COVID-19: Incident reporting, new app, compliance and consequences

Aug. 26, 2020

Wildcat Colleagues,
We are almost there! Students will be returning soon, and we know you have been working hard to make their return a successful one. One of the best ways 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. 
However, it saddens me to inform you that on Aug. 24, there were three UNH students arrested for unlawful possession and underage drinking at an off-campus party. The police report stated there were UNH students in attendance at the party, many not in compliance with university COVID-19 policies. It is reckless behavior such as this that will necessitate UNH pivoting back to remote learning only. I know we can count on each of you to reinforce the importance of compliance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols and guidelines with our students.
So, what should we all be doing?

  • Set a good example. Wear your mask and observe physical distancing, so students know that we practice what we preach.
  • When you see students without masks or not properly physical distancing, say something. A friendly reminder to students to put on their masks will go a long way, especially if students see us all doing it.

It will take all of us to make this work.
As we get closer to reopening, I am aware many of you still have questions on how we will handle situations where students are not wearing masks or properly social distancing. The university has developed a system for reporting and responding to specific incidents as outlined below:

  • What should you do if you find yourself reminding the same student multiple times or asking a student to follow the health and safety protocols and they refuse or respond rudely? 

The university has created a link  that can be used by staff, faculty, students and members of the general public to let us know when they see a problem (it is formally called the “COVID Incident Reporting Form”). The COVID Incident Reporting Form link will be posted in various places on the UNH website, and it is easy to use. You enter your contact information and provide details about the incident, and it should take only a few minutes to complete.

  • How will the university respond to reports submitted through the link? 

The university will review each report, and the identified student(s) will meet with the dean of students or his designee. Subsequent visits will result in a more severe discipline, which could include suspension and expulsion. The process link is  here

  • What if I don’t know the student? 

It’s okay to ask students their names (you can also ask to see their student ID if you want to confirm). If a student refuses to give you their name, you can let them know that they are required to do so by the UNH Student Code of Conduct, and they could face a conduct charge for failing to do so. If comfortable, you may also 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 our small way to build that culture, the better off we will be. Please take a moment to hear me talk about  COVID-19 compliance and consequences
 Kenneth Holmes
 Senior Vice Provost for Student Life