The following message was emailed to Middlebury College students on August 30.
We eagerly await your return to campus as we kick off the new academic year.
With the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases nationally and locally, we’re writing to share some important information and reminders about how we can best support a healthy campus opening and fall semester.
In this message, we’ll cover the following topics:
- Current COVID-19 Trends
- Traveling to Campus
- Mask-friendly/Mask-optional Campus
- Minimizing Transmission
- What to Do If You Test Positive
Current COVID-19 Trends
As you may be aware, the end of summer has brought with it an increase in COVID-19 cases nationally and here in Vermont. At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Vermont Department of Health have shared that the variants now circulating tend to cause less severe illness but may be more contagious, than previous forms. While the most recent CDC data shows that more than 96 percent of U.S. counties remained in the low category for COVID-19 hospitalizations, an infection still can cause symptoms that disrupt daily activities. Given the current trends, we expect that there will be cases on campus and ask that you plan your arrival travel, packing, and self-care plans accordingly based on your personal health needs as well as the health needs of the people you live with. While not required, we continue to strongly recommend that all members of our community be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Traveling to Campus
Please do not travel to campus if you have tested positive for COVID-19 within five days prior to your arrival date. Should you need to delay your arrival due to testing positive for COVID-19, please complete this form to share your new intended arrival date with us. If your new arrival date is after the first day of classes, please inform your faculty that you will be absent.
Mask Friendly/Mask Optional Campus
We continue to follow CDC and Vermont Department of Health guidance on masking and ask that all members of our community respect the choices of others about whether to wear masks. We have ordered a new supply of masks, and they will be made available at the Davis Family Library circulation desk.
Even though COVID-19 is highly contagious there are a number of things you can do to slow its transmission. We ask each of you to take personal responsibility in this effort. If you feel sick and have symptoms of a cold or flu, stay home and do not attend public gatherings or events, including classes.
We recommend and expect that students will follow the CDC’s guidance on testing which can be found here: COVID-19 Testing: What You Need to Know. Symptomatic testing for COVID-19 is available at Health Services for students on the Middlebury campus. While the College has a limited supply of antigen test kits, tests are usually available at local pharmacies. If possible, you should plan to bring a few tests from home to ensure you have them on hand if you need them.
What to Do If You Test Positive
If you test positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, follow the CDC’s guidance for Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19. In addition, we recommend the following:
- Wear a mask when you leave your room for essential tasks like picking up meals at the dining hall, or ask a friend to pick up food for you during your recovery.
- Contact faculty members directly to inform them that you will be absent from class until you are ready to return based on the CDC guidance linked above.
- Be diligent about cleaning surfaces in your room, bathroom, and any other shared spaces your roommates or housemates use.
- If you’re feeling very unwell, contact the Health Services Nurse Triage line at 802-443-3290 during regular business hours, or TimelyCare after hours or on the weekend.
- If you experience trouble breathing, call 911.
If you have been exposed to someone who recently tested positive for COVID-19, use the CDC’s Isolation and Exposure Calculator to determine what steps and precautions to take. Note that all students will continue to recover in place for colds, flu, and COVID-19.
Thank you in advance for doing all you can to keep yourself and our campus community as healthy as possible this fall.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students
Associate Vice President for Student Health and Well-being