March 10, 2020, Update
To the Dartmouth community,
Information regarding the global outbreak of COVID-19 continues to evolve, and we are working to put in place new policies and guidelines to respond to emerging risk, align with federal and state guidelines, and safeguard the health of our community. At this time, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the Dartmouth campus.
We are mindful of student and faculty concerns regarding changes to spring international programs and academic continuity for spring term more broadly. We are focused on ensuring academic continuity to the greatest extent possible and will be publishing the list of online spring course offerings by March 16.
Here we will provide updates related to spring break travel for students; events on campus; athletics; travel policies; and CDC guidance for older people and those with chronic conditions:
Spring Break: Change in Undergraduate Campus Residence Policy and Student Travel
Given the fluid nature of this unprecedented public health situation, we need to reduce the occupancy of our residence halls as much as possible over spring break to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of our community. All undergraduate students who were planning to depart campus during spring break are therefore being asked to leave as soon as their exams conclude, and no later than the end of this week. In addition, students who were intending to remain on campus during spring break are also strongly encouraged to depart campus this week, and will be required to depart campus no later than Monday, March 16, with only a very few exceptions, which will be managed by Student Affairs based on visa status or known high-need medical or other circumstances. We recognize that this temporary disruption of interim housing will alter plans for some of you, and we have staff teams ready to assist. Dean Lively will share more details shortly with those students affected by this change in interim housing availability.
While it remains our intention to hold spring term on campus as planned, we will be using the interim period to assess the situation and make a determination as to the best way to provide educational continuity for our students.
Domestic spring break trips are allowed to proceed, but we are requiring that all trips register at https://global.dartmouth.edu/travel-registry-waivers-resources/travel-registry and that sponsoring departments work with trip leaders as appropriate regarding planned activities.
Given their different term schedules and program requirements, the deans of the graduate and professional schools will be in touch with their communities as needed in the coming days to share any additional school-specific guidelines.
We will continue to monitor the situation and offer updated guidance as it becomes available.
Events on Campus
In light of the new case of a person with COVID-19 identified in the Upper Valley this past weekend, and out of an abundance of caution, Dartmouth is issuing guidance to limit large gatherings on campus. Between now and April 17, all events of 100 or more people should be canceled, postponed, streamed/made virtual, or modified to bring attendance to fewer than 100. This applies to all gatherings organized by Dartmouth or hosted on Dartmouth property.
Events and gatherings of fewer than 100 people should ensure that there is adequate space (typically one-third of room capacity) to accommodate the event, and participants should practice social distancing. Social distancing means remaining away from settings where people are meeting, avoiding nonessential mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others whenever possible. We recommend that those who are holding events include timely reminders about maintaining good hygiene--such as washing hands and avoiding handshakes--and remind individuals with possible symptoms that they should remain at home.
Admissions tours will be suspended, effective March 13, and the first Dimensions event scheduled for April 16 will be canceled.
At this time, domestic travel for athletic events is being curtailed and sports teams will not travel to states where an emergency has been declared. Spectator attendance at these events should follow the guidelines established above or by the Ivy League, as stipulated in its announcement today. The presidents of the Ivy League are discussing these guidelines and will be providing additional recommendations for official Ivy League contests as necessary.
We continue to discourage international travel for all faculty, staff, and students until further notice. We are also updating our guidance today to discourage all non-essential domestic travel for Dartmouth business. This guidance does not apply to students leaving campus for spring break.
Please visit https://dartmouth.edu/covid19 for full details on travel policies, including requirements for self-quarantine when returning to campus from high-risk areas.
New CDC Guidance to Higher Risk Individuals
New guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is encouraging older people (60 years of age or more) and those with chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease to stay at home as much as possible. Early data suggests that older people are twice as likely to develop serious illness from the novel coronavirus. Individuals in these two groups should consider avoiding activities such as traveling by airplane, going to movie theaters, shopping in crowded areas, and attending religious services.
We will continue to reassess our policies in light of federal and state guidance and advise you of any changes as quickly as we can. Please visit the Dartmouth COVID-19 website at https://dartmouth.edu/covid19 for additional information.
Thank you for your continued understanding and cooperation as we respond to these many logistical challenges.
Joseph Helble Provost