| by Mark Peluso

Faculty, Fall 2020, Staff, Students

Dear Middlebury Community,

As we continue to welcome students back to campus today, I am writing to share the results of our most recent COVID-19 tests, conducted this week. At this time, of the 783 students tested on August 26, one received a positive result, 709 tests were negative, 58 are still waiting for results, and 15 will be retested due to insufficient samples.

This is the first positive case of COVID-19 in our campus community for the fall semester, and the student, who was not experiencing symptoms, is now in isolation housing according to our health and safety protocols. We will be in daily contact with the student, monitoring their health and delivering meals, as well as providing other support.

All students living on campus will continue their campus quarantine and will not be permitted to leave campus until at least September 15.

The Vermont Department of Health has been notified and will initiate contact tracing to ensure that anyone who might have been exposed goes immediately into quarantine. To respect the student’s privacy, we will not release any more information about this individual, and, as always, we encourage you to avoid speculation. We will keep you updated on any further developments that impact the entire Middlebury community.

While we know it is difficult to learn that the virus has affected an individual in our community, this news was expected, given the prevalence of the virus in the United States. Our plans are premised on effective containment and management of the disease on our campus. Having the ability to identify positive cases among a group of students who are not showing or experiencing symptoms allows us to isolate these individuals and contain the virus. Testing—and our prearrival quarantine, travel protocols, and campus quarantine—are key elements of containment and pillars of our Return to Campus Plan. In addition, we have instructed any student who knew they were potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19 before their arrival to remain at home until medically cleared to return to campus.

Any student who is on campus or who is enrolled to study on campus and living off campus and is experiencing symptoms should immediately contact Health Services. Any student who wishes to speak to Counseling Services may do so by calling 802-443-5141. Any faculty or staff member or student not living on campus who develops symptoms should call their own healthcare provider directly and inform their supervisor of any needed accommodations. Campus-based contact exposures will be addressed though our Targeted Dynamic Testing program.

We will continue our comprehensive COVID-19 testing program today, as the last group of students arrives on campus, and we will conduct Day 7 testing for the August 26 and 28 groups on September 2 and 4, respectively. We then will begin our Targeted Dynamic Testing of 750 campus community members each week, starting with a focus on employees working on campus. Should there be any additional positive cases, we will post the latest results on the College’s COVID-19 Reporting Dashboard by noon and 6 p.m. each day that we receive results.

We understand that even one asymptomatic positive case is concerning, and it underscores the need for the entire campus to continue to follow strict health and safety protocols—including the wearing of cloth face coverings, regular hand washing and physical distancing—and to abide by our codes of conduct. Living through and with a pandemic means continually navigating challenges as a community and honoring our pledge to protect one another’s health and safety. We are committed to fulfilling our educational mission and to reducing inequities by offering both online and in-person instruction and a rewarding residential experience to support our students’ mental health. As always, we are prepared to shift to an all-student room quarantine or to entirely remote learning if that becomes necessary.

If you have further questions, please refer to the College’s fall 2020–21 website, the Return to Campus Guide, and Announcements. You also may reach out to covidinfo@middlebury.edu.


Mark Peluso
Director of Health Services and College Physician