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.
The High Holidays are considered a time of reflection for the Jewish community, but this year they fall during a time of reflection for the whole College community. When Hillel received requests from 29 on-campus students to attend the organization’s Friday Rosh Hashanah dinner—nine students more than the maximum capacity for campus gatherings—the College had to make a decision.
Over the past few months, the College has implemented various measures to safely bring some students back to campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. From altering dining halls to cleaning common areas more often, many departments on campus have been hard at work.
With all varsity and most club sports cancelled this semester due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and strict on-campus health and safety guidelines, chances to make friends, decompress and get some exercise—typically provided by sports teams—are both rare and valuable.
This fall is a far cry from the traditional competition season, but Bowdoin’s cross country teams are making the most of the situation and trying to stay fit and connected. With no meets on the horizon, the women’s and men’s teams are taking a gradual approach to starting up training as everyone gets settled in to the school year.
The first week of the semester saw the rollout of the College’s ambitious testing program for the fall. The plan dictates that students must be tested three times a week—Monday, Wednesday and Friday—for the first two weeks of the semester, and then twice a week—with one group tested on Mondays and Thursdays and the other tested on Tuesdays and Fridays—until campus closes before Thanksgiving break.
Class of 2024: congratulations on making it through your first week! You have been nasal-swabbed, contained to your new (isolation-friendly) home and introduced to most of your professors and peers through a laptop screen. You have relocated during a pandemic, and you have trusted the College with your health and safety.
This fall, the first-year athlete experience will look a little different than it typically does. Instead of splitting their first couple of weeks on campus between practices with their new team and in-person orientation programming, first-year athletes will, along with most of their classmates, adjust to a life on campus that includes regular COVID-19 testing and social distancing.
Due to the COVID-19—and Bowdoin’s first ever semester with entirely remote learning for most students—the College’s athletics department has adapted its recruitment procedures. This year, prospective recruits and high school student-athletes can visit the Bowdoin athletics department’s “virtual visit” webpage, where they will find a virtual tour of the College’s athletic and academic facilities, testimonials from Bowdoin coaches and athletes and a virtual information session featuring members of the Office of Admissions and the athletics department.
Between a pandemic and a precarious political climate, very little has gone according to plan over the past several months, and the world has had to learn how to improvise. “Improvabilities,” Bowdoin’s oldest improvisational comedy group, has worked to modify and adapt their craft to suit a remote model.
As first years, student staff at the Office of Residential Life and approved upperclassmen moved onto campus in late August, they said goodbye to a number of things. Some of the 653 students residing on campus said goodbye to their hometowns, while some said goodbye to their home states or home countries.
After the College announced that that some, but not all, students will be returning to campus for the fall 2020 semester, 75 percent of students reported dissatisfaction with the plan in a survey conducted by the Orient.
Only a small portion of students will be on campus this fall, while the rest are again asked to take a semester of online classes from home. The decision comes as a surprise after multiple NESCAC peer schools, including both Bates and Colby, have announced a return to campus for all students.
Bowdoin Spring Priorities—the College’s fundraising effort to address financial needs that have emerged due to the coronavirus (COVID-19)—has brought in hundreds of donations since its launch on March 12. The College designated four separate funds within Bowdoin Spring Priorities: the COVID-19 Response Fund, the Class of 2020 Commencement Fund, the Financial Aid Fund and the Greatest Need—the Unrestricted Alumni Fund (Alumni Fund).
Janet Lohmann, dean for student affairs, announced updates to the College’s “Personal Leave of Absence” policy on May 21 in an email addressed to all returning students. The changes reflected the College’s concern that a possible remote or semi-remote fall semester would dramatically increase requests for personal leaves of absences, and it aimed to address the logistical issues this rise would present.
Though the College has yet to announce an official decision about housing on campus over the summer as of Thursday, many students who planned to live and work on or near campus are expecting strict limits on the number of students Bowdoin will house.
President Clayton Rose and Dean for Student Affairs Janet Lohmann answered questions posed by over 200 students during a town hall meeting over Zoom on Wednesday night. Question topics ranged from potential limits on the number of students taking leave in the fall to when students can retrieve personal belongings left behind in Brunswick.
The College has yet to accept the $1.2 million allocated to it through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. According to President Clayton Rose, who commented on the matter during Wednesday’s Town Hall, the College has not accepted the funds because “there are some possible conditions or terms around taking the money, which could be problematic.” According to Rose, this provision could potentially lead to the names of students who accept CARES Act aid to be disclosed to any federal agency under the Freedom of Information Act.
Anticipating complications with the fall 2020 semester due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Office of Off-Campus Study (OCS) has recommended that current sophomores reconsider their study away plans and has given them until mid-to-late-June to do so.
On March 23, the staff of Wild Oats Bakery and Cafe had been preparing baked goods and soups since 4:30 a.m. when owner Becky Shepherd received a text saying that a shelter-in-place order had been announced for the Town of Brunswick.
President Clayton Rose has formed a new working group to develop a model for remote teaching and learning in the event that the College determines students cannot return to campus in the fall semester or should they have to leave campus again.
