As cases of COVID-19 increase regionally and nationally, Dartmouth is adjusting plans for how and when employees will return to campus, Chief Human Resources Officer Scot Bemis announced in an email to the community today.
Specifically, Dartmouth is now asking employees who have not yet returned to campus and whose roles are not directly student-facing to continue to work remotely until Oct. 4. Previously, the plan was for those workers to return at the beginning of September.
“We recognize that many of you have already returned to campus,” Bemis said—and those individuals who have returned can continue to work on-site.
But for those who have not yet returned, Bemis said, “Considering the rising rate of virus transmission in the state, we are pushing back that date by a month to help slow the increase in the density of people on campus, with the goal of interrupting COVID-19 transmission wherever possible.”
Employees with questions about how this change affects them should speak with their supervisors.
Dartmouth will provide an update on this decision next month.
At-Home Testing Is Coming
In addition, Bemis announced a change to the frequency of COVID-19 surveillance testing for vaccinated employees, from every 30 days to weekly. Unvaccinated employees who are coming to campus are still required to test twice a week. Employees do not need to participate in surveillance testing if they are not coming to campus to work.
Over the course of the next two weeks, Dartmouth will start providing take-home testing kits for everyone—vaccinated and unvaccinated—participating in the surveillance testing program. The new, more convenient testing format is being rolled out by department or division, and those who are eligible will be notified about when they can begin.
On Monday, Aug. 30, on-site testing will be moved from the Courtyard Café to West Gym, located in Alumni Gym.
In addition to testing, all employees are still required to wear face coverings when working indoors on Dartmouth premises, except when working alone in a private office. For more information, see the face-covering policy.
Noting that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has now given full approval to the Pfizer vaccine, in addition to the emergency use authorization given to other vaccines, Bemis thanked employees who have already submitted documentation of their vaccination against COVID-19.
“Your efforts have helped in allowing us to return to a semblance of normalcy,” he said.
Employees who have not yet received their COVID-19 vaccination, or who have not yet submitted their documentation to Axiom Medical, Dartmouth’s occupational medicine partner, should do so before Sept. 1.
Proof of vaccination, or a vaccination waiver, is required for all employees who will be working on-site this year in any capacity. Employees can request medical and religious exemptions from this policy through the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity.
Through December, parking will continue to be free for those displaying permits with an expiration date of June 30, 2020, the last permit issued, Dartmouth Transportation Services has announced. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.