COVID-19 Safety Precautions Tightened for Fall Term

News subtitle

Weekly testing of vaccinated students, indoor masking requirement among new policies.

Baker Tower and roof tops
Baker Tower and roof tops (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

As the start of fall term approaches, Dartmouth has announced new COVID-19 protocols, including weekly testing for vaccinated students, twice-weekly testing for unvaccinated students, and a requirement that masks be worn in all indoor locations.

In an email to the community today, Interim Provost David Kotz ’86 and Executive Vice President Rick Mills wrote, “Living with COVID-19 requires us to make difficult decisions that prioritize the physical and mental health of our community and maintain campus operations that allow us to pursue Dartmouth’s mission in as normal a manner as possible under the circumstances.”

“We must remain vigilant and allow for flexibility to quickly address any emerging public health needs, in order to protect the community, particularly children under 12, for whom the vaccine is not yet available.”

Dartmouth has created a contingency plan to use the Boss Tennis Center for isolation housing in case of a significant outbreak of the virus on campus.

“We do not anticipate using the center as regular isolation space; however, in an urgent situation, the center can be divided into personalized spaces (roughly 10 feet by 10 feet) with cots set up for approximately 100 people separated by curtains,” Kotz and Mills said.

The building would include space for eating, relaxing, and working, with WiFi access installed. “We are continuing to explore ways to make the space as comfortable as possible and will know more in the coming days,” they said.

Members of Dartmouth’s tennis teams would shift their indoor practices to an alternate facility in the event of inclement weather.

See the full text of the message on the Dartmouth Together COVID-19 website.

Other COVID-19 guidelines include:

  • Beginning Sept. 4, campus buildings will be open only to enrolled students and employees, who will need to use their Dartmouth ID card for access.
  • Later this month, Dartmouth will introduce take-home testing kits for students participating in surveillance testing (vaccinated and unvaccinated). Students will be notified when the new kits are available and will receive instructions for picking up labels, a testing kit, and information about designated testing kit drop-off locations.
  • Kotz and Mills reiterated that vaccinated employees who work on-site also need to test weekly for COVID-19. Take-home testing kits are being distributed to employees now and over the next few weeks.
  • On-site testing will continue to be available for those who need to use it. The testing site has been moved from the Courtyard Café to West Gym, which is located in Alumni Gym.
  • The new indoor masking requirement includes residence halls during the early phase of move-in until officials are confident that transmission rates are stable.
  • Masking is not required in private, non-shared space, such as a dorm room or an office, or alone in a laboratory. Students who live in a shared dorm room may remove their face covering while in their room with their roommates if none of them have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Administrators will review the masking requirement during the week of Sept. 20, and will relax the rules if public health conditions permit.

“We hope that by taking these important steps to limit the scale and scope of COVID-19 transmission, we will be able to enjoy an academic year filled with regular activities, in-person instruction, and memorable experiences,” Kotz and Mills wrote.

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