Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,
We are writing with important information about summer programs and related policies, procedures, and expectations. There is a lot of information in this email, and we ask that you take time to thoroughly review it so you have an understanding of our evolving operations on the Middlebury College campus.
This message addresses the following topics:
- Multilayered approach and transition to normal operations
- On-campus faculty
- On-campus staff
- Employees working off campus remotely
- Language School students, students living on campus, interns, researchers
- Summer housing and arrival dates for returning students
- Registration and assistance with vaccination appointments
- Medical and religious exemptions and accommodations
- Required documentation
- A thank you
Multilayered Approach and Transition to Normal Operations
As we look forward to a vibrant summer full of many activities and programs, both in-person and online, the health and safety of our entire community continues to be our highest priority. While our plan for the fall is to return to a full campus and as normal of operations as possible, we will continue to take a cautious approach this summer as we monitor conditions of the pandemic, including the course and effect of COVID-19 variants and levels of vaccination in Vermont and nationwide. We will share more information about the fall semester in a future communication.
During this transition period, we will continue our multilayered approach to reducing the risk of virus transmission, which includes limiting the number of people on campus. We also will take steps toward full vaccination of the College community, as all Vermont residents—including students planning to live and work in Vermont this summer—are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as of today, April 19. We believe this will offer the best possible protection for everyone, and it is consistent with Governor Phil Scott’s Vermont Forward Plan.
First and foremost, we are committed to keeping our community safe. Current health guidance and scientific research tells us that to reduce the risk of an outbreak of COVID-19, between 80 and 85 percent of a population must be vaccinated. So far in Vermont, 34.8 percent of Vermonters are fully vaccinated, and 52 percent have received at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In Addison County, more than 56 percent of those eligible have begun the vaccination process. For communities with shared living and dining spaces, such as colleges and universities, the percentage of vaccinated individuals must be higher. We are considering all paths toward this goal, focusing first on summer students; Language School faculty, staff, and students; and other campus workers. The expectation is that all of these groups will be vaccinated, and we are doing everything we can to remove any barriers to this process.
We also want to emphasize that no employee should forego vaccination because of work schedules or difficulty taking time off. The COVID-19 leave plan was recently expanded to allow for paid time away for individuals to receive a vaccination or recover from any potential side effects of the vaccine. All staff, regardless of benefit eligibility, are permitted to use this leave plan if they are unable to perform work remotely.
Our efforts to provide our community with information about the importance of vaccines and resources to gain access to vaccination are ongoing. Resources also are available on the CDC website. We have displayed posters from the CDC around campus, and on April 15, we began offering assistance with vaccine registration at the COVID-19 testing center in Virtue Field House. Kiosks will be set up at the testing center again today and on April 22, and help stations will be available in Dining and Facilities Services, with guided instructions for those who do not have easy access to computers.
We want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your work and commitment as we transition to more normal operations over time. Below we have outlined specific guidance and requirements for the various groups working and studying at the College this summer. See below for additional vaccination registration information.
Similar to the fall and spring, faculty will continue to be allowed to work on campus in their offices, labs, and studios, with health and safety protocols in place. Any exposure control plans in effect now will continue and be modified by departments as needed.
We expect faculty who will be on campus this summer to be fully vaccinated unless they have an approved religious or medical exemption. (See below for additional information regarding exemptions and accommodations). Fully vaccinated means that two weeks have passed since a person received the final dose of their vaccine.
Language Schools faculty or other faculty who are not able to access vaccinations before they return to campus will be expected to register for an appointment in Vermont in advance so that they can schedule their vaccination within the first few days of their arrival at Middlebury.
All staff who provide on-campus support for summer programs and operations will be expected to work in-person on campus and should plan to be fully vaccinated by June 10, unless they have a religious or medical exemption. (See information below regarding exemptions and accommodations). Fully vaccinated means that two weeks have passed since a person received the final dose of their vaccine.
Please note that if anything prevents an employee from meeting these expectations or if employees have questions about COVID-19 vaccines or the registration process, they should contact Human Resources.
