In a community message today, the COVID-19 Task Force co-chairs gave updates on COVID-19 safety precautions, New Hampshire travel regulations, and related changes to Dartmouth’s COVID-related policies.
In the email, Lisa Adams, a physician and a professor of medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine, and Josh Keniston, vice president of campus services and institutional projects, also shared words of gratitude and encouragement.
“Thank you for continuing to partner with us to help keep our community healthy and safe,” wrote Adams and Keniston.
The co-chairs emphasized the importance of getting outside, exercising, and embracing the season “as we wait out this pandemic.”
“Whether it’s skating on the Green or snowshoeing in your own backyard, we hope you are finding ways to have fun and enjoy winter in the Upper Valley,” they wrote.
Evidence continues to show the importance of wearing a face covering to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the co-chairs wrote. As Dartmouth’s face-covering policy reflects, some types of masks are more effective than others.
“Our face-covering policy requires that cloth masks have at least two layers and should be cleaned frequently,” the co-chairs wrote. “Neck gaiters, bandanas, and other single-layer cloth masks are not acceptable.”
To help students and employees comply, free disposable masks will be available at the surveillance testing site in Thompson Arena. The masks should be worn for only one day, and then properly disposed of in the trash.
Travel Quarantine Guidance, Testing Updates
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has changed its quarantine guidance for those who are within 90 days of a positive COVID-19 test and for those who are two weeks beyond their second vaccine dose, the co-chairs wrote.
All Dartmouth students and employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days no longer need to observe travel quarantine during that 90-day period, following completion of their isolation period, if they must travel outside of their allowed area and then return to campus. Currently, the allowed area for undergraduates is the states of New Hampshire and Vermont; for employees and the remaining Dartmouth students, the allowed area is New England. Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days will continue to be exempt from surveillance testing.
Those who are two weeks beyond their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine are also exempt from travel quarantine outside of New Hampshire, Vermont (undergraduates only), or New England. However, those who have been vaccinated are still expected to participate in surveillance testing.
“At this time, we do not yet know definitively whether the vaccine prevents asymptomatic infection and potential for transmission of the virus,” Adams and Keniston said. “Such data may become available in the coming months; if so, we will review and make any appropriate changes to our protocols.”
For anyone in either of these groups who comes into contact with someone with COVID-19, the need to quarantine will be determined by a discussion with a clinician from either Dick’s House or Axiom Medical. Individuals in either group who develop symptoms may require testing, following evaluation by a health care provider.
The co-chairs noted that Vermont residents must follow that state’s travel quarantine guidelines. Currently, all non-essential travel to and from Vermont requires quarantine. The requirement applies even to those who have been vaccinated, have recovered from COVID-19, or have received a positive antibody test.
For the latest information on Dartmouth’s response to the pandemic visit the COVID-19 website.
Aimee Minbiole can be reached at email@example.com.