Dartmouth details plan to mix remote, in-person learning

HANOVER, N.H. (WCAX) Dartmouth College students will return to campus for the next academic year, but some students say they're not on board with the plan.

The college released details Monday of its plan to combine residential and remote learning. It includes limiting numbers on campus this fall, testing, and a push toward remote learning.

"I've decided to forego classes and find work instead," said Crawford Crooks, A Dartmouth sophomore who said he's disappointed with the school's decision. His biggest issue -- only half of the roughly 4,000 undergraduate students will be allowed on campus this fall term. The other half will stay home and take classes online. All students will get time on campus but they will be limited to two terms each.

"There is so much that goes on outside of the classroom that is important to me and valuable about my time here that it just doesn't make any sense for me to waste the time and the money to take online classes," Crooks said.

Most of the classes, even for the students living on campus, will be done remotely. The students will all live in single dorm rooms, need to quarantine for 14 days when they arrive, and will be tested for the virus.

"Half is far better than not at all," said Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin. She commended the plan, saying the college is an integral part of the Upper Valley community. "Our downtown businesses desperately need visitors, they need shoppers, they need diners."

But Griffin also acknowledges that there will be fears locally, considering the students come from all over the world. She says the Ivy League school and students will need to engage in the highest standard of public health, including limiting numbers for social gatherings and no big parties on frat row. "I need to be able to tell our citizens with assurance that Dartmouth and their students get that," Griffin said.

Several halls will be set aside as quarantine locations to house students who test positive for the virus. Crooks is from Connecticut, a state with many more COVID-19 cases than New Hampshire and Vermont combined. "I think Dartmouth has a responsibility to actually take in people who are going to be much safer here and keep their families and their communities safer by being removed from them," he said.

College president Philip Hanlon in a statement said that the campus environment will look very different in the fall. He said that health and safety of the community is a top priority.