COVID-19 Prevalence and Keeping Our Community Healthy and Safe
Dear Middlebury Community,
We are writing with some updates about the latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic and measures we can take to protect our entire community.
In this email we will address:
- State of the State
- Continued Vigilance in Our Community
- Symptomatic Testing for Students
- Weekly COVID-19 Office Hours
We encourage you to review information and instructions about the following topics in last week’s update:
- COVID-19 Booster Eligibility for All Students, Faculty, and Staff
- New International Travel Guidance
- Limited Test Kits for Asymptomatic Employees
- Health Reminders
State of the State
Governor Phil Scott and state officials announced at their Tuesday press briefing that the number of cases of COVID-19 in Vermont is holding steady, decreasing by 8 percent over the past 14 days but increasing by 12 percent over the previous seven days. Cases in New England continue to decline at a slower rate than in other parts of the United States, with more cases in the northern New England states of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine than in the more southern states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. There were 53 COVID-19 cases in Vermont higher education settings last week, and prevalence on the Middlebury College campus remains relatively low. As of this week, 90.4 percent of eligible Vermonters over age 12 have begun the vaccination process. The governor and his team continued to encourage Vermonters to secure COVID-19 booster shots.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday approved the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. More information about the vaccine for children is available on the Vermont Department of Health website. Appointments can be made at state clinics, local pharmacies, or with children’s healthcare providers.
Continued Vigilance in Our Community
Even with a low prevalence of COVID-19 on campus, it is important that we as a community continue to be vigilant while the prevalence in Vermont and the U.S. remains substantial or high. In addition to vaccination, the most effective mitigation measures we can take are continuing to wear face coverings indoors as required, getting tested for those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and self-isolating until you receive a negative test result.
While it is difficult to predict every situation, a significant outbreak on our campus would likely necessitate additional mitigation measures, including transitioning to grab-and-go meals only, campus quarantine and possibly short-term room quarantine, travel restrictions, required testing, and restricted access to certain facilities. We want to avoid this scenario, so it’s important that we all work together to keep our community healthy and safe.
Maintaining our COVID-19 protocols can have the added benefit of preventing cold and flu illnesses that are circulating on our campus at this time. While many students are getting tested for COVID-19 and receiving negative results, a COVID-19 outbreak could happen at any time. Currently there is just no way to distinguish COVID-19 from a cold or flu illness without testing.
To protect our entire community we ask that all students, faculty, and staff do the following:
- Continue to wear face coverings when required.
- Be kind and respectful when someone reminds you to adjust or wear your face covering.
- Get tested for COVID-19 and self-isolate until test results are back if you have any symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
Symptomatic Testing for Students
Symptomatic testing is readily available for students at Health Services, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students choosing to go to Porter Express Care or an emergency room or other location for after-hours care or testing are still expected to self-isolate after providing a test sample until the results are back. Information on accessing health services, telehealth, Express Care or the Porter Hospital Emergency Room is available at the Center for Health and Wellness website.
Weekly COVID-19 Office Hours
Please join us between 11:30 a.m. and noon EST each Wednesday for weekly COVID-19 office hours. Experts who have been monitoring and managing the COVID-19 pandemic response will be available to answer your questions. Click this Zoom link to join.
This is an opportunity for faculty, staff, and students to learn more about the COVID-19 pandemic, including current guidelines, and the latest developments worldwide and locally.
Thank you for your continued vigilance to keep our community healthy and safe. As always, you can find the latest information on the Campus Status webpage and in the previous announcements.
Chief Health Officer and College Physician
Vice President for Student Affairs