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College cancels spring break trips due to coronavirus

Administrators not currently considering suspending classes

March 6, 2020

Bowdoin cancelled College-sponsored travel to four countries, five states and the District of Columbia this week as the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues. As of today, the first day of spring break, the College is not planning to extend the break or considering suspending future classes, according to administrators.

In a campus-wide email Wednesday, President Clayton Rose wrote that the College is “preparing to ensure the continuity of instruction at Bowdoin in the event that faculty and students cannot meet face to face.”

“The College has a variety of tools to make sure courses can continue when students are unable to attend classes or when classes are cancelled due to weather or other disruptions,” wrote Scott Hood, senior vice president for communications and public affairs, in an email to the Orient. Hood added that administrators are “working with Information Technology and other offices to make sure faculty and students have what they need should this become necessary.”

According to Hood, Bowdoin is not considering suspending classes and does not plan to extend the two-week-long spring break.

Bowdoin is not restricting personal travel over spring break, but is requesting students, faculty and staff to fill out a form to “let the College know immediately if they stay in or pass through any country with a CDC travel advisories Warning Level 3 (currently China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea) or if they have been in one of these countries during the last fourteen (14) days.”

According to a FAQ page about COVID-19 on the Bowdoin website, “the College is not permitting Bowdoin-sponsored travel (defined as those trips funded directly by the College or for which the traveler receives reimbursement from Bowdoin) by students, faculty, or staff to states in the US that have declared COVID-19-related emergencies (currently, California, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, and Washington), Washington D.C. or to countries with a CDC travel advisory Warning Level 3 (currently China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea).”

These trips include Career Exploration and Development’s West Trek program in California, the Bowdoin Public Service trip to Washington D.C., spring training trips for the tennis, track, sailing, softball, baseball and lacrosse teams and Alternative Spring Break (ASB) trips to Washington D.C. and to Mexico, the latter of which included travel to California. ASB trips in Maine and to Hawaii and Puerto Rico will proceed as planned.

Campus housing will remain open during spring break for all students.

According to the FAQ, “The College will provide meals at no cost for international students and other students with home addresses outside the US who are unable to travel, for students whose Bowdoin-sponsored trips are cancelled, and for students receiving financial aid who choose to not travel because of COVID-19. Meals will also be available during break at reduced rates to non-aided students who choose to remain on campus.”

No Bowdoin students were abroad studying in China, Iran or South Korea, but students studying in Italy received an email from the College on March 1 requesting that they leave the country. By March 3, all students in Italy had departed the country. According to Hood, these students were told that they should not return to campus this semester.

Bowdoin currently recommends that students remain enrolled in study abroad programs in countries that do not have CDC Warning Level 3. According to Hood, the College has not discussed barring students from studying abroad in the fall.

According to the FAQ, the College “recommends that [students studying abroad] limit and reconsider personal travel, especially to countries with a CDC Warning Level 3 or US State Department Travel Advisory Level 4 regarding the risks of COVID-19.”

Hood wrote that the Campus Emergency Management Team (CEMT) met Thursday morning and will continue to meet “during the break and as necessary thereafter.”

Hood said Thursday’s CEMT meeting addressed “instruction continuity, maintaining essential services, communication, and planning for the possibility of isolating those with the virus, among other topics.”

Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs Janet Lohmann wrote in an email to the Orient that additional information will be sent out to students today.

Hood urged students to continue to check their email and the FAQ page for updates.

Editor’s Note, 3/7/20, 9:31 a.m.: Information about the cancelation of College-sponsored travel to Indiana and Washington D.C. was updated.

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