Executive Summary

Wrought iron gate shadows

Our Priorities

  • First and foremost, the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and our neighbors in the broader Brunswick community; and
  • providing an excellent Bowdoin education to every student.

Our Plan Summary

We will have some students back in the fall, but not all students. The group on campus will be:

  • our new first-year and transfer students;
  • students who have home situations that make online learning nearly impossible;
  • a very small number of senior honors students who cannot pursue their preapproved projects online and require access to physical spaces on campus, and can do so under health and safety protocols; and
  • our student residential life staff.

All students in residence will be required to sign a residential community agreement that outlines the requirements for living on campus. Failure to comply with the residential community agreement or other policies related to student conduct will result in disciplinary action, including but not limited to removal from campus, suspension, or a hearing before the Judicial Board.

All other sophomores, juniors, and seniors will remain off campus for the fall semester and will take their courses online. With priority given to seniors, if the fall semester goes as we hope, we expect to have our seniors, juniors, and sophomores return to campus for the spring semester, with the added possibility that our winter and spring athletes may be able to engage with their sports in some way. We expect that our first-year and transfer students will study remotely in the spring.

In order to provide the best learning experience possible, nearly all classes, including those on campus, will be taught online. This learning model will bear little resemblance to the emergency version that was created in the spring. Allowing faculty to focus on a single model of teaching, and directing our resources to that single model—rather than a hybrid model—will create the conditions for crafting powerful online course offerings. We are also mindful that teaching in person with masks and appropriate physical distancing will have its limitations.

The exception to the online learning model is that many first-year writing seminars will be taught in person or have in-person components. We also anticipate that faculty will develop opportunities for in-person intellectual engagement outside of class time for first-year students, transfers, and other students here on campus. Those first-year students who are at home for the fall semester will have first-year writing seminars that are delivered online.

Athletics is an important part of the Bowdoin experience for so many of our students. Unfortunately, given that we will not have all students on campus in the fall, we will not be participating in fall and winter varsity sports during the fall semester. The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) is developing plans for fall, winter, and spring sports regarding the ways in which coaches will be permitted to engage with their teams, and we anticipate providing opportunities for our coaches to work with their student-athletes from each sport season in the fall. As we have already noted, we are hopeful that there will be an opportunity for the winter, spring, and possibly fall varsity athletes to participate and compete in some form after January 1.

Those on campus will be required to follow critical safety practices— face coverings, physical distancing, good and regular hygiene, and self-monitoring for symptoms. In addition, students on campus will be tested for the virus at least two times a week and will be required to participate in a contact-tracing program.

All students on campus will have a single bedroom, and there will be dining service.

We will have a normal fifteen-week semester, with classes beginning on September 2, and exams ending on December 21. All students will leave campus ahead of Thanksgiving and finish the term online. There will be a fall break from courses, though students on campus will be asked to remain on campus.