As the fall semester starts at the University of New Hampshire, data suggests the campus community in Durham is not spreading COVID-19 as rapidly as it was at the same time last year.

According to the college's dashboard, at the close of business on Monday there were 40 UNH system students in isolation and eight students in quarantine.

Seven students were in isolation on campus and one was in quarantine on campus.

First-year and transfer students began moving into residence halls at UNH in Durham on Aug. 27, followed by upperclassmen on Aug. 29.

Last year, 169 students were in quarantine on and off campus just four days into the 2020 fall semester.

By Sept. 10, 66 students were in isolation and another 257 students were being quarantined within the UNH system.

The college was hit hard in mid-February when approximately 700 students were in quarantine and 415 students were in isolation.

The difference this year is the availability of vaccines for students and staff members.

According to the UNH dashboard, 12,183 students in the system have been fully vaccinated.

A total of 958 faculty members and 1,734 staff members have also been fully vaccinated.

The high vaccination rate is something that UNH President James Dean addressed in his letter to faculty and staff on Aug. 31.

"As you can see from today’s dashboard, of 13,215 students arriving at one of our campuses, 88% have provided proof of full vaccination. In addition, 77% of faculty and 70% of staff have confirmed they are vaccinated; this includes people who are not on campus but have shared their vaccination status with Health & Wellness. With these numbers, you can be confident that most people around you have done what is necessary to protect you, as well as themselves," Dean wrote.

Dean said their optimism about having a "normal" semester is based on an expectation of a high rate of vaccination and a low rate of infection in the community.

In Strafford County, where Durham is located, 66,015 of the 130,633 residents are fully vaccinated.

As of Friday, there were 23 active COVID cases in Durham, according to the dashboard updated by officials at NH Department of Health and Human Services.

NH officials announced 444 new COVID cases statewide on Friday. There was an average of 344 cases per day over the time period of Aug. 28 to Sept. 3, according to their data.

1,426 people in the Granite State have died from the deadly virus.

According to officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 647,461 Americans have died from COVID.

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at 

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