COVID-19 Testing Results for Spring Arrivals, and Positive Employee Case
| by Mark Peluso
Dear Middlebury Community,
I am writing with an update on our COVID-19 test results for students who arrived on campus February 21 and 22. Of the 1,932 tests administered, one was positive, 1,901 were negative, and 30 individuals are being retested due to an insufficient sample or inconclusive result.
The student who tested positive is now in isolation housing, receiving care and support, and we have completed contact tracing.
As always, we will post the latest results on the COVID-19 Reporting Dashboard by noon each day that we receive results. You may notice that we reset our COVID-19 dashboard statistics this spring to provide a more accurate accounting for the remainder of the academic year.
These early results are encouraging and reflect the incredible effort of our students in preparing to return to campus. Still, with a higher prevalence of COVID-19 nationwide, including at colleges in Vermont, this is no time to let down our guard.
It’s important to note that exposures could still occur during campus quarantine and throughout the semester. We could have positive cases in our midweek arrival testing on Thursday or during Day 7 testing next week, even among those who do not have symptoms.
Other colleges in Vermont and throughout the nation already have had more cases than they did in the fall, with outbreaks directly related to gatherings where health and safety measures were not followed. Early containment of cases is critical for a successful start to the semester.
It is absolutely essential that we all continue the safe practices to minimize exposure to and spread of the virus. This includes wearing face coverings, physically distancing, practicing good hand hygiene, and––importantly––avoiding gatherings that could result in exposures.
Campus Quarantine Continues
Campus quarantine continues, and classes will be conducted remotely, at least until we receive all Day 7 test results. As a reminder, students are not permitted to leave the boundaries of campus during campus quarantine without approval, unless there is an emergency. The most up-to-date guidelines are published on the Campus Status webpage. Please also refer to the Spring 2021 Campus Guide for information about what to expect for living and learning on campus this semester.
Employee Tests Positive
A higher incidence of COVID-19 worldwide also means that we have more cases in our community. Earlier this week, College health officials were notified that a Middlebury College employee who had been working on campus tested positive for COVID-19. Our colleague is recuperating in isolation and is doing well. The employee was the sixth person working on campus to test positive this winter. The others have recovered.
At this time, transmission risk to students and coworkers is considered very low due to the situational circumstances. Contact tracing identified five individuals as close contacts, and they are quarantining at home. I will provide an update in the unlikely event that any transmission occurred. Please respect employee privacy and refrain from speculation about their identity.
Anyone who is identified as a close contact of an individual who has tested positive will be provided instructions by their local health department. Middlebury’s Targeted Dynamic Testing program offers testing for employees identified as peripheral contacts who may have been working near a person who tests positive.
As a reminder:
- Any student who is on campus or who is enrolled to study on campus and living off campus and is experiencing symptoms or who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should immediately call the Health Services nurse line at 802-443-3290, or after hours contact MiddTelehealth.
- Further instructions for students who feel sick and additional information on contact tracing are available in our Health FAQ.
- Any student who wishes to speak to Counseling may do so by calling 802-443-5141 during business hours, or through MiddTelehealth at any time.
If you have further questions, you may email email@example.com.
Thank you for your continued work for a safe and healthy semester.
Chief Health Officer and College Physician