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With Spike In COVID-19 Cases, Dartmouth Tightens Student Restrictions

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Ali Oshinskie / NHPR
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Dartmouth College’s active COVID-19 case count has jumped to well over 100, prompting the school to revert to more stringent pandemic protocols, including students eating alone in their rooms and remaining on campus to avoid Hanover residents.

The college has seen “rapid and significantly increased risk of transmission within our community,” according to an email sent Saturday by Dean Kathryn Lively.

The college had “over 100 active cases” on Saturday, according to the email. As of Tuesday morning, the college’s dashboard reported 124 active cases, with all but two in students.

Those figures means confirmed cases have doubled since late Friday afternoon, when the college reported 58 active cases. And it accounts for more than half of all of the student cases reported by the college since July 1, 2020.

All told, the number of students in isolation or quarantine on- and off-campus stood at 256 on Tuesday, according to the dashboard.

That’s about 6% of the roughly 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students who are living in or near the Upper Valley and subject to the college’s testing regime.

Eleven faculty and staff were also in either quarantine or isolation.

Because of the rising numbers, the college reverted over the weekend to “arrival quarantine phase two,” according to Lively’s email, which reflects the protocols students faced when winter-term students arrived on campus in January, including:

Students must remain in their rooms by themselves “as much as possible” and refrain from visiting each other in rooms or gathering in hallways.

Common spaces and kitchens are closed. Students must pick up their meals at the cafeteria and return to eat them alone in their rooms.

Students can go outside for walks or exercise, but should remain on campus with face coverings, social distancing and other precautions.

Lively asked students to “please avoid going into downtown Hanover and avoid local residents.”

“We cannot stress enough the importance of these measures which are being taken for your safety, for the safety of College employees, and for everyone in our campus and local community,” Lively wrote. “It is important to be mindful of the very real risk that someone, including you, could become seriously ill, should you fail to comply with College guidelines and behavioral standards.”

Dartmouth spokeswoman Diana Lawrence on Sunday said the “phase two” quarantine status would last through the weekend and “be reevaluated over the next few days.”

“We are continuously monitoring the situation and making adjustments as needed,” she said.

The college shuttered indoor gathering spaces and shifted in-person classes in the middle of last week as COVID-19 cases started to rise.

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.

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  • NHPR is continuing to cover the developing story around coronavirus in New Hampshire. Visit nhpr.org/coronavirusblog for the latest updates.