As the Middlebury Institute welcomes faculty, staff, and students to campus for the new academic year, protecting the health and safety of the community is a top priority.

As we prepare for our third fall semester of living with COVID-19, it is important to note that the pandemic has evolved into more of an endemic state, and our responses to it have changed accordingly. While we expect that COVID-19 will be with us for some time to come, we now are practiced in how to protect our most vulnerable while providing a vibrant living, learning, and working environment in support of our academic mission. That means that we will continue with some health and safety measures that we know are effective while we monitor the latest developments with COVID-19 and advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the County of Monterey Health Department. 

In addition to following CDC, CDPH, and Monterey County guidelines, a key part of our approach has been to emphasize personal responsibility, and that will continue. Individuals should consider their own risks and the risks of those they spend time with as they decide what additional measures to continue. The Vice President’s Office regularly assesses the appropriate protocols for our community, and we will keep you informed of any necessary changes. We encourage all members of our community to regularly check CDC guidance as well.

Latest Trends with COVID-19

We now are contending with variants of COVID-19 that are considered more transmissible but less severe than earlier strains. We know that prior infections, vaccinations, and available treatments are effective in minimizing the worst outcomes of the virus. At the same time, strategies that were once cornerstones of our response––such as positive case counts, contact tracing, and surveillance testing––are considered less effective under current conditions. Our emphasis now is on vaccinations, symptomatic antigen testing, CDC and CDPH community levels, isolation-in-place recovery strategies, and a mask-friendly/mask-optional policy that allows individuals and groups to best address their health situations and environments.

Also among recent developments, the Omicron subvariant BA.5 is the predominant circulating strain in the United States, and we are monitoring other subvariants, including BA.2.75. The subvariant BA.5 is considered highly transmissible, even among individuals with prior COVID-19 infections and those who are up-to-date with vaccinations. BA.5 is thought to be less severe than prior COVID-19 strains, but it can still cause significant or prolonged infections, especially in individuals with underlying medical conditions. Being up-to-date with vaccinations, as is required at Middlebury, can reduce the risk of experiencing the worst effects of the virus. Medications remain effective against the BA.5 subvariant as well.

We are aware that some individuals are at higher risk for adverse health outcomes, and protecting those who are most vulnerable remains a priority. We also acknowledge that there are adverse impacts of mitigation measures––including but not limited to delayed health care for other illnesses, isolation, stress, and other impacts on mental health. Living together with COVID-19 means accepting that cases will occur, but also doing what we can do to minimize transmission.

Vaccination Information

Please note that all students, faculty, and staff are required to be in compliance with our vaccination policy. Any member of the MIIS community who is not vaccine-compliant will not be permitted on campus. If they arrive out of compliance with our vaccination policies, they must attend all classes and activities remotely until they are compliant. 

Prearrival Planning and Preparations

In addition to required vaccination, we as a community need to work together to support a strong start to the academic year. For this reason, we recommend the following preparations for all individuals prior to returning to campus:

  • All students, faculty, and staff must be in compliance with our vaccination policy. This means being up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations or having an approved medical or religious exemption prior to coming to campus.  If you have not already done so, please be sure to get your booster as soon as possible. Booster verifications should be uploaded into the Sentry system by logging in with your middlebury.edu email address.
  • Individuals should reduce their exposure risk starting 14 days before their return to campus. This may range from wearing masks in crowded social settings to avoiding crowds, especially in areas with a medium or high CDC community level.
  • Individuals who are in isolation after a COVID-19 diagnosis and/or symptomatic should not travel to campus until their isolation period is complete and/or their symptoms have resolved.
  • Individuals who have even mild symptoms should take an antigen test.
    • If the antigen test is negative, it should be confirmed with a negative PCR test for those who have not had COVID-19 in the past 90 days. 
    • PCR tests can show positive results for up to 90 days after an infection. Because of this, those who are symptomatic and have had an infection within the last 90 days should take additional antigen tests daily, for up to four days, to confirm a negative result.
  • Individuals who have not had a COVID-19 infection in the past 90 days may wish to have a PCR test 72 hours prior to travel to rule out an asymptomatic COVID-19 infection. This is recommended but not required.
  • We highly recommend that all students, faculty, and staff receive flu shots this fall.

All faculty, staff, and students should retain a copy of their booster record and upload their record via the SentryMD portal. More information is available on the COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements webpage. New students for the fall semester and continuing students who will be in-person on campus for the first time will need to upload verifications for their vaccines and booster.  

Mask-Friendly Campus

Institute guidelines will shift to a mask-friendly, mask-optional policy on campus for the fall semester. This policy will remain in place in the fall, and we will assess whether to make any changes as the public health landscape evolves. We ask that all members of our community respect the choices of others about whether or not to wear masks, and consider the CDC Community Level and associated guidance when making decisions around mask use.

Following are guidelines for the Middlebury Institute campus: 

  • Faculty will have the option to require masks in the classroom, labs, and offices. 
  • Individuals notified of recent confirmed or suspected exposure to an infected person should wear a mask for 10 days around others when indoors in public and should receive testing within five days after exposure (or sooner, if they are symptomatic), regardless of their vaccination status.
  • Per CDC guidance, students in isolation due to a positive test result. These individuals must wear masks at all times when around others through day 10 of their recovery, or follow new CDC guidance for using consecutive antigen tests to remove your mask sooner. Students in Munras Housing must wear masks when they are in all common areas, including the kitchen and lounge, or walking to and from bathrooms.
  • Some departments and offices may require masks. These departments typically post signs at entry points to inform visitors of the policy.. 
  • All members of the community are encouraged to carry masks with them at all times.

