New Hampshire Colleges Prepare For Return Of Students, Staff

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire colleges and universities continue to prepare for the return of both students and employees for what they expect to be full-capacity campuses this fall.

At Dartmouth College, officials are figuring out how to meet demand for undergraduate housing. As of this week, 93 students remained on a waitlist.

The college has converted some double rooms into triples, made common areas into dorm rooms and has reserved hotel space for COVID-19 quarantine needs to free up dorm rooms.

“We’ve been turning over every stone trying to find more beds and we’ve been successful in a few areas,” Josh Keniston, the college’s COVID-19 task force co-chair, said during a community broadcast this week.

But he said other options have proved challenging, such as using modular housing or hotel rooms because of COVID-19-related supply chain delays, the local labor shortage and the expected demand for hotel space as fall tourists return.

Meanwhile, the president of the University of New Hampshire said this week that the target date for faculty and staff to return to their campus workplaces is Aug. 16. In a letter, President James Dean said that while officials will consider flexible work requests, “please keep in mind that UNH is a predominantly residential university.”

“Our students are expecting in-person classes and need to have comprehensive access to on-campus resources to ensure their success," he wrote. “Great effort will be made to balance our culture and expectations as we contemplate different work arrangements for all our employees on an individual basis.”

More than 100,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in New Hampshire, including 59 cases announced Friday. The number of deaths stood at 1,385.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire has risen over the past two weeks from 23 new cases per day on July 7 to 33 new cases per day on July 21.

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