Spring Semester and COVID-19 (Durham and Franklin Pierce Law Communities)

January 11, 2022

 

Dear Members of the UNH Community—

First, the news you’ve all been waiting for: The spring semester at the University of New Hampshire will begin in person and as scheduled Tuesday, Jan. 25 (Jan. 18 for UNH Franklin Pierce Law). We made this decision after carefully considering a number of factors including guidance from medical and public health experts; widespread access to vaccination and boosters; research findings on the omicron variant; regional, state and campus data; access to state-of-the-art testing; and our commitment to our academic, research and outreach missions.

We’ve learned a lot over the last two years and are confident we can open safely. We are monitoring what is happening at colleges and universities across the country as well as on our campuses; we are prepared to transition classes online if it becomes necessary. The physical, emotional and mental health and well-being of every one of you remains our top priority. The accommodation process under the Americans with Disabilities Act remains in place for those who need it. For students who need to isolate or quarantine, faculty will work with you to ensure you are able to maintain progress in your classes.

The omicron variant can impact our academic, professional and personal lives. Many of you are dealing with challenges such as caring for family members or having children home from K-12 schools. We want to help as much as possible with these situations. Employees, please reach out to your supervisor or Human Resources partner; students, please talk with your professors or associate dean.

Durham Testing (Manchester and Franklin Pierce Law communities should continue to follow the testing requirements of their campuses.)

  • Pre-arrival testing for Durham students is encouraged but not required. If you have an at-home test or access to testing please help us avoid having to send people home soon after arrival. If you test positive please stay home, upload the result and follow isolation protocols . If you test positive with an at-home test please do not drop another one on campus.
  • There will be arrival testing for Durham students Jan. 19-28 at the Whittemore Center, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, including the weekend. An email with more detailed testing information will follow later this week.
  • Faculty, staff and contractors are asked to continue testing or begin as soon as needed; test kits are currently available at MUB 213, M-F, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • New Hampshire and Massachusetts residents can request free at-home tests.

Vaccination

  • If you received a COVID-19 booster please upload your updated card as soon as possible. Isolation and quarantine guidance is changing based on being fully vaccinated or not, and fully vaccinated may soon be defined as being two weeks post booster.
  • Find out where to get the vaccine or booster here. UNH will host a vaccination clinic Tuesday, Jan. 18, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Whittemore Center lobby. Boosters as well as first and second doses will be available to all faculty, staff (and their families) and students who may wish to participate. Registration is required; please watch the Health & Wellness website for more information.

Quarantine and Isolation

  • Quarantine and isolation housing is limited. Like last semester, it is only available to students living on campus. Students may be encouraged to go home to isolate or to stay in their residence hall or on-campus apartment depending on volume.
  • New Hampshire recently changed its isolation period from 10 days to five in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control. UNH officials are still evaluating whether to make the change or maintain a stricter policy.
  • If you have close contact with someone who has COVID-19 you should take extra precautions (mask wearing, physical distancing, avoiding crowds, etc.), and get tested. More information can be found here.

Masks

  • Masks will continue to be required in all indoor spaces except when eating, in private offices or in personal residence hall rooms. The requirement applies to everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated. This includes classrooms, hallways, elevators, restrooms, break rooms, entries and exits to buildings, laboratories, meeting rooms, shared offices, and work areas as well as on all Wildcat Transit buses.
  • KN95 masks are available for front-line staff and faculty. Contact your dean or department head to request them.

Additional adjustments regarding student groups, gatherings, athletics, dining, testing and other aspects of spring campus life will continue to be discussed as we gather data in our community and region and begin to see arrival testing results.

We will continue to provide updates as needed in the weeks to come and may pivot at any time. Please know we are doing everything possible to protect each one of you as we have over the last two years.

James W. Dean, Jr.

President