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President Dean announces COVID-19 fall semester roadmap

Thompson Hall (T-Hall) at the center of the University of New Hampshire campus.

In an email to the University of New Hampshire (UNH) community, university president James W. Dean delivered the “Roadmap to an On-Campus Experience,” and provided more details to the current list of guidelines regarding UNH’s coronavirus (COVID-19) safety processes for the plan for an on-campus fall semester.

While the list will continue to evolve as the fall semester grows nearer and public health conditions change, President Dean explained the current framework in place to allow for a “flexible, in-person fall 2020 experience designed to keep our community safe, ensure access and quality for our students, and move our community forward.”

President Dean listed some of the key points as follows:

The fall semester will start as planned on August 31st (24th for the UNH law school). Pending faculty senate approval, the fall holidays will be used as instruction days and students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving. The last ten days of the semester including both classes and exams will be conducted remotely after this period.

Residence and dining halls will be operating at a reduced density of 50% or less. There will be no triples or quad rooms and two of the residence halls will be reserved for quarantine space.

Visitors and members of the UNH community will be required to wear masks or other coverings during class, labs and in public areas. Masks will be provided for those who don’t have one.

UNH will impart an “extensive public health campaign,” regarding face masks, hygiene, health monitoring and social distancing. “Health screening and monitoring will be required for all faculty, staff and students,” as well as “a strict ‘stay at home when ill policy’” that “will be in effect at all times.” The Student Rights, Rules and Responsibilities Handbook will be updated in accordance with these changes.

President Dean wrote, “living and learning on campus is a right and a privilege that will be lost for students that don’t adhere to these guidelines.”

Dean linked UNH’s COVID-19 (coronavirus) page which includes more in-depth details and further reasoning behind the planning. It also includes individual links detailing how UNH plans to support undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and staff, and the community. Focal points of this page include:

Creating COVID-19 ready campuses: providing on-campus testing for everyone on campus as well as comprehensive tracing in partnership with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

Deliver flexible, blended academic instruction: concluding face-to-face classes on November 25th and conducting exams remotely (pending faculty senate approval) and providing a mixture of in-person and remote coursework with increased flexibility for remote learning.

Align resources for success: UNH is increasing cleaning and disinfection of public areas and increasing access to health and safety supplies.

While these are the UNH guidelines and policies currently in place, they are subject to evolve and change, and UNH is prepared to pivot when necessary for the good of the community. Dean wrote that the university will continue to monitor the public health situation over the next month and send updates when necessary.

President Dean welcomes members of the UNH community to join a town hall Zoom meeting on Tuesday, June 23 at 4 p.m. The webinar can be reached at this link:

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