View the latest campus policy, news, and information related to COVID-19.

Message for Thayer Graduate and BE Students

Date: March 13, 2020
From: Dean Alexis Abramson

Dear Thayer Graduate Students and 5th-year BE Students,

I am following up on the recent announcement from President Hanlon about the significant steps Dartmouth is taking to protect the health and safety of our community during this time of increasing attention to COVID-19. I understand that you may be concerned about possible disruptions to your research and worried about meeting course and graduation requirements.

I want to assure you that Thayer faculty and staff are here to support you and are actively seeking solutions to help ensure continuity as much as possible, while following the health and safety guidance from Dartmouth and public health officials.


Graduate students, which includes 5th year BE students with off-campus housing, are not expected to leave the Upper Valley over the spring break. Graduate housing at North Park and Sachem Village will remain open, and graduate students who serve as Resident Fellows in undergraduate dorms are able to remain in their current housing. Students living in off-campus housing are, of course, able to remain in your homes. We expect all members of our community to observe best health practices to help minimize risk and prevent the spread of disease.

Lab Research and Funding

Researchers will be able to continue laboratory research, however, we strongly encourage all students to seek ways to do non-lab-based work remotely when possible. Please work with your advisor to prepare plans for the potential requirement for reduced or no lab-presence in the future. If a work-from-home plan is necessary, we still expect that your financial support will continue.


We expect that a vast majority of Thayer's Spring term courses will be offered as scheduled, and a full course listing will be made available early next week. While all courses will be offered remotely, certain graduate-level courses may also have an in-person option. We are working to identify creative solutions for courses with labs and major projects. We are currently reviewing all options and expect to have a plan in place for all courses soon. While the current plan is to offer courses remotely for the first five weeks of the term, faculty are also prepared to extend remote course delivery to the full 10-week term for students unable to return to campus by May 1, or in the event that Dartmouth requires that we deliver all courses remotely for the duration of the term.

Space, Gatherings, and Social-Distance

We are currently reviewing desk space in classrooms, lab spaces, and graduate carrel assignments to ensure that social distancing can take place, and reassignments will be made as applicable. Dartmouth guidelines currently prohibit large gatherings of 100+ people on campus. For gatherings (events, courses, meetings) of less than 100, we still strongly encourage social-distance practices and the use of remote tools, such as Zoom, when feasible.

Our utmost concern is the health and safety of Thayer students, faculty, and staff, as well as the overall Dartmouth and Upper Valley communities, and to limit the spread of infection. If you are not feeling well or are starting to exhibit flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing), please do not come to campus and seek immediate guidance from your doctor and state health officials.

If you have specific concerns or additional guidance on research or course planning, please reach out directly to the following resources:

  • BE students: Doug Van Citters (
  • MEM students: Geoffrey Parker (
  • PhD/MS/MEng students: Ian Baker (
  • General questions: Holly Wilkinson (
  • Specific guidance on research should go directly to your faculty advisor.

In this unprecedented time, we are mindful of the fact that experience is new for everyone. We appreciate your patience, your adaptability, and flexibility during this fast-moving, ever-evolving situation. We will continue to provide updates to help you navigate these complexities.