Ahead of June 29 announcement, Helble shares early details for return to campus

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 6/25/20 1:15am

by Divya Kopalle / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

During his weekly “Community Conversations” livestream on Wednesday, Provost Joseph Helble shared some preliminary details regarding the College’s plans for bringing students back to campus. While Dartmouth anticipates that all undergraduates will have the opportunity to spend some part of the upcoming academic year living on campus, Helble said that not all students will be able to do so at the same time. 

The College will announce its plan for the upcoming fall, winter, spring and summer terms on June 29. Of those four terms, Helble said that the College plans to offer students two residential terms. The Class of 2024 will be treated as a “cohort,” according to Helble, meaning that it will spend the same two terms together on campus. Other classes, he said, will likely have the opportunity to express “some preference” for which two terms they would like to spend in residence. 

Students who are in residence will spend the entire term on campus, according to Helble. As for housing, he added that all students will have their own bedrooms, either through a single or a two-room double.   

For the fall term, which will start on Sept. 14 as originally planned, Helble said that even students on campus will likely participate in some form of remote learning. The College also anticipates that it will ask everyone who returns to campus to consent to testing for COVID-19 upon arrival, as well as additional testing and contact tracing throughout the term. 

He said that the College anticipates that “large gatherings — social gatherings and classroom gatherings — will simply not be permissible,” and that students will be required to wear masks in common spaces for at least the fall term. 

Students will likely be brought back to Dartmouth over a period of several days in order to administer testing for COVID-19, Helble said. He noted that Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center “has the capacity and will have the capacity to provide the testing” necessary to support the health of the Dartmouth community.

DHMC president and CEO Joanne Conroy ’77 said during the livestream that the hospital can currently perform 1,000 tests in a day, but it is expecting to receive an additional machine that would increase its capacity to 1,500 tests. Conroy said that DHMC is considering alternative methods of testing, such as testing wastewater for COVID-19, as well.