The Institute will continue to provide masks in the Vice President’s Office in the Segal building Monday – Friday between 10AM – 3PM.

Lanyards Required Lanyards with MIIS ID card and COVID compliance stickers are required on campus. Lanyards are available for pick-up from Security for all faculty, staff, and students and must be worn at all times on campus unless in your personal office. COVID compliance stickers are available for those that have uploaded their vaccine verification or have an approved exemption. Stickers are available in Security for students and in HR for faculty and staff.  Only faculty, staff, and students who are fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption are allowed on campus. 
Testing Requirements

Prearrival PCR testing for individuals who have not had an infection in the past 90 days is recommended but not required for students returning to campus.  Testing requirements for students in Munras Housing will be communicated separately. 

Campus Access Campus access for the 2022-2023 academic year will continue to be limited to Middlebury Institute faculty, staff, and students, who may come to campus without prior authorization. Visitors and contractors who must visit or work on campus require campus access authorization. For authorization and visitor exceptions, email Barbara Burke at blburke@middlebury.edu at least 24 hours in advance. See more campus access information below. For the new academic year, guests will be allowed at outdoor MIIS-sponsored events, but only if non-MIIS guests are included in event planning by the organizers beforehand (i.e. no walk-ins). Guests will also be allowed at indoor MIIS-sponsored events, but guidelines for guest attendance must explicitly state that masks are required.  
Campus Safety Readiness - Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed at the entrances to all campus buildings and in classrooms.
- Disinfecting wipes have been placed in all common areas and next to copy machines.  
- HVAC filters across the MIIS campus have been updated with higher-efficiency rated MERV-13 filters where possible. Increasing air filtration has been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to help exposure-reduction strategies. MERV, Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, is a measurement of the effectiveness of an air filter.  
- Airflow system improvements for increased ventilation and improvements in outside air intake have been made in campus classrooms, in alignment with industry standards.
- Plexiglass shields have been installed in appropriate forward-facing locations across campus.
- Masks and latex gloves are available in Office Services. N95 respiratory masks are available for unvaccinated individuals upon request by remailing bdaniels@middlebury.edu.  KN95 masks are available from the Vice President’s Office in the Segal building Monday -  Friday from 10AM - 3PM. 
What to do if Diagnosed with COVID-19

The CDC currently recommends isolation of individuals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases for at least five days after a positive test or the onset of symptoms. We will continue to require isolation for those who test positive. Most students will be able to recover in their residence or in their Munras Housing room. This could include recovery with roommates who have not tested positive for COVID-19, with the assumption that these individuals already have been exposed. A small amount of housing will be dedicated for isolation for COVID-19 cases with extreme symptoms. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, follow these steps.

On-Campus Events Institute events will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis via Room Reservation, the Student Club/Organizations Event Request form, and/or Event Logistics form submissions. Indoor events may now be opened to non-MIIS attendees provided that they wear masks. Guests will continued to be allowed at outdoor MIIS-sponsored events, but only if guests are included in event planning by the organizers beforehand (i.e. no walk-ins). Events held on campus by outside organizations will not be approved for an indefinite period of time.
 Monkeypox

Human monkeypox virus (hMPXV) was recently declared by the World Health Organization as a public health emergency of global concern. At this time the virus presents a low risk to our campus communities, but we are closely watching developments and will continue to keep you informed.

hMPXV is part of the same family of viruses that cause smallpox, although it is more rare, causes milder symptoms, and is rarely fatal. Middlebury College health officials have been monitoring this situation closely since the first cases were reported in mid-May. While there are no known cases of human monkeypox virus on Middlebury campuses, the virus can affect anyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, and we are preparing our communities for the possibility of a small number of cases. More information can be found on the Middlebury website

Campus Access

Campus access for the 2022-2023 academic year will continue to be limited to Middlebury Institute faculty, staff, and students, who may come to campus without prior authorization. Visitors and contractors who must visit or work on campus require campus access authorization. For authorization and visitor exceptions, email Barbara Burke at blburke@middlebury.edu at least 24 hours in advance. For the new academic year, guests will be allowed at outdoor MIIS-sponsored events, but only if non-MIIS guests are included in event planning by the organizers beforehand (i.e. no walk-ins). Guests will also be allowed at indoor MIIS-sponsored events, but guidelines for guest attendance must explicitly state that masks are required.  

Lanyards will be issued to all faculty, staff, and students and will be available in the Security Hut behind the Lara-Soto Adobe. Lanyards should be worn at all times while on campus with your MIIS ID card and should be clearly visible to identify you as a member of the campus community. 

Steps to obtain a MIIS ID card: 

  • Upload a photo to the MIIS directory. Be sure to log in with your Middlebury.edu email address and then click “Upload Photo” at the top of the web page.
    • To ensure your ID photo prints correctly, please consider uploading a square photo.
  • E-mail miissecurity@middlebury.edu your name, Institute ID number, and best email address.
  • Security will make your ID card and notify you when it’s ready for pick-up in person.
  • Security is able to mail ID cards to online-only faculty, staff, and students. Follow this process and include your mailing address in your email to Security.

Departmental Operating Hours are listed here.

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