March 6, 2020, Update
To the Dartmouth community,
I write to share important updates on our programs and policies.
SPRING TERM INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS CANCELED
In response to the rapidly evolving events surrounding COVID-19 and out of concern for the health and safety of our community, we have made the decision to suspend all structured spring term international programs. This includes all spring term study-abroad undergraduate programs, including language study abroad, foreign study programs, and exchange programs; Dartmouth-supported leave-term programs such as internships and fellowships; all Dartmouth-supported graduate and postgraduate fellowships; and Geisel School of Medicine global health electives.
Study-abroad and travel coordinators for affected programs have also been notified and are reaching out to affected students to provide additional details. Students who are already on exchange can remain abroad if they choose, but no new programs will commence. Domestic programs will continue as planned, including clinical rotations.
Dartmouth continues to discourage all international travel for students, faculty, and staff, including conference attendance and research site visitation. For complete guidance on travel restrictions and required self-quarantine, please visit dartmouth.edu/covid19.
This decision, which was made by the provost based on an analysis and recommendation from the Dartmouth COVID-19 Task Force, reflects a number of factors, including increasing travel uncertainty, risks to community health, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Service (NHDHHS), and concern for homestay families with vulnerable members in the home.
Undergraduate students in credit-bearing programs affected by these cancellations will be able to access a $5,000 cash grant that can be used for independent research, internships, alternative education opportunities, or alternative off-campus housing for the spring term. An online form to allow students affected by canceled international credit-bearing programs to register for funding will be available by March 10 and must be submitted by March 20. Dartmouth will also offer options to participate in several online credit-bearing courses for undergraduate students who had been registered for the canceled international programs. A list of course offerings will be made available on March 16. Alternatively, Dartmouth will waive the transfer term fee of $2,200 to allow students to take courses near their homes or online from other qualified institutions.
Any undergraduate students who are presently scheduled to be on campus for spring term but are interested in receiving a cash grant to pursue an off term or digital term should contact [email protected] These requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on availability in this term as well as availability in later terms according to individual updated D-plans.
We continue to respond to--and plan for--the challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak. Ongoing efforts include:
DINING SERVICES Dartmouth Dining Services has been taking steps to safeguard our community above and beyond our standard hygiene practices, including eliminating self-service dining options whenever possible; providing staff with hand-washing stations, sanitizer, gloves, and safety guidance at all self-service food areas; and personally greeting all customers before they enter busy locations to help emphasize proper sanitization.
FACILITIES CLEANING In early February, Facilities Operations began increasing the disinfection of high-touch areas on campus. These include door entrance and egress hardware, classroom and other public furniture such as desks, tabletops, and the backs of chairs, stairway handrails, and public water fountains. The disinfectant used has been reviewed by Dartmouth's Environmental Health and Safety department and is effective at killing the coronavirus on a hard surface.
During the winter break, we will perform additional cleaning of public bathrooms in all residential and nonresidential facilities. Additional hand sanitizer has been deployed at customer-service counters, circulation desks, and public computer stations across campus. Questions about the level of service and cleaning should be directed to [email protected]
PERSONAL HYGIENE Everyday actions can help prevent the spread of any type of respiratory virus. These include washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; and staying home when you are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
REMOTE WORK POLICY Dartmouth has developed a plan for faculty and staff to work remotely in the event of voluntary or involuntary restrictions on reporting to work. The plan addresses potential scenarios and responses, pay continuation, job protection, and temporary alternative housing requests. The plan will not be activated unless it becomes necessary. Employees are encouraged to use telephone and video conferencing instead of face-to-face meetings as much as possible. Technology support services are available to employees who need assistance.
CAMPUS EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES In accordance with guidance from the CDC and NHDHHS, Dartmouth is not prohibiting public events or activities at this time; however, event organizers should make appropriate decisions relative to their events in determining whether to cancel or proceed. Athletics and arts events that are currently scheduled for this weekend will continue as planned, and the continuation of these events will be assessed daily. Individual schools and programs can hold events, including academic seminars, as planned. We are reviewing the feasibility of holding Dimensions programming for admitted students and expect to make a determination on or before March 20.
We recommend that those who are holding events include timely reminders about maintaining good hygiene, such as washing hands, avoiding handshakes, and reminding individuals with possible symptoms that they should remain at home.
Finally, please visit the Dartmouth COVID-19 website at dartmouth.edu/covid19 for ongoing updates and helpful information.
This is a stressful and unpredictable time for all of us, and we appreciate your cooperation and assistance. We are grateful for the efforts of the many people on campus who are working to respond to the need for ever-changing information and develop contingency plans for the entire institution. Together, we will continue to safeguard the health and well-being of our community.
Joseph Helble Provost