| by Jeff Dayton-Johnson
I hope the spring semester is off to a great start for you. I am writing today with an update about our plans for the fall, as well as with some new information for this spring semester.
I will start with the most important news for many of you: The Middlebury Institute is planning a return to primarily in-person instruction starting in the fall of 2021. As we look forward to vaccines becoming more readily available, we also realize that there will be many variables in the fight against this global pandemic that we can neither predict nor control. With that in mind, we are preparing for several scenarios that balance remote and on-site activities––all of which will allow students to return to campus for a meaningful in-person educational experience.
We believe it is important to share this information early to help you make your own plans. We continue to prioritize the health and well-being of the MIIS community worldwide. You can expect regular updates with more details in the weeks ahead. We plan to share more specific information about our fall plans during the week of March 22, when we return from our spring break.
Many of you will have questions about how these plans affect you. International students not already in the United States, for example, will want to know whether they will be able to enter the country to begin their in-person studies in Monterey. It is our hope that our fall semester plan will allow international students to secure the documentation needed to join us; our International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) colleagues will help you navigate that process. Please expect an email with more information about the visa process timeline from ISSS in the next few days. Others of you may wish to continue your MIIS studies remotely. We will be sharing more details with you about our degree programs that have committed to providing online options.
Last week, California’s most recent emergency stay-at-home order was lifted, but Monterey County and most of the state are now in the most restrictive Purple Tier of the state’s coronavirus monitoring system. Distribution of vaccines, after a frustratingly slow start, are beginning to increase.
We are preparing for a gradual return to activities on campus, starting with our outdoor areas, where we have installed new WiFi access points. For students who need a quiet place with reliable Internet for job interviews or special projects, we will also be offering limited temporary use of campus offices. You should expect a follow-up email soon with more information about usage of campus spaces and sign-up processes.
This pandemic, now over a year old, continues to test our flexibility and nimbleness. Against that backdrop, we recognize the importance of communicating our intentions and plans as we make them. We will continue to coordinate with local health agencies as we finalize our fall semester plans. I will update you regularly as the situation evolves.
I hope you are all staying safe and healthy,
Jeff Dayton Johnson
Dean of the Institute and Vice President for Academic Affairs