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Dickinson College updates on Spring 2021

Week of April 5, 2021

Weekly COVID-19 Update

Sent: April 9, 2021

To the Dickinson community:

What a beautiful week it has been on campus, with warm spring weather, sunshine and the opportunity to come together for important and meaningful events. Thank you to the members of our community who participated in the Carlisle walk in support of Asians and Asian Americans, as well as those who participated in the Dickinson & Slavery walking tour, through which we begin to confront the role of slavery in our institution's history. As we have seen throughout this pandemic, we are a stronger when we come together as a community to support one another and confront challenges. We also celebrated our Day of Giving, which was an incredible success as parents, alumni and all of you showed your support for this incredible institution. I continue to be inspired by our community every day.


Beginning Monday, April 19, all adults are eligible to be vaccinated. That includes all students, whether or not they are a resident of Pennsylvania, and all faculty and staff, even those who do not work directly with students. As we shared last week, Dickinsonians who fall into Phase 1B are eligible to be vaccinated now. This phase includes faculty and staff who work directly with students.

There is good news about vaccine availability in our area. During a Carlisle Community Action Network (CAN) call this week, we heard that our region has open vaccine appointments available at numerous vaccination sites. More than 22,000 vaccines have been distributed at the large vaccination site at the former K-Mart building that has been established through a partnership with Cumberland County and Quality Care Pharmacy. By calling 717-918-9880 you can schedule a vaccine appointment through April 21. So, even if you are not eligible to be vaccinated until April 19, you may make your appointment now.

We are optimistic that we will be able to hold an on-site vaccination clinic with UPMC Pinnacle Health for students before the end of the semester. We will be back in touch with additional information next week. Students will be required to schedule appointments, and vaccinations will be completed before finals begin.

UPMC is improving its vaccine website to simplify the scheduling process and has encouraged Dickinson faculty and staff to visit the site Monday.

The state's website has more details on the vaccination process, including a page that will let you know other locations where vaccines are available.

I encourage all students, staff and faculty to get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible. While we are seeing positive signs in our fight against the virus, officials are watching the spread of a more contagious variant impacting young people. Pennsylvania infection rates continue to rise, and the positivity rate in Cumberland County rose two percent since last week. We must continue to follow all health and safety guidelines and get vaccinated as soon as possible. This is just one more important step to opening our community and getting back to normal.

Students who complete the vaccine process can upload their vaccination card to their patient portal or email it to Employees can upload their vaccine documentation here.

Changes to our guidelines

We continue to follow state and federal health and safety guidelines. As a result, we have made the following changes to our protocols:

  • A student who has (a) been fully vaccinated, (b) has recovered from COVID-19 over the past 90 days, or (c) had a positive antibody test over the past 90 days andremains asymptomatic will not be required to be tested or restrict their movement upon returning to campus or after having travelled more than 50 miles from campus. Students will be required to provide proof of the above to the Wellness Center to be exempted from these requirements.
  • Similarly, seniors in any of the above categories returning for this year's Graduate Recognition Ceremonies, who would like to stay on campus, will not be required to complete a COVID-19 test prior to arrival (or a point of care test upon arrival). Seniors will be required to provide proof of the above to be exempted from these requirements. More information on the submission of those materials will be communicated to those seniors.

We will continue to keep you updated on all changes, vaccination opportunities and other guidance. Thank you for your work throughout the semester, and your continued resilience and adherence to our health protocols.


Margee M. Ensign