Dartmouth College outlines losses due to pandemic

Staff Report
Published: 12/29/2020 9:26:59 PM
Modified: 12/29/2020 9:26:52 PM

HANOVER — Dartmouth College is projecting that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a $91 million impact on its fiscal year 2021 budget, but that budget cuts and the use of some reserve funds are helping to close the shortfall.

With the college only allowing about half of undergraduates on campus for the fall and winter terms and offering many classes remotely, Dartmouth Chief Financial Officer Michael Wagner this week said via email that the college is seeing a shortfall of about $46 million in tuition, room and board and fees.

That includes factoring in $18 million in savings on scholarships that weren’t needed, though the college is also budgeting $8 million in additional scholarship payments to meet an increased need for help among students whose families have lost jobs in the pandemic.

Dartmouth is also projecting an $8 million revenue shortfall among its graduate schools, including tuition, donations and research grants; $9 million less than originally forecast in donations to the Dartmouth College Fund; and about $9 million in other revenue dips, including $5 million from the Hanover Inn, which has remained open but like most hotels has seen a large drop in guests.

On top of the $72 million in lost revenue for FY 2021, which began in July, Dartmouth has had about $19 million in COVID-19-related expenses, including $12 million for personal protective equipment and testing and $2 million for the moving and storage of student belongings after the campus was closed to students in the spring, according to Wagner.

Dartmouth, which has a budget of about $1.13 billion, also had some staff layoffs and early retirements this year to help deal with the pandemic’s impact.

Wagner, whose projections were first reported by The Dartmouth student newspaper, said the revenue losses and COVID-19 costs will be “mitigated” by $50 million in “rebudgeting” among its various divisions and schools; $13 million in savings on salary merit increases; $22 million in the use of reserve funds; and $6 million from a fundraising drive to bolster financial aid.

Wagner said the “scholarship bridge program” is a “a new and focused fundraising effort undertaken to fundraise toward the increase in scholarship that we anticipated as COVID was hitting.”

Dartmouth officials have repeatedly said they won’t tap the college’s $6 billion endowment to solve the budget crunch. Wagner said the college has more than $400 million in “liquid operating reserves,” including $50 million in a revenue stabilization reserve.

Dartmouth is planning to distribute $281 million from its endowment into the operating budget during the fiscal year, about a $15 million increase from fiscal year 2020, according to Wagner.

Lebanon High boys hoops in quarantine

LEBANON — Members of the Lebanon High boys basketball have been asked to quarantine due to a confirmed case of COVID-19 on the team, Lebanon School Superintendent Joanne Roberts told the Lebanon community in an email sent Monday night.

“We were informed that a Lebanon High School student on the boy’s basketball team has a confirmed case of COVID-19,” she wrote. “At this time, all players in attendance at LHS boy’s basketball practices last week have been asked to quarantine until further guidance from DHHS.”

In a follow-up email sent to parents of the players exposed to the confirmed case, Lebanon nurse Karen Townsend said the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has asked the players to quarantine until Jan. 3

Although masks are required at all times during practice, the game of basketball only allows so much distancing. The Raiders and teams in New Hampshire were allowed to start contact practices on Dec. 14 in preparation for the first day of competition on Jan. 11.

Raiders coach Kieth Matte said in a phone interview that he wasn’t in close contact with the player and hasn’t been asked to quarantine. The case won’t impact the start of the season, which starts on Jan. 19 at Mascoma.

Only the Lebanon boys and girls varsity teams practiced at Lang Metcalf Gym last week, per the LebanonRaiders.org website.

Matte said that no athletic teams are practicing when Lebanon is on winter break to minimize the possible spread of COVID-19. The pause was agreed upon before the start of the winter sports season.

Sullivan County nursing home halts communal dining

UNITY — Sullivan County Health Care has “instituted enhanced precaution measures” after a resident at the Unity nursing home developed upper respiratory symptoms, according to the home’s administrator. The resident tested positive for COVID-19 with a rapid antigen test on Sunday, but on Monday tested negative with a PCR test.

That may indicate the initial positive result from the antigen test was false, said Ted Purdy, the administrator, in a message posted to Facebook on Tuesday. After consulting DHHS, the nursing home has halted communal dining and group activities and workers in the unit where the resident lives are wearing additional personal protective equipment, including masks, gloves, face shields and gowns.

The home has had no other positive results. The precautions will remain in place at least until results are back for this week’s round of testing, Purdy said.

Hanover Terrace update

HANOVER — Another resident at Hanover Terrace has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the facility’s administrator. That brings the total number of residents infected there during the outbreak that began last month to 69. In addition, 39 employees and two essential workers employed by an outside vendor also have tested positive, bringing the outbreak’s total to 110.

Most have recovered, but seven residents have died during the outbreak and two remain seriously ill, said Martha Ilsley, the administrator, in an email on Tuesday.

Staff Writers Nora Doyle-Burr, Pete Nakos and John P. Gregg contributed to this report.

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