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Students informed of spring semester COVID-19 arrival protocols

This week, University of New Hampshire (UNH) administrators released the details of the steps that students must take in order to move back to campus for the spring semester. 

In a number of emails from President James Dean, Provost Wayne Jones, Chief of Police Paul Dean, and Senior Vice Provost Marian McCord, the process of returning to campus has been outlined.  

Much like the return to campus for fall semester, students must go through the housing department to choose a window in which to move back into residence halls and on-campus apartments. After this, the email from Chief Dean instructs students to register a time to go to the Whittemore Center to pick up self-testing kits and to take arrival tests.  

In the same email, Dean laid out the options for pre-arrival testing. It is suggested that students “identify your arrival test date” first in order to “choose the appropriate pre-arrival test date.” The options for pre-arrival testing are to pick up a same-day self-swab kit at the Whittemore Center between Jan. 19-24, do a mail-in test with Quest Diagnostics (for those living more than 90 miles from Durham), or have an outside test done. This would be at the student’s expense. If students are still on campus over break, they do not need to test outside of the current winter break testing program. 

A separate email from Chief Dean and UNH Medical Director Peter Degnan was sent out, stating that if students test positive, they could not return to campus after the positive test until ten days had elapsed since symptom development or the date of the test if symptoms were not developed. 

Additionally, Degnan’s email clarified quarantine guidance, saying that students from outside New England had to quarantine for seven days prior to returning to campus in addition to negative testing. The only exception to this is if a student has “received both doses of the vaccine,” at least fourteen days prior to returning.  

Another task that students must complete prior to returning to campus is signing the Wildcat Pledge, as specified in an email from President Dean. Signing it signifies agreement to stay informed on nationwide, state, and UNH policies and requirements relating to COVID-19. It also includes pledging “to adopt a culture of shared responsibility and commit to following all safety and health protocols and policies.”  

The pledge further specifies that these actions include mask-wearing, physical distancing, minimizing travel, and avoiding social gatherings.  

In Dean’s email, he said that if a student does not sign the Wildcat Pledge, their Wildcat Pass will be invalid.  

Also in his email, Dean said, “We’ve listened to students’ feedback and are planning more in-person activities” for the new semester. “We’re excited to welcome you back,” he said.  

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