Registration for next semester’s classes may be delayed until early July as the College considers its decision about fall semester learning. Dean for Academic Affairs Elizabeth McCormack informed faculty of the tentative timeline for course registration in an email on Monday.
Though recipients have not yet been informed, the Office of Residential Life decided last week that students awarded Career Exploration and Development’s (CXD) Funded Internship Grants will not be permitted to live on campus this summer.
As the College transitioned to remote learning last month, weekly town halls and daily updates from President Clayton Rose and deans for the College have become the norm, prompting a mix of anxiety and relief amongst readers.
Members of the Bowdoin Labor Alliance (BLA) shut down their online mutual aid fund on Tuesday after College administrators notified them that the effort violated College policies that prohibit independent student fundraising. Before closing on Tuesday, the fund had raised and distributed over $15,000 to Bowdoin students, staff and other community members struggling with the economic fallout of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis since April 1.
Last week, Dog Bar Jim, a Brunswick coffee shop, received a donation from Bowdoin parents who wish to remain anonymous. According to owner Benjamin Gatchell, the benefactors donated $500 to provide coffee for first responders and medical workers at Mid Coast Hospital as well as for local police officers.
In the past few months, Chris Brown ’20 has applied to 96 jobs. “Ninety-six applications and I’ve only had three interviews, with one of them being cancelled because of this,” Brown said in a phone interview with the Orient on April 2, referring to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Members of the class of 2021 Class Council composed an email to the administration voicing their concerns about the prospect of continuing remote learning into the fall semester on Monday. Raising similar concerns, Izzy Miller ’23 wrote an open letter addressed to the Return to Campus Group and to President Clayton Rose.
Due to the College’s transition to remote learning, students will virtually vote on the referendum to the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) constitution between April 17 and April 19. The changes to the constitution fall under two categories: restructuring BSG’s assembly and clarifying the language in its constitution.
As of March 30, Bowdoin has lost $6.8 million due to expenses related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the transition to remote learning, according to senior administrators. Most of the sum—$6.2 million—comes from room and board refunds issued to students, and the remaining $600,000 of expenses came from the costs associated with conducting classes online and moving students out of campus housing.
Elections for Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) Executive Assembly positions open today, with 16 candidates vying for eight positions. Due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), candidates have been campaigning remotely and have turned to social media initiatives in place of posters and in-person debates.
Before the College transitioned to remote learning, students in Professor of Physics Madeleine Msall’s Methods of Experimental Physics course worked for six hours a week in the basement laboratory of Searles Science Building using sophisticated equipment.
Due to the Bowdoin community’s increased use of the video conference platform, Zoom, for virtual classes and meetings, Information Technology (IT) acquired Zoom licenses for all students, faculty and staff. These licenses were obtained, in part, because of the “Zoombombing” that occurred April 1 and 2, during which unknown individuals disrupted a virtual class and a meeting.
Bowdoin OneDay, the College’s largest annual fundraising event for the Alumni Fund, has been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This year’s event had been scheduled to take place on April 7. Scott Meiklejohn, senior vice president for development and alumni relations, explained that the Alumni Fund is working to reschedule the celebration.
The Bowdoin Institutional Review Board (IRB) announced last week that any research requiring in-person interaction with subjects, previously approved or exempted, should stop immediately. The announcement applies to faculty, staff and student research. The decision was made by the IRB in consultation with the Senior Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs Elizabeth McCormack due to concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
As students and faculty wrap up their third week of online classes and settle into their new routines, many have stories to tell about their new virtual-classroom reality. Across academic disciplines, everyone is adjusting to the demands of remote learning, from managing family tensions to keeping students engaged thousands of miles away.
Four Bowdoin students will spend the duration of the spring semester living in the Brunswick Inn following the College’s transition to remote learning. Eileen Hornor, the owner of the Brunswick Inn, is letting students stay at a cost similar to the amount students were refunded for room and board.
President Clayton Rose informed students that the College may not be able to reopen the campus to “everyone” for the fall semester in an email sent on Thursday. “We do not know if it will be possible to bring everyone back to campus for the fall semester, but I want us to carefully examine if it can be done (and if so, how) in a manner that accounts for the presence of the virus and would be safe for our community,” Rose wrote.
The start of the housing lottery, originally scheduled to begin March 31 and then delayed until April 6, has been postponed again until mid-June at the earliest, Director of Residential and Housing Operations Lisa Rendall announced in an email to students Thursday.
As the last students vacated campus on March 18, Laboratory Instructor in Chemistry Ren Bernier was scouring an empty Druckenmiller Hall for gloves, face shields and cotton swabs. The personal protective equipment (PPE) that Bernier and other instructors, technicians and professors gathered from labs across campus will be donated to MaineHealth, a Portland-based medical supplier, to augment depleted supplies of critical protective equipment in hospitals throughout Maine.
The College has placed a freeze on all new hires as it turns its attention to reexamining the budget in the midst of the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, President Clayton Rose announced in an email on March 27.
