COVID-19 Task Force Update Includes Testing and Travel Guidance

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Employees working remotely should expect to continue to do so through March 2021.

Dartmouth campus in fall
Photo by Keoni Ocalvey ’20, Th ’21

As the fall term draws to a close for much of campus, the co-chairs of Dartmouth’s COVID-19 Task Force sent an email today updating the Dartmouth community on COVID-19 guidelines and Dartmouth operations, including the continuation of remote work and surveillance testing; new travel guidance; and a change in dining services.

Dartmouth is currently in phase three of its five-part re-opening plan, meaning that only activities that can’t effectively be done at home are permitted to be carried out onsite, with approval, wrote Lisa Adams, a physician and an associate professor of medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine, and Josh Keniston, vice president of campus services and institutional projects. “At this time, we anticipate that employees now working remotely will continue to do so through March 2021.”

Also, “given the recent increase in virus transmission in our community,” all Dartmouth dining facilities are currently providing take-out service only, they wrote. “This ‘grab-and-go’ policy will be reevaluated on an ongoing basis, starting at the end of this week.”

Surveillance Testing

COVID-19 testing for employees and students will continue to be available through December at Leverone Field House and the Williamson Translational Research Building on the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center campus. Students, faculty, and staff who are in the Upper Valley should continue testing as usual—weekly for all students, and as instructed by Human Resources for employees. To make an appointment, follow this link

Testing will be available at Leverone on weekdays, except for Thanksgiving week and the last two weeks of December, when it will be available two or three days per week. Testing will be available at Williamson on Tuesdays through the end of December.

Testing at Leverone and Williamson is for asymptomatic people who have completed their Temperature and Self-Assessment screening for that day and have been cleared to use campus facilities. Students who have symptoms or are not cleared to access campus based on their TSA should call the Dartmouth College Health Service at 603-646-9400 for guidance. Faculty and staff with symptoms or a positive TSA should call Axiom Medical at 877-502-9466.

Employees who have been working remotely but anticipate coming to campus on a regular basis can schedule a test at Leverone or Williamson three to five business days before their return date, Adams and Keniston wrote. That will allow time for employees to receive their results before they return.

Travel Guidance

New Hampshire residents and visitors to that state must self-quarantine for 14 days following the last day of any high-risk travel, which includes travel outside of the United States; on a cruise ship; or domestically outside of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or Vermont for nonessential purposes.

Adams and Keniston noted that people entering New Hampshire following high-risk travel now have the option to “test out” of quarantine by getting a molecular (PCR-based) test on day seven of their quarantine. If the test is obtained on day seven of quarantine, the person is asymptomatic, and the test is negative, then they may end their quarantine early, although they must still self-observe for symptoms of COVID-19 and isolate and seek additional testing if symptoms emerge.

That option, which aligns with Vermont guidance, applies only to travel-related quarantine and not to anyone who is quarantining because of exposure to a person with COVID-19, Adams and Keniston wrote. “Quarantine means that you may not leave your home, even for work, school, or other essential functions.”

More information about New Hampshire travel guidelines is available at Residents of Vermont must comply with Vermont guidance.

Because travel increases the risk of getting COVID-19 through close contact with others or contaminated public surfaces, anyone going home for the upcoming holiday break should try to avoid public transportation, keep a distance of at least 6 feet from others, avoid gatherings with anyone outside of their household, frequently sanitize their hands, and wear a cloth face-covering when in public areas, Adams and Keniston wrote. “Emerging research indicates that wearing a face mask protects the wearer as well as people in their vicinity.”

Aimee Minbiole