March 15, 2020 — School Closings

To Bowdoin faculty and staff,

As many of you know, officials announced late yesterday that schools in Cumberland and other counties—including schools in Brunswick and MSAD-75—will be closed for at least two weeks beginning tomorrow as a precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For the same reason, we have decided to close the Bowdoin College Children’s Center, effective Tuesday, March 17. The center will be open tomorrow but will close at the end of the day and will remain closed until local schools reopen.

This obviously means that many of our faculty and staff may have to stay at home for an undetermined period of time to care for their children.

Academic affairs and IT are supplementing training sessions with options for online participation for faculty in advance of the College moving to remote learning and teaching on March 25. The dean’s office will share more information on this soon.

We are also asking departments to plan to have at least half of their staffs working from home by mid-week, with priority given to those with children under the age of thirteen (13) or with other compelling reasons to work remotely.

We recognize working from home will not be feasible for certain departments (e.g., dining, facilities, health services, security, etc.). For staff who cannot perform their jobs from home, department supervisors should adapt schedules, if possible, to allow staff to work outside of standard business hours. During this two-week period, we will not ask staff to record vacation or personal time for the time they must remain at home to care for their children. More information on recording time will be forthcoming.

Working from home will surely be unfamiliar and perhaps a bit strange for many of us but, in most cases, we have the ability to do this and we want to make sure we can continue necessary operations at the College while also giving faculty and staff the ability to care for their children during this challenging time. This approach will have the added benefit of reducing the number of people on campus who could encounter someone exposed to the virus if COVID-19 spreads here.

Meanwhile, our colleagues in student affairs are making good progress—with help from many of you—in assisting our students as they pack up their belongings and leave campus, and we are continuing to put plans into place to keep the College up and running while also doing everything we can to prepare for various contingencies and to protect members of our community. Please remember to check your email and the various FAQ pages on the Bowdoin website (a new FAQ for faculty was just added yesterday) for updates and advisories.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Matt Orlando
Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration & Treasurer