Dear Middlebury Community,
We are writing with some updates about end-of-semester protocols, Commencement, and the transition to summer programs.
Following the release of new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for fully vaccinated people and the announcement of Step 3 of the Vermont Forward plan late last week, we received many questions about how the new advice affects Middlebury. First and foremost, we would like to clarify that Middlebury College does not plan major changes to operations or campus protocols for the remainder of the academic year in light of these developments.
We thought it would be helpful to explain the reasons for staying the course to provide a better understanding to our entire community. The primary reasons we are staying the course are as follows:
- Middlebury College, like all higher education institutions in Vermont, is subject to the state’s College Restart Plan as well as Vermont Occupational Health and Safety Administration guidelines for faculty and staff, rather than the universal guidance in place for Vemonters more generally.
- We continue to be encouraged by the high number of people being vaccinated in Vermont, but we do not yet have a full picture of how many students, faculty, and staff are vaccinated.
- We do know that 768 students, or 39 percent of in-person learners, have provided COVID-19 vaccination verification to the College. Until we have more data, we must assume that we have many unvaccinated students on campus at this time.
- All students who plan to be on campus in the fall must upload their vaccination verification to the student health portal as soon as possible, and in all cases before students return to campus. Students on leave or studying remotely are strongly encouraged to upload their vaccine information so that the College will have that information when the student returns to campus.
- Many students are preparing to travel to different states and countries, and we want to help them minimize the risk of transmission and have a Safe Departure from Campus. As a reminder, we will be offering optional COVID-19 testing and travel-required testing for students this week and next week. Students must make an appointment via go/covidtesting/.
Commencement Day Reminders
Our goal remains providing the best possible Commencement experience for our seniors and guests, while keeping our entire community safe. Following are a few important reminders and updates about the in-person ceremony, slated for 2-4 p.m. Saturday, May 29:
- Tickets will be distributed to students via a process outlined on the commencement ticketing webpage. Graduating students and their in-person guests will be assigned to one of six venues across campus.
- The main program and the individual ceremonies will be broadcast live so that those watching remotely may watch in real time. Please be sure to check the Commencement website for the most up-to-date information and schedules.
- Masks will be required for all attendees, regardless of vaccination status, but guests may remove face coverings once seated outdoors in the physically-distanced venue. Face coverings must be worn when the ceremony has concluded and while guests are departing from campus.
Transition to Summer Programs
The College will be in a period of transition after Commencement as we prepare to launch our summer programs and welcome a new group of students, faculty, and staff to the Vermont campus in mid-June. We will share more information about arrival procedures for summer programs as soon as it becomes available. Following are some updates and reminders:
- Language School students and faculty will be coming to campus from locations throughout the United States and the world, where conditions are different.
- The CDC currently requires that all international air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, do the following:
- Provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result no more than three days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months before boarding a flight to the United States.
- Get tested with a viral test within five days after travel. Middlebury will conduct the post-arrival testing for adults.
- New revisions to the Vermont College Restart Guide require all faculty, staff, and students returning to campus who are not fully vaccinated to provide proof of either of the following:
- A negative COVID-19 PCR test result that was taken within three days of arrival on campus.
- A positive COVID-19 PCR test result within 90 days prior to arrival.
This is in addition to arrival testing that will be required for individuals who are not fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated means that two weeks have passed since your final dose of the vaccine.
- Vaccinations are required for all faculty, staff, and students living or working on campus this summer. Individuals unable to arrive fully vaccinated should contact Molly Baker at the Language Schools for guidance.
- We will conduct arrival testing for all unvaccinated students and employees who will be on campus this summer. Once we complete the arrival period, we expect that we will be able to loosen many restrictions and resume many of the activities that define summer programs. These decisions will be consistent with applicable state of Vermont requirements.
Looking Ahead to the Fall
As we announced last week, we fully expect that we will return to normal operations in the fall and look forward to that time. We will, of course, continue to closely follow any developments of the pandemic and make necessary adjustments.
We will continue to update you about fall operations and share more information in coming weeks about a new vaccination verification system and the return to more in-person work (in mid-August for most). Students: If you have questions, please feel free to join us for our final open office hours of the year on Friday, May 21, from noon to 1 p.m.
Thank you for your attention to these updates. Please feel free to reach out to COVIDInfo@middlebury.edu with any questions.
Chief Health Officer and College Physician
Dean of Students
Director of Environmental Health and Safety