Despite some opposition from students and faculty, the College adopted a mandatory credit/no-credit grading system this week for all spring classes, sparking a debate among students and faculty about the merits and mechanics of online learning.
In the face of the uncertainty caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), 15 students have withdrawn from fall semester study away, and more are expected to follow, according to Director of Off-Campus Study (OCS) and International Programs Christine Wintersteen.
The Town of Brunswick declared a civil state of emergency Monday night in response to the growing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, ordering all businesses to close except those included in the 29 types of sanctioned “essential businesses.” The order is in effect for seven days, after which it is expected to be renewed.
Over the past few weeks, a small group of students has returned to Brunswick to live in off-campus housing and complete the semester of remote learning close to campus. Sarisha Kurup ’21, who is now living on Atwood Street, created a Facebook group for these students and titled it “Study Abroad Brunswick.” In an introductory post, she wrote, “some of us were thinking of establishing a little community in Brunswick.
Since March 18, Shuhao Liu ’22 has been the only student living in Quinby House, a College House that, just two weeks ago, 24 students called home. “It’s kinda spooky, honestly,” Liu said. In one week, Liu will return home to Beijing, China, where he will be placed under a 14-day quarantine.
Bowdoin’s regular decision admittance rate hit an all-time low of 8.3 percent for the Class of 2024, down from 8.9 percent last year (9.05 percent after students were accepted off the waitlist). The College received 9,402 applications, the greatest number ever received.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to roil global financial markets, colleges and universities around the United States are entering uncharted economic waters. In Brunswick, Bowdoin is battening down the hatches. “It is really too soon to know how severe the impact will be or how this compares with economic challenges of the past, but there is no question that this is a very difficult environment for investments,” wrote Matt Orlando, the senior vice president for finance and administration and treasurer of the College, in an email to the Orient.
A Bowdoin community member is presumed to have the coronavirus (COVID-19) and three students were in contact with another individual during spring break who tested positive for the virus, according to emails sent by President Clayton Rose.
Laila McCain ’21 is accustomed to working 18 to 20 hours per week. She gives tours and hosts information sessions for the Office of Admissions, works in the Center for Cocurricular Opportunities and is employed by the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) as a Residential Advisor in Chamberlain Hall.
Over 78,000 American cases. 1,135 dead in the United States as we write this on March 26, 2020. Over the past several weeks, each of us has experienced a dramatic change in our routines of daily life.
Commencement activities and Reunion Weekend will not happen in May this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. President Clayton Rose announced the decision in an email to seniors Friday morning and in an email to the campus community Friday afternoon.
On March 11, the College announced all classes would move online, and all students must move out by March 18 to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Find the Orient’s coverage of the College’s evolving response to the virus here.
On Thursday, the NCAA announced that it would cancel all remaining championship events for the winter and spring athletic seasons due to the threat of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This decision will immediately impact the Bowdoin women’s basketball team, whose playoff run was cut short and whose season ended with the decision.
When Lily Tedford ’22 received the news Wednesday morning that she would finish the spring semester remotely, taking her classes online to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on campus, her first instinct was to drive to Bowdoin with a few extra suitcases.
Spring semester classes will be completed via “remote learning” and students will not be allowed to return to campus at the conclusion of spring break due to the “unprecedented health crisis” posed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), President Clayton Rose this morning announced in an email to the Bowdoin community.
Due to the developing threat of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the College today announced its decision to hold the three women’s basketball NCAA sectional games that will be hosted at Bowdoin this weekend without allowing any spectators into the arena.
On Friday, the College sent to a message students with health conditions affecting their immune system informing them that there is a higher risk than the general college population in returning campus due to the nationwide outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
In an “abundance of caution” the College today said it will be sanitizing multiple areas of campus visited during a 24-hour period by a student who returned to Bowdoin after studying abroad in Italy, which now has a travel Warning Level 3 from the Center for Disease Control.
Editor’s Note, 3/7/20, 3:02 p.m.: The college sent out a statement at 1:36 p.m. today regarding the contents of this article. The Orient has since published a story addressing those updates. Despite assurances from the college that students studying in Italy would not immediately return to campus due to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) precautions, several students who were studying in Italy returned to campus earlier this week.
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.
Though COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus, hasn’t reached Bowdoin’s campus and only 60 cases have been confirmed in the country compared to the 83,300 cases globally, the virus has affected the lives of several Bowdoin students studying abroad.
Jingyi Zhou ’22 was planning to return home to Beijing over spring break to celebrate her 21st birthday with friends and family. She had booked her ticket during winter break, before the extent of the COVID-19 virus outbreak in China had been revealed.
With the number of cases of COVID-19, colloquially known as the coronavirus, surpassing 63,000 globally, the Bowdoin Health Center is carefully monitoring the virus and is in communication with the Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) as well as the health centers of other schools in the area.
As the number of reported cases of coronavirus continues to rise around the globe, CET Academic Programs (CET), the study abroad program that Bowdoin partners with to send students to East Asia, has suspended its programs in mainland China for the remainder of the Spring 2020 term.