Health Officials Alert Contacts of Undergrad with COVID-19

News subtitle

Task force: All employees to work remotely with few exceptions, building access limited.

Dartmouth campus
Photo by Eli Burakian ’00

State public health officials are getting in touch with people who may have been in close contact with a Dartmouth undergraduate who has tested presumptive positive for COVID-19, wrote Dartmouth’s COVID-19 Task Force co-chairs Lisa Adams, a physician and an associate professor of medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine, and Josh Keniston, vice president for institutional projects, in a message to the Dartmouth community.

Adams and Keniston also informed employees about changes in the works on campus and urged members of the community to seek support during the upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is an unprecedented time for our entire community, filled with difficult decisions and tremendous change, and each of you has responded with compassion, industry, and ingenuity. Thank you for all you are doing to safeguard the health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and Upper Valley neighbors,” they wrote in the second community-wide message sent today.

Earlier in the day they notified community members that a second student, an undergraduate living in off-campus housing, has tested presumptive positive for the virus. Earlier this week, a graduate student, also living off-campus, tested positive. (A third student’s test came back negative.) Both students who tested positive are recovering and Dartmouth officials have checked with them to be sure they are comfortable and have what they need. Dartmouth is also receiving reports of undergraduates in other states who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The changes on campus:

  • By the end of this week, all employees will be working from home unless they have been directed to perform necessary duties on campus. Dartmouth remains open but will be scaling back the number of employees in Hanover. (The College had earlier notified employees that they will continue to pay all regular employees through the end of spring term.)
  • Departments will work with employees to create on-campus rotations to ensure that work is scheduled fairly and to identify duties that can be performed from home to support other Dartmouth work.
  • Access to buildings will be restricted in the coming weeks to only those employees performing necessary duties, including faculty preparing for remote learning during the 10-week spring term, which begins on March 30.

Keniston and Adams reminded community members that Dartmouth’s Faculty/Employee Assistance Program offers support online and by telephone. Also available to assist employees are the College chaplain and ministry representatives from various faith traditions.

For the latest information on Dartmouth’s response to the pandemic, visit the COVID-19 website

Susan J. Boutwell can be reached at

Susan J. Boutwell