| by Derek Doucet

Students, Fall 2021

Dear Students,

I hope this finds you settling in well and off to a smooth start to your classes. Campus is bustling! This week’s DOS update will cover essential COVID-19 information on face coverings and testing, fun events from the Student Activities team, a Health and Wellness Education program to help build meaningful connections with your peers, and a job fair.

Face Covering Reminder

We’ve dramatically eased COVID-19-related restrictions relative to last year, but the pandemic remains serious, including in Vermont. Our primary mitigation measures are our vaccination and indoor face covering requirements. The student vaccination rate will soon reach 99 percent, but prevalence of the highly infectious Delta variant means the risk of breakthrough infections remains. For example, our prearrival testing identified 16 positive cases, and we recently confirmed other cases on campus. This is why wearing well-fitting face coverings indoors (with the limited exceptions listed on the Campus Status webpage) is required at this time. When reminded of this requirement by peers, res life staff, or any other member of our community, we are all expected to comply. Repeated or flagrant lack of compliance may be considered a conduct violation and referred to the Office of Community Standards. This is an essential part of taking care of one another. 

COVID-19 Testing Updates

The Campus Status webpage has been updated to reflect new testing information. 

Unvaccinated Individuals

Due to sustained substantial prevalence in Addison County and higher risk of transmission and medical complications for unvaccinated individuals, any student who is not fully vaccinated is now required to have weekly COVID-19 testing. The testing requirement may increase or decrease depending on local conditions and COVID-19 prevalence.

Other Testing Scenarios  

  • Any time you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, immediately contact Health Services at 802-443-3290 to arrange for testing, and remain in room quarantine until instructed otherwise. Ask friends to bring you meals and wear a face covering if you need to use the bathroom, until you receive a negative test result.

  • If you develop symptoms after hours or over the weekend, remain in your room and contact MiddTeleheath for additional advice and care. 

  • If you are unvaccinated, travel is not recommended, but if you must travel, you are expected to follow all CDC travel guidance for unvaccinated individuals. This includes testing three to five days after travel. Contact Health Services at 802-443-3290 or schedule an appointment at the asymptomatic testing center, depending on which option best enables you to comply with CDC guidance.  

Fully vaccinated students without symptoms or known exposure:

While the CDC advises that fully vaccinated people with no COVID-19-like symptoms and no known exposure should be exempted from routine screening testing programs, fully vaccinated people should observe the following protocols:

  • Get tested three to five days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

  • Wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.

  • Avoid high-exposure-risk activities, regardless of vaccination status. Testing is recommended for those who have taken part in activities that put them at higher risk for exposure, such as ​travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or spending time in crowded or poorly-ventilated indoor settings. A limited number of test slots will be available each week for testing due to these or other circumstances.

Fun Events From the Student Activities Office

The Student Activities team, student organizations, and departments have a lot going on in the coming days! Visit go/middpresence for a list of activities and see a full calendar of events at go/events. Here are a few upcoming events to get excited about:

  • Student Involvement Fair: Tuesday, September 21 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on McCullough Lawn. Well-fitting face coverings are required.

  • Join MCAB for your favorite lawn games on Saturday, September 18 on McCullough Lawn from 2 to 5 p.m.

  • Middlebury Outdoor Programs (MOP) is sponsoring a trail workday on the Long Trail, as well as other fun outdoor activities and skills courses. Visit go/ideal for more information and to sign up. 

  • The Climbing Wall is open Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Nelson.

  • Find a sweet (and affordable) new (to you) ride at the Annual Bike Sale on Sunday, September 19 at 10 a.m. at 48 South Street.

Project Connect 

Project Connect is a student-led series meant to introduce you to new people outside of your social circle and help build community and belonging. Here at Midd finding deep connections can sometimes be tricky. In ProjectConnect groups you’ll go beyond small talk and really get to know people. You’ll meet in a group for six weeks and get to know others through fun and meaningful discussion, community projects, and meals. Once you sign up, you’ll be placed in a group with a student facilitator and four to six other students. Groups meet the weeks of September 27 through October 25 for one hour per week in person. Open to on-campus learners of all class years! Sign up at go/projectconnect.

Local Job Fair

Middlebury College, in collaboration with local businesses, will be hosting a Job Fair on Monday, September 27, starting at 4:30 p.m. under the tent on McCullough Lawn. Middlebury businesses will join us on campus to share opportunities for local employment. Please come and explore opportunities to work in our community. 

Enjoy your first week of classes!

Warmly,

Derek Doucet
Dean of Students