COVID-19 at UNH: Spring semester in review


Katie Hoppler

Spring 2021 was the third semester coronavirus (COVID-19) was present in the streets of Durham. This spring students continued to test regularly, use Wildcat pass, take hybrid classes, and follow additional safety restrictions. COVID-19 took up a lot of TNH’s reporting this spring and below is a compilation of that work.  


COVID-19 vaccine shipped to US pharmacies – Feb. 3  

Student COVID-19 testing day requests denied – Feb. 7  

Wildcat Pass COVID-19 safety features – Feb. 7  

Kenneth Holmes addresses quarantine capacity issues – Feb. 11 

Limited space available in quarantine dorms – Feb. 11  

UNH switches to orange level of operations – Feb. 11 

UNH reports 433 active COVID-19 cases – Feb. 17  

UNH shifts to “orange mode” after rise in COVID-19 cases – Feb. 17  

N.H. college students among last to receive vaccine – Feb. 17  

UNH to use Eaton Hall as additional quarantine housing – Feb. 17  

A guide to campus life in orange mode at UNH – Feb. 19  

Professors reflect on nearly a year of hybrid learning – Feb. 23  

UNH returns to in-person classes; remains in orange mode – Feb. 24  

February marked the introduction to the term “COVID fatigue.” Students returned to campus after an extended winter break and brought university-high COVID-19 rates with them. The university reached a peak positivity rate of 1.66% with 428 students in isolation and 629 in quarantine. University quarantine and isolation facilities started to experience capacity issues which lead to UNH Department of Housing and Residential Life (housing) to convert a student dorm in The Minis to additional quarantine space. These record high positivity rates also shifted the university to ‘Orange Mode,’ moving all classes online and placing further restrictions on campus. After one week the university allowed for classes to resume, keeping other restrictions in place.  


President Dean announces return to yellow mode – March 4  

Petition circulates for RA hazard pay – March 4  

Schools consider face-to-face instruction as COVID-19 cases decrease – March 5 

COVID-19 UK variant detected at UNH – March 11 

Hazard pay not an option for UNH RAs – March 15 

UNH community reflects on one-year COVID anniversary – March 23  

UNH plans to be fully open for fall 2021 semester – March 26  

March marked the official one-year anniversary of the pandemic. The university returned to ‘Yellow Mode’ of operations which is the level of operations UNH remained at for the rest of the semester. University Resident Assistants (RAs) started a petition to request hazard pay, saying that they were not compensated for the additional labor and risk required during a pandemic. After a few weeks of the petition circulating around campus, housing announced that due to lack of funding they would not be able to offer this additional compensation to RAs. The university announced the detection of the more contagious U.K. variant on campus in addition to plans for the university to be fully open for the fall 2021 semester.    


New vaccination site opens at Fox Run Mall – April 1  

Out-of-state students not eligible for vaccine in N.H. – April 1  

UNH to hold two vaccine clinics this week – April 8  

N.H. student leaders plead for out-of-state student vaccines – April 8  

UNH conducts wastewater testing system to track COVID-19 virus – April 8  

Scientists disprove misinformation on COVID-19 vaccine – April 8  

COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Whittemore Center – April 14 

Vaccine clinic announced for out-of-state students – April 15  

Sununu announces expiration of mask mandate – April 15  

UNH hosts vaccine clinic for out-of-state students – April 22 

International students impacted by COVID-19 – April 29  

On April 1 every resident of New Hampshire aged 16 and older was eligible to register for the COVID-19 vaccine. The following week, the university hosted two vaccine clinics for both in-state students and faculty. Gov. Chris Sununu initially did not allow out-of-state students to receive a shot in N.H. This rule sparked frustration within the student body, university and town officials. UNH Student Body President and Vice President Nicholas Fitzgerald and Tyler Silverwood signed a letter with other student leaders advocating for out-of-state students to be eligible. After this advocacy, Sununu announced out-of-state students could receive the vaccine on April 15. UNH hosted an additional vaccine clinic for interested students on April 19.  

During this month UNH announced the use of wastewater testing system, and Sununu announced the expiration of the state-wide mask mandate due to vaccinations increasing and the state-wide caseload decreasing.  


CDC amends gathering requirements; UNH guidelines remain – May 1  

Follow-up: Scientists disprove misconceptions about COVID-19 and protocols – May 1  

Although the state lifted its mask mandate, the university announced that their masking and testing protocols would remain in place for the rest of the semester.  

Photo courtesy of the University of New Hampshire.