Updated September 23, 2020, 12:24 p.m.
In order to limit the spread of COVID-19, Dartmouth ramped-down on-campus research activity beginning March 23. As local disease prevalence has remained under control, we have pursued a phased restoration of limited on-campus research activity, subject to detailed protocols to ensure campus health and safety, including physical distancing, disinfection, and the use of face coverings.
Effective Sept. 2, a new policy outlines the opportunities and requirements for undergraduates to participate in scholarly research during the upcoming academic year. Remote research activities can continue to be coordinated directly with the faculty supervisor. For undergraduates approved to be on campus during the term, the procedures for on-campus research depend on the nature of the work. Scholarly activities that can be performed with "standard" access to libraries or other campus facilities can be arranged directly with the faculty member. Research activities that require in-person access to labs or other limited-access facilities on campus are subject to additional review; eligible students should begin by contacting the proposed faculty supervisor. The policy is available online. Please note that all research activities must conform to current health and safety guidelines.
Campus-wide, we are now in Phase 2C of the research ramp-up process, which allows multiple researchers per group, subject to physical distancing and other requirements, during defined research hours. It also permits requests for re-opening of certain human-subject studies and for minimal office access for non-laboratory scholarship. The libraries are currently providing limited in-person access to research collections. We are continually evaluating conditions for further enhancements of research activity. In addition to supporting our scholarly mission, restoration of research activity has allowed us to test the deployment of new systems that are going to be required as undergraduate and graduate students return to campus for the fall term.
The goal of all of our policies is to maximize Dartmouth's ability to contribute to human knowledge, under conditions that protect the health and safety of our community. Under our current "limited" access level, it remains important to limit occupancy. Thus, individuals who can perform their work remotely should continue to do so. All laboratory research activity must comply with the Guidelines for Reopening Laboratory-Based Research: Phase 2, and the modifications posted at this site.
Numerous additional requirements apply, including New Hampshire state guidelines, as well as Dartmouth and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center guidelines. Central to these requirements are practices designed to minimize the likelihood of viral transmission, including frequent hand washing, physical distancing, the use of face coverings and other personal protective equipment where necessary, and frequent surface disinfection, in both labs and common spaces.
We will continue to monitor compliance with health screening and other requirements to assess our capacity for further progress during Phase 2. The measures we are taking are designed not solely to prevent infections in the current environment, but also to ensure that any new outbreak cannot spread undetected in our research community. We will continue to track local case rates and disease outcomes. If we maintain our successful trajectory, we look forward to further incremental enhancements over the coming months. If case rates or outcomes worsen, more stringent restrictions may be re-imposed to protect the community.
Considering the continued risk to participants' health and safety and restrictions on travel and mobility, Dartmouth has made the decision to cancel all structured winter term international programs through March 1, 2021, for undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students. This includes language study abroad, foreign study programs (as announced on the July 22 Community Conversation webcast), winter exchange programs, and all Dartmouth-supported leave-term programs, such as internships and fellowships. Students are encouraged to consider remote/virtual leave-term opportunities until travel can resume. Other Dartmouth-supported graduate and professional school international travel programs and overseas clinical electives are also canceled. Domestic clinical rotations through Geisel will proceed as planned. Decisions about travel over March break will be communicated at a later date. Dartmouth continues to restrict all Dartmouth-sponsored international and domestic travel outside New Hampshire and Vermont.
Physical distancing, also known as social distancing, means keeping a safe distance, at least 6 feet or the length of two arms, between yourself and other people who are not from your household. This applies in both indoor and outdoor spaces.
Physical distancing should be practiced in combination with other preventive measures including, but not limited to, wearing a cloth face covering, not touching your face with unwashed hands, covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap is not available.
Social contact is more important than ever during this stressful time. Be sure to stay connected with friends and family using phone calls, writing letters, and through digital technologies such as FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom.
Out of an abundance of caution, Dartmouth is extending its guidance to limit gatherings on campus. Until further notice, 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, as well as gatherings organized or hosted by Dartmouth students or student organizations occurring in the community, including in off-campus residences.
