College temporarily shutters campus facilities as COVID-19 cases rise

Indoor facilities will be closed until at least Tuesday as the College nears 40 active cases and surpasses 100 students in quarantine or isolation.

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 2/25/21 8:56pm

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by Elizabeth Janowski / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

Following Wednesday’s surge in active coronavirus cases, the College has closed all indoor gathering spaces until at least Tuesday as more students continue to test positive.

As of Thursday evening, the COVID-19 dashboard shows 37 active COVID-19 cases among students — up from 25 yesterday evening — and 102 students in quarantine or isolation. Thirty-five of the cases have been recorded since Sunday — yielding a 0.77% positivity rate for the week of Feb. 21 and comprising roughly 30% of the student COVID-19 cases that the College has seen since it began recording cases on July 1. 

Among these cases, the College has identified three clusters of students with COVID-19, defined by the state of New Hampshire as groups of three or more linked COVID-19 cases. The College is currently investigating if these clusters are related after initially reporting on Wednesday that two clusters — one of three students and another of four — were unrelated. As of Thursday, the College reported that all three clusters include at least three students, but it did not disclose exact numbers.

Though there are no active cases among faculty or staff members, four are in quarantine and six are in isolation. Individuals in quarantine do not have symptoms and have not tested positive, but have been identified as a close contact or as having some other risk of exposure. Those in isolation have either tested positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms and are awaiting test results.

In response to the rising COVID-19 cases, the College closed all indoor gathering spaces as of 4 p.m. on Thursday. Baker-Berry Library, Collis Center, the Hopkins Center for the Arts and Robinson Hall, among other spaces on campus, will not reopen to students until at least Tuesday. Laboratories and “project spaces,” which will remain open under COVID-19 protocols, are the only exceptions to the closures. Dining also remains “grab-and-go” only.

Additionally, all in-person classes will be moved online for their Friday and Monday class sessions.

Athletic facilities, including Alumni Gymnasium, closed on Wednesday until further notice. Though outdoor activities remain in place, transportation to and from the Dartmouth Skiway, as well as transportation for Dartmouth Outing Club trips, have also been suspended.

Data collected during daily tests on March 1 will determine whether spaces will reopen next week.