We are writing to inform you that the Middlebury 2020-21 website, which provides detailed descriptions of our phased return to the Vermont campus, is now live. As we prepare to bring our community together again during this unusual time, we continue to monitor conditions across the nation and locally, and we will adjust the website’s content as needed. It is crucial that each and every member of our community be prepared for a very different fall semester and year ahead. This website will be an essential resource.
As I know you are aware, news reports of the past few days and weeks have underscored the significant challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, as cases continue to climb at a rapid pace throughout the United States, affecting people of all ages. While these spikes are particularly prevalent in populous states where restrictions were less stringent or eased more quickly than in Vermont, they are not limited to those areas. As a global community, Middlebury is not immune to these challenges, even on our rural campus in Vermont.
After careful consideration we have made the difficult decision to cancel all study abroad for the fall 2020 semester. This decision applies to the Middlebury Schools Abroad as well as study abroad on externally sponsored programs.
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.”
The NESCAC presidents released a joint statement earlier today announcing that NESCAC competition for 2020 fall sports will be canceled due to ongoing concerns around COVID-19. As a result, there will be no scheduled NESCAC competitions or championships. Individual institutions do, however, have the discretion to organize practices and to consider alternate competitions, dependent on state and local health guidelines.
I write with a brief update before the weekend, following up on the June 22 announcement about Middlebury’s plans for the fall semester. This is the first of the weekly updates we will be sending you throughout the summer to keep you informed of our progress.
I write to share the much-anticipated news of our decision to move forward with reopening for the fall semester. While this fall will look much different than at any time in our history, I am grateful that we will be able to come together again in a way that upholds educational opportunity while maximizing the health and safety of the entire Middlebury community.
Today, Director of Health Services Mark Peluso and I published a column in the Addison County Independent with information and context on our planning and precautions around COVID-19. The column is part of our continuing dialog with all stakeholders in our work to manage the effects of the novel coronavirus, and responds to questions we’ve received from town residents. Of course, the content is relevant to us all.