COVID-19 Updates: Fall Semester

Fall 2020 Dining Information

More than a necessity, mealtime is an important way to connect with friends, share traditions, and take a much-needed break from other aspects of daily life. How we operate our on-campus dining facilities will be informed by current guidance from the CDC, the Vermont Health Commissioner and Middlebury College which define standards for physical distancing and cleaning protocols to prevent the spread of the virus. Many new practices adopted in 2020–21 are a reflection of these new requirements, and will change as the situation warrants.

In 2020–21, Middlebury College Dining Services will work within the existing safety parameters to deliver sound meal options intended to meet the needs of our student community. Hours, seating arrangements, and other details of dining service will change through- out the year as public health conditions warrant.

Each of the three dining halls will follow the same schedule: 

Orientation 2020 

Breakfast August 20th - Dinner August 28th 

Breakfast 7:00 am - 9 :00 am

Lunch 11:30 am - 1:00 pm 

Dinner 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm 

Regular Hours for Fall 2020 Semester

(Subject to change as conditions require)

Beginning at Breakfast August 29th 

Breakfast 7:00 am -10:00 am

Continental 10:00 am - 11:00 am 

Lunch 11:00 am - 2:00 pm

Dinner 4:30 pm - 8:30 pm 

More information may be found on the Dining Services website.

http://www.middlebury.edu/student-life/community-living/dining-services

Meal Plans

As in previous years all on-campus students will be on the unlimited meal plan.  Students will be allowed in the dining halls as many times as they would like, as long as they follow the new procedures.  This fall, students may use their meal swipes in some satellite locations, including Bi-Hall and at our new food truck.

Students that are living off-campus and would like to be on or removed from the meal plan should email Dining Services at: diningmealplan@middlebury.edu

Dining Halls

To comply with best practices the experience in our Dining Halls will be significantly changed in 2020–21. These guidelines have been put into place for your safety as well as the safety of our faculty and staff, by limiting physical access to food items as well as the amount of time students spend communally in the dining halls. The more an infected individual interacts with others, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.

Dining Services will adopt a three phase approach to opening. Please note that Middlebury College’s re-opening plan meets or exceeds the requirements set out from the state Department of Health and that we will go above and beyond the state guidelines for testing, quarantine and the use of personal protective equipment during our phased return to campus. Hopefully, as we move along in the semester we will not see a significant increase in Covid- 19 cases and we can move to Phase 3, with the flexibility to ease or tighten restrictions as needed.

We have outlined the phases below.

Phase One:

  • The dining rooms will be operating with a strict “to-go” service for at least the first two weeks once classes begin.
  • No inside seating will be available.
  • Because many fewer people will be able to be in the dining centers at one time, extended meal hours may be offered throughout the year. Additionally, new locations may be employed, particularly for distributing to-go meals. Updated hours and locations will be posted on the Dining website later this summer.
  • Students will be required to pick up their meals and without distraction leave the dining halls.
  • Students can eat their meals outside in groups of 10 or less or back at their rooms.
  • Outside tents will be available at each location for queuing and outdoor seating. 
  • You will be assigned a Dining Hall prior to coming on campus, all meals in phase one and two will need to be received at your assigned location.
  • The Grille will be open as a board dining location offering to- go only lunch and dinner for a board meal swipe.  There will be no eat-in dining available for this location.  The menu will be very limited and hours of operation have yet to be determined.
  • The new food truck will be utilized to deliver board replacement lunches and dinners at various locations.  See the Dining Web page later in the summer for more details.
  • Menus will be limited during this time and the same menu will be offered in all Dining Halls. If your nutritional and dietary needs are not being met please contact one of the chefs and we will do our best to accommodate them.
  • Both Crossroads and Wilson Café will be closed during phase one.
  • All beverages, condiments, cereal, yogurt and eating utensils will be single serve and disposable.
  • Meals will be packaged by Dining staff for takeout. No self-service is currently allowed.
  • Students are required to wear a face covering at all times in all campus dining locations.
  • Our Dining staff asks for patience, understanding and compassion from the student community at this very different way of operating.

Phase Two:

After at least two weeks in phase one, hopefully we will move to phase two with the college health care team’s approval.

All phase one rules still apply with the inclusion of:

  • The self-serve beverage will open and students will be allowed to pour their own beverages.
  • Self-serve cereal and breakfast bar will open.
  • Inside seating will be available in all locations, however it will be greatly reduced. Many chairs and tables will be removed from the dining centers to increase physical distancing. This reduces the number of people who can be in each dining center at one time, therefore many people will need to be flexible with meal times. Students who cannot access the dine-in service can use their meal swipes at several new service locations being planned. More information on these new “pop-up” locations will be announced.
  • Dining Services reusable to-go containers will be used instead of compostable
  • The Grille and other retail locations may go back to normal retail hours and operations for students only.  There will be no inside seating and all meals will be to-go.  This decision will be made by the on-campus health professionals and may not happen until phase 3.

Phase Three:

Phase three will be as close to our normal operations as possible while following the state guidelines.

All phase one and two rules still apply with the inclusion of:

  • Dining Halls will offer all self-serve options.
  • China plates and silverware will be available.
  • Seating area will be appropriately enlarged.
  • Grille and other retail units will be fully open and have seating available.
  • Normal entrances and exits will open.
  • The three Dining Halls will offer different menus.

Dining with Food Allergies

Our chefs and kitchen staff are prepared and willing to support your dietary needs.  If you aren't able to find what you need at a meal time you are welcome and encouraged to have a conversation with our supervising chefs and we will make a meal that you can enjoy.  As always, we will offer a variety of allergy free items in all three dining halls.

Enhanced Cleaning

Because the dining operations are high-traffic areas, enhanced cleaning protocols are being implemented in 2020–21. Workers will wash their hands even more frequently; hard surfaces and high contact surfaces will be disinfected more frequently; high traffic locations will close for a period of time between meal periods for deep cleaning; and seating, when available, will be cleaned and sanitized after each shift. New Lexan barriers will be installed at the cashier stations and a variety of other locations throughout the food service areas, and a physical distance of six feet between students and dining workers will be required whenever possible.

Dining Worker Safety

Conscious of the impact that new procedures will have on Dining staff, Middlebury will establish guidelines for protecting the safety of Dining staff during these extraordinary times later this summer. The College cares deeply about our team and works to facilitate everyone’s safety.

Retail Locations

In addition to the dining halls, Middlebury will continue to provide food and beverages at the Midd Express retail location during all three phases of opening. During phase one and possibly phase two, the Grille and food truck will only be open as a dining meal swipe pickup location with a limited to-go menu.  Opening more retail locations will be determined by the college health professionals and will be done in a phased order. Check the Middlebury Dining website later this summer for more details.

Dining for Students in Self-Quarantine and Isolation

For anyone who is in self-quarantine or isolation on campus, delivery services will be available, so those students have food access without the risk of exposing the rest of the community.