COVID-19 campus updates: To benefit from eased College restrictions, fully vaccinated students must submit documentation
Follow along for the latest COVID-19 developments on campus.
New Hampshire will remove its residency rules for vaccinations beginning April 19, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announced Thursday. Meanwhile, the College sent letters to some students that may help prove residency, and an email to campus Friday encouraged community members to submit proof of vaccination in order to benefit from eased restrictions.
Check back here for updates on current case counts and other campus developments.
To benefit from eased College restrictions, fully vaccinated students must submit documentation
April 9 | 9:02 p.m.
Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to share documentation of their vaccination status with the College, College Health Service director Mark Reed wrote in an email to all undergraduate, graduate and professional students on Friday. Fully vaccinated students must submit this documentation in order to benefit from eased COVID-19 restrictions, according to the email.
In the email, Reed encouraged students to email photos of their vaccine cards to the medical records office 14 days after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or 14 days after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Both students who have already submitted their vaccine cards and those who plan to should also fill out a consent form on the Health Service’s website, and processing will take five to seven days, the email said.
Reed wrote that students who satisfy these criteria will be able to “receive the benefits” that the College has decided to offer vaccinated students, including a decrease in COVID-19 screening testing frequency from twice to once a week, a waiver on the quarantine requirement following domestic travel and the ability to gather off campus in small, fully-vaccinated groups. Reed also wrote that as the percentage of vaccinated faculty, staff and students increases, the speed with which the College can transition to normal operations will also increase.
COVID-19 task force co-chairs Lisa Adams and Josh Keniston wrote in a separate email to the Dartmouth community on Friday that the College is in contact with state and regional health officials about establishing vaccination sites on or near campus. More information about such an initiative, as well as revised travel guidelines for community members, will be available next week, Adams and Keniston wrote.
New Hampshire to remove residency rules for vaccine by April 19
April 9 | 12:15 a.m.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announced Thursday that beginning April 19, New Hampshire will expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all individuals over 16 years old, regardless of their residency. The announcement came two weeks after Sununu excluded out-of-state college students when expanding the state’s vaccine eligibility to New Hampshire residents over 16, a decision that drew criticism from the Hanover and Dartmouth communities.
According to Sununu, there are 240,000 first dose appointments available to schedule in the state’s vaccine registration system through Memorial Day, which would allow “plenty” of New Hampshire residents to schedule an appointment or move up their appointments to an earlier date.
Sununu also wrote on Twitter that because every state in the country will have expanded vaccine eligibility to all by April 19, expanding New Hampshire’s will not prompt “a run on the system that will cause delays for NH residents.” On Tuesday, President Joe Biden called for all states to make vaccines available to all adults by April 19, two weeks earlier than his original deadline of May 1.
Additionally, on Wednesday evening, the College’s Student Employment Office sent personalized letters that verify the employment status and New Hampshire payroll mailing address for many student employees who have been paid in the past 60 days. The office encouraged students to bring the letters and most recent payslips — from within the past 60 days — to their vaccine appointments.
According to the College’s COVID-19 dashboard, as of Thursday, there are 19 active cases of COVID-19 at Dartmouth — a decline from 36 a week ago. Among these cases are 14 students and 5 faculty and staff. Thirty-nine students are in quarantine, while 15 are in isolation.
The two currently active clusters on campus, each including at least three students, were identified on March 29 and April 1, respectively. A third cluster, which included at least four individuals, was identified March 29 and closed as of Monday.
College eases COVID-19 restrictions for fully vaccinated students
April 6 | 6:02 p.m.
COVID-19 task force co-chairs Lisa Adams and Josh Keniston wrote in an email to the Dartmouth community today that students who are fully vaccinated may gather in private spaces off campus without adhering to the six-foot social distancing protocol or wearing face coverings.
Faculty and staff who have been fully vaccinated must follow “all applicable” state and local requirements when gathering off campus either indoors or outdoors, Adams and Keniston wrote.
Additionally, faculty, staff and students who have been vaccinated can submit documentation to either Axiom Medical or to the Dartmouth College Health Service “later this week” in order to qualify for reduced testing frequency. The decreased testing for vaccinated individuals will begin on April 12.
