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 impact. 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 contagious but less severe than previous forms, 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 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
Employees and students should follow CDC guidance, state health department guidance, and their healthcare provider’s advice for prevention and treatment of the virus. Following is a summary of Middlebury’s COVID-19 policies and recommendations:
- Vaccination: We continue to strongly recommend that all Middlebury students, employees, and visitors 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.
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. As such, individuals should retain and be able to demonstrate proof of vaccination.
- Minimizing Transmission: Even though COVID-19 is highly contagious, there are a number of things you can do to slow its transmission, including the following:
- Do not travel to campus if you have tested positive for COVID-19 within five days of your arrival date. Students who need to delay their arrival due to testing positive for COVID-19, should complete this form to share their 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.
- If you feel sick and have symptoms of a cold or flu, stay home and do not attend classes, work, public gatherings, events or other activities.
- Wear a mask when around others.
- Be diligent about cleaning surfaces and any other shared spaces.
- What to Do if You Test Positive: Those who test positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should follow the CDC’s guidelines for Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19. In addition, we recommend the following:
- For Students:
- If you experience trouble breathing, call 911.
- If you are 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.
- 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.
- You should 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. Also, be diligent about cleaning surfaces in your room, bathroom, and any other shared spaces your roommates or housemates use.
- For Employees:
- If you experience trouble breathing, call 911.
- Contact your healthcare provider about appropriate treatment and a plan of care.
- If you need to delay your return to the office or classroom due to a COVID-19 infection, contact your supervisor (staff) or the Dean of the Faculty (faculty) to make any necessary arrangements.
- Mask-Friendly/Mask-Optional Campus: Unless required by federal or state regulations, all of our campuses are mask friendly and mask optional. Decisions around masking should be based on CDC guidance and Vermont Department of Health or California Department of Public Health guidance (as applicable) for COVID-19 and other illnesses, such as influenza. We ask that all members of our community respect the choices of others about whether to wear masks. Masks will continue to be available at the Davis Family Library circulation desk and the Human Resources office at the Marbleworks while supplies last.
- Testing: Students and employees should follow CDC guidance on testing which can be found here: COVID-19 Testing: What You Need to Know. Symptomatic testing for COVID-19 and other illnesses is available for students at Health Services on the Middlebury campus.
Test kits for individuals are also available for purchase by Midd ID holders only at Midd Express, Bi-Hall (starting Monday, September 11), and the College Store (at cost, plus tax). There is a limit of four tests per person. Tests are also available at local pharmacies, online, and/or through off-campus healthcare provider offices. Students also should consider bringing a few tests with them to campus.
Middlebury health officials will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and send updates if new policies and procedures become necessary.