College COVID-19 policies must remain in place in light of increasing incidents on campus
College COVID-19 policies must remain in place in light of increasing incidents on campus

College COVID-19 policies must remain in place in light of increasing incidents on campus

Community members can continue to participate in COVID-19 testing and wear masks or ask those around them to do so.

by Carly Retterer
| 19/04/22 05:15

Despite the presence of 339 cases of COVID-19 among members of the Dartmouth community per. April 12, the college has no plans to reintroduce test or masking requirements “at this time,” according to college spokeswoman Diana Lawrence.

“Over the past few weeks, we have witnessed an increase in the number of cases across our region and on campus,” Lawrence wrote. “We understand the anxiety and insecurity this can cause about the health and safety of our society.”

In addition, Lawrence wrote that there is “no specific threshold” for the number of cases that would cause the college to change current COVID-19 policies. According to Lawrence, College policies consider the number of cases and hospitalization rates in Grafton County, research into the severity of COVID-19, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, advice from scientific advisors and the Dartmouth Health Service, data from symptomatic tests and study data from 6,000 Dartmouth- community members gathered last month.

The College continues to offer resources to monitor and mitigate the spread of coronavirus. These include both take-home PCR tests and take-home rapid antigen tests. According to Dartmouth Vaccines and Testing websitepersonal PCR testing is offered at West Gym on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, though all drop-off and personal test sites will be closed for Memorial Day on May 30th. KN95 masks are available from pickup locations around campus.

According to Lawrence, the college will host a COVID-19 vaccine clinic on April 26, offering primary and secondary doses of the vaccine or first boosters to those who have not yet received them, as well as a second booster to those who are eligible.

Under current college guidelines, faculty members can request but “may not require” students to wear masks while in class or continue testing at present, according to Lawrence. Economics professor Douglas Irwin said he has considered asking his students to wear masks in class.

“I was seriously considering [last week] asks everyone to disguise themselves in class, ”Irwin said. “I decided not to [since] only a few [students in my classes] has tested positive. If it was a more significant number, and it looked like things on campus were going up, I would not hesitate to ask everyone to disguise themselves in class. “

Irwin added that he teaches in a “fairly modernized classroom” at Silsby Hall, which has made it possible for students to join Zoom easily.

“I have had a number of students at Zoom [using] a camera at the back of the room, so it’s very easy and not much of a burden to have people zoom in if they’re not feeling well or if they tested positive, ”he said.

After hearing professors consider asking their students to disguise themselves, Gannon McCorkle ’24 said he would be willing to disguise himself if it made professors more comfortable in their workplace.

“Everyone must be able to thrive in an educational space, so if professors need it [masking] to feel comfortable and get to work and do their job well, then I think it should not be an obstacle to put on a piece of fabric, ”McCorkle said.

Despite the increase in cases, McCorkle said he believes the college’s current COVID policies should be continued.

“I still feel to some degree that COVID and the masking policy is where it needs to be,” McCorkle said. “We can not really afford more setbacks when it comes to learning environments and socializing with people who are just trying to live their lives. We have already lost so much. ”

McCorkle added that he would be willing to participate in asymptomatic testing again if the college found that increasing cases were a concern for community health. Overall, McCorkle said he has found that current COVID-19 policies on campus have contributed to a sense of a “return to normalcy.”

“To be able to go out and not have to remember to bring a mask, to see people’s actual faces and to be able to socialize at a level that is deeper than we’ve ever been able to so far in our college “career, is something that I have really appreciated,” he said.

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