College to convert Maxwell apartments to self-quarantine site

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 3/17/20 3:43pm

Updated March 17, 2020 at 7:52 p.m.

The College has begun clearing students’ belongings out of Maxwell Hall to provide a space for students who have remained on campus and may need to self-quarantine, according to an email sent by Dean of the College Kathryn Lively to winter residents of the building on Tuesday morning. 

“Professional packers” and College staff have started to pack all the remaining belongings and place them in storage to be claimed once the public health situation has improved, according to Lively’s email. The email notes that, given recent government recommendations to avoid travel, Maxwell Hall residents are not permitted to retrieve their belongings at this time. 

Students who have been asked by public health officials to self-quarantine will be temporarily placed in Maxwell Hall so that they will not be self-quarantined in their own residence halls, according to Lively. “Self-quarantine” refers to a public health status for individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 but have not displayed symptoms or been tested for the virus, Lively wrote in the email.

In a follow-up email sent Tuesday evening, Lively wrote that Maxwell Hall was selected as a "suitable" self-quarantine site in consultation with medical professionals due to the way that the building is configured. She added that the decision is a "precautionary" measure to follow public health guidelines.

Jennifer West '20, a winter resident of Maxwell Hall, voiced concern over the College’s handling of residents’ belongings. 

“There hasn’t been any communication over what to do in this kind of situation,” West said. “We don’t have any knowledge about what’s going to happen with our personal and sensitive items.”

West added that the decision appears to be a “nail in the coffin” for students hoping to return to campus after the first five weeks of spring term. 

Lively’s email noted that the College will reimburse students for lost or damaged items as a result of the packing and storing process.

Levi Roussell ’20, who lived with three roommates in a Maxwell apartment during the winter term, said that while the news was initially startling, he believes that the College’s decision is appropriate.

“Initially, I was kind of surprised, but I thought about it more and I do think it’s a good idea,” he said. 

He added that he was happy that Dartmouth was taking measures to protect its students, and that he believes the River apartments are an ideal self-quarantine site because they are relatively far from other buildings on campus. 

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.