DOS Update: Appreciation, Campus Status Page, and Vaccine Info
I’ll start with a note of appreciation. While recent cases on campus and in Addison County have demonstrated that COVID-19 is clearly present in our community, we have thus far avoided any significant outbreaks. This would not have been possible without your efforts to protect yourselves and those around you. It could also change at any time. Please, keep up the good work, and don’t succumb to pandemic fatigue and premature relaxation of the behaviors we know work: minimizing close contacts, maintaining distancing, wearing a face covering, attending all testing days, and not gathering in large groups. If we all stay the course, this positive trajectory can continue.
After two consecutive weeks of significant relaxation of health and safety restrictions, and in the midst of two consecutive weekends with Winter Carnival activities on campus, we’re pausing this week to assess the impacts of these changes and events. There will therefore be no substantial changes to the Campus Status webpage this week (aside from an updated testing schedule). We do hope to continue allowing more changes in the near future.
How Are Decisions Made about Campus Status Webpage Changes?
We’re frequently asked how decisions about what to change on the Campus Status webpage are made. Early each week, Chief Health Officer and College Physician Mark Peluso, Director of Environmental Health and Safety Jen Kazmierczak, and I, along with numerous other colleagues, consider a variety of indicators, including these:
Testing results from the preceding week and from Monday testing if results arrive quickly.
Viral prevalence in Addison County and Vermont.
Student conduct. High levels of compliance, including with testing attendance, give us confidence to relax restrictions. Behaviors that increase the risk of transmission force us to pause while we assess the impact on public health.
Student feedback and needs.
Local and regional hospital capacity.
Isolation and quarantine room capacity.
Our goal is always to maintain a safe and healthy campus while allowing as many freedoms as we can.
We will continue to test all students on Monday and Thursday next week. Details and the booking link can be accessed from the Campus Status webpage. As a reminder, testing is mandatory and missed testing days will be addressed as COVID health and Safety violations, as described in last week’s update.
Vaccinations and Their Effect on Our Campus
An increasing number of people in our community are receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. This is excellent news. However, the overwhelming majority of the College community remains unvaccinated. It’s critical to understand that we do not yet have sufficient rates of vaccination on campus to have an impact on how we live together. For this reason, all of our health and safety expectations remain in effect for all students, including those who are vaccinated. We’re all looking forward to the day when we can return to some semblance of normalcy, but we are not there yet.
Open Office Hours with Jen, Mark, and Derek
We want to hear your feedback and answer your questions! Join Director of Environmental Health and Safety Jen Kazmierczak, Chief Health Officer and College Physician Mark Peluso, and me at our weekly open office hours, Friday, March 19, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Go to this Zoom link. You can submit questions in advance.
Dean of Students