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Coronavirus Update

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March 10 Campus Update on the Coronavirus and Spring Break Extension

Dickinson President Margee Ensign sent the following message to the campus community to provide an update on the college's response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), which includes extending spring break until March 21.

To the Dickinson community:

Thank you for your understanding and flexibility during this challenging time. I appreciate the support of our community as we navigate in these uncharted waters.

Spring Break Extended

As you know, our emergency response team on campus has been meeting daily for more than two weeks, monitoring the coronavirus situation across the globe and within the United States. Because of the rapidly changing situation and spread of COVID-19 in the United States, we have made the decision to extend spring break for an additional week, with students able to return March 21. The health and safety of our community is our most important consideration, and with the virus spreading and so many unknowns, we decided that it would be prudent to make this decision. We are, however, committed to completing the semester. No students may return to campus before March 21 unless they successfully petition to do so. Shuttles for this weekend have been canceled and any students who need information should contact or 717-245-8187.

Beginning Thursday morning, card access will be required to enter all buildings so equipped, including the Kline Fitness Center and the library.

During this extended spring break, faculty will be developing online options in the event we would have to suspend in-person classes for a longer duration. We also will continue to monitor the spread of the virus and gather information. It is important to understand that a residential college campus, with students living together, sharing bathrooms, classrooms, living spaces and dining areas, presents an ideal environment for the spread of illness.

Travel Suspended

In addition:

  • All non-essential Dickinson-related travel on airplanes, trains or buses is suspended unless a waiver is provided by the president.
  • We are also suspending all on-campus and off-campus college events that involve gatherings of more than 25 people. If you have events planned for next week, those events will need to be canceled.
  • Personal travel is strongly discouraged, and we urge caution and good judgement.

We are not suspending any additional Dickinson study-abroad programs at this time. However, travel within those programs is suspended, and we strongly discourage personal travel by students studying abroad.

  • Students who have questions can contact Student Life at 717-245-1639.
  • Faculty should contact Neil Weissman with questions.
  • All other employees should contact Human Resource Services at 717-245-1503.
  • The Wellness Center will be open next week (and the remainder of this week) Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Open Hours in Counseling & Psychiatric Services will continue to be offered Monday - Friday from 11 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. If you already have a Wellness Center appointment scheduled for next week, you will be contacted by Wellness Center staff about rescheduling as needed. If you have questions or concerns that cannot wait, please contact the Wellness Center at 717-245-1663 or If you are on campus and need to schedule a Health Services appointment, please call to schedule rather than walking in, so that Wellness Center staff can obtain some information from you on the phone prior to your visit.
  • All non-Dickinson visitors are prohibited from visiting residence halls.

Please know that we are making these decisions in the interests of the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff as well as our larger Carlisle community.

We continue to follow the guidance of state, federal and international organizations. Because guidance for higher education institutions has not been forthcoming from these sources, higher education institutions are working together to navigate this challenging time.

Personal Precautions

Finally, I ask every member of our community to take the steps outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. The World Health Organization also provides vital information. You can follow Dickinson updates on our coronavirus webpage.

We will continue to update you throughout the coming days.


Margee M. Ensign

Published March 10, 2020