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Dartmouth College tightens COVID rules, bars outsiders’ entry to most campus buildings

  • Giorgio Alberti, of West Lebanon, N.H., shows a friend on his smartphone the Hopkins Center and the Hood Museum of Art in Hanover, N.H., on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. Alberti is a lecturer in French and Italian at Dartmouth College. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Jennifer Hauck

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/3/2021 9:37:05 PM
Modified: 9/3/2021 9:37:15 PM

HANOVER — With the fall term to begin in 10 days, Dartmouth College has tightened its protocols for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Entry to campus buildings will be limited to people who hold access cards — generally students, faculty and staff.

But the Hood Museum of Art and the Hopkins Center for the Arts, two campus buildings heavily used by the public, will remain open, with mask requirements in place.

“Living with COVID-19 requires us to make difficult decisions that prioritize the physical and mental health of our community and maintain campus operations that allow us to pursue Dartmouth’s mission in as normal a manner as possible under the circumstances,” Interim Provost David Kotz and Executive Vice President Rick Mills wrote in an email to the college community on Thursday.

“We must remain vigilant and allow for flexibility to quickly address any emerging public health needs, in order to protect the community, particularly children under 12, for whom the vaccine is not yet available.”

As of Thursday, the Dartmouth COVID-19 Dashboard reported 15 active cases among students, faculty and staff. It also said 94% of the “on-campus” community is fully vaccinated.

As a precaution, Dartmouth has reduced the scope of its welcoming first-year trips. Rather than send new students into the mountains overnight, they will stay on campus and take a succession of day trips, the college announced Thursday.

The Hood Museum reopened to the public on Aug. 4 and will remain open, Nils Nadeau, the museum’s associate director for external affairs, said Friday.

“As of now, there’s no change to our ability to offer access to our galleries to all,” Nadeau said in a phone interview.

In a statement, Dartmouth spokeswoman Diana Lawrence said the Hop and the Hood would remain open, but dining halls, academic and administrative buildings, libraries, and athletic facilities will remain closed to the public, though spectators who follow the college’s protocols are allowed at indoor sporting events.

In addition to restricting access to buildings, the college also will resume weekly testing for all vaccinated students, while unvaccinated students will continue to get tested twice a week.

Masks are now required in all indoor spaces, except “in a private, non-shared space, such as a dorm room or your office, or alone in a laboratory,” the Sept. 2 email says.

And college officials have drawn up plans to use the Boss Tennis Center as additional isolation housing, if case numbers necessitate it.

“We do not anticipate using the center as regular isolation space,” the Sept. 2 email says. “(H)owever, in an urgent situation, the center can be divided into personalized spaces” for up to 100 people.

Alex Hanson can be reached at or 603-727-3207.

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