| by Baishakhi Taylor

Students

 

Dear Students,

I write with an update and near-term guidance. Living day-to-day with unfolding news reports about COVID-19 (formally known as novel coronavirus) has been difficult and unsettling. It’s been top-of-mind for all of us. Addressing the many health, welfare, and logistical issues around the spread of the virus is of utmost concern for Middlebury’s administration and is our number-one priority.

President Patton and members of the senior team have been in hourly contact with local and state health officials and have been meeting throughout the days (and nights) with Middlebury staff around the world to keep abreast of breaking notices from the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, and U.S. State Department. We’ve also been communicating regularly with leaders and practitioners at our peer institutions to discuss issues we have in common to get insight into what’s been most effective in addressing them.

Our focus has been twofold: to keep aware of what’s transpiring in the moment so we can address acute situations as they arise, and projecting what the near- and longer-term future might look like so we can develop plans for what could potentially occur.

We’ve also been meeting with you to better understand how you’re feeling and what you’re most concerned about. I’d like to address some of those concerns now.

Spring Break Travel

Make Backup Plans
At this time, Middlebury isn’t cancelling any trips planned for spring break by College groups, including teams, clubs, and programs. However, it’s possible this could change at any time because the situation is so fluid. We advise you to please make backup plans for spring break in case we have to cancel trips. If you’re buying plane tickets, seriously consider purchasing travel insurance, too.

Registration Required to Stay on Campus
Students are permitted to stay on campus during spring break but you must register online with Student Housing by 12 p.m. noon, Friday, March 13. Please note: This is a new requirement. Residence halls and Proctor Dining Hall will remain open.

Self-Isolation Policy
As you make plans for spring break, it’s important to keep in mind these Middlebury College travel policies:

  • Middlebury will not support any student travel to countries with a Level 3 or Level 4 Travel Advisory (at this time, China, Iran, South Korea, Italy), as well as Japan. Personal travel to these countries is strongly discouraged. If you choose to travel to these locations you may be subject to U.S. restrictions, including quarantine or isolation.
  • If you travel to these countries you’ll be required to self-isolate for 14 days before you return to campus.
  • If you reside during spring break with an individual who has traveled to or from one of the designated countries, you must also observe the 14-day self-isolation before you return to campus.
  • All students who need self-isolation after traveling for spring break for any reason must complete your isolation at home before you return to campus. Do not plan on completing your self-isolation at Middlebury.

We strongly advise that you consult CDC travel advisories because the list of CDC Level 3 and 4 countries may expand at any time.

If You Get Sick

  • If you’re ill, do not return to campus until you’re better. If you’re unable to return to campus, please notify your dean.
  • Once you return, if you become sick, you must advise your dean of your condition and call the Parton nursing line (802-443-3290) to arrange an assessment. Do not attend class. Do not go to the dining halls, practices, or meetings until you’re cleared by the health center. Students who are ill may be asked to move to another room. We’ll work with those students to get meals to them as needed.
  • If you have health issues that put you at greater risk for coronavirus, please consult with staff at Parton Health Center.

Stay Healthy and Informed

  • Check your email regularly for updates from Middlebury, especially during spring break.

Expect to Hear About More Testing

On March 4 the Centers for Disease Control announced that testing for the coronavirus will become more common. As the availability of diagnostic testing for coronavirus has increased, the CDC has expanded the criteria to a wider group of symptomatic patients.

At this time there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Vermont.

We’re working diligently to prepare at all levels for the possible arrival of the coronavirus at Middlebury. This includes communications with faculty so academic instruction can continue—through digital and remote instruction—even if students and faculty cannot meet in the classroom.

You know this already, but it bears repeating: This is a day-to-day reality for all of us. We understand how stressful this is, and we’re here to support you and your families in every way we can. We’ll continue to meet with you and to provide regular updates on the latest developments.

Sincerely,

Baishakhi Taylor
Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of the College