View the latest campus policy, news, and information related to COVID-19.

Thayer Community Update

Date: September 3, 2020
From: Dean Alexis Abramson

Dear Thayer community,

I am thrilled to welcome all of you to the start of the fall 2020 term. Many in our community worked diligently over the spring and summer to manage our facilities, support students, teach classes, complete coursework, and explore new discoveries in the laboratory. Thank you all for your persistence, resilience, and patience during this time. I am incredibly proud of all we have accomplished so far, particularly given our incredibly challenging circumstances.

To new members of the Thayer community—a warm welcome! You join an incredible place, full of problem-solvers who care deeply about achieving the education and research mission of our school.

As part of “One Dartmouth,” we each play a critical role in ensuring that our campus and our broader community remains a safe place to live, learn, and work. Over the summer, I witnessed our faculty, staff, and research students abiding by new rules and precautions on campus — donning masks, maintaining physical distance, and finding creative ways to do our work — to protect ourselves and each other. I have great faith in all of you to continue this good work in the spirit of community.

Dartmouth has instituted extensive protocols for our safety, and in this letter, we outline the work we have done so far and the specific requirements for accessing Thayer buildings and spaces throughout the term. This information is subject to change as the COVID-19 situation in the Dartmouth community evolves.

We will host a community town hall via Zoom next Wednesday (9/9) at 5:00 pm to discuss this information and answer any questions you may have. Look for another email with the Zoom link.

Getting Our Space Ready

The Thayer Facilities and Operations team has been working throughout the summer, in close collaboration with Dartmouth’s campus services, facilities and operations staff, to evaluate our spaces and ensure Thayer buildings are safe for students, faculty and staff. To that end, they have made the following adjustments:

  • Assessed the effectiveness of ventilation in various spaces and installed new filters to catch a higher percentage of particles as well as smaller particles;
  • Reduced the capacity in each space to allow for social distancing;
  • Installed plexiglass in areas where there is a customer service function; and
  • Placed appropriate signage to guide and remind our community of new COVID restrictions.

Accessing Thayer Buildings

Currently, Thayer facilities (Cummings and MacLean) are accessible only to Thayer faculty, staff and approved students, using your DartCard (Dartmouth ID). Starting Sept. 14, all enrolled Thayer graduate students, who have met the requirements for being on campus, including completing a 14-day quarantine (if returning to or newly arriving in the Hanover area), signing the Community Expectations Agreement, and completing arrival or baseline Dartmouth COVID-19 testing, will have access with their DartCard. Once the quarantine period is over for undergraduates, students with an “R” term who are also enrolled in a Thayer course and have met the requirements to be on campus, will also have access to Thayer facilities.

To allow the custodians to clean and sanitize spaces overnight, buildings will be accessible via DartCard, only from 7:30am to 9:00pm, with the exception of faculty, staff and students conducting research in Thayer labs who will have access until 12:00am/midnight. Please note that custodians will clean shared areas but not personal workspaces.

If you have traveled outside of certain geographic areas, you may not be able to access the buildings for 14 days. Please review the Dartmouth travel guidance if you have traveled or plan to travel.

Given the risk of COVID-19 transmission and restrictions on travel, only approved visitors are permitted inside Thayer buildings. Please contact Tricia Spellman or Jon Stark to request visitor access and please do not let others who are not approved for access into our facilities.

Williamson Labs/DHMC Access Information

All personnel, including Dartmouth faculty, staff, and students who work at our Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) campus, must be screened prior to entering and will be required to use one of the following entrances so that they can be screened: North, East, Main, Cancer Center, Parking Garage, and Borwell Bridge. While card access may still be available other doors during the transition, please use the above entrances in an effort to ensure that everyone who enters a DHMC can be screened.

Temperature Self Assessment (TSA)

Everyone planning to come to campus and access one of our buildings is expected to complete the Dartmouth Temperature Self-Assessment (TSA) prior to arrival. If you forget to take your temperature before arriving on campus, there are non-contact, wall-mounted infrared thermometers installed in the MacLean Atrium West entrance and in the Cummings lobby. See frequently asked questions about the TSA.

COVID Testing

All faculty, staff and students planning to be on campus during the fall term must be tested for COVID. Student testing and quarantine guidelines are outlined on the Dartmouth COVID site. Information about COVID testing for new and returning graduate students is available on the Health Services site. Faculty and staff testing information is available on the Dartmouth Human Resources site.

Face Coverings

Dartmouth requires everyone to wear face coverings at all times when using or accessing shared or communal spaces in any Dartmouth building or worksite and also when a minimum of six feet of physical distancing is difficult to maintain. At Thayer, this includes hallways, public corridors, bathrooms, and shared lab, classroom, and office spaces. If you forget your mask, there are masks available at the entrances of Cummings and MacLean. Please refer to the policy and frequently asked questions section for examples of when face-coverings are required, as well as more information about procedures and enforcement.

If you see someone not wearing a mask in a place where it would be required, this is a great time to gently check in and remind them of the policy and of our shared responsibility to keep each other safe. If you do not feel comfortable approaching another person, ask for help from a staff member, your supervisor, or from Thayer Human Resources (Peg DeLucia) or Dartmouth Human Resources. For more tips and resources, refer to our weekly insideThayer e-newsletter.

Reserving Rooms/Spaces

Thayer conference rooms and shared spaces must be reserved through the Dartmouth Event Management System (EMS). Once you reserve a room in EMS, 30 minutes will be added to the end of your meeting to allow for a buffer between meetings. Individuals who use shared rooms are responsible for wiping down surfaces before and after use. Cleaning supplies and instructions will be available in each room.

Please be advised that the number of available spaces are limited, and each space will have lower capacity due to social distancing guidelines. The spaces are intended for project work and are not generally available as study spaces. Please continue to work, study and do research remotely where possible to keep the density low for everyone’s safety. Over the course of the next few weeks and months we will be monitoring the situation and will communicate access changes.

Additionally, the Machine Shop will have some tools available in satellite spaces in Cummings and MacLean. These spaces must be reserved through EMS. Machine Shop staff will have video access to the rooms and will be able to assist students in using the available tools.

Food and Drinks

The food and beverage options on campus are limited due to COVID.

  • Individuals with workspaces are allowed to eat at their desk and others may reserve spaces through EMS.
  • Byrne Hall at Tuck is open (with DartCard access) to the Thayer faculty, staff and graduate students and includes a cafeteria and JOE coffee shop. Dining services are limiting the number of people in the Byrne dining space to 15 at a time and the busiest time will be during the Tuck lunch hour (11:50am–1:15pm). Online ordering from Byrne dining is available via GET FOOD and food is available for pick up or delivery to a common location in Thayer on a daily basis.
  • There are two vending machines (beverage/snack) available for use in the Cummings kitchen.
  • The shared coffee facilities in Cummings and MacClean are unavailable until further notice.
  • Water fountains are available, however you will not be able to drink directly from the fountains, they are only available for filling water bottles at this time.


Students who park in assigned locations on campus must register with and display a permit from Dartmouth Transportation Services. Personal parking location options are available to review by logging into your account at Permits are only valid to park in the lots for which they are issued.

Faculty and staff should continue to use their FY20 parking permit until January 2021.


Please reach out to Tricia Spellman (operations), Jon Stark (facilities), or Holly Wilkinson (student-related) with any questions about this information.

The next few months will be nothing, if not, unpredictable. But over the past year, the constant in our community has been our creativity, our can-do spirit, and our commitment to one another that carried us through some of the hardest months. Let’s show the world that at Dartmouth, at Thayer, each one of us is doing everything we can to create a safe and supportive environment for all.