Student life: COVID-19 update

Sept. 21, 2020

The following message from Senior Vice Provost for Student Life Kenneth Holmes to students  includes updates to UNH Public Health Safety Protocols 2020-21 (revised 9-15-20), along with a report on how COVID-19 incident reports are being handled.

 

Dear Students —

We are almost through our third week of the semester, and I am very proud of how our students have risen to the various challenges of trying to learn, connect, and stay safe all at the same time. I know that it has not been easy, and I hope the better days for all of us come sooner rather than later.

We have had some time to evaluate our processes and consider what adjustments are needed. After receiving input from students, faculty, staff, and members of our local community, we are adapting and clarifying how we will work together. To that end, we want to highlight a few crucial issues/developments.

 

The university has revised the COVID-19 rules (they are officially called the "Public Health Safety Protocols 2020-21 (revised 9-15-20)”). We received a lot of feedback from the campus community that people want the rules to be more transparent, so we have added more detail about what the regulations mean and accountability. We have also clarified how enforcement will work going forward. The new rules are now in effect, so we strongly recommend that you look them over.

Testing – A Big Thank You! We know that developing a personal self-swab style was not on your to-do list for your college experience! We also know that frequent testing is key to keeping the university open this fall, and we appreciate the diligence you have shown in participating.

Testing – A Big Concern. We have heard the rumors about students not properly taking and submitting their test samples. To be clear, doing so poses a serious risk to the community, and those found responsible will face being banned from campus under the COVID-19 rules. We also want to report that our testing lab can (and has) detected improper samples.

The university is lifting the moratorium on student organizations, including Fraternity and Sorority Life gatherings. Earlier this week, the Zeta chapter of Theta Chi was found responsible for violations of UNH’s fraternity and sorority life social policy by the UNH Interfraternity Council Judiciary Board around events Saturday, August 29. As a result, the fraternity will not be permitted to have any in-person gatherings—no matter the size—for the remainder of the semester. At the same time, the university has investigated and evaluated whether it is appropriate to restrict an entire group of organizations when we do not have evidence of widespread wrongdoing. We have determined that fraternities and sororities do not inherently present any higher risk of violating the COVID-19 safety protocols than other student organizations or even smaller, informal groups of students. As usual, the expectation is for all fraternities and sororities to adhere to all rules (please see the FSL COVID-19 Guidelines).

The COVID-19 Incident Report process has been very productive for our community. Many students, staff, faculty and Durham community members have helped us as we work to keep our community safe. The COVID-19 Incident Report Form is still active for those who want to report health and safety concerns. Although federal confidentiality regulations prohibit us from disclosing information about individual students, we can say that we have followed up on hundreds of reports and have been able to address a wide variety of health and safety issues.

 

Total Number of Reports: 750*

Status:

 

Completely resolved: 510

Pending but in the process of being resolved: 210

Under initial review: 30

 

Location of conduct:

 

Residence Halls: 540

UNH Housing Apartments: 25

Academic Buildings: 50-55

On-Campus – Other: 50-55

Off-Campus: 85

 

*The sanctions imposed for the above violations ranged from mask warnings to evictions from campus.

Thank you,

Kenneth Holmes
Senior Vice Provost for Student Life