| by Derek Doucet

Spring 2021, Students

Dear Students,

I hope your prearrival quarantine is going well. In today’s update, I will provide you with an overview of what your first week on campus will be like and of what campus may look like after the arrival period. Note that the following dates are subject to change based on weather delays, test processing times, test results, and other variables that are difficult to predict. 

February 21 and 22: Students Arrival Days

Students will arrive (Welcome new Febs!) at Virtue Field House for prescheduled COVID-19 arrival testing appointments. If you haven’t already booked your appointment, please do so now. On your way out of the testing center, you will pick up dinner for the night and breakfast for the following morning. You then will go directly to your residence hall room to begin room quarantine. Room quarantine means you will remain in your room at all times except to use the bathroom. You must wear a well-fitted face covering, physically distance, and minimize interactions with others in the hallway when walking to and from the bathroom. Also remember to wash your hands frequently. Plan to reconnect with others via Zoom, FaceTime, or a phone call.

February 22 to 24: Room Quarantine

Compliance with room quarantine is absolutely essential to a successful opening. Your room quarantine will last until you receive a negative test result, which we anticipate will happen within 36 hours. The exact timing is dependent on your arrival testing appointment and how quickly our testing partner processes results. All meals will be delivered during this time. The vast majority of students will be released from room quarantine when they receive an email containing a negative test result. Given the higher prevalence of the virus worldwide, we expect that some students will test positive for COVID-19 on arrival, and we are prepared to offer support. If you receive a positive test result, the Health Center will contact you directly with instructions for a period of isolation and contact tracing. If any additional students are identified as close contacts, they will be moved into quarantine. 

February 25 to 27: Campus Quarantine

Students will be in campus quarantine and remain on campus at all times. This period may be extended based on conditions. Dining services will be open for grab-and-go meals. Students enrolled for in-person instruction and approved to live off campus are permitted to travel between campus and their off-campus residences only. Students must abide by all expectations for COVID-19 conduct, including physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and following restrictions on gatherings. Students are expected to monitor and regularly check the Campus Status webpage. An additional round of testing may occur based on the public health situation. All classes will be conducted remotely. The Ralph Myhre Golf Course and sections of the Trail Around Middlebury (TAM) that run through campus are available for exercise. Athletics facilities are closed. Businesses in town can deliver to designated dropoff locations.

Programming on Days 0 Through 7

The start of the term will be challenging, and the Student Activities team has planned some great virtual and hybrid events, including salsa lessons, live band karaoke, a painting social, and more. Supplies will be provided for take-and-make activities you can do in your room, including planting your own succulent, building with Legos, and painting with watercolors. Free, ticketed events also will be offered, including virtual yoga and access to the Vermont International Film Festival. Go/middmovies will be updated with new content and MCAB will also be offering great events, so stay tuned for an exciting announcement from them.

Want to help?

In order to run these events, we need student employees! Whether you’re looking for regular hours or shifts you can sign up for on a weekly basis, check out the Special Events Staff and Tech Assistant positions (go/eventstaff and go/techassistant).

March 1: Day 7 Testing for All Students

Campus quarantine continues. All students receive their day 7 tests. Students should continue to monitor the Campus Status webpage for the latest information. Classes remain remote, and most programming remains virtual as we wait for Day 7 test results. Fire pits (s’mores, anyone?) and heated tents provide spaces to enjoy the outdoor environment.

March 2: Day 7 test results should arrive.

Campus quarantine remains in effect. Classes and programming remain remote. Study spaces are open. Students should continue to monitor the Campus Status webpage.

March 3 to 5: In-person Learning May Begin

Assuming encouraging test results, we may be able to start in-person learning and programming. 

March 5 to 7: Kirk Center Opens

The Kirk Center opens for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing (equipment and lessons available!); the McCullough ice rink opens (skates available!); limited in-person social programming begins. If not already underway, in-person learning begins on Monday, March 8. Athletics facilities may start to open so workout times can be scheduled. 

Looking Ahead

Assuming a low prevalence of COVID-19 cases on campus and in surrounding communities, and that students are complying with health and safety expectations, we expect to move more quickly than we did in the fall to introduce additional privileges and activities. This might include travel into town and Addison County, more in-person social options, travel to the Snow Bowl and Rikert Nordic Center, and more. The harder we work together to keep one another safe, the faster we will be able to loosen restrictions. Don’t forget to monitor the Campus Status webpage daily.

I’ll see you soon!

Warm regards,

Derek Doucet
Dean of Students