Middlebury’s Approach to COVID-19
Middlebury closely monitors the latest scientific discoveries and medical recommendations in response to the COVID-19 virus. As COVID-19 has become endemic, we have resumed normal operations, while continuing core health and safety measures to minimize the potential of its spread. Throughout the pandemic, we have followed advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Vermont Department of Health (VDH), and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) while monitoring prevalence in our own communities and making necessary adjustments. If conditions change, additional health measures may be implemented to protect our communities.
From Pandemic to Endemic Management
Predominant variants of COVID-19 now circulating are considered more transmissible but less severe than earlier strains, and we know that prior infections, vaccinations, and available treatments are effective in minimizing the worst outcomes of the virus for most individuals. Reduced rates of hospitalization and severe illness have been attributed to several factors, including the following:
- Higher levels of vaccine-induced and infection-induced immunity
- Advances in early treatment for patients at risk for severe disease
- Lower illness severity of Omicron subvariants
A key part of our approach is to emphasize personal responsibility. Individuals should consult with their healthcare provider and consider their risks and the risks of those they spend time with when determining which discretionary measures are most helpful for them.
Middlebury Policies for COVID-19
Middlebury has ended its COVID-19 requirements for its campuses in Vermont and California. Employees and students should follow CDC guidance, state health department guidance, and their healthcare provider’s advice for prevention and treatment of the virus. Please note that we have replaced the Middlebury College Campus Status page and Campus Guide with this informational webpage.
Following is a summary of Middlebury’s COVID-19 policies and recommendations:
- All Middlebury students, employees, and visitors should follow CDC guidance and stay up-to-date on their vaccinations. This also means staying informed about any variants of concern or new vaccines developed to prevent severe infection from those variants.
- Individuals with COVID-19 should follow CDC guidance around seeking treatment and isolation.
- Unless required by federal or state regulations (such as in medical settings), all of our campuses are mask friendly and mask optional. Decisions around masking should be based on CDC guidance for COVID-19 and other illnesses, such as influenza. Masks will continue to be available at locations on our campuses while supplies last.
- Testing for COVID-19 and other illnesses is available at Health Services for students on the Middlebury campus, and personal healthcare provider offices and at pharmacies for students and employees on other campuses. The Broad Institute, which processed the Middlebury community’s PCR tests throughout the pandemic, plans to close it’s PCR lab in June 2023, so that service is no longer available in Middlebury.
- Testing is a helpful tool for preventing the spread of illness. Individuals should consider bringing antigen test kits with them to campus to have on hand in case they are needed.
- Rapid test kits will remain available at various locations on the Vermont and Monterey campuses while supplies last.
- Employee access to test kits through government or Middlebury insurance-sponsored programs will be announced in MiddPoints, the employee newsletter.
- COVID-19 vaccination is strongly recommended, rather than required. This is due in part to the evolving nature of the vaccines’ effectiveness. For example, during the height of the pandemic, vaccination was necessary to prevent severe illness and death. Vaccinations have changed since that time, and variants circulating now are less likely to cause severe illness in most individuals.
- COVID-19 vaccination and booster documentation demonstrating that you are up-to-date as defined by the CDC could become required again in the unlikely event that conditions similar to the initial COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 occur.
- Individuals should retain and be able to demonstrate proof of vaccination.
Middlebury health officials will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and send updates if new policies and procedures become necessary.