Employees Working Off Campus Remotely
The Senior Leadership Group is evaluating a return-to-campus plan for all employees and will provide additional information once it becomes available. It is our expectation that staff who currently work remotely will continue to do so through the completion of summer programs. We are also evaluating protocols for a return to campus in the fall semester and will be in touch about that later in the year.
Language School Students, Students Working on Campus, Interns, Researchers
All students living, working, and/or learning on campus this summer must be fully vaccinated by June 10, unless they have a documented medical or religious exemption. This includes Language School students; researchers; summer interns funded by the Center for Careers and Internships, the Center for Community Engagement, and Environmental Affairs; and all other on-campus student employees. These students should make arrangements for their vaccinations now, in Vermont or elsewhere, in order to meet the deadline.
Students who are not able to access vaccines before they come to campus are expected to register for an appointment in Vermont in advance. Initial vaccination appointments for those individuals should be scheduled within three days of their June 24 arrival at Middlebury.
Summer Housing and Arrival Dates for Returning Students
Students currently living on campus should plan to start their summer program or employment on June 1 if possible. Students will stay in their spring housing until they transition to summer housing on June 7.
Students who are studying remotely, are on leave, or who plan to leave campus after the spring term for a period of time must return on June 24. Note that the College is not able to accommodate multiple arrival times for students this summer.
Registration and Assistance with Vaccination Appointments
As previously noted, all Vermont residents are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as of today, April 19. It is critical that students who will be on campus this summer schedule their appointments as soon as possible via the Vermont Department of Health portal if they have not already done so. Students, faculty, and staff from out of state who are planning to be in Vermont for the summer are eligible to register for a vaccination in Vermont beginning April 30.
While we hope to offer a vaccination clinic on campus for individuals who are not able to be vaccinated before their arrival, we cannot guarantee it at this time. Therefore, these summer program participants and employees should register on the Vermont Department of Health website now and sign up for vaccination appointments as soon as possible. Students must schedule their first vaccination appointment within three days of their arrival, using a Middlebury College address, which will be provided in advance.
Following are a few registration tips:
- The Vermont Department of Health, Kinney Drugs, CVS, and Walgreens all offer registration and email notifications about vaccination eligibility. Once you register, you will be able to make an appointment.
- Students who obtain appointments in Vermont but outside of Addison County must secure permission to travel to their appointment. Students wishing to travel outside of Vermont for an appointment should contact Michelle Davis.
- Daily registrations typically open at 8 a.m., but those with accounts may be able to make appointments up to 45 minutes before the published start time.
- Depending on availability, it may take a week or two to secure an appointment. You should check back regularly to see if earlier appointments become available due to cancellations or additional vaccine supply.
- Please remember to cancel any duplicate appointments to ensure availability for others.
We will have staff available to assist in the registration process today, Monday, April 19, and Thursday, April 22, at the testing center in Virtue Field House.
Medical and Religious Exemptions and Accommodations
We recognize that individuals may have medical or religious needs that prevent them from receiving a vaccination. Following are instructions for those who may qualify for medical or religious exemptions or accommodations:
- Undergraduate students attending the Language Schools or those otherwise on campus this summer who need religious or medical exemptions may complete the COVID-19 Vaccine Exemption Form on the Center for Health and Wellness forms webpage.
- We are working on a system for employees to submit requests for medical and/or religious exemptions. Further information is forthcoming.
- Employees who have a medical condition that may require reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should complete and submit the ADA job accommodation form to initiate the accommodation process.
Members of the College community who are vaccinated will be required to provide documentation. Below are the requirements for various groups. All faculty, staff, and students should keep the original copy of their vaccination information card in a safe place and retain a photo of it on their phone or make a photocopy. In addition:
- All Middlebury College undergraduates, including those attending Language Schools or on campus this summer must upload to their student health portal a photo of their COVID-19 vaccine record as an “Immunization Record” showing a completed vaccination series. Please direct questions to the Health Services nurse triage line at 802-443-3290.
- College employees and others on campus this summer should be prepared to provide proof of vaccination via a portal that is in development. We will provide more information about that process and its security and privacy protections in the coming weeks.
A Thank You
Thank you once again for your attention to these updates. While summer will look different this year, we are grateful that we will be returning to many of the activities and programs that define summer at Middlebury.
Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration
Dean of Students