Two years after the COVID-19 pandemic first upended Dartmouth’s operations, administrators are hoping they will soon be able to announce changes to masking and surveillance testing policies for spring term—if virus trends continue to move in the right direction, says Provost David Kotz ’86.
“I am proud of how our community has rallied and adapted in difficult circumstances,” Kotz says. “We’re still not in the clear, but things are looking up.”
As COVID-19 cases continue to drop on campus, the COVID leadership team led by Kotz and Executive Vice President Rick Mills is reviewing new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state of New Hampshire to determine how and when Dartmouth may be able loosen restrictions while continuing to protect those most at risk from the pandemic.
The team expects to announce spring term changes to masking and testing policies, as well as guidelines for spring arrival testing, as soon as next week, Kotz says.
As of March 1, Dartmouth’s COVID-19 Dashboard showed 38 members of the community currently in isolation for COVID-19—a dramatic reduction from earlier in the term. Still, the CDC regards the prevalence of COVID-19 in the region as “high”—a status that calls for continuing indoor mask-wearing.
Crucially, no one on campus has been hospitalized with severe illness—a testament to the fact that more than 98% of the Dartmouth community is fully vaccinated and more than 90% have received their COVID-19 booster shots.
“By the start of spring term we expect that all Dartmouth students will be boosted,” says Kotz, who encourages all members of the community to get a booster if they have not done so already. “As our community’s risk lowers, it’s time for us to start thinking about relaxing constraints.”
For information on how to get a COVID-19 vaccine or booster and how to submit documentation of vaccine status to Dartmouth, visit the Dartmouth Together COVID-19 website.