March 30, 2020, Email Update
To the Dartmouth community,
I hope that everyone is safely settled in their locations as we work to fully launch our remote learning initiative this week. This major transformation of the delivery of our curriculum, almost unthinkable just a month ago, quietly and successfully got off the ground in several of our graduate programs last week and today expands across the undergraduate curriculum. Having seen all corners of the Dartmouth community come together these past weeks to support this effort and facilitate the continued education of our students has been nothing short of inspiring. We are so appreciative of the intensive and creative work that faculty and staff have devoted to this major transition, one among many shifts and changes we've had to accommodate this month. This commitment of our faculty and staff to engage individually with our students to support their learning is the hallmark of a Dartmouth education. The compassion for others that we have been seeing, and the entire community's flexibility and patience, are deeply valued and incredibly important in both our personal and professional lives as we continue to adapt to our new circumstances. I write now to provide updates on several emerging issues.
COVID-19 COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION
A Dartmouth employee and an undergraduate student living on campus have tested presumptive positive for COVID-19. These individuals are resting comfortably and are in self-isolation and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is conducting contact investigations in both cases. Three additional Dartmouth students are being tested for COVID-19 today. We are working closely with any student who develops symptoms of COVID-19 to ensure prompt self-isolation and notification and self-quarantine of close contacts. To date, four individuals on our campus have tested positive for COVID-19.
Unfortunately, transmission of the virus in the Upper Valley is now prevalent. You can help to slow the spread of the disease by assuming that anyone you come in contact with may have COVID-19 and by maintaining social distancing, washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, and avoiding all gatherings. Given the current restrictions on domestic travel and the regional spread of the virus, visitors should not be coming to campus who are not authorized to be here. We continue to work closely with our partners at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and in our state and local governments to support the health care needs of the broader community.
SUMMER TERM PROGRAMS CANCELED
After carefully considering the many factors now affecting travel and study, and in consultation with members of the COVID-19 task force, we have made the decision to suspend all undergraduate international programs for the full summer term and all domestic summer term programs scheduled for the months of June and July. This includes all summer term study-abroad undergraduate programs, including language study abroad (LSA), foreign study programs (FSP), and exchange programs; and Dartmouth-supported leave-term programs such as internships, research grants, and fellowships. Students who are pursuing leave-term opportunities that can be fulfilled remotely or with an alternative set-up from their current location and requiring no air travel may request an exemption from this policy. This decision does not apply to programs run by the graduate and professional schools, and students will be notified by their respective school regarding decisions about such programs.
Dartmouth-supported international and domestic travel remains prohibited for faculty and staff at this time with an option to apply for an exemption from your dean/supervisor. Personal travel, including domestic travel outside New Hampshire and Vermont, is strongly discouraged due to possible self-quarantine requirements upon arrival at your destination, following your return home, or both.
We appreciate that these measures are both disappointing and frustrating, but they have been made to ensure the safety and well-being of our students and faculty. As always, we urge you to visit the Dartmouth COVID-19 website at https://dartmouth.edu/covid19 for updated information and helpful resources.
Unfortunately, the data show that we are still in the earlier stages of this global pandemic. We are grateful for your help in keeping our community, and your communities wherever you are, as safe as possible in these extraordinary times.
Joseph Helble Provost