Dartmouth: Necessary Workers Still Need to Be on the Job

Task Force co-chairs address Vermont requirements for residents who are necessary workers.

Vermont residents who work at Dartmouth should continue to report to work if they are necessary to the institution's operation, Dartmouth officials said in an email yesterday explaining what Vermont Gov. Phil Scott's Stay Home/Stay Safe executive order means for Dartmouth employees.

Scott's order, issued yesterday ordered the closure of in-person operations for all non-essential Vermont businesses and directed Vermonters to stay at home, leaving only for reasons critical to health and safety.

"The remote work policies we have put in place over the last several weeks are aligned with the intentions" of Scott's order, wrote Dartmouth's COVID-19 task force co-chairs Lisa Adams, a physician and an associate professor of medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine, and Josh Keniston, vice president for institutional projects, in an email to the Dartmouth community. "While we are a New Hampshire institution, many of our employees live in Vermont, and we understand that the governor's directive may have raised questions about how it applies to them."

"All employees should be working from home unless they have been directed by their manager or supervisor to be on campus to perform a necessary function. Faculty requiring internet connections and other critical resources may access their office space. If you have been identified as a necessary worker, regardless of where you live, you should continue to report to work as your supervisor has indicated.

"Dartmouth remains open as we support academic continuity, maintain our campus, and serve our students—some of whom have been unable to return home and continue to live on campus. Students living off-campus should stay home to limit the number of people present on campus and in our buildings," they wrote.

"We understand the uncertainty and fast-moving nature of this public health crisis and how unsettling and disruptive it continues to be," the email said. "Thank you, as always, for everything you are doing for Dartmouth. We appreciate your dedication, service, and collective action to keep yourself and those around you safe and healthy."

Adams and Keniston also said Dartmouth is working with regional and state emergency management and health officials and with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center to consider whether Dartmouth's indoor athletic facilities could be used to house between 125 and 150 COVID-19 patients needing a low level of care. Such a facility would be set up in the next two weeks.

Information about workplace policies and resources can be found on Dartmouth's COVID-19 website at https://news.dartmouth.edu/covid-19/workplace-policies-and-resources.

Susan J. Boutwell can be reached at [email protected]