Dear Students,

During the past several months, as we have navigated new ways of living and learning at the College, we set aside time to evaluate what went well in the fall—and to consider what we could improve in the spring semester. We are moving with great caution through our final two weeks of the in-person portion of the semester—staying close to campus and maintaining good practices in the midst of COVID-19 surges in Vermont. Nonetheless, we are looking ahead to focus on the student experience in the coming months. We also know that many students may appreciate this information before the November 10 deadline to declare their intentions for next semester.

We listened to your suggestions and concerns and contemplated new ways of doing just about everything we do. Today, we want to share with you our plans for a reimagined spring semester, keeping the following in mind:

  • The spring semester will bring both new opportunities and new challenges for us, especially as the colder weather arrives and with COVID-19 on the rise worldwide.
  • As always, we are prepared to make necessary adjustments to respond to conditions as they evolve.

Time Off from Classes

As we announced on October 29, we adjusted the spring calendar to start classes earlier and to allow for some much-needed days off to recharge. We will provide more information about these periodic breaks in the weeks ahead.

Additional In-Person Courses

This spring, 53 percent of our courses will have some in-person component, and 47 percent will be entirely online. Most importantly, we have doubled the number of courses that will be conducted entirely in person. Fully half of the courses offered with an in-person component will be taught entirely in person. We also made it easier for you to know exactly how much in-person instruction you can plan for. Please consult our list of spring courses and the modes by which they will be taught (in person, remote, or a hybrid of the two, including what kind of hybrid to expect), and keep in mind that the availability of in-person courses will vary depending on individual student needs and interests. We also plan to move senior performances and other events outdoors in late April or May to allow for greater community engagement.

Opening Up Dining, Study, and Common Spaces

We are developing new opportunities to connect and convene, both indoors and outdoors, because we know how important this is for all of us. This semester, students told us they wished we had opened up spaces for study, dining, and small impromptu gatherings more quickly than we did, but we were simply navigating too many unknowns. Our hope for the spring is to more quickly open dining and study spaces and common areas in residence halls once we are confident that we have successfully completed arrival testing. And we will get creative: can a classroom during the day be repurposed for a cooking class at night, for example? We will explore ideas like this with students. 

Spring Athletics

While we are not yet able to make a decision about spring athletics, we expect conditions to be similar to those of the current semester. We will make an announcement about NESCAC play at a later date. Even if there is not full NESCAC conference play, we will do everything we can to work toward limited regional play in the warmer months, as COVID-19 conditions allow.

More Outdoor Recreation and Social Spaces

A major change in the spring semester will be to the physical campus itself, where we are working to create an outdoor living-and-learning environment that is inviting in either cold or warm weather and that takes advantage of all that Vermont offers. We are still in the planning stages and will seek student input on which ideas might work best (as weather and health conditions permit), but we expect they will include additional gathering spaces, recreational opportunities, and activities. Ideas we are developing include lighted and heated structures for outdoor gatherings, meals, and events at McCullough quad and near dining halls; fire pits for gathering; expanded indoor spaces, activities, and events; and expanded outdoor recreational opportunities and outdoor performances—at no cost to students. These will take place in a variety of locations, including the main campus, the Ralph Myhre Golf Course, Bread Loaf, and the Snow Bowl. 

With Thanks

Together, we have learned so much this year and, perhaps more than anything else, we know how important it is to be responsive to one another and to the changes around us. This semester you’ve helped us deepen Middlebury’s educational mission. We so greatly appreciate your patience and understanding and look forward to continuing to create a meaningful experience for all in the months ahead.


Jeff Cason

David Provost
Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration

Laurie Patton