Dear Middlebury Community,

We are writing with updates about Fall Break preparations, post-travel testing opportunities for students, office hours for faculty and staff, use of athletic facilities, and opportunities for flu vaccination.

In this email we will address:

  • State of the State
  • Weekly Office Hours
  • Making a Travel Plan
  • Health Guidelines for the Break
  • Testing for Travelers
  • Quarantine Requirement for Unvaccinated Students
  • Post-Break Testing Opportunities for Students
  • Athletic Facilities Open to Faculty and Staff Starting Monday
  • Flu Vaccine Clinics for Faculty and Staff

As we approach Fall Break and many students prepare to leave campus for the long weekend, October 16-19, we encourage you to prepare for a safe and healthy departure, travel to various destinations, and for reuniting with family and friends.

State of the State

While prevalence on campus remains low, other states report a steady number of COVID-19 infections—even as case numbers decline overall nationally. The state of Vermont reported 327 new cases today, including two in Addison County, and on Tuesday reported an unusual 26 percent increase over the previous seven days and an eight percent increase over the last two weeks. Vermont was an outlier among the New England states, which all had declines or held steady during the same time period. The case rate among individuals who are unvaccinated is 3.9 times higher than among those who are vaccinated. And there were just 27 cases among higher education institutions, which collectively have a 95 percent vaccination rate. We are in regular communication with the Vermont Department of Health and continue to watch the situation closely.

Weekly Office Hours 

We will begin offering weekly office hours for faculty and staff, 11:30 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays, starting October 20. This will be an opportunity to ask questions with Middlebury experts managing the pandemic. A Zoom link will be provided in the College calendar once this is scheduled, and we will send a reminder on Monday. 

Virtual Open Office Hours for students will be offered with senior Student Affairs staff starting Thursday, October 14, from noon to 1 p.m. Information will be provided in a separate Student Affairs update.

Making a Travel Plan

To limit the possibility of exposure during the break, we recommend the following for all members of the community: 

  • Know the requirements for the location you are going. Many states or cities require proof of vaccination for indoor dining, bars, museums, and other venues. 
  • If you are traveling on a plane or train, you are required to wear a well-fitting face covering at all times.
  • Minimize risk of exposure before the break to prevent transmission to family and friends you will be visiting. For students: Choose grab-and-go options at the dining halls and avoid large gatherings where people are unmasked. 
  • Keep in mind that a COVID-19 test reflects a single point in time and does not prevent infection or transmission.

Health Guidelines for the Break

While off campus for Fall Break, it’s important to continue to follow all local and federal requirements such as:

  • Wearing face coverings in public spaces indoors. 
  • Practicing good hand hygiene.
  • Spending time outside whenever possible, such as dining outdoors rather than indoors.

If you are not feeling well and/or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, isolate yourself from others, wear a face covering, and get tested. Students may consider returning home or to campus where they can access grab-and-go meals and other resources.

Testing for Travelers

Testing is recommended between Days 3 and 5 after returning from travel for anyone who meets Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria, including the following:

  • Those who traveled internationally, including to Canada (regardless of vaccination status).
  • Vaccinated students without symptoms who have a known exposure, or were in crowded and/or poorly ventilated settings.
  • Unvaccinated individuals including those with approved exemptions. (This is required for Middlebury College students).

Quarantine Requirement for Unvaccinated Students

In addition to testing after travel, unvaccinated students are expected to quarantine in their rooms for seven days after travel, per CDC guidance. Room quarantine means staying in your room except to use the bathroom and pick up grab-and-go meals. The CDC-recommended quarantine is required for both domestic and international travel even if an unvaccinated individual has negative tests on Day 0 and between Days 3 and 5. Unvaccinated students planning to travel for Fall Break and then to quarantine for seven days should plan to communicate their academic needs to their faculty in advance when possible.

Students who have symptoms may delay their return to campus and get a test in the location where they are staying if preferred. Students returning to campus with symptoms should self-isolate and contact Health Services during business hours at 802-443-3290 to schedule a COVID-19 test.

Post-Break Testing Opportunities for Students

We will be offering after-travel testing appointments for asymptomatic students concerned about a possible exposure Monday through Friday, October 18–22. About 200 appointments will be available each day at the following dates and times:

  • October 18–19: noon to 3 p.m.
  • October 20–22: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Anyone who does not feel well upon your return to campus should self-isolate. For students, this means remaining in your room, limