Dear Students,

This week’s Dean of Students (DOS) update will focus on exciting changes and clarifications to the Campus Status webpage, address some recent COVID-19 conduct concerns, and provide information on testing and support for students in isolation and quarantine. I also want to take this opportunity to remind you of the importance of following all COVID-19 health and safety expectations. 

While test results suggest that prevalence is low enough for us to cautiously begin relaxing restrictions, the virus is present in the campus community. Continuing on our current positive trajectory will depend on you fully complying with the health and safety expectations that remain in effect. Please review the Campus Status webpage to be certain you understand what they are.

Campus Status Webpage Updates Live
As mentioned in the all-community message sent earlier today, we’ve made a number of updates to the Campus Status webpage based on current conditions on campus and in Vermont. Look for new information about off-campus travel, group gathering sizes, dining, recreation, and more. I also have two clarifications from today’s earlier message: Off campus travel within the town of Middlebury begins effective today, March 4, and limited in person dining begins tomorrow, March 5.

If you have questions about anything on the Campus Status webpage, please join Director of Environmental Health and Safety Jen Kazmierczak, Chief Health Office and College Physician Mark Peluso, and me at the first of our weekly open office hours, Friday March 5 from 12-1:30 p.m. Zoom Link.

Required Testing Days Next Week
Because of recent positive cases on campus, we are testing all students today, and twice next week as part of the targeted dynamic testing process. Monday, March 8, and Thursday, March 11, are mandatory COVID-19 testing days for all students approved to be on campus. Attending testing on BOTH of these days must be your highest priority next week. Please book your testing appointments between 9 a.m. and 3:50 p.m. The testing center closes at 4 p.m.

Do NOT come to the testing center if you:

  • Are in isolation or quarantine. Health Services will make alternative testing plans with you if appropriate.

  • Tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days. Contact Health Services if you have not already provided notification and documentation of your recent positive test.

  • Are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or if you have had symptoms in the past 48 hours. If you are experiencing symptoms, immediately contact Health Services at 802-443-3290 during business hours or MiddTelehealth after business hours. 

  • Have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

COVID-19 Conduct Update
Recently, we have received concerning reports of students gathering in violation of our health and safety expectations in residential spaces. These gatherings greatly increase risk to the community––and they must stop. In order to address these challenges, students can expect to see increased Res Life and Public Safety presence in some residential spaces in coming days. We regret that this is necessary, but as recent test results have demonstrated, COVID-19 is present on campus and gatherings that violate our group gathering size, space occupancy, face covering, or distancing requirements present real risk of transmission. Continued non-compliance will result in delays or reversals of loosening of restrictions––not as a punitive measure––but to allow us time to assess the public health impacts of these behaviors. 

Students found responsible for violating expectations around group gathering sizes and space occupancy limits will be dismissed from campus. 

Together While Apart: A Support Group for Students in Quarantine and Isolation
This support group is open to all Middlebury College in-person and remote students who are in quarantine or isolation. The focus of this group is connecting with one another, sharing experiences, and identifying ways to cope during a time that can feel isolating and uncertain. This is a weekly, drop-in group, offered through the spring 2021 semester. Email for the Zoom link. Sessions will be held on Fridays from noon to 1 p.m. EST, now through May 28.

Support groups are not the same as therapy groups. While these spaces can feel supportive, they do not constitute mental health treatment. If you are interested in formal counseling support, please visit Middlebury College Counseling for information on the services available to you. 

Davis Family Library News: 29 Study Rooms and Counting
The Davis Library is adding study spaces, thanks to staff and faculty who volunteered to loan their offices for this purpose. This brings the number of bookable study spaces up to 29 rooms! All study spaces may be booked in advance

Dining To-Go Containers Need to be Returned to Dining Halls
Please be sure to bring them back!

Wishing you a relaxing and healthy weekend,

Derek Doucet
Dean of Students