August 16, 2021
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
Last week, Dean Slaughter provided an update following the decision of College and local leadership to require masks indoors. We thank you for heeding this guidance and continuing to mask when appropriate.
Above and beyond vaccinations, masking, and testing, safely transitioning back to our distinct in-person learning community continues to entail actions such as enhanced ventilation, cleaning of our spaces, and contact tracing when cases do arise. The enhancements made to the air filtration systems in our classrooms this past academic year which worked so effectively remain intact, and you will likely notice an increased number of portable air purifiers in our spaces, too.
With our community mostly vaccinated, the contact tracing and case reporting processes are slightly different this year compared to last. It is statistically likely that some “breakthrough cases” may occur this academic year. If you are identified as a potential close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 on campus, you will receive a contact-tracing email.
The contact tracing email will include specific steps for you to take; please follow those steps exactly. The testing process for close contacts is different than the testing process for regular surveillance testing. PCR tests for contact tracing are appointment-based and occur at a drive-through testing site behind the Hopkins Center.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services does not require quarantine for close contacts who are fully vaccinated. “Fully vaccinated,” remember, means two weeks after your final COVID vaccine dose. The current recommendations for individuals who are fully vaccinated and are close contacts of a positive COVID case include the following three steps: self-monitoring for symptoms, PCR testing, and masking until your PCR test returns negative. Dartmouth Health Services (Dick’s House) continues to handle contact tracing for student COVID cases, and Axiom Medical continues to handle contact tracing for Dartmouth employees.
Isolation housing will continue to be available to students living on-campus who test positive for COVID this year, and Dartmouth Health Services and the MBAPO team will continue to provide support for those cases. Since we are now a vaccinated population, this academic year there will not be community-wide notifications for Tuck COVID cases. We will each only be made aware of COVID cases to the extent that we are deemed a close contact, and in such cases personal identifying information will not be disclosed. Dartmouth will continue to report cases overall, at a high level, on the Dartmouth Together dashboard.
We will continue to provide updates as public health guidance and conditions evolve. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.
Chief Financial and Administrative Officer