March 17, 2020 Update

March 17, 2020, Update

To the Dartmouth community,

The health and safety of members of our community and of the Upper Valley region have been our greatest priorities as we strive to support educational continuity and scholarly work at Dartmouth during this difficult time. We understand the importance of the on-campus experience to our students, faculty, and staff, and had hoped to preserve some of the personal interaction that defines a term at Dartmouth. However, the rapid spread of COVID-19 and the local and national events that have occurred over the past two days have led us to conclude that we must take additional measures to protect and support our campus and the local community.

As a result, we are announcing additional changes to spring term, to our research enterprise, and at a number of facilities on campus.


We have made the decision that all spring term classes, both undergraduate and graduate, will be conducted by remote learning for the full term. There will be no in-person option to attend classes on campus after May 1. This was a difficult decision that we know will be frustrating and disappointing for many of our students. Unfortunately, we are not alone. Across the country, many colleges and universities are taking similar steps in reducing the number of people on their campuses as a way to protect communities from the COVID-19 pandemic.

We recognize that many students will have questions related to this transition to a full remote learning term, including financial questions. A group of administrators is working on further guidance related to billing and financial aid issues and will be in touch on this topic soon.

Throughout the 10-week term 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.

At the recommendation of the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Geisel School of Medicine has suspended all clinical rotations, effective today. This includes clerkships and electives.


Like many of our peer institutions, Dartmouth has decided to ramp-down and pause on-campus research activities. Our goal is to minimize in-person contacts to limit the opportunities for the spread of the novel coronavirus, including interactions among our researchers, support staff, and the public. This is not a decision to cease research or scholarship at Dartmouth. However, beginning on Monday, March 23, research staff and students must perform their scholarly work remotely, unless an extension for on-campus work has been granted to use a laboratory. We will be working with all members of the academic and funding communities to minimize the negative impact on faculty, staff, and students, each of whom will receive further information later today regarding this decision from the vice provost for research.

Faculty committee work, including tenure and promotion reviews and decisions, will continue to be conducted during spring term.


In alignment with recommendations from the federal government, Dartmouth is issuing new guidance to limit large gatherings on campus. Between now and May 8, all events of 10 or more people should be canceled, postponed, streamed/made virtual, or otherwise modified to bring attendance to fewer than 10 people. This applies to all gatherings organized by Dartmouth or hosted on Dartmouth property.

Organizers of events and gatherings of fewer than 10 people should continue to ensure that there is adequate space (typically one-third of room capacity) to accommodate the event and participants.

Because Dartmouth does not hold its commencement nor reunions until mid-June, no decision on these events has been made at this time. We will announce a decision before April 10 on whether these activities can be held at their scheduled times.


The Athletics Department will close Alumni Gymnasium (including the Zimmerman Fitness Center, West Gym, and Karl Michael Pool), the Berry Sports Center (including the racquet courts) and the Boss Tennis Center beginning tomorrow. FLIP classes will also be canceled after today. Facilities will be reopened as soon as it is safe to do so. All members will be notified with updates via email as facilities become available.

All of the libraries that are in the Dartmouth library system will close beginning tomorrow, and remain closed until further notice. The library will be modifying standard services and suspending access to its spaces. See detailed updates on library services and spaces.

Library staff will continue to support Dartmouth faculty and students remotely across disciplines throughout the upcoming spring term, including through Zoom and on telephone appointments. Details about the library's support for remote teaching and learning can be found at Librarians will be in touch with faculty to discuss plans to support courses and research during spring term.

The Collis Center and Robinson Hall have been closed in order to support social distancing and facilitate remote work for professional staff.


We know that our students, faculty, and staff have many questions. President Hanlon and I will host a virtual town hall meeting on tomorrow at 3 p.m. to update the community on the latest information regarding our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting will be broadcast live. Members of the community can submit questions in advance to More information can be found at:

While Dartmouth remains open for business, we are using remote forms of communication in order to minimize on-campus gatherings. Many Upper Valley services, stores, and venues have closed, and we strongly encourage undergraduate students remaining on campus or in off-campus housing in the area who have the ability to return home to consider making plans to do so. If you need assistance in making this decision, please send a note to or contact the undergraduate deans office.

I want to thank you for your collaboration, goodwill, and support as we work together to preserve the health and well-being of the Dartmouth community during this unsettled time. Please continue to take care of one another and reach out to those who are feeling vulnerable. It is critical that we maintain an environment that is built on respect and free from discrimination and harassment and that we continue to treat one another, and all members of our community, with sensitivity and understanding.


Joseph Helble Provost