| by Laurie Patton and Jeff Dayton-Johnson

Dear Middlebury Institute Community,

As we continue to plan for a return to more normal operations in the fall semester, we are writing with some updates about vaccination expectations and requirements as well as our return to more in-person work and learning.

In this email we will address:

  • The path forward
  • Fall vaccination expectations and requirements
  • Employees working remotely
  • Opportunities for vaccination
  • Medical and religious exemptions and accommodations 
  • Vaccination documentation

The Path Forward

Looking ahead to the fall semester, it is increasingly clear that the Institute’s path to resuming more in-person instruction, events, and on-campus work is dependent on increasing the number of people who are vaccinated. We continue to monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and California Department of Health guidance. We are encouraged by recent declines in cases of COVID-19 in the United States, California, and Monterey County while at the same time mindful of the terrible circumstances in India and other parts of the world, where the pandemic has overtaken healthcare resources and caused untold loss of life and livelihood.

Scientific research tells us that vaccination of the vast majority of our community will provide the best possible protection against COVID-19. We expect that once most individuals are vaccinated, we will be able to relax and move away from many of the restrictions on campus and resume more activities and events. We will of course continue to follow appropriate health and safety protocols to protect our entire community as long as we need to, consistent with local conditions and government directives.

For these reasons, we will require all students, faculty, and staff living, learning, or working on campus in the fall to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, except for those with an approved medical or religious exemption. Fully vaccinated means that two weeks have passed since a person received the final dose of their vaccine. 

Fall Vaccination Expectations and Requirements 

We recognize that some individuals will have special circumstances, varying levels of opportunity, and differing timelines for their fall preparations, and we are committed to working with all individuals to overcome any barriers to vaccination.

With all of that in mind, following is a list of dates that full vaccination is required for various groups:

Students:

  • All students who plan to enroll for in-person learning at Monterey in the fall must be fully vaccinated before their return to campus. This means they must have received their final dose of the vaccine no later than 14 days prior to arrival on campus. Additional guidelines are as follows:
    • Students living in the United States should receive a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson) prior to their arrival.
    • Students living abroad without access to the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines should prioritize vaccines on the WHO emergency use listing, followed by any other government vaccines provided in their location prior to coming to campus. 
    • Students who have not been vaccinated prior to arriving in Monterey will be provided with resources on locations convenient to campus where the vaccine is available. It will be important to obtain the first dose of the vaccine as soon as possible, so that full vaccination (two weeks after the final dose) can be achieved quickly. Students might need to join classes remotely at the start of the semester until fully vaccinated.  
    • Students will be asked to formally declare their intentions for the fall semester for either in-person or remote instruction via a survey that will be available between July 1 through 15. 

Faculty and Staff:

  • All faculty and staff working on campus at the Institute in the fall must be fully vaccinated by Monday, August 16. We have chosen this date because we expect many departments currently working remotely to return to close-to-normal levels of in-person work by mid-August. Specific dates of return to in-person work will vary depending on work function or department, and some faculty and staff will return to on-campus work before then. In all cases, employees should plan to become fully vaccinated as soon as possible—and no later than 14 days prior to their arrival on campus. More information will be shared about the transition from largely remote operations for both Monterey and the Washington, D.C., office once it becomes available.  

We have listened to input from a wide range of constituents in formulating our mandatory vaccination policy, and our plans are consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidanceand the American College Health Association, as well as the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which is dependent on a large number of people being vaccinated. With all California residents age 16 and up eligible to be vaccinated in California as of April 15, opportunities for vaccination are now widely available for students, faculty, and staff.

We have been encouraged to learn that many in the Institute community are already fully vaccinated or have begun the process. As of May 3, 61 percent of Monterey County residents age 16 and older have received at least one dose, according to the Monterey County Department of Health.

Employees Working Remotely

Each member of the Senior Leadership Group is responsible for developing a return-to-campus plan for employees in their areas and will provide additional information once it becomes available. We are reviewing lessons learned from the past year and applying them in our plans for the fall and beyond. It is our expectation that staff who currently work remotely will continue to do so through the completion of summer programs and that most will return to on-campus work by mid-August. As we move to in-person instruction in the fall, we will strive to strike a balance that realizes the benefits of flexible work arrangements without sacrificing the high quality of services that we deliver to our students and employees.

Opportunities for Vaccination

The Institute will continue to facilitate all opportunities for vaccination where possible and will do everything we can to remove barriers to this process, including providing flexible work schedules and time off for vaccination and recovery from side effects through our expanded COVID-19 leave plan. All staff, regardless of benefit eligibility, are permitted to use this leave plan for COVID-related absences, as described in prior communications. Please note that any employee who has questions about COVID-19 vaccines or our policy should contact Human Resources. See below for information about medical and religious exemptions.

COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available for everyone 16 years of age and above. The Monterey County Department of Health and the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula are both good resources for finding sites and vaccination appointments.  

Medical and Religious Exemptions and Accommodations

Some individuals may have medical conditions or religious beliefs that prevent them from receiving a vaccination. Following are instructions for those who may qualify for medical or religious exemptions or accommodations:

Vaccination Documentation

Members of the Institute community who are vaccinated will be required to provide documentation. Faculty, staff, and students will provide proof of vaccination in accordance with a procedure that is in development. We will provide more information about that process in the coming weeks. 

All faculty, staff, and students should keep the original copy of their vaccination in a safe place and retain a photo of it on their phone or make a photocopy.

We have much to look forward to, and we are excited about the prospect of returning to life at the Institute in many of the ways we all miss, while continuing to keep our community safe. We thank you for your patience and collaboration as we work through this transition together. And as always, thank you for protecting yourselves, one another, and our community. We have remained a vibrant learning community because of you.

Sincerely,

Laurie Patton
President

Jeff Dayton-Johnson
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Institute 
 

 

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