Dear Thayer community,
I want to offer a few words of gratitude, reflection, and some important reminders as we approach Thanksgiving and the end of the term.
First and foremost, I want to thank you all for your hard work and willingness to adapt to our “new normal” during these past nine months, in particular this fall term. I feel incredibly thankful to be a part of a community that continues to evolve and reimagine how we teach, learn, carry out research, and keep the school running—all the while keeping health and safety at the fore. Your openness, creativity, and can-do spirit have truly helped us weather these challenges together.
I also want to acknowledge that this Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season will be especially difficult for many of us. At a time when we need the comfort of family and friends the most, some of us will spend the holidays apart from our loved ones. I hope we each find ways over the coming weeks to safely connect, with many moments in between to relax and recharge.
While your efforts this term, no doubt, have helped limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community, the upcoming break is not the time to let our guard down. Our neighbors in Canada, now contending with a surge in COVID-19 cases following Canadian Thanksgiving in October, could be a precursor to what can happen here if we step back our efforts. With cases rising rapidly nationwide, please remain vigilant—wear masks, practice physical distancing, wash hands frequently, and take necessary precautions—so that we can continue to keep ourselves and each other safe.
If You Travel, Travel Safely
While Dartmouth strongly discourages personal travel, if you cannot avoid it, I have attached helpful tips and reminders (below). Dartmouth requires students, faculty, and staff to meet a series of safety requirements before returning to campus. Before you travel, review the latest guidance in the state to which you are traveling, as well as the state in which you currently reside upon your return to the Upper Valley. Keep in mind that the length of your quarantine upon return could impact your ability to report to school or work, so discuss with your supervisor or research advisor prior to travel. Since guidelines can change, review Dartmouth’s travel guidelines frequently.
Dartmouth’s COVID-19 testing will be available through December for students, faculty, and staff in the Upper Valley. Students should continue to test weekly, and faculty and staff should test in accordance with the frequency specified by HR. Follow this link to make your appointments. Testing will be available, Monday to Friday, at Leverone, except for the week of Thanksgiving and the last two weeks of December, when testing days will be reduced to two to three days a week. Testing at Williamson is available on Tuesdays throughout November and December. Please refer to the most recent email from Lisa Adams and Joshua Keniston, chairs of the COVID-19 Task Force, for additional details about testing.
Buildings Hours Between Fall and Winter Terms
During the time between fall and winter terms, current building hours for Cummings and MacLean will continue for eligible Thayer students, researchers, faculty, and staff. The buildings will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. for eligible members of the Thayer community, with extended hours until midnight for researchers. Please remember that all health and safety measures, including masks, distancing, and maximum room capacity, still apply. Researchers should adhere to approved laboratory plans and schedules. Please be advised that commonly touched surfaces (doorknobs, railings, etc.) will not be cleaned and sanitized as frequently during the Thanksgiving and the winter breaks due to the fewer number of people anticipated in our buildings.
Again, thank you for all that you do. I wish you all a safe, restful holiday season.
Need-to-Know Travel and Holiday Break Tips
(Adapted from Dartmouth’s Director of Health Services Mark Reed’s communications to the student community.)
Dartmouth strongly discourages personal travel, but if you cannot avoid it, please read on for tips for safer travel and important facts to be aware of as the holiday season approaches:
Eating and drinking while traveling:
- As much as possible, avoid restaurants, bars, or food service at any airport, bus, or train terminal.
- If you need to get food or beverage, order with your mask on, wash your hands, and eat in an area where you can practice social distancing.
When using public transportation (e.g. airplane, bus, train):
- Wear your face covering for the entire journey.
- Sanitize your hands after touching other surfaces.
- Avoid touching your face.
Reminders for holiday gatherings:
- When possible, avoid gathering with family or friends outside your "bubble."
- If you gather, keep gathering small and ask that all attendees wear masks, maintain distance, and wash their hands often.
- Regularly clean frequently touched surfaces.
- Indoor gatherings generally pose more risk than outdoor gatherings.
- Indoor gatherings with poor ventilation pose more risk than those with good ventilation.
- Recirculated air can increase the risk. Open windows and doors to potentially reduce the risk.
No matter where you are, remember the most important basics:
- Wear face coverings.
- Keep at least 6 feet apart from others outside your immediate household.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Frequently wash your hands.
The COVID-19 incubation period can be up to 14 days, so stay vigilant!
See also CDC's Guidance on Travel and Holiday Break.