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Dickinson College updates on Spring 2021

Week of November 30, 2020

Update from President Ensign

Sent: December 3rd, 2020

To the Dickinson community: 

I hope you all had some time to renew yourselves over the Thanksgiving holiday and connect with those who bring you joy.

We are continuing to plan for our spring semester, while also watching the course of the pandemic. I want to thank all of you for your support and your resilience during this challenging year. I am so proud of the way our students, faculty and staff have worked together in innovative and creative ways to rise to so many challenges. Please continue to follow the practices we all know will keep us safe—wearing a mask, washing hands regularly, avoiding crowds and staying physically distant from others.

I wanted to provide some updates on the spring semester:

Pre-Arrival Testing

  • As previously mentioned, students in the United States will be receiving pre-arrival test kits about five days before they are to come to campus. The kits have clear instructions on how to self-collect a sample from inside the nose. Students are asked to place that sample in the provided container, place that container in a pre-paid shipping envelope and take it to a UPS location for same-day shipping. We ask that returning students perform and mail the test 72 hours before their arrival on campus.
  • International students not already living in the United States will be tested once they arrive on campus, and additional information on that process will be sent to them.

Previous COVID Diagnosis

  • For students previously diagnosed with COVID-19 who remain asymptomatic after recovery (or who have never developed symptoms), retesting is not recommended for three months. Students who have a documented history of a positive test or a presumed COVID-19 diagnosis from a healthcare provider will not be included in our required pre-arrival COVID-19 testing or twice per week screening testing until 90 days have passed since the date of symptom onset (or their positive test result if asymptomatic).
  • Any student who falls into this category should complete this form. The student should also send documentation of their prior COVID-19 diagnosis to the Wellness Center. Students can request a visit note, lab report or verification form from the healthcare provider or pharmacy that administered their COVID test. This information can be sent to the Wellness Center by email (, fax (717-245-1938), or through the mail at: Dickinson College Wellness Center, PO Box 1773, Carlisle, PA 17013-2896. Documentation also can be uploaded to our Patient Portal at

Campus Return

  • Students will see their registered spring classes and can make changes beginning on December 11.
  • About 1,100 students have indicated they will return to campus in January. Room selection and housing information will be available in mid-December.
  • Everyone who will be on campus must use the symptoms tracker each day. We have provided simple instructions on using this tool.
  • Those on campus must also download the COVID Alert PA mobile app, developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The app can notify you if you have been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

We will continue to update you on our plans for the spring semester as we have more information, and we are keeping our Spring Reopening pages up-to-date. Please continue to finish the semester strong and follow all health and safety guidelines. With the positive news about vaccines, we are reminded that the end is in sight. While the spring semester will be different, we know that if we all work together and make decisions for the common good, we will be able to learn and live together successfully. We are a resilient community, and we will continue to overcome the challenges of this pandemic.


Margee M. Ensign