Information for students, faculty, and staff about Bowdoin's plan for the fall 2020 semester.

1. How was the decision reached? Who made the decision?
President Rose made the final decision, informed by the Return to Campus Group, medical experts, the work of the Continuity in Teaching and Learning Group, the faculty, the Committee on Governance and Faculty Affairs, and the board of trustees. The key drivers for the decision were:

  • first and foremost, the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and our neighbors in the Brunswick community;
  • providing an excellent Bowdoin education to every student;
  • strengthening the bonds of our community; and
  • being good stewards of our financial resources.

2. What is the calendar for the fall semester?
The fall semester will begin on Wednesday, September 2, and will end on Tuesday, December 22. Students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving break and the remainder of the semester will be fully remote.

3. What are the criteria for determining what students will be allowed on campus for the fall semester?
There will be five categories of students who will be allowed to live on campus this fall: first-year students, transfer students, students with home environments that severely challenge their ability to learn, a very small number of seniors in STEM fields or performance or visual arts with honors projects that require physical campus facilities and can be done under health and safety protocols, and our student residential life staff.

4. I have a home environment that severely limits my ability to learn. What is the process to apply to live on campus this fall?
Students with home environments that severely limit their ability to learn must email return_requests@bowdoin.edu to request a form. As part of the request form, students may provide the name of a Bowdoin faculty or staff member who can provide additional context for the student. This is optional and the Committee’s decision will ultimately be made based on the student’s circumstances. Requests will be reviewed on a rolling basis, but all requests must be received by July 8. Forms received by July 2 will receive a decision on July 6. Forms received by July 5 will receive a decision on July 7. A final round of requests will be considered by July 8, if space is available. All decisions will be communicated by July 8 to provide students the opportunity to complete the process to request a personal leave of absence, if they so choose. Students who are also considering a personal leave of absence should pursue that process concurrent with a request for housing. Personal leaves of absence must be completed by July 12.

5. I'm a senior who cannot pursue my honors/independent study project remotely because I require access to physical spaces and resources on campus. What is the process to apply to live on campus this fall?
Seniors who cannot pursue their pre-approved projects remotely because they require access to physical spaces and resources on campus, and can do so under health and safety protocols, may submit a petition to be on campus for this reason. Petitions are due on July 2 and decisions will be announced on July 8. Visit the Academic FAQ for more information.

6. How do I apply for a leave? What is the deadline? Are there any changes to the leave policy? Will I be allowed to return in the spring if we are back on campus?
Students wishing to pursue a Personal Leave of Absence must complete the entire process by Sunday, July 12, 2020, at 12:00 p.m. EDT. To schedule a time to talk with someone about this decision, please contact Kathleen King for the Class of 2023 or Lynne Yanders for the Classes of 2022 and 2021. Please review the Personal Leave of Absence FAQs for additional information. 

7. How will Bowdoin ensure the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff on campus for the fall semester?
Protecting the health and safety of the Bowdoin community is the College’s top priority. 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, everyone on campus will be tested at least two times a week and will be required to participate in a contact-tracing program.

8. What do I do if I am not able to be on campus and don’t have reliable Wi-Fi or computer equipment?
Students who have difficulty with technology needs should contact Dean Khoa Khuong, who can assist.

9. International students have very specific circumstances. Who do they consult with to determine what to do and how this affects them?
Current international students should contact Khoa Khoung, the international student advisor, and first-year students should contact Stephanie Rendall, assistant dean of first-year students, about their specific circumstances.

10. Is the campus still closed to the public?
The campus will remain closed to the public for the fall semester in order to protect the health of Bowdoin students, faculty, and staff and the broader Brunswick community.

11. What are the plans for Reunion and Commencement 2021?
Currently, we are still planning to hold Reunion and Commencement for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 on campus.