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.
UNH reports 433 active COVID-19 cases – Feb. 17
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.
Petition circulates for RA hazard pay – March 4
COVID-19 UK variant detected at UNH – March 11
Hazard pay not an option for UNH RAs – March 15
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.
COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Whittemore Center – April 14
Sununu announces expiration of mask mandate – April 15
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.
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.