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On Sept. 24 — the same day that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a set of recommendations outlining who would be eligible for an additional dose of a COVID-19 vaccine — major national pharmacy chains, such as CVS Pharmacy, began rolling out Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots for those on the CDC’s list. Other healthcare facilities, including Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, have been slower to administer shots.
In early September, the College announced that it would introduce take-home COVID-19 testing. While planning the roll out of the program has proven “challenging” and the tests are currently only available for select populations, according to College spokesperson Diana Lawrence, the tests will be offered to the remainder of the undergraduate student body as soon as logistics are finalized.
As Dartmouth students settle into their first week of fall term, the College has looked to peer institutions and how they are returning to in person classes and dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks. While Dartmouth, like many other schools, has opted to reinstate an indoor mask mandate and increase testing frequency for vaccinated individuals, interim Provost David Kotz previously announced that the College is not currently considering any outdoor mask mandates, gathering restrictions or social distancing requirements.
Updated 10:14 p.m. with additional information from College spokesperson Diana Lawrence.
Following the College’s announcement last week that the indoor mask mandate would be reestablished on campus, members of the on-campus community have expressed mixed feelings, but were not surprised, at the return of the policy.
Last July, five Dartmouth students conducted a study on student perspectives regarding the College’s planned COVID-19 policies. The Aug. 3, 2020 report, titled “Achieving Public Health Success at Dartmouth: The Student Perspective,” outlined concerns from the student body about student mental health, many of which materialized later in the year as student mental health declined and the College saw three deaths by suicide among members of the Class of 2024: Beau DuBray, Connor Tiffany and Elizabeth Reimer.
The College officially reinstated its indoor mask mandate Thursday, following new recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and similar measures adopted by the town of Hanover due to the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant. However, as of now, physical distancing and restrictions on gathering size will not be imposed, nor will the outdoor masking requirement be reinstated, according to interim provost David Kotz.
On June 23, the College mandated that all faculty and staff must submit proof of their vaccination against COVID-19 by Sept. 1. The policy applies to all employees, but individuals can receive exemptions for religious or health-related reasons.
As Dartmouth students reach the midpoint of a mostly-open summer term, non-COVID-19 illnesses continue to circulate among students.
A paper authored by Dartmouth researchers and published this month found that the COVID-19 pandemic increased symptoms of stress during the spring 2020 lockdown. The paper was based on data collected from 217 participants — members of the Class of 2021 — by a smartphone application called StudentLife.
As India continues to grapple with the world’s most devastating COVID-19 surge since the pandemic began, the College’s Indian community has responded by organizing fundraisers and compiling numerous resources in support of those affected.
As the nationwide vaccine rollout continues, residents of New Hampshire have more than just the hill winds in their veins. According to data from The New York Times, the Granite State leads the U.S. in vaccine distribution both in terms of percentage of allocated vaccines distributed and the percentage of the population with at least one shot.
After introducing an antigen testing regimen at the beginning of spring term to supplement PCR testing, the College stopped administering rapid antigen tests on April 8 as a result of the lengthy wait times the new regimen caused.
While New Hampshire will expand vaccine eligibility to non-residents on April 19, some students have already tried to secure their doses. However, the process has proven unpredictable, with differing practices among various vaccination sites muddying students’ understanding of their eligibility.
At the College’s “Community Conversations” livestream on Wednesday, Provost Joseph Helble announced that all students must be vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning to campus for fall of 2021, or must be vaccinated shortly after arrival. The College currently does not have a vaccine distribution plan for unvaccinated individuals, but is continuing to “explore” options for providing vaccinations on campus and in surrounding areas, according to Helble.
Recent changes to Dartmouth’s COVID-19 socialization protocols have prompted backlash from students who still find the College’s approach too restrictive, particularly as it pertains to fully vaccinated individuals.
Updated April 4, 2021 at 3:00 p.m.
The decision by New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu to exclude out-of-state college students from vaccine eligibility has raised practical and legal concerns.
On March 25, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announced that all New Hampshire residents 16 years and older would be eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine beginning April 2. This expansion of eligibility allows college students hailing from New Hampshire or who have established residency here to receive the vaccine, but Sununu specified that out-of-state college students will not qualify. The governor’s office believes that limited vaccine supplies should go to the state’s residents rather than out-of-state college students.
Updated April 1, 2021 at 12:07 p.m.