Dear Middlebury Community,

This morning we received confirmation of four additional positive cases of COVID-19 on our campus—including three students and one employee—for a total of eight active cases. This news was somewhat expected, with the higher prevalence of COVID-19 in Vermont. It also is a reminder of the importance of taking extra precautions to prevent transmission and spread of the virus, particularly as we approach the Thanksgiving break.

Middlebury’s Center for Health and Wellness and Human Resources department are conducting contact tracing, and close contacts will be notified if quarantine and/or testing is required. This information will be updated on the COVID-19 reporting dashboard later today, and any additional positive results will be reflected there.

Please keep in mind that simply being in the same room with another individual does not necessarily mean you have been in close contact. Any individuals who are concerned about the possibility of exposure or transmission to others do, however, have the option of being tested. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Vermont Department of Health recommend testing five to seven days after any exposure to COVID-19 for fully vaccinated, asymptomatic individuals. Unvaccinated, asymptomatic individuals who are close contacts must quarantine for 14 days or until they receive negative Day 0 and Day 7 PCR test results. 

COVID-19 Prevalence in Vermont

As we shared earlier this week, Vermont is experiencing a higher prevalence of COVID-19 than at previous times in the pandemic. This morning, the state reported 461 new cases, including 13 in Addison County. Officials said they expect case numbers to continue to be high for the foreseeable future and have urged Vermonters to be extra vigilant about holiday travel and gatherings. They stressed that vaccinations, indoor mask use, and avoiding crowds and large gatherings are the best mitigation measures available to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Universal Booster Program 

Governor Phil Scott this week implemented a Universal Booster Program for COVID-19 vaccinations and is strongly encouraging every Vermonter over the age of 18 to get a booster. Appointments are available through the state, pharmacies, and individual healthcare providers. More information is available on the Vermont Department of Health website.

Safe Departure from Campus

There are many steps we can take to minimize exposure before seeing loved ones or departing campus, in addition to the required protocols on campus. Avoiding exposure is the best way to prevent disruption to travel plans or other activities on campus.

Following are some important guidelines:

  • Wear face coverings when around others (even those you live with). 
  • Avoid locations where physical distancing is difficult to maintain or where face coverings are not worn (for example, when eating or drinking). 
  • Utilize takeout dining options and limit indoor dining with others. If you eat with others, choose outdoor locations or ensure strict physical distancing is maintained. Try to limit the time you are indoors with others while face coverings are removed.
  • Use good hand hygiene. 

All members of the community are encouraged to review the Safe Departure from Campus website, which includes a checklist, information about our COVID-19 testing for students, instructions for those traveling to locations with special requirements, and advice for enjoying time together. Please also review our recent announcement regarding requirements for students returning to campus after Thanksgiving break.

Employee Testing Resources

Faculty and staff may sign up for COVID-19 testing appointments through the state Department of Health, their healthcare provider, or local pharmacies. More information is available in a previous update

Asymptomatic Testing for Students

COVID-19 testing appointments for asymptomatic students are still available on Monday, November 22, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Virtue Field House. Advanced sign-up for testing is required. It typically takes up to 48 hours for results to be received.

We will also offer testing on the following days after break:

  • Monday, November 29, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 30, from noon to 3 p.m.

Students must sign up in advance by using this link to book a testing appointment. Appointments may be scheduled 10 days in advance of the testing date. 

Symptomatic Testing for Students

Following are instructions for student testing:

  • Fully vaccinated students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate and schedule a COVID-19 test at Health Services in their Student Health Portal. In the health portal, go to the drop-down menu in the top right to select an appointment for “symptomatic” testing. 
  • Fully vaccinated students experiencing symptoms after business hours must quarantine in their rooms, contact MiddTelehealth, and then schedule a COVID-19 test at Health Services in their Student Health Portal. Call Health Services on the next business day at 802-443-3290 if you are unable to schedule symptomatic testing.
  • Unvaccinated students experiencing symptoms must contact Health Services at 802-443-3290, if during business hours, or the Department of Public Safety at 802-443-5133, if after hours, so that a quarantine plan can be made. You must also schedule a COVID-19 test at Health Services per the instructions above. 
  • Any student who develops COVID-19 symptoms during the upcoming break is asked to delay their return to campus and self-isolate at their location until they have a negative PCR test from a testing site near them. Additional information about what to do in the event of a COVID-19 illness or exposure during the Thanksgiving break is available here.

As always, you can find the latest information on the Campus Status webpage and the COVID-19 reporting dashboard. We will continue to provide timely updates via email as needed. Previous announcements are posted on the College website.

Sincerely,

Mark Peluso
Chief Health Officer and College Physician

Smita Ruzicka
Vice President for Student Affairs