March 11, 2020, Update
To the Dartmouth community,
The World Health Organization today declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic. This public health designation was not unexpected, given the rapid spread of the virus throughout the world. But, while it reflects the gravity of the situation, it does not change our planning and response. Our policy goals continue to focus on limiting the spread of infection, ensuring that COVID-19 does not overwhelm our health care systems, and protecting the most vulnerable members of our community.
Yesterday, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NHDHHS) announced that a fifth person in the state has tested positively for COVID-19. The individual, who is from Rockingham County, was tested in Massachusetts after being exposed to another person there who had tested positive. Health authorities are investigating to determine any community exposures and contacts the individual may have had. At this time, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the Dartmouth campus.
The Ivy League presidents today announced their unanimous decision to cancel all spring athletics competition and practices for the remainder of the academic year. In light of the pandemic, and the growing number of schools that have moved classes online for the rest of their semesters, it is no longer feasible for these competitions and practices to continue. This is a heavy blow to our student-athletes, who have sacrificed and trained so hard in their respective sports, and we regret the impact of these circumstances. Winter teams and student-athletes who have qualified for postseason play will be able to participate in league competitions.
In consultation with senior Dartmouth leadership, the Tuck School of Business has made the decision to move its approximately 40 MBA classes online for the first two weeks of their spring term, which begins March 23. The decision of whether to extend online instruction at Tuck will be made on an ongoing basis. The College is assessing the situation as it pertains to our undergraduate community and by Monday, March 16—if not sooner—will make a determination as to the best way to provide educational continuity for those students, including through the use of remote learning tools. Spring term for undergraduate students is scheduled to begin March 30.
As a reminder, we are asking all undergraduates to depart campus this week as soon as their exams conclude. Dartmouth is also discouraging all international and domestic travel (excluding travel by undergraduates leaving campus) and has restricted all campus events—those hosted or organized by Dartmouth—to 100 people or fewer.
We know that many employees have questions regarding business continuity, pay continuation, job protection, remote work arrangements, and other related topics in the event of voluntary or non-voluntary restrictions on reporting to work. Please be assured that we are addressing these issues and expect to provide you with detailed guidance before the end of this week.
Policies and circumstances are evolving very quickly in response to this disease, and we understand the heightened concern and anxiety that such nonstop news can bring. We encourage you to visit the Dartmouth COVID-19 website at https://dartmouth.edu/covid19 for updated information and emerging guidance.
Dartmouth is a place of close personal interaction, shared values, and familiar faces. Despite these recent changes and others that may come, we will remain a tight-knit community dedicated to the teacher-scholar model of education. Let us continue to look out for one another as we tackle this unprecedented challenge.
Joseph Helble, provost