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About One-Third Of Bowdoin College Students Will Be Able To Return To Campus In September

Robert F. Bukaty
AP File

Bowdoin College says only about one-third of its students will return to campus this fall. President Clayton Rose says planning for how to conduct the fall semester was based on considering the health of people on campus and off.

"We live in a community, the community of Brunswick. It's amazing we have a tremendous relationship with them. So, I am incredibly mindful of the responsibility I have to all of those groups — faculty, staff, students, and the neighbors that we have in Brunswick."

Under Bowdoin's plan, freshmen and transfer students will come to campus, where Rose says they can make important connections and learn the culture of the school, and they can attend an important introductory course in person. Some other students who need access to Bowdoin facilities for a variety of reasons will also be on campus.

Rose says what we don't know about COVID-19 is "humbling." But, as school officials prepared for this fall's semester, one thing seemed clear: “this is not a line I invented, but I've heard it and it's very apt: that colleges and universities in this country are like cruise ships on land. They are densely packed environments; lots of people living closely and operating and working in close quarters. So, one of the conclusions we reached is that we have to reduce the density on campus if we're going to learn how to manage the virus.”

The school says the semester will open September 2 and end December 21. But the campus will close just before Thanksgiving, with any remaining classes held remotely.