President Clayton Rose laid out the College’s updated spring semester schedule in an email sent to the campus community on Wednesday. Classes are expected to start on February 8—two weeks later than originally planned—and most will continue to be taught online. Spring break will be shortened from two weeks to just five days in mid-March. Rose sent a separate email to the Class of 2020, setting tentative dates of June 11 and June 12, 2021, for on-campus commencement exercises.
Rose acknowledged that the College has yet to make decisions about specific details for the spring semester, including which students will be allowed on campus, as well as the status of sports and study-abroad programs.
According to Rose, until there is a widely distributed COVID-19 vaccine, on-campus protocols regarding testing, social distancing and masks will remain in place.
The email listed two primary reasons for the majority of courses remaining online. First, Rose wrote, there are very few classrooms on campus with satisfactory ventilation and space for physical distancing. Second, remote classes would provide for greater continuity in learning in case the campus shuts down as it did in the spring.
Rose wrote that decisions about which students will be allowed on campus will be made closer to Thanksgiving and that information about sports will be unknown until the NESCAC presidents meet in November. Decisions about study abroad will likely depend on guidance from the U.S. State Department and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“As we all know well, there is much uncertainty regarding COVID-19 and, as a result, all of this is subject to change,” Rose wrote. “We will continue to be guided by the same principles: to protect the health and safety of everyone on campus and our neighbors in Brunswick while also providing an excellent Bowdoin education for all of our students.”