Unmasked and non-distanced gatherings at private, off campus locations are still limited to no more than nine individuals, and all attendees must be fully vaccinated, they wrote. However, because of the “difficulty of defining a household in the student population,” the College will not be adhering to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance allowing one unvaccinated household to gather with a vaccinated household.
Because “many members” of the College community remain unvaccinated, Adams and Keniston cautioned that all members of the community, regardless of vaccination status, must continue to follow masking and physical distancing protocols in all indoor and outdoor locations on-campus as well as in public spaces off campus.
Approximately 600 Dartmouth employees and students have been vaccinated through the College’s recent partnership with the state of New Hampshire in phases 2A and 2B at the West Lebanon clinic, according to Adams and Keniston.
The email also stated that starting yesterday, undergraduate students living locally who are enrolled in spring term and have not been granted on-campus access are able to apply for access through a waitlist process offered by Student Affairs. Applicants will be notified of their status by the “end of the week” in an email from Dean of the College Kathryn Lively. Local students who are not enrolled are not eligible.
Total active cases steady at 36, 95 students in quarantine or isolation
April 2 | 7:32 p.m.
As of Friday, there are 34 active cases of COVID-19 among students and 2 among faculty and staff. This week has seen 14 members of the Dartmouth community test positive, yielding a positivity rate of .25%, while 57 students are in quarantine and 38 are in isolation.
There are currently three unrelated clusters in the student population. Two clusters were identified March 29 — one of “at least” three people and one of “at least” four people — and the new third cluster, identified Thursday, has “at least” three people.
The cluster of at least nine linked COVID-19 cases identified at the Tuck School of Business March 22 has been resolved as of Friday, according to the College’s COVID-19 dashboard.
In an email to students with on-campus access for the spring on Thursday, Dean of the College Kathryn Lively wrote that arrival quarantine will end on Thursday for students who arrived on March 24. On Friday, College Health Service director Mark Reed clarified in another email to on-campus students that because of a delay in the processing of tests conducted Thursday and Friday, the College will release students from quarantine “in batches” as soon as their negative results come out.
A similar delay in testing results prompted a one-day quarantine extension in the winter term.
Following arrival quarantine, Dartmouth Dining will resume limited indoor seating on Sunday. Students — regardless of vaccination status — are required to test twice weekly for the virus, though those in recovery from COVID-19 are exempt from the testing requirement, according to the College.
New Hampshire residents 16 and older can now sign up to receive the COVID-19 vaccination at www.vaccines.nh.gov or call 2-1-1 to register. The state is currently administering vaccines at a limited number of locations where participants must show proof of N.H. residency: a New Hampshire driver’s license, or a paystub or government check from the last 60 days listing a New Hampshire address.
Active cases jump to 35, two new clusters identified as students return from spring break travel
March 30 | 9:00 p.m.
As of Tuesday, there are 35 active cases of COVID-19 among students and one among faculty and staff, according to the College’s COVID-19 dashboard. Two new clusters among “the student population” were identified on March 29, just a week after a cluster of nine cases was identified at the Tuck School of Business on March 22.
College spokesperson Diana Lawrence wrote in an email statement that the two new clusters have three and four students, respectively, and that none of the three clusters identified among undergraduate and graduate students are related.
According to Lawrence, the uptick in new cases — up from ten student cases and two faculty and staff on March 22 — is linked to spring break travel, and students who tested positive are isolating both on and off campus. The increased case count following spring break, she wrote, is “not surprising.”
“When people are on the move, so is COVID-19,” Lawrence wrote.
She added that the College will evaluate the number of active cases but currently has no plans to change the arrival quarantine conditions. Lawrence also noted that the COVID-19 task force will communicate with campus if protocols change.
In addition to cases identified on and near campus, 10 undergraduate pre-arrival tests have come back positive as of Tuesday, and the students are isolated at home, Lawrence wrote.
College identifies cluster of linked COVID-19 cases at Tuck
March 23 | 12:10 a.m.
