As University of New Hampshire (UNH) students continue to arrive in Durham and on campus, university administrators have developed a system for reporting incidences of non-compliance of coronavirus (COVID-19) procedures and requirements.
“One of the best ways for us to succeed this fall is to create a positive culture where mask wearing and physical distancing become second nature. It is up to all of us to establish that culture together,” wrote Senior Vice Provost for Student Life Kenneth Holmes in an email to students on Wednesday, Aug. 26.
In the email, Holmes stated that there were UNH students at an off-campus party on Aug. 24, many of whom were not complying with university-mandated COVID-19 policies, according to the police report. “It is reckless behavior such as this that will necessitate UNH pivoting back to remote learning only. In the end, you and your peers will have the final say if we stay together or not,” wrote Holmes.
Holmes emphasized the need for collaboration and teamwork to ensure the success of the university’s campus reopening plans. Students should be setting a good example by wearing masks and respecting social distancing, which sends the message to peers that you are taking this seriously, according to Holmes. He encouraged students to give friendly reminders to their peers about following COVID-19 procedures such as mask-wearing and gathering in large groups – which is defined as no more than 25 people, both indoors or outdoors.
Additionally, Holmes outlined how the university will handle cases of noncompliance.
There will be a user-friendly “COVID Incident Reporting Form,” where students, staff, faculty and members of the public are able to report COVID-related problems or incidents they witness. UNH will review the reports and “the identified student(s) will meet with the Dean of Students or their designee. Subsequent visits will result in more severe discipline, which could include suspension and expulsion.” The full process is outlined here.
Holmes also stated that if you do not know the student you witness violating the COVID-19 protocols, “You may upload a picture via the form if necessary.”
“Again, while enforcement is essential, establishing a culture of safety is imperative. The more we can do in our small way to build that culture, the better off we will be,” wrote Holmes.
Additionally, the university has set up a COVID-19 hotline and email “For health, safety and other pressing issues not addressed in the FAQs.”