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Dickinson College updates on Spring 2021

Week of March 22, 2021

Weekly COVID-19 Update

Sent: March 26, 2021

To the Dickinson community:

As the second half of the semester gets underway, I want to take a moment to remind our community that COVID-19 is still with us. We are currently experiencing an uptick in cases with 13 positive cases on campus—the highest number we have had throughout the pandemic. Additionally, on our weekly Carlisle Community Action Network call yesterday, we were joined by a member of the Governor's Vaccine Task Force. He shared that there is a rapid increase in cases in many parts of the state including a more transmissible variant which is progressing rapidly. The race between vaccine distribution and new variants is far from over.

Everyone must follow all health and safety guidelines and must continue to stay physically distant, wear masks covering our nose, mouth and chin, and wash hands regularly, whether we are on campus or out at local businesses. Each one of us has a responsibility to follow these guidelines to protect our community and to allow us to complete our spring semester successfully.

Campus COVID-19 Testing

It is important that you show up for testing at your scheduled time if that is possible. If everyone shows up when scheduled, the testing process can run smoothly and efficiently for everyone.

However, do not skip a test. Students, if you miss your appointment time, please come later that same day if at all possible and you will be worked in. Tests can be made up the following day but the late test may impact your ability to participate in activities.

Our rigorous testing protocol has helped to keep COVID cases under control on campus. You can see the number of tests and the positivity rate on our COVID Dashboard, which is updated each weekday.


Students who have received both the first and second dose of the vaccine can upload their vaccination card to their patient portal or email it to Employees can upload their vaccine documentation here. Even if you have been fully vaccinated, ongoing testing is still required.

If you have not yet received your vaccine, you can find out about vaccine availability on the state Department of Health website. Also, the state has a Your Turn web tool to make it easier to find out when you are eligible to receive the vaccine.

The Community Action Network (CAN) continues to support widespread vaccinations in our area. Cumberland County has joined with Quality Care Pharmacy to establish a large vaccination site at the former K-Mart building. The county and Quality Care have now partnered with AT&T to open a phone bank at this location to answer questions and support individuals in scheduling vaccine appointments. The phones will be answered during the clinic's hours of operation. The county will be relying on volunteers from the Medical Reserve Corps to answer the phones. Anyone who would be interested in supporting these efforts must sign up through This video will walk you through the process.

Emergency Student Grant Application Open Through April 5

Applications for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II) authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021, are open through Monday, April 5, 2021. The amount awarded to each student will depend on their Pell Grant eligibility status and the total number of eligible applicants. The pool of HEERF II funds will be divided among eligible applicants. Pell Grant recipients are required by law to receive preference in the awarding of these funds. Dickinson will demonstrate this preference by allocating a 50% higher allotment to Pell Grant recipients vs. non-Pell Grant recipients.

Applications must be received no later than April 5, 2021, to be considered for HEERF II funds. Due to the nature and timing of distribution, no exceptions can be made. More information on eligibility and applying for HEERF II is available in the "General Announcements" section of the college's announcement web page.

Fall Semester

Based on the assumption that vaccine rollout will continue and cases and hospitalizations continue to decline, we are beginning to develop plans and policies for a fully in-person fall semester. We will continue to follow all health and safety guidelines, but with increasing vaccinations and warmer weather allowing us to gather in small, physically distant groups, we are beginning to see the light at the end of this long tunnel and can start to prepare for a return to a more normal semester beginning in August. We look forward to welcoming our entire student body back to campus.

As we have throughout the pandemic, we will continue to update you during the spring and summer about planning. While we look optimistically to the future, we remember the lives that have been lost and the individuals who have suffered from illness and economic challenges during this time. We have all been through so much this past year, and we must continue to come together as a community to support one another.

Thank you all for your support and your commitment to health and safety during this time. We remain Dickinson strong.


Margee M. Ensign