The College has identified a cluster of at least nine linked COVID-19 cases, according to Dartmouth’s COVID-19 dashboard. In an email sent to Tuck School of Business students, faculty and staff on Monday announcing the new positive tests, Tuck dean Matthew Slaughter wrote that the cases, all among members of Tuck’s student community, were identified as a part of the school’s return-to-campus protocol following its spring break.
Tuck executive director of marketing and communications Lindsey Walter confirmed that Tuck will still hold its first week of spring term remotely, as planned before cases were identified, in order to provide enough time for students to adhere to arrival testing and quarantine requirements post-break.
As of Monday evening, the College’s dashboard lists 10 active student cases, with nine students in quarantine and 10 in isolation. Additionally, two faculty and staff members are in quarantine, and seven are in isolation. Seven of the 346 tests conducted over the week of March 21 have come back positive, yielding a test positivity rate of just over 2%.
Student cases drop to 57, faculty and staff cases up by one
March 9 | 10:44 p.m.
As of Tuesday, 57 students are currently positive for COVID-19 — down from 75 on Monday. Four faculty and staff members are positive, up from Monday’s three.
Meanwhile, the number of students in quarantine and isolation has increased by five. The number of students in quarantine — 47 — nearly quadrupled since Monday, while the number of students in isolation dropped to 53. Eight faculty and staff members are in quarantine, and nine are in isolation.
Just one of the 913 tests conducted so far this week has come back positive.
College eases quarantine restrictions as student cases drop to 75
March 8 | 7:41 p.m.
Active COVID-19 cases among students dropped to 75 on Monday. As planned, the College eased phase two quarantine restrictions at 8 a.m., allowing for the resumption of in-person courses and the reopening of certain campus facilities.
Baker-Berry Library has reopened, along with the Collis Center, the Top of the Hop, Kemeny Hall, Alumni Gymnasium and Zimmerman Fitness Center, but dining will remain takeout-only, and students may not gather in residence halls or hallways, according to a Monday email from COVID-19 task force co-chairs Dr. Lisa Adams and Josh Keniston. Residence hall common spaces and kitchens will also remain closed.
Adams and Keniston reminded the community to “mask up everywhere” and maintain social distance. They noted that in light of recently released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines stating that fully vaccinated people can gather maskless with other fully vaccinated people, among other guidance, Dartmouth will be updating campus policies in the coming weeks.
In addition to the decrease in student cases, the number of students in quarantine plummeted to 13 — down from 70 on Sunday — and the number of students in isolation dropped from 105 to 82.
Faculty and staff cases remain at three, while quarantine and isolation numbers have dropped to seven and nine, respectively.
Ahead of expected end to quarantine, student case count drops to 95
March 7 | 7:40 p.m.
Active cases among students dropped to 95 on Sunday, down five from Saturday’s count. Seventy students are in quarantine as of Sunday, and 105 are in isolation — a significant decrease from Saturday’s counts of 124 and 130, respectively.
The reductions in cases and quarantine and isolation counts come ahead of Monday morning’s expected end to phase two quarantine restrictions. Provost Joseph Helble wrote on Friday that the quarantine would end at 8 a.m., provided that the weekend saw no “major COVID-19 guideline violations” and no daily case count increases of more than five.
The case count among faculty and staff remains at three. Ten faculty or staff members remain in quarantine, while 11 are in isolation, down one from Saturday.
Cases plunge to 103, 276 in quarantine or isolation
March 6 | 8:08 p.m.
The College’s total active COVID-19 cases saw a 25% decrease from Friday to Saturday, with Dartmouth’s dashboard showing 100 active cases among students. Active cases among faculty and staff rose by one, after Friday saw the total case count drop back down to two.
Of this week’s total tests, 46 — or 0.65% — returned positive.
As of Saturday, the number of students in quarantine remains 124, and 130 are in isolation — down from 138 on Friday. Meanwhile, the number of faculty and staff in quarantine and isolation, which both sat at seven on Friday, have risen to 10 and 12, respectively.
Active cases drop to 137, College to ease restrictions if case count remains stable
March 5 | 11:20 p.m.
On Friday, for the first time since the beginning of the College’s February COVID-19 outbreak, Dartmouth’s dashboard showed a net decrease in active cases. There are now 135 active student cases, down from 143 on Thursday. Faculty and staff cases also decreased from three to two.
