We are writing to provide some updates on our plans for reopening our campus this fall. This continuing work is the result of intensive efforts this summer to evaluate how we may resume on-campus activities to the greatest extent possible, as prudently as possible. As we continue to think about what work needs to be done and who needs to be present on campus, we are guided by our plans around the phased return of our students. As we communicated in our June 22 letter, our phased reopening will begin with a campus quarantine period, where students return, are tested, and then stay in quarantine while awaiting their test results. (Detailed FAQs can be found here.) Campus quarantine will be a crucial component of our success in creating the safest living and working environment possible as well our efforts to maintain a low density and “limited-contact environment.”
Student activities at this time will be the most restrictive, and many student-related services will not be available at the outset. We will consider moving to less restrictive phases of operation only after ensuring it is safe to do so.
What can faculty and staff returning to work on campus expect? As we gradually resume on-campus activities, on-site work will be limited to those activities that require a person to be present. Any and all activities that can be accomplished off campus via telework will continue to be done that way, and individuals will be permitted on campus only for the time periods necessary to accomplish required campus activities. Many of us should anticipate continuing to work remotely for some time. However, as we move to less restrictive stages, new opportunities for on-site work may arise.
The process for returning to work on campus will be coordinated through detailed work and exposure control plans for each department or office returning to campus. Therefore, it is imperative that no one return to work on campus until authorized to do so. Departmental managers are currently evaluating their fall needs and determining which functions, if any, must be conducted in person. As managers work through this process, employees will be advised about their on-campus (or off-campus) status and will be given advance notice if they are expected to return to campus to work.
We understand that individual faculty and staff may continue to face stresses arising from the pandemic, such as child-care challenges, underlying health conditions that make them a higher risk for COVID-19, or caring for someone who is ill or at greater risk. To address these situations, we will follow our existing policies and processes including those established under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Combined Time Off (CTO), Sick Leave Reserve (SLR), and the consideration of personal leaves of absence to assist individuals in managing these circumstances. If you have such a concern, please contact the Office of Human Resources.
Faculty and staff returning to on-campus work can also expect new health and safety protocols that will prioritize training, physical distancing, availability of PPE (personal protective equipment) and cloth face masks, hygiene protocols, symptom screening, testing for COVID-19, and contact tracing. In the coming days we will share a “Return to Campus Guide” that contains information about these protocols, and which will apply to all members of our community returning to campus—faculty, staff, and students.
In the meantime, for more information regarding our ongoing efforts to ensure a safe workplace, please visit our updated Working Safely at Middlebury page.
We know that our workplace will be different in the fall, but together, we can provide the academic and residential space to make the Middlebury experience meaningful for our students.
Dean of the Faculty
Vice President for Human Resources