| by Derek Doucet

Students, Fall 2021

Dear Students,

The week’s DOS update covers helpful tips about fall break planning, post-break testing, and upcoming open office hours for questions related to COVID-19 and other topics.

Fall Break is back! Many of you have plans to see friends and family or to travel off campus this weekend for fall break. Below are tips and reminders about how to travel more safely to minimize transmission of COVID-19.

Know Before You Go

A little knowledge can be a powerful thing! We recommend you take the following steps before you travel for break.

  • Review the latest CDC guidance for domestic and international travel.
  • Know the requirements for the location where you are going. Many states or cities require proof of vaccination for indoor dining, bars, museums, and other venues. 
  • Know the transmission and vaccination rates of the location you are visiting. This can help you assess what measures you might need to take if you are visiting other people, plan to socialize indoors, or attend an event with a large crowd.
  • If travelling or meeting others, know their expectations and plans around minimizing exposure risk. It can be useful to talk through these things in advance. 

Recommended Precautions

Minimize risk of exposure before the weekend. Use grab-and-go options at the dining halls and avoid large gatherings where people are not wearing face coverings. This is especially important if you plan to visit immunocompromised or unvaccinated family members or friends. Remember, a COVID-19 test only assesses one moment in time and should not be the only indicator for how to keep yourself and others safe.

During Break

There are important steps you can take to stay healthy during break. Here are a few guidelines:

  • Abide by all local and federal requirements around face coverings and vaccination status. 
  • Be mindful of the number of people you plan to be around for extended periods of time.
  • Socialize outside as much as possible and be willing to adjust plans if you are feeling uncomfortable.
  • If you feel unwell, avoid interacting with others as best you can, wear a face covering when you are not alone, and follow local protocols for testing and/or quarantine.

After Break

If You Are Feeling Unwell

If you are experiencing any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 upon your return to campus, please remain in your room, limit your interactions with others, wear a face covering any time you are not alone, and call Health Services at 802-443-3290 to schedule a COVID-19 test.

COVID-19 Testing

When you return to campus, we recommend getting tested on Day 0 and between Days 3 and 5 for anyone who meets the CDC’s criteria, including the categories below:

  • Unvaccinated students.
  • Vaccinated students who traveled internationally.
  • Vaccinated students who have symptoms, a known exposure, or were in crowded and/or poorly ventilated settings for a period of time.

Testing will be available on campus at Virtue Field House on October 18 and 19 from noon to 3 p.m. and on October 20, 21, and 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There are approximately 200 appointments available each day. Schedule your appointment in advance.

Return Quarantine Requirements

Per CDC Domestic and International travel guidance, a seven-day room quarantine is required for any unvaccinated student who has traveled domestically or internationally during break.

As a reminder, quarantine means you are required to remain in your room except when you are:

  • Picking up grab-and-go meals at the dining halls (which you must eat either in your room or apart from others in an outdoor location). 
  • Attending to personal hygiene in the restroom of your residence hall.

Any time you are around others while engaging in these activities, you must wear a well-fitting face covering. 

Students should connect directly with their faculty members if they need to quarantine due to travel. Faculty may, at their discretion, work with students on plans to keep up with course work.

Note that this guidance is a clarification on the return quarantine guidance provided in the recent Campus Well message from Health and Wellness Education.

Open Office Hours Thursday

Please join me and other senior Student Affairs staff for Virtual Open Office Hours on Thursday, October 14, from noon to 1 p.m. The office hours will provide an opportunity for students to ask COVID-19 related questions, offer feedback to senior members of the Student Affairs Division, and discuss other topics of interest to students. Click here to join.

Student Life Dean Tip of the Week

The deadline to drop a class is Friday, October 15.Your Student Life Deans are ready to discuss your options with you If you are considering a drop. In some cases, for example, the best decision may be to drop a course to focus your efforts on your remaining classes. This could, however, delay your progress toward an on-time graduation. Contact your dean at sldeansoffice@middlebury.edu or stop by their offices in the Stewart and Allen Residence Halls to set up a meeting.

As a reminder, students must be registered for at least three courses unless given prior approval through the the Disability Resource Center or approved for Special Student Status. Course drop requests after the October 15 deadline are reviewed by the Administration Committee and must be accompanied by a letter of support from your Student Life Dean. 

Wishing you a safe and healthy long weekend,

Derek Doucet

Dean of Students