The decrease prompted cautious optimism from the College, which announced today that most campus buildings will reopen on Monday, so long as no major COVID-19 health violations occur over the weekend and there continue to be fewer than five new cases per day.
“[S]urveillance testing shows that the rate of increase of new cases, and thus the rate of disease transmission, has slowed significantly this week,” Provost Joseph Helble wrote in an email to the Dartmouth community Thursday afternoon.
Helble added that the morning’s test results indicated just two new cases of the virus and the lowest single day total since the beginning of last week.
Quarantine and isolation numbers have also gone down. There are 138 students in isolation — including active cases and those awaiting test results — and another 124 in quarantine. There are seven faculty and staff in isolation and seven in quarantine.
So far, during the week of Feb. 28, 41 — or 0.73% — of the 5,598 tests have come back positive, down from last week’s 1.25%.
As of Friday, the College’s case count comprises around 6% of the state’s total cases, nearly all of which are people between the ages of 20 and 29.
If the conditions outlined in Helble’s email are met, indoor study spaces — including Baker-Berry Library, the Collis Center and Kemeny Hall — will reopen, and in-person classes will resume meeting beginning on Monday at 8 a.m. Undergraduate students will also be able to return to research laboratories at the permission of their supervisors.
Dining will remain exclusively to-go, and residence hall common spaces and kitchens will not reopen. Students are also advised not to visit one another in their rooms.
Although Baker-Berry Library will reopen, the entrance by Novack Cafe will remain closed. Athletic spaces — including Alumni Gymnasium and Zimmerman Fitness Center — and the bus to the Skiway will reopen with reduced capacity. Helble noted that the College is also “working to reopen” outdoor fire pits and other winter activities, weather permitting.
Student employees whose workspaces have reopened will be permitted to return to work at the discretion of their supervisors. Following concerns over the loss of vital income due to the building closures, the College has also announced that it will compensate student employees who have been unable to work their on-campus jobs due to the outbreak.
In a separate email, Dean of the College Kathryn Lively wrote that while the Committee on Instruction deemed it too late to change grading policies for the term, the deadline to request an “Incomplete” for a course has been extended until March 19.
On Wednesday, Student Assembly wrote a letter advocating for optional pass/fail, and the Dartmouth Student Union penned an open letter calling for the expansion of the non-recording option in light of the “precarious living conditions” and “stress and decreased resources during finals” amid the outbreak. In response to the COI’s decision on Friday, the DSU criticized the committee’s decision to reject the proposals, saying it failed to consider “the academic, medical and psychological blight that has been afflicting students for over a year now.”
Total active case count approaches 150, over 300 in quarantine and isolation
March 4 | 3:28 p.m.
Active COVID-19 cases rose to 143 among students on Thursday — a four case increase from Wednesday. The active case count among faculty and staff remains at three.
The number of students in quarantine dropped to 130 on Thursday, but the isolation count — which now sits at 162 — saw an increase of 20 students. The number of faculty and staff in quarantine climbed to six, while the number of faculty and staff in isolation remains at nine.
Of the COVID-19 tests recorded this week, 39 — or 0.85% — have returned positive.
Active case count increases by two, quarantine and isolation numbers decline
March 3 | 1:02 p.m.
Active student COVID-19 cases have increased by just one since Tuesday, indicating cases may be leveling off a week after the initial outbreak last Wednesday. There are now 139 active student cases at Dartmouth, according to the College’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Faculty and staff recorded one new active case after two cases emerged over the weekend.
For the week of March 1, the College has seen 28 positive tests, or 0.91% of tests conducted.
Student quarantine and isolation numbers dropped slightly after a week of dramatic increases. The number of students in isolation — which includes active cases and those with symptoms awaiting test results — declined from 146 to 142 between Tuesday and Wednesday, and quarantine numbers decreased from 141 to 139. Meanwhile, the number of faculty and staff in isolation rose from seven on Monday to nine on Wednesday, and four remain in quarantine.
