| by Mark Peluso and Derek Doucet

Faculty, Fall 2020, Staff, Students

Dear Middlebury Community,

We are writing with an update on the most recent COVID-19 test results and with some important reminders about quarantine protocols, community respect, and vigilance during a pandemic.

First, we have updated the COVID-19 Reporting Dashboard with the results of our Day 7 testing for students who arrived on August 26 and 27. As we reported on Thursday, one student tested positive. Of the other 834 additional test results received, 820 were negative and 14 individuals will be retested due to insufficient samples. We also are retesting three individuals today whose results are pending.

We continue our Day 7 testing program today with students who arrived on August 28, as well as those who need to be retested. We currently are monitoring two active cases on campus, both of whom are isolated, and one student is being quarantined. Should there be any additional positive cases, we will post the latest results on the COVID-19 Reporting Dashboard by noon and 6 p.m. each day that we receive results.

Quarantine Protocols
You may notice that the number of individuals quarantining due to possible exposure varies on the dashboard even during the course of a day. This is either because they have successfully completed quarantine with a negative test result seven days after exposure or because the Vermont Department of Health has determined through contact tracing that the individuals who were quarantining as a precaution were not close contacts. The dashboard does not include the number of individuals who are in room quarantine. Those individuals should remain in room quarantine according to their personal plan.

Campus Quarantine Continues
Given the nature of this pandemic, we expect that we may see additional positive results in our Day 7 testing after today, and we are prepared to respond. We want to emphasize that our low prevalence of COVID-19 cases and low quarantine numbers so far are a credit to the excellent job students are doing with physical distancing, the wearing of face coverings, proper hand hygiene, and limiting gathering sizes, as well as to our no-visitor policy. We know from the experiences of other schools that large parties, drinking games, and relaxing precautions too quickly can lead to outbreaks. The success of our semester depends on everyone continuing to follow the Phase 1 guidelines and remaining in campus quarantine until it is complete, on or after September 15.

Community Respect
Along with these precautions, it is important to remember that we are in this together. While it is natural to feel concern if you exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, a roommate feels unwell, or a friend of a friend becomes sick, we know that preventative protocols are the best way to stop the spread of the virus.

As noted in our Return to Campus Guide, the COVID-19 outbreak has provoked bias and discriminatory behaviors against people of certain racial and ethnic backgrounds, as well as against those who are following proper protocols but are perceived to be ill or symptomatic. We are all responsible for treating students, faculty, and staff with the respect every human being deserves and for not promoting or participating in bias.

The most effective way to stop the spread of the virus is to continue to be vigilant:

  • Any student who is on campus or who is enrolled to study on campus and living off campus and is experiencing symptoms or who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should immediately call the Health Services nurse line at 802-443-3290 or, after hours, contact MiddTelehealth.
  • Further instructions for students who feel sick and additional information on contact tracing are available in our Health FAQ.
  • Any student who wishes to speak to Counseling Services may do so by calling 802-443-5141. Over the weekend, counseling support is available 24/7 through the TalkNow feature of MiddTelehealth.
  • 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, if applicable, of any needed accommodations.

Campus-based exposures will be addressed through our weekly Targeted Dynamic Testing program, which will begin next week.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership. Have a safe and healthy weekend.


Mark Peluso
Director of Health Services and College Physician

Derek Doucet
Dean of Students

Gus Jordan
Executive Director, Health and Counseling Services