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.
Beginning Aug. 10, the town of Hanover will require everyone entering businesses and work sites, both indoors or outside, to wear a mouth-and-nose-covering mask. Members of the public must wear face masks while using public sidewalks, other pedestrian ways, public recreation areas, and other public property within the town of Hanover where maintaining adequate physical distancing is not possible because of pedestrian congestion. Failure to comply with the ordinance may result in a fine from the town. For more information, visit the town of Hanover website.
Dartmouth requires all persons to wear cloth face coverings at all times when using or accessing shared or communal spaces at any Dartmouth worksite and also when a minimum of six feet of physical distancing is difficult to maintain. This requirement is designed to help protect the health and safety of the Dartmouth community by reducing the risk of coronavirus transmission. Read the entire policy for further information.
Useful Definitions: Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.
Do not go to work or school during this 14-day period.
Take these steps to monitor your health and practice physical distancing:
Because of significant continued risk to participants' health and safety and severe restrictions to travel and mobility, Dartmouth has made the decision to cancel all structured fall term international programs for undergraduate and graduate and professional students. This includes language study abroad, foreign study programs, fall exchange programs, and all Dartmouth-supported leave-term programs such as internships and fellowships. Other Dartmouth-supported graduate and professional school international travel programs and clinical electives are canceled through November. Domestic clinical rotations through Geisel will proceed as planned. The graduate and professional school deans will be in touch with their students to outline these changes and answer related questions. In June, the Tuck School will announce additional details about travel planning. Note that Dartmouth's policy restricting Dartmouth-sponsored domestic travel remains unchanged. Students are encouraged to consider remote/virtual leave-term opportunities until travel can resume.
Dartmouth has announced that first-year trips will need to take a different form for the Class of 2024. Given existing public health uncertainties and restrictions, and the potential impact on emergency medical resources, we have decided that sending hundreds of students out on trips in August is not feasible this year. Although this decision is likely not a surprise to most, we know that it is still disappointing; however, it is a shift, and not a cancellation. Student trips directors have notified the '24s that they are committed to providing all first-year students with a shared trips experience this year and throughout their time at Dartmouth.
The Office of Human Resources has new information on interim changes to medical and prescription benefits, health savings accounts, and flexible spending accounts a result of COVID-19.
The Office of Human Resources has information on the COVID-19 hiring freeze. The HR site includes the process for requesting recruitment and review of a position thought to be of critical need. It also has an FAQ on the hiring freeze.
Dartmouth has 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.
Recent emergency orders from N.H. Gov. Chris Sununu and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott restricting and minimizing activities outside of the home permit Dartmouth to continue its existing arrangements for core campus operations and remote teaching and working. The safety and wellbeing of our employees is our highest concern during this difficult time. Employees who have questions about their ability to work on campus should speak with their supervisor/manager about their concerns.
During this difficult time, it is important to practice empathy and inclusion. No one is at a higher health risk because of their racial, ethnic, cultural, or other identity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Misinformation about COVID-19 can spark fear and hostility that hurts people and makes it difficult to stay healthy. We are stronger as a community when we stand together against discrimination and share information that we know to be factual. See the CDC website for suggestions on combating social stigma during this health crisis.
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.
The Ivy League presidents 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. The league also stated that winter teams and student-athletes who have qualified for postseason play will be able to participate in league competitions. However, the NCAA announced that all winter and spring championships have been canceled. Read the NCAA announcement.
If you have been advised to self-observe for COVID-19 symptoms, please monitor your health according to New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services instructions, wear a cloth face covering when you leave your home, and practice physical distancing.
If you feel feverish or develop a cough or shortness of breath, please seek health advice. Before going to a doctor's office or emergency room call ahead and tell the provider or office about your recent travel and symptoms. Students should contact Dartmouth College Health Service (Dick's House). Dick's House will monitor all students who should be in self-quarantine or self-isolation.
Guidelines for faculty on how to teach from anywhere can be found on Dartmouth's Teach Remotely website.
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.
For more information, visit the CDC website.