The College has also identified “a number of small clusters” of COVID-19 cases that are “likely epidemiologically linked.” On Feb. 23 and Feb. 24, Dartmouth initially identified two clusters that it believed to be unrelated. On Thursday, the College reported an additional cluster and began investigating potential links among them. The state of New Hampshire defines a cluster as a group of at least three people with linked COVID-19 cases.
Cases reach 138 among students, 287 in quarantine or isolation
March 2 | 4:43 p.m.
Active student cases rose to 138 on Tuesday, with 141 students in quarantine and 146 in isolation. The active case count among faculty and staff remains at two.
Following a week that saw 1.25% of the College’s COVID-19 tests come back positive, 19 tests — or 1.01% of tests recorded in the week of March 1 thus far — have returned positive results. The active case count among students makes up nearly 60% of all student cases — and nearly half of all cases — since the College began recording COVID-19 data on July 1.
Dartmouth’s total active cases now comprise roughly 6% of all identified active COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire.
Student case count climbs to 122, College extends quarantine through Friday
March 1 | 6:55 p.m.
A total of 122 students — and two faculty or staff members — have tested positive for COVID-19, with 256 students now in isolation or quarantine. Four faculty or staff members are in quarantine, and seven are in isolation.
As a result of the ongoing outbreak, the College has extended the current quarantine restrictions through at least Friday, Provost Joseph Helble wrote in an email to the Dartmouth community on Monday evening.
“Depending on what the following days bring in terms of case counts, these restrictions may be further extended,” Helble wrote. “We are monitoring the situation closely.”
Heble cited “noncompliant social interactions — particularly those where people are not wearing masks or observing adequate physical distancing” as the probable cause for the outbreak, imploring community members to continue to follow College COVID-19 guidelines as the pandemic continues.
He noted that during the quarantine period all undergraduate and most graduate courses will continue to be held online and reiterated that facilities — save for laboratories and project spaces — remain closed.
Student cases rise to 117, two faculty and staff test positive
Feb. 28 | 1:55 p.m. | Updated 5:07 p.m.
Active COVID-19 cases have risen to 117 among students, with an additional two faculty or staff members testing positive as of a dashboard update on Sunday.
A total of 234 students are in quarantine or isolation: 111 students living on campus or locally off campus are in quarantine, and 123 are in isolation, according to College spokesperson Diana Lawrence. Of the students in quarantine, 105 are undergraduate students, and six are graduate and professional students. Of those in isolation, 118 are undergraduates, and five are graduate students.
Quarantine and isolation housing is roughly 15% full. The remainder of the student body will continue to follow phase two arrival quarantine procedures as implemented on Saturday.
There are four faculty and staff in quarantine and six in isolation.
In a Sunday morning email, Dean of the College Kathryn Lively advised students living locally off campus to adhere to the same quarantine guidelines as those living on campus.
Additionally, the Winter Activities Center and ice rinks on the Green have been closed, and student-led Dartmouth Outing Club trips have been paused indefinitely.
College returns to phase two of arrival quarantine as COVID-19 cases surpass 100
Feb. 27 | 8:05 p.m.
With 100 students now positive for COVID-19, the College has returned to its guidelines for phase two of arrival quarantine.
Dartmouth’s COVID-19 cases now comprise roughly 4% of total active cases in the state of New Hampshire.
“Given this rapid and significantly increased risk of transmission within our community, we have made the difficult, but necessary, decision to return to arrival quarantine phase two, effective immediately and until further notice,” Dean of the College Kathryn Lively wrote in a Saturday email to students living on campus.
The College has asked students to remain alone in their rooms as much as possible and to refrain from visiting one another in hallways and common areas. Students can pick up their meals from the Class of 1953 Commons and are allowed to go on walks with one other person, provided they wear masks and maintain social distancing.
Students are also asked to avoid downtown Hanover and local restaurants. All common spaces and kitchens, as well as campus facilities including Baker-Berry Library, remain closed. Novack Cafe will be closed on Sunday and reopen on Monday without student employees, who will not return to work until further notice.
Starting Sunday, ’53 Commons will close at 8:30 p.m., eliminating “late night” service indefinitely. Novack will now only be open Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.
The College has requested that students refrain from traveling if they are in quarantine or isolation, have been contacted by any contact tracers, believe themselves to be potential contacts or have any symptoms of COVID-19.
