Dear Middlebury Community,

We are writing with some updates about the arts, athletics, and other activities at Middlebury College this spring. With the arrival period nearly complete and lessons learned from the fall, we are committed to offering a robust and meaningful experience for all students inside and outside the classroom––with the highest attention to health and safety.

We look forward to a successful semester and expect that we will be able to offer more activities and programs as the semester progresses, the colder weather subsides, and provided cases of COVID-19 remain low on campus and in our community. As always, our plans will be guided by the latest state and federal guidelines, conditions in our community, and continued student adherence to mitigation measures.

Cocurricular and extracurricular activities are integral to Middlebury. We know from our experiences in the fall and from conferring with other colleges and health officials that we can find ways to come together safely with the proper precautions and protocols in place. With that in mind, we will provide an overview of some of the plans in progress. 

In this email we will address:

  • Performances and the Arts
  • NESCAC Athletics
  • Club Sports
  • Activities with Students, Faculty, and Staff
  • Community Engagement
  • Student Activities
  • Indoor and Outdoor Recreation

Performances and the Arts

Plans are underway for Nocturne: A Middlebury Arts Festival, the immersive, nighttime celebration of student art––dance, film, painting, music, comedy, food, fashion, pottery, and poetry. Events will be held on Saturday, May 8, from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. on a stage to be constructed behind Mahaney Arts Center (MAC) and at other venues around campus. All activities must follow College and state COVID-19 guidelines, and all projects will be presented outside. The rain date is May 15. For those interested in performing, the proposal deadline is March 18. All performers must attend a mandatory Zoom artist meeting on March 23 at 8 p.m.

The MAC’s outdoor stage also will be the venue for dance, theater, and musical performances, including senior projects and student organization performances. We expect to make the stage available for other projects and events through an event review and reservation system. Organizers will be able to submit proposals to Events Management for limited gatherings with safety measures in place. Such activities must be conducted with faculty or staff supervision. We plan to allow for live performances on outdoor, lighted athletic fields at night and under the tents around campus. 

NESCAC Athletics 

The NESCAC presidents announced today that NESCAC conference play is scheduled to begin in mid-April with special COVID-19-related protocols in place. You can read the full announcement here. While we will not be able to conduct athletics seasons as usual at Middlebury, we do plan to organize practices and limited competitive games with regional opponents. NESCAC is currently developing schedules that are regional and limited in nature, and they will be released later in March. Protocols for competition have been developed in consultation with the medical and COVID-19 operations teams, the NESCAC Athletic Directors, and Medical Aspect in Sports Committee, and these protocols adhere to or exceed state, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and NCAA guidance. While a full competitive schedule is not possible, it is exciting to consider the possibility for some limited competition later in the spring if conditions allow.

With this decision, we will be developing plans to provide the best possible experience for our spring student-athletes, while closely monitoring conditions and adapting our protocols as needed. We are hopeful that as the winter weather subsides, we will have more opportunities to safely convene. Coaches will continue to keep their team members informed regarding any developments. They are the best resource for questions from student-athletes or their families.

Club Sports

Club sports will continue this spring with the spirit and commitment we saw in the fall. Teams will follow all health and safety requirements, and whenever possible, activities will be performed outdoors. All teams will be able to engage in lower-risk activities such as conditioning sessions and non-contact skill building including group runs and passing practice. For activities where incidental contact between teammates might occur, we will welcome back our club coaches for supervision and guidance. By season’s end, we expect a season full of activity that will focus on intrasquad play. The director of club sports will monitor our progress and regional conditions to determine if a culminating competition is possible. 

Activities with Students, Faculty, and Staff

We encourage students, faculty, and staff to find ways to come together and engage in activities in ways that are safe. This could mean outdoor office hours, walks around campus, or organized field trips in the region. The Campus Status web page will have the latest information about which spaces are available and what activities are permitted.

Community Engagement

We are continuing to put our learning from the past year to work in community engagement as well. Students, faculty, and staff have found creative, meaningful, and important avenues to maintain and build our community connections. This semester, many students already are connecting virtually with the wider community through course projects, cocurricular activities, and extracurricular activities. Students are working with area organizations and community members remotely for now, including one-on-one and group mentoring with children in Addison County. Later this semester, as health conditions allow, students may be able to widen their activities to certain kinds of in-person work, such as trail maintenance or preparing meals to be delivered off-campus by community organizations.

All activities that involve interacting with school children remain virtual. Student Activities and the Center for Community Engagement are available to support students in community service and to advise on planning for in-person engagement. Community-connected activities will follow current College and state of Vermont guidance.

Student Activities

Last semester, student organizations navigated new COVID-19 protocols to provide a cappella concerts, tap dance shows, and theater performances for the campus community. We plan to continue with those activities and many other events that align with protocols, including in-person student or hybrid organization meetings, outdoor spin classes by YouPower (when the weather is warmer), and meditation.

Student organization leaders are working with our COVID-19 Emergency Response Team (CERT) to plan events that align with College protocols, including a Winter Carnival like no other. Winter Carnival is slated for Friday, March 12, through Saturday, March 20, and will include flagship events such as a themed dance on March 13 and an outdoor concert in collaboration with WRMC––with a student DJ opener set for March 20. The outdoor concert is contingent on the success of the dance.

We welcome proposals for more events in April and May. Student organizations may submit event requests here, or email for event planning support.

How to Help

We have received some requests to stream larger events so that anyone can participate remotely. Currently, we have one staff member who can assist with this, but we will offer training to students so we can offer more simulcast events. Students should apply at go/techassistant

Indoor and Outdoor Recreation

It is wonderful to see students enjoying the many winter activities and recreation opportunities on campus, as well as skiing, snowshoeing, and snowboarding, which are free of charge at Rikert Nordic Center and the Snow Bowl for the reminder of the season. More information is available in our announcement.

The Kirk Winter Fun Center opened last week at the Ralph Myhre Golf Course with great success–offering skis, snowshoes, and tubes to nearly 200 students. We will continue to groom the golf course trail as weather permits, but with the warm days ahead, that fun likely will shift to the Snow Bowl and Rikert where the snow base is deeper.

On campus, students can expect the Climbing Wall, Bike Shop, and Gear Room to be operating by next week. The director of outdoor programs is working with our outdoor clubs to provide leadership training and assist students with their event planning. Go to Presence for information on club activities and events.

Off campus, outdoor recreation such as walking, bicycling, and exploring is allowed within the town of Middlebury. Students will find this resource helpful as they explore the Trail Around Middlebury. The TAM connects numerous locations such as Wright Park and Battell Woods––great places to take notice of the change of seasons. 

The Peterson Family Athletics Complex also is a great resource for recreation, and students are taking advantage––we had over 3,000 reservations within 24 hours of making appointments available.

We want to take this opportunity to thank our faculty, staff, and students for all you have done for a successful start of the semester. We look forward to seeing you soon on campus.


Pieter Broucke
Associate Dean for the Arts

Derek Doucet
Dean of Students

Erin Quinn
Director of Athletics