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Carleton extends Spring Break, moves classes online for first half of Spring term

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Carleton College has announced a one-week extension of Spring Break and a shift to remote instruction for the first half of Spring Term through a campus-wide email from College President Steven Poskanzer. To limit the number of people on campus, the College is asking students to leave campus by Wednesday, March 18—a one-day extension past the originally-scheduled move-out day—and not return until at least Tuesday, May 5. Those with extenuating circumstances may petition to stay on campus during this period.

“If possible, we hope that students can return to campus and that we can resume face-to-face classes after the midterm break on Tuesday, May 5,” wrote Poskanzer. “We still expect Spring Term to conclude on June 8, including the final exam period.” 

A shortened, remote term

Despite the break extension, Spring Term will conclude as previously scheduled on Monday, June 8. This means students should expect four weeks of remote teaching and a tentative five weeks of in-person coursework—adding up to a nine-week term. 

The one-week extension to Spring Break was designed to give faculty time to adapt their courses for online teaching. Carleton’s Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching and Academic Technologists is hosting workshops to assist faculty throughout this task. Additionally, Poskanzer acknowledged that it may not be possible for certain courses to be taught remotely. 

 “Some courses may need to be canceled and replaced with alternatives more suitable to online delivery; such decisions should be made in conversation with departments and the Dean of the College Office,” wrote Poskanzer.

It is currently unclear which courses will be affected.

Break and term housing petitions 

Prior to this announcement, the College recommended that students stay on campus over the break and encouraged this option by adding a dining plan to break housing. This recommendation has since changed and students who were previously approved for break housing must reapply through a campus-wide housing form sent by the Office of Residential Life. 

“All of the previous Spring Break housing information is no longer valid,” said Associate Director of Residential Life Tanya Hartwig. “Everyone needs to fill out the new form.” We’re going to look at each student’s current situation on an individual, case-by-case basis.”

Students’ housing and food security—among other factors—will be considered if they petition to stay on campus. Essential services like dining and Student Health and Counseling will be available to those permitted to stay. The Office of Residential Life will determine which residential buildings will be available to students during this time after assessing responses to the housing form.

For students leaving campus, the College expects that they will be able to return after Saturday, May 2, though this is not guaranteed. 

“We’re advising students to pack up their items, but they can leave them in their rooms unless they hear otherwise from our office,” said Hartwig.


This is a developing story. Information is accurate at publication time.

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