March 4, 2020, Update
To the Dartmouth community,
We write to update you about our response to the COVID-19 coronavirus on campus and to urge you to visit dartmouth.edu/covid19, which is updated frequently with the latest guidance and resources.
DARTMOUTH CONTACTS WITH DHMC EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE TESTED POSITIVELY FOR COVID-19
Earlier this week we learned that a number of Tuck students had attended a social event at The Engine Room in White River Junction on Friday, February 28, with a Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center employee who was subsequently confirmed to have tested positively for COVID-19.
All of those Tuck students, who have been notified of this fact, were deemed to be at low risk by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NHDHHS) because they were believed not to have had any direct contact with the employee. Individuals who have been identified as having potential direct contact with the employee are being required to stay at home in self-quarantine for a period of up to 14 days.
No limits were placed on their activities, but out of an abundance of caution, they were asked to follow NHDHHS guidelines for self-observation.
Yesterday, a second D-H employee tested positively for COVID-19 and is now being appropriately isolated. Four Geisel School of Medicine students were identified as close contacts to this second individual and are being monitored by NHDHHS. The Geisel students have been self-quarantined and Dartmouth is working with the impacted students to find suitable housing accommodations.
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL GUIDANCE AND POLICIES
Short-Term Travel Scheduled for March:
Effective March 4, 2020, Dartmouth is canceling student international programming such as spring break programs, internships, and field-based research, and discourages any international individual travel for all members of the Dartmouth Community. Given the quickly evolving nature of COVID-19, there are serious risks of travel disruptions as well as potential exposure to COVID-19. Those who choose to travel internationally and return from or transit through a country that is rated as a CDC Level 2 or Level 3 based on COVID-19 risk will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days, and those returning from a CDC Level 1 will be required to self-observe for 14 days before returning to campus. To be clear, self-quarantine for travel that commenced after March 4, 2020, will need to occur off campus.
For longer term travel, such as spring term international study programs and internships, Dartmouth is still evaluating the situation and will provide more detailed updates later this week. Until such time, Dartmouth discourages commencing any travel to countries rated CDC Levels 1-3 due to COVID-19 risk. Domestic travel programs are not impacted at this time.
Please visit news.dartmouth.edu/covid-19/important-updates for information regarding self-quarantine and self-observation.
CAMPUS EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES
In accordance with guidance from the CDC and NHDHHS, Dartmouth is not prohibiting public events or activities at this time; however, event organizers should make appropriate decisions relative to their event in determining whether to cancel or proceed. We recommend that those who are holding events include timely reminders about maintaining good hygiene such as washing hands, avoiding handshakes, and reminding individuals with possible symptoms that they should remain at home.
SPRING TERM PROGRAMS AND CLASSES
Dartmouth is planning to hold spring term classes on campus. We are also preparing contingency plans to ensure business and learning continuity in the event that circumstances change unexpectedly.
There has been a lot of media coverage, social media discussion, and communications regarding COVID-19 across the Upper Valley and our campus. Some of what you are hearing and seeing may be inaccurate or incomplete. We will continue to update you via email as necessary and urge you to visit dartmouth.edu/covid19 when you have questions.
We understand that this is a stressful time for many people on campus, particularly those who may be at higher risk or who have friends and relatives living in affected countries. We will be in touch with the community regularly with additional updates, planning information, and guidance for protecting your health.
Lisa Adams, MD
Co-Chairs, Dartmouth COVID-19 Task Force