I hope you all had opportunities to enjoy the spring sunshine this week! It was great to see shorts and sandals appear around campus after a long winter. There’s lots of important information in this week’s update, so please take a few minutes to read the whole thing.
Campus Status Changes
State requirements are informing our health and safety expectations as outlined on the Campus Status webpage. We hope to further loosen key restrictions (for example, those around group gatherings) in the near future once state guidance permits. In the meantime, we have some good news to report: We have developed and posted an approval process for College-sanctioned in-person volunteer, community engagement, and student organization activities in the town of Middlebury. Individual students and student groups should complete the form to seek approval for town volunteer service, community engagement, and other student organization activity. You do not need to fill out this form for personal activities such as going on a hike or running errands in town. Please submit requests at least a week prior to the planned activity.
Outdoor activities are steadily becoming more feasible as the weather improves. This is great news because socializing outside in small groups, using face coverings, and maintaining at least six feet of distancing is absolutely the lowest risk way to spend time with others. Get outside!
Mini-Break April 8–11
As a reminder, Thursday and Friday, April 8 and 9, are days off. I’d like to address common questions about this welcome break.
- Where can I travel over the long weekend?
The long weekend does not change permissible travel. You may travel within the town of Middlebury, and anywhere in Addison County for outdoor recreation purposes. Only day trips are permitted. All other travel requires prior approval, ordinarily granted only for essential medical reasons. While we don’t expect any changes before the long weekend, if we are able to make adjustments to these travel rules, we will communicate them in a separate message.
- May family and friends come to visit?
No visitors are permitted on campus, and in order to minimize the chances of COVID-19 transmission, visitors are not encouraged to come to the town of Middlebury either. If there is an essential need for a visitor to come to town, any such visits must be conducted in a manner consistent with Vermont’s arrival quarantine requirements. Any contact between visitors and students must include face coverings and distancing, and time spent indoors should be avoided or minimized.
- May I eat in restaurants in Middlebury?
Take-out meals from town restaurants are permitted. Please, no dining inside or in restaurants’ outdoor seating.
COVID-19 Variants in Vermont
There have been troubling confirmed reports of the presence of COVID-19 variants on other Vermont campuses. These variants are substantially more infectious and frequently lead to more serious illness than the strains we have been dealing with thus far. This concerning news should give us all pause and requires renewed commitment to essential health and safety measures in the final eight weeks of the semester.
Important Change to Off-Campus Travel Approval Process
Students wishing to request permission for off-campus travel not already permitted (within the town of Middlebury, and within Addison County for outdoor recreation purposes) should no longer contact their Student Life deans. Instead, please direct such requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. Allow at least two business days for requests to be processed. For unanticipated and urgent requests after hours or on weekends, contact Public Safety at 802-443-5133.
All students will be tested Monday, March 29. An announcement about possible testing on Thursday, April 1, will be made early next week. Students must book their testing appointments via the bookings link on the Campus Status webpage. Additional testing information is on the testing schedule page.
Volunteering at the Knoll
Gardening volunteer hours are back at the Knoll! If you would like to volunteer, visit go/KnollHours for more information and the sign-up link. Please forward any questions to Food and Garden Educator Megan Brakeley at email@example.com.
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 26, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Go to this Zoom link. You can submit questions in advance.
Dean of Students