COVID-19 Testing Guidance and Upcoming Booster Deadline
Dear Middlebury Community,
This week, we’ll cover the following:
- February Arrivals
- Antigen Tests
- State of the State
- COVID-19 Reporting Dashboard
- February 14 Booster Deadline
- Mask Availability on Campus
- Information Session for Students
This week we welcome the Class of 2025.5 to Middlebury as we prepare for the start of the spring semester. Our new Febs will participate in both in-person and virtual orientation activities to learn more about life on campus.
All new and returning students are required to complete prearrival testing and arrival testing. Students who stayed on campus through the break are required to be tested once this week, which serves as a prearrival test. More information about spring arrival is available in the spring term arrival message sent to students on January 28. The Febs also received specific information from the orientation team.
We continue to conduct PCR testing on campus but plan to incorporate antigen testing into our strategy in coming weeks. As antigen tests become increasingly available at local pharmacies, grocery stores, and other locations, however, we know many members of our community already are opting for these tests. We thought it would be helpful to explain when an antigen test is most beneficial. The Vermont Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer more information about the differences between PCR and antigen tests.
Please note that these guidelines are separate from required weekly testing for students and optional employee testing, which have not changed. We continue to refine our testing strategy and will share more information when it becomes available.
Below are some general instructions for home antigen testing:
- Follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions for performing the self-test for the most accurate results.
- Individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 who have received a positive antigen test result should follow Middlebury’s instructions for those who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- Those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 who test negative should confirm their result by scheduling a PCR test and follow Middlebury’s instructions for those who are symptomatic.
State of the State
State officials at the governor’s weekly press conference reported that cases of COVID-19 continue to decline––by 46 percent nationwide and by 41 percent in Vermont over the last seven days. These trends are encouraging, and the numbers are expected to decline over the next several weeks. PCR testing also has declined, likely due to both fewer infections and the increased use of home antigen tests.
The state of Vermont has moved away from surveillance testing and contact tracing in secondary schools due to Omicron’s rapid transmission rate and generally milder symptoms and officials are focusing resources on higher risk institutions such as long-term care facilities.
Vaccination and boosters continue to demonstrate that they provide the best protection against severe symptoms, hospitalization, and death. Still, about 150,000 Vermonters have not yet received their booster shots, with about 64 percent receiving all recommended doses.
COVID-19 Reporting Dashboard
The COVID-19 Reporting Dashboard will be reset for the start of the new semester, and we will continue to update this page on Mondays and Thursdays. An archive of cumulative testing results also is available. We also plan to share information about vaccination and booster rates once that becomes available.
Since the start of winter term, we have confirmed a total of 363 positive COVID-19 test results among students, including 285 positive PCR tests conducted on campus and 78 positive antigen home tests. The majority of cases were mild or asymptomatic and coincided with the Omicron surge in Vermont and the United States.
February 14 Booster Deadline
As a reminder, Middlebury requires that all eligible faculty, staff, and students receive a COVID-19 vaccination booster, or have an approved medical or religious exemption, by Monday, February 14. Students must upload their updated vaccination record via the student health portal. Employees must upload booster documentation via the SentryMD portal, and will receive confirmation of the upload two business days after doing so. Any member of the campus community who is not yet eligible and does not have an approved exemption must receive a booster within 14 days of becoming eligible and then upload their documentation.
Employees with questions regarding the booster requirement and how to upload their records should contact Human Resources.
Mask Availability on Campus
As a reminder, employees may pick up masks at several locations on campus:
- Service Building–Facilities Services Customer Service Lobby (7 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
- Bicentennial Hall–Armstrong Library
- Davis Family Library–Information Desk
- Old Chapel Lobby
- Marble Works–Human Resources
Students may pick up masks on COVID-19 testing days at Virtue Field House.
Information Session for Students
All students are invited to a virtual informational meeting with members of Student Affairs and the COVID-19 response team on Tuesday, February 15, at 5 p.m. More details will be provided through MiddPresence, social media, and through collaboration with SGA and other student groups.
Thank you for all you are doing to keep our community healthy and safe, and to welcome our new and returning students back to campus. If you have additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chief Health Officer and College Physician
Vice President for Student Affairs