| by Derek Doucet

Fall 2020, Students

Dear Middlebury Community,

As we prepare for the reopening of our Vermont campus in August, I write to share some essential information about what students need to do to prepare and what they can expect when they arrive. While most of the information in this Weekly Update applies to students, it is important that our entire community understands some of the protocols and procedures we have in place for travel, testing, quarantine, and move-in. 

This information applies to students who are living on campus, as well as those approved to live off campus who are enrolled as in-person learners. We will send a separate communication to students living in Vermont who are enrolled to study remotely or who are on leave, with important health and safety expectations for all.

Return to Campus Guide

First and foremost, understanding what life on campus will be like is an essential part of preparing to return. All students are required to read the Return to Campus Guide, which includes details about every aspect of living and learning on campus. Students must understand that by returning to campus, they are affirming that they have read the guide and agree to abide by every expectation it outlines. More information about requirements, expectations, and resources for faculty and staff is also available on the Middlebury 2020-21 website and the Working Safely at Middlebury website.

Below are some requirements that must be completed before student arrival:

Update Emergency Contacts and Personal Evacuation Plans

Students must log in to BannerWeb to update their emergency contact information and personal evacuation plan, both located in the Personal Information tab. Incoming new students can enter this information via the prearrival checklist process shared by the orientation team.

Online Training and Student Health Pledge

Before arriving on campus or beginning remote learning, students must complete online training through the SafeColleges platform. Access information will be sent to all students in a separate email. As a part of the training, all students will be required to read and sign the College’s COVID-19-related Student Health Pledge. The pledge represents a shared commitment to maintain a healthy campus and to respectfully hold one another accountable for doing so. Students who have not completed the course prior to arrival will not be permitted on campus.

14-Day Home Quarantine

As noted in previous communications, all students returning to Middlebury for in-person learning or remote learning on campus must begin preparations two weeks ahead of their planned arrival. This prearrival quarantine is a critical part of our reopening plan regardless of the mode of transportation to campus. This means that students must stay home or in another single location for 14 days and separate from others as much as possible. It is essential during this time to maintain physical distancing, wear a mask, and practice good hand hygiene any time they interact with others in their household. We understand that other household members may go to work, school, or on errands while the student remains at home, so these measures are vitally important to reduce the chance of exposure. Students preparing to return to campus should also monitor themselves for any possible COVID-19 symptoms—and may not return to campus if they are sick. 

Students who have personal circumstances that prevent them from completing a 14-day home quarantine may request exemption immediately by completing the prearrival quarantine exemption request form. Exemptions will be granted only for truly compelling circumstances. Upon return to campus, they will immediately be tested and then remain in room quarantine for seven days, when they will be tested again. Once they receive the results of their second test, they will be released from quarantine provided the results are negative. Students who have completed a 14-day prearrival quarantine who have a roommate who has not been able to quarantine are not required to stay in their rooms for additional time, as long as their arrival day test result is negative.

What to Bring

This will be an unusual semester where we all must be flexible and ready to adjust as needed, so pack light. We urge students to pack no more than they can reasonably depart with if campus evacuation becomes necessary. No more than two to three suitcases of essentials are recommended. Students will be responsible for either taking all belongings with them or arranging and financing off-campus storage in the event of an evacuation.

Students should plan to bring personal healthcare items, including a sufficient supply of any over-the-counter or prescription medications to last through the campus quarantine period.

One item not to forget:

Students must bring personal thermometers with them to campus so they can check their temperatures as a part of the required daily health check

Students who have belongings in off-campus storage facilities should come directly to campus rather than going to the storage facility before arrival on campus and will need to wait to retrieve their belongings until after receiving a negative test. They should follow all health and safety protocols and bring essentials they need to complete the campus quarantine. Students will be restricted to campus (students approved for off-campus living may travel between campus and their residences only) until the campus quarantine is lifted. If they need access to their belongings sooner, they may request approval by emailing DOS@middlebury.edu after receipt of a negative day-seven test.

Traveling to Campus

Following their 14-day prearrival quarantine, students may return to campus only if they are not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, have not been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, and have not tested positive for the virus. The CDC defines close contact as “anyone who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the patient was isolated.”

Those traveling back to campus must follow strict health and safety precautions, regardless of what mode of travel they use. This means avoiding gatherings in public such as in restaurants, limiting gas stops if driving, and, if overnight travel is required, remaining in their rooms and practicing physical distancing from others, and wearing a face covering at all times, except while eating or doing personal grooming. Those who are traveling by plane or using other public transit such as a bus or train, or carpooling, must wear a face covering at all times and maintain physical distancing to the greatest extent possible. All must practice proper hand hygiene.

The Student Government Association is sponsoring bus transportation from Burlington International Airport; Grand Central and Penn stations, and White Plains, New York; Ridgewood New Jersey; Boston; and Hookset, New Hampshire. The buses will allow for physical distancing. Students will need to purchase tickets through the box office, and we will share details in a separate communication.

Appointments for Staggered Arrivals 

Students will have an opportunity to select an arrival appointment (between noon and 8 p.m. on their designated arrival day) on a first-come, first-served basis and will receive information on how to sign up in a separate email. This communication will confirm each student’s designated arrival day (summarized in the table below). All students are expected to come to campus on their designated arrival day unless there is a true emergency that prevents them from doing so. Those requesting an exception due to an emergency may do so by contacting their dean in advance. Non-emergency requests for exceptions will not be granted.



Start Prearrival Quarantine at Home 

Arrive on Campus 

Residential life staff, peer health educators, orientation leaders, First@Midd peer leaders, ISSS PALS, and SGA leadership 


August 4 

August 18 

All incoming new students, all international students not serving in any of the group-one leadership roles, and fall athletes 


August 12 

August 26 

All other students 

August 14 

August 28 


Below are the expectations students must meet upon arrival: 

Arrival Day Testing 

Students’ first campus stop will be at Virtue Fieldhouse where they will receive their day-zero test. Students should plan to arrive no more than 10 minutes prior to their scheduled appointments. Negative test results will be sent to a personal health portal and students will be notified by email when that result is available. Positive and/or indeterminate results (a rare occurrence) are sent to Parton Health Center, which will notify students directly (about 24 hours later).

All students are expected to arrive on their designated arrival day and time. Those who, due to unanticipated travel delays, arrive after the testing center has closed on their designated arrival day must proceed directly to their rooms and quarantine there until the following morning, when they will report to the testing center no later than 8:30 a.m. Those who know in advance that they will be arriving after 8 p.m. on their arrival day must complete this form.


After testing, returning students should proceed to their residence halls to begin room quarantine. Welcome centers for first-years will be located near their residence halls where they will receive additional information and their Middlebury College ID cards.

While Vermont guidance specifies that two visitors may accompany a student on their arrival day, we are encouraging students to bring only one drop-off guest. If families traveling long distances require two drop-off guests to enable safe driving, one guest should remain in the vehicle while on campus. During the testing process, we ask that families remain with their vehicles. Move-in day guests will not be able to enter the residence halls.

Students who need assistance with move-in due to disability should contact the Disability Resource Center at ada@middlebury.edu. Students with temporary mobility concerns should email Residential Life at reslife@middlebury.edu.

I want to thank you for taking the time to review these protocols. We are all looking forward to bringing our students back to campus and to being able to come together in meaningful ways inside and outside the classroom. Please do not hesitate to reach out via email at covidinfo@middlebury.edu should you have additional questions.



Derek Doucet 
Dean of Students