the extent that there are some one off scenarios that that doesn't work, we'll continue to work with those students to figure it out.

Anderson:

Josh, if I could stay with you a question about, on campus apartments. For students living in, say the river apartments, how will belongings be divvied up and shipped? Can we FaceTime with someone to sort out belongings or will we have to return to campus to get our belongings at some in the future?

Keniston:

So the form is going to be sent out is going to take a first crack at this and provide an opportunity for those in shared spaces to provide some descriptions around how things should be divvied up. We're going to look at what we get coming back from that, and then figure out what else we can do. At this point, we don't think we're going to be able to offer kind of a FaceTime situation for everyone, the logistics of that are difficult. But we do know that there are shared spaces where belongings they're going to have to be divvied up, and so we will work with students to figure that out. And right now the kind of first step there is to fill out the form that will be emailed.

Lively:

Just to know, we're also aware that students have items in multiple locations across campus, both in offices, and that they've left where if they are a class officer, or if they're a reporter for The D or someone like that. And so those types of questions about where are your things located in and outside of your room will also be available in the forum.

Anderson:

Yeah. A lot of questions are sort of about the shared space issue and how are the packers going to be able to figure out what item belongs to which person, particularly if the room happens to not be very neatly organized, which I can't imagine wouldn't be the case. Another question for you, Kathryn, this is an interesting one. I was on an LSA for winter term and all of my belongings are in on campus storage. Will the College ship those belongings to me?

Lively:

Yes. I would imagine that again, unless it's a washer or a futon, so I would imagine it would follow the same processes, that larger items would be stored and things that are already boxed and packaged would be shipped. If that is the student's preference.

Anderson:

Josh, a number of questions about Greek houses specifically, will belongings need to be removed from the fraternity houses as well as residence halls.

Keniston:

So for the College to own facilities, the goal is to get those belongings either packed or shipped or removed. For those that are not College-owned, we'll be coordinating with those organizations to figure out what the right next steps are there.

Anderson:

And then a question about costs, Kathryn. Do students have to pay for the storage?

Lively:

No. The College is covering the costs of the shipping and storage.

Anderson:

Okay. We are thankfully able to get through a lot of questions. Couple more. And you've kind of answered this, but I think it's worth asking again, can students get in touch with the individuals and, or be notified who will be cleaning out their rooms?

Keniston:

At this point, it's unlikely that they will have kind of direct content, but we will have a process. Again, it starts with this form for students to indicate important items and to flag issues. And then there will be a followup process. So if things are shipped, if there will be emails that go out. Again, the number of rooms and students here require us to have some level of efficiency in our process, but we'll make pay close attention to making sure the process is tight and that we're communicating throughout. And that there are some back and forth opportunities.

Anderson:

Kathryn, you mentioned several times that the particularly large items that will not be able to be shipped, but the question here is will students be told what items theirs were not shipped because they were too big?

Lively:

Yes, students should be receiving an inventory of what is not been able to be shipped and what is being put in storage. Again, we hope to be able to provide students as much optionality as possible.

Anderson:

We have time for just one more question and Josh, I'm going to send this one your way. What are considered to be prohibited items?

Keniston:

So, the College policy on weapons is the best place to look. And so I think Justin, the question is, what are the prohibited items that will be compensated by safety and security? And so it's, again, we're not doing searches, we're there to pack. But for certain things like weapons, for lots of reasons, in terms of shipping regulations and storage regulations, and what have you, those items will be taken into possession by safety and security and stored by them.

Anderson:

Got it. Well, I have no doubt that more questions are going to keep coming in and that many of you are going to have questions that perhaps will occur to you later on. I encourage you to visit the COVID-19 Dartmouth webpage. You can get to it from the Dartmouth homepage. Lots of information available on that page and importantly, there's also an email address to which you can send any questions that you have, and we will get back to you as soon as we possibly can with an answer. So thank you so much for all of the questions that you sent in. I hope that this was helpful. This is a really complicated issue, and I want to thank Kathryn and Josh for tackling it, and also coming here to tackle some of these questions. Joe?

Helble:

Thank you, Justin. And let me add my thanks to Kathryn and Josh into everyone in student affairs and everyone on the task force and the associated working groups, who's been working on this issue for quite some time. And I think the questions that we received today, and more questions I know to follow, illustrate the enormous complexity of the challenge, and clearly the importance to all the members of our student community who are quite eager to have us work through this and give them the opportunity to retake ownership of their possessions. So we're committed to working with each of you to make that happen.

Thanks everyone for joining us again today, I hope the conversation around this and other issues has been helpful. We will be back next week to discuss in more detail the process for the gradual reopening of our research laboratories. Vice Provost for Research Dean Madden will be joining me, as will one or two members of our faculty, whose research laboratories have been conducting some work related to COVID-19 during the period of the campus shut down. The following week, I will be joined by President Hanlon and Chair of the Board of Trustees Laurel Richie to discuss some of the issues that they've been engaged with in working with us on, as we work through all things related to COVID-19. So until next week, thanks very much everyone be healthy and be safe, and we look forward to next week's community conversation with you all. Thank you.