Update on First Week of Classes
| by Derek Doucet and Jennifer Kazmierczak
Dear Middlebury Community,
This week, we welcomed students back for simultaneous remote, hybrid, and in-person classes. It was wonderful to reconnect with our students, faculty, and staff—to see students resume athletics practices, club activities, and small social gatherings with new health and safety protocols in place. Creativity, adaptability, and innovation are at the core of who we are, and those attributes were and will be on full display this semester. As we close the first week of the fall semester here, we are writing with updates we would like you to be aware of.
On Sunday, September 6, we welcomed the Class of 2024 with our first virtual Convocation. The ceremony included remarks and greetings by Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life Mark Orten, President Laurie Patton, Dean of Admissions Nicole Curvin, and Dean of Students Derek Doucet, as well as messages of encouragement from returning students. You can watch the ceremony here. In all, 2,575 students are currently enrolled at Middlebury College this semester, including 2,161 living on campus, 329 studying fully remotely, and 85 students living off campus.
First Week of Classes
It was exciting to see the dynamic of blended education—remote and in person. Classes met both indoors and outdoors, with physical distancing and other safety protocols in place, but the discussions were no less lively than in previous years. While the modality of all courses remains flexible, at this time, approximately 50 percent of classes are being taught completely online, 37 percent have a hybrid model, and 13 percent are completely in-person.
Targeted Dynamic Testing
With arrival day and Day 7 testing nearly complete, we began our targeted dynamic testing program on September 8 with some later-arriving students, Residential Life staff, MiddView Leaders, and some employees who work on campus. Of the 418 people tested on September 8, zero tested positive, 416 tested negative, one will be retested due to an insufficient sample, and one test is pending. Yesterday, on September 10, we tested an additional 398 people. Of the 178 results we have received so far, zero were positive, 177 were negative, and one will be retested due to an insufficient sample. We expect additional results later today. We currently have no active cases on campus and no students are in quarantine. The latest information is posted on our COVID-19 Dashboard. We will continue targeted dynamic testing of about 750 people each week, including students, faculty, and staff.
As the weekend approaches, we ask for your continued vigilance in following the guidelines in our Return to Campus Guide and our conduct policies. We will provide an update on Monday, after the completion of our first week of Targeted Dynamic Testing, on where we are in our phased approach to reopening. While we are encouraged by our early testing results, this is not the only marker for success in a pandemic. We know that it would only take one exposure to put us at risk for an outbreak on campus, and so we all must continue the important individual behaviors of wearing face coverings, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and limiting gatherings.
Community Information and Safety Monitors
You may have noticed Middlebury staff doing rounds on and off campus, and community information and safety monitors on campus boundaries and around certain outdoor gathering spaces on campus. The College has hired a security company to assist with monitoring town and College boundaries during campus quarantine. The community information and safety monitors will be positioned in four locations: at South Main Street and Academy Way, College Street and Academy Way, Weybridge and Mill streets, and at other large open areas on campus, between noon and midnight seven days a week. They will be located at the intersections during the day and on campus at night.
The community information and safety monitors will inform individuals walking on and off campus about the visitor rules and quarantine restrictions that the College has put in place, including the need to maintain physical distancing, wear face coverings, and avoid gathering in large groups. At this time, the campus remains closed except to authorized students, faculty, staff, and vendors, and students living on campus must remain here. Students living off campus who are enrolled to study on campus are permitted to travel to and from campus and their residences.
Delivery on Campus
Finally, we have been working with some local businesses to provide deliveries for students living on campus, including takeout from local restaurants. We have set up a delivery drop off location for students only at 75 Shannon Street, and plan to continue this service throughout the semester to encourage safe interactions with the community. Please note that this service is available to students only. We have received inquiries about whether local businesses can deliver food or other personal items to faculty and staff on campus. Deliveries of this kind are not permitted at this time so that we may limit the number of outside visitors to campus. We appreciate your cooperation.
Thank you, as always, for your attention to these updates. We look forward to being back in touch soon.
Dean of Students
Environmental Health and Safety Coordinator