New COVID guidelines in place as semester kicks off


Stefanie Kistler, Staff Writer

DURHAM – After nearly two full years of COVID regulations and rules on college campuses, universities across the United States have started to relax their policies in compliance with CDC guidelines. At the University of New Hampshire (UNH), students saw the lifting of the mask mandate and a decrease in mandatory testing this past Spring. 

Despite the lessening of previous regulations, UNH is still committed to student health and will have new guidelines in place for students to follow this Fall.

In an email sent out on August 8, UNH President James Dean detailed what students and staff can expect regarding COVID safety, testing, and students’ responsibility for campus health.

Dean stated in his email that, just as last Spring, the mask mandate is no longer in effect. This means that masks are not required in any public indoor spaces on the UNH campus. The only exceptions are Health and Wellness, as well as any labs that require masks as personal protective equipment.

Even though masks are no longer required, Dean still encourages students to wear them if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. He also asks that students respect others’ wishes and wear face coverings if they are requested to do so.

 Similar to previous semesters, students are required to do pre-arrival testing. President Dean asks that students take a rapid or PCR test at least 72 hours before arriving on campus. 

As a follow-up, students also must submit a PCR test within the first two weeks of being on campus. Students in residence halls can submit them on campus, and those living elsewhere can learn their specific testing information at the Whittemore Center Arena.

The biggest change regarding UNH’s COVID requirements is that mandatory testing is no longer in place. Instead, UNH encourages students to test voluntarily, especially when they are experiencing COVID symptoms. President Dean also asks students to remain conscious of campus health and stay away from their peers if they feel sick or test positive.

Students can pick up any additional tests they wish to take throughout the Fall at Health and Wellness, where they can also set up any appointments to get checked out or if they wish to get vaccinated.

Drop boxes will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. for those who wish to test voluntarily. The boxes are in various places around the UNH campus, including the Dimond Library and Hamel Recreation Center. A full comprehensive list of locations can be found on Health & Wellness’ website, as well as UNH’s COVID safety page.

President Dean said these changes in guidelines were made possible because of the compliance students have shown during the pandemic. He emphasized the “community, care and respect” that he has witnessed UNH uphold. He says that students’ willingness to regularly test, quarantine and wear masks have helped UNH head towards more relaxed rules.

For more information about COVID policies at UNH, visit the UNH COVID-19 Updates and Safety Guidelines page.