Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
We write today to follow up on President Patton’s recent email that mentioned the College’s work to support the community. As part of this effort, the College will provide urgently needed temporary housing for a small number of University of Vermont Health Network/Porter Medical Center employees, maximizing safety for all members of the College community.
The College and Porter have now finalized their agreement. Tomorrow, April 2, the healthy Porter employees will move into Munford House, a residence hall on South Main Street/Route 30. These are clinical employees working with residents of Porter’s Helen Porter Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
By providing housing to these Porter employees now, the College is taking a key proactive step at an important time in the spread of COVID-19. This action will potentially help protect everyone in the greater local community from a future period of widespread transmission of COVID-19. We are acting now when the measures we take can have the greatest overall impact on the health of the general public.
The limited number of medical center staff who will live in Munford House do not require isolation or quarantine. Porter refers to them as the “Working Well.”
The College is helping Porter implement a strategy that is designed to limit well-worker exposure to others because it reduces their chances of becoming infected at home or in the general community and then infecting residents of the Helen Porter Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. This strategy also reduces the probability that workers would infect the general public, their families, and the residents of the center, a situation that has occurred in other areas of the country.
There are currently no known cases of COVID-19 in the facility or among its workforce.
The Porter staff living in Munford are less likely to become sick or transmit the virus because they will also limit their destinations to work and to their housing on campus. The College has offered to provide meals—a precaution that further minimizes their contact with others.
Throughout our meetings with senior leaders at Porter, we have used one constant guideline for all our work: the safety and health of our staff and students. All aspects of our agreement with Porter are based on this priority. Munford House is well removed from the 100 students who remain on campus as are other residence halls that may house additional Porter employees in the future, including Meeker House and Porter House. The College has notified students that the personal belongings they left in these houses have been removed and stored.
We are pleased that we can be responsive to the community and its needs while keeping safety as our primary goal. We will continue to update you regarding our community efforts, including the College’s assistance to Porter. This collaboration would not be possible without the hard work of our staff and we thank them for their support.
EVP for Finance and Administration
Director of Health Services and College Physician
VP for Human Resources and Chief Risk Officer