Provost: Recent COVID-19 Restrictions Expected to Ease

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The adjustment depends on the number of new cases and adherence to guidelines.

Campus drone shot
Photo by Robert Gill

Beginning on Monday at 8 a.m., Dartmouth expects to adjust the restrictions that were needed to contain the recent outbreak of COVID-19, Provost Joseph Helble wrote today in a message to the Dartmouth community.

The easing of current restrictions will be contingent on two factors: that there are no major COVID-19 guideline violations over the weekend, and that there continue to be fewer than five new cases each day of students testing positive for the virus, Helble wrote. Assuming those conditions are met, in-person classes and undergraduate student participation in research laboratories and project spaces can resume Monday at the discretion of faculty members and primary investigators, he said.

Following a week of increasing numbers of positive COVID-19 tests in the Dartmouth community, surveillance testing shows that the rate of increase of new cases, and thus the rate of disease transmission, has slowed significantly, Helble wrote. “This morning’s test results show two new cases of students with COVID-19, the lowest single-day total since the beginning of last week and comparable to levels seen through the early part of winter term.”

Indoor spaces will also reopen for studying, including the Collis Center, the Top of the Hop, and Kemeny Hall, in accordance with their established occupancy limits, Helble wrote.

Dartmouth Library’s Baker-Berry Library will reopen Monday with term-time hours, but the Novack entrance to the library will remain closed, and the safety protocols in the library, including no food or drink, will remain in place. Alumni Gym and Zimmerman Fitness Center will also reopen with reduced capacity.

Students should continue to refrain from visiting one another in person in their rooms or gathering in hallways, Helble wrote. Common spaces and kitchens in residence halls will remain closed at this time, and dining options will continue to be “grab and go.”

“We are working to reopen as many of the winter activities as possible, including access to the outdoor fire pits and Adirondack chairs and the skating rink, weather permitting,” he wrote.

The bus to Dartmouth Skiway will also resume, although with reduced capacity.

Student employees who are approved for winter campus access can continue to work if their workspace is open and at the discretion of their supervisor, with whom they should be in touch for further information. Students who have on-campus employment will be paid for scheduled hours this past week when they were not permitted to come to work.

Helble thanked Dartmouth community members for their cooperation and perseverance.

“This has been a challenging time for everyone in our community, especially for those of you who have been in quarantine and isolation,” Helble wrote. “By pulling together over the next two days, we can end the undergraduate term on a positive note and return to the campus protocols we had in February.”

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

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