Other students can travel so long as they have been tested within 48 hours of departure and have received a negative test result within 24 hours of departure.
College nears 100 active cases, over 200 in quarantine and isolation
Feb. 27 | 12:53 p.m.
A total of 98 students on campus and living locally off campus have contracted coronavirus, according to a dashboard update on Saturday morning. Meanwhile, 107 students are currently in quarantine, meaning they do not have symptoms but have been identified as having a risk factor for exposure to COVID-19.
There are 102 students currently in isolation, including the 98 active cases. Students are required to isolate if they either test positive or show symptoms and are awaiting test results. On-campus isolation and quarantine housing has reached 14% of its capacity of 568.
With the number of students in quarantine and isolation surpassing 200, roughly 5% of all students living on campus or locally off campus fall into these categories.
There are currently no active cases among faculty or staff, though four are in quarantine, and three are in isolation.
There have been 200 cumulative cases among students since July 1. The recent outbreak comprises 40% of all cases — and nearly half of all student cases — since the College began tracking COVID-19 data.
The College has now reached a 1.14% positivity rate for the week of Feb. 21. Dartmouth has previously established that a 1% positivity rate would prompt an automatic review of in-person classes and other activities, though College spokesperson Diana Lawrence noted on Friday that the threshold, “while important, is not a definitive benchmark” in the College’s decision-making.
Factors in administrative decision-making include the rate at which cases have been increasing, whether or not cases are related to one another, the impact on staffing and essential services and available beds at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
All common spaces remain closed until at least Tuesday.
There are currently three main strains of COVID-19 circulating globally and in the United States, and the faster-spreading U.K. variant has been found in New Hampshire. However, data regarding which strains students may have contracted is not reported at an individual level, Lawrence wrote.
Student case count exceeds 50, 155 in quarantine and isolation
Feb. 26 | 11:31 p.m.
As of Friday, the College’s student case count has climbed to 58, with a total of 155 students in isolation or quarantine. No faculty or staff members are currently positive.
The number of positive results recorded since Sunday — 56 — accounts for 31% of the total positive test results since the College began tracking COVID-19 PCR tests on July 1. It is also equal to the number of positive tests reported in total throughout the six-month range from July 1 to Dec. 31.
Corresponding to the surge in cases, the College’s quarantine and isolation housing has filled to over 10% of its occupancy, with 64 students on campus relocating to sites in the River residential cluster and the Lodge. The remainder of students in isolation or quarantine reside locally off campus.
Residence hall common spaces have closed in response to the mounting outbreak, and the Hinman Mail Center has transitioned to curbside mail pickup.
Testing center hours have also been extended; Thompson Arena will be open for testing from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Most outdoor activities will still be available, weather permitting.
Feb. 25 | 8:56 p.m.
On Thursday, the active case count spiked to 37 active student cases — up from 25 the day prior. The number of students in isolation or quarantine soared past 100.
After identifying two clusters initially reported as unrelated, the College identified an additional cluster, prompting an investigation to potential links among the cases.
The College closed all indoor gathering spaces — including Baker-Berry Library and Collis Center — until at least Tuesday, suspended College transportation to the Dartmouth Skiway and Dartmouth Outing Club trip locations and moved in-person classes online for at least Friday and Monday.
Outdoor activities, meanwhile, were still permitted. In a Thursday email to campus, Provost Joseph Helble encouraged students to “find ways to care for” themselves.
“We understand that everyone is tired of waiting out the pandemic and curtailing social activities,” Helble wrote. “Please take advantage of the milder weather to leave your room and change your surroundings.”
Feb. 24 | 7:57 p.m.
On Wednesday, COVID-19 cases among students abruptly leapt to 25, with 68 students in isolation or quarantine. The surge jolted campus amid a term that had otherwise seen consistently low COVID-19 cases.
The College identified two COVID-19 clusters. The first, a cluster of three students, was identified on Tuesday, and the second, a cluster of four, was reported on Wednesday.
College dining facilities closed their dining rooms on Wednesday night, shifting to a strictly to-go service. Additionally, Alumni Gymnasium closed, and all in-person athletic activities and club practices were paused until further notice.