COVID-19 Task Force co-chairs offer updates on campus access, travel restrictions.
The COVID-19 Task Force co-chairs today announced that, with the decision by the state of New Hampshire to open vaccinations to everyone age 16 or older regardless of where they reside, Dartmouth anticipates being able to offer vaccine clinics on campus in partnership with the state beginning the week of May 3.
In the community message sent Friday to faculty, students, and staff, Lisa Adams, a physician and a professor of medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine, and Josh Keniston, vice president of campus services and institutional projects, wrote that the task force "will share additional information about that opportunity shortly. In the meantime, we encourage unvaccinated people to continue to pursue whatever vaccine resources are available to them."
In light of the expected availability of vaccines on campus, as well as the steady increase in the number of vaccinated people across the country, Dartmouth plans to increase access to campus facilities and ease travel restrictions on a rolling basis through the summer and into the fall, Adams and Keniston wrote.
Following Provost Joseph Helble's announcement Wednesday on his bi-monthly Community Conversations webcast that Dartmouth will require all students coming to campus in September to be fully vaccinated and strongly recommends that all faculty and staff be vaccinated, the co-chairs today again stressed that mass vaccination is vital to a return to a normal campus experience.
"Without adequate herd immunity—estimated at this time by medical experts to be between 70% and 90% of the population—we cannot open up fully for fall, provide in-person classes, offer a full range of events and activities, allow people to eat together, and facilitate the research and collaboration that are hallmarks of a Dartmouth education," Adams and Keniston wrote.
As announced by Helble on Wednesday, because of the positive vaccination trends and cooperation of the campus community in observing COVID safety measures, on-campus facilities that are now available for use by students approved for on-campus access, and for approved faculty, and staff, are the running track at Memorial Field; the outdoor Topliff tennis courts at Alumni Gym; and the outdoor tennis courts at Sachem Village.
In addition, Non-enrolled undergraduate students who are employed in the Upper Valley this summer and those working on research under the guidance of a faculty sponsor may also enter campus facilities as long as they continue to complete the daily temperature and self-assessment (TSA) screening and participate in regular COVID-19 surveillance testing, Adams and Keniston wrote.
The following changes to Dartmouth-sponsored travel will go into effect on April 19:
Adams and Keniston also cautioned that the increased prevalence of the more contagious B117 coronavirus variant means the community must continue to take precautions even after vaccination.
"It remains critical that we continue to wear masks whenever we are around others, observe physical distancing, maintain good handwashing hygiene, and avoid large gatherings," they wrote.
"Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we begin to implement the incremental changes that will move us toward a more open campus this fall."
For the most recent information on Dartmouth's response to the pandemic, visit the Dartmouth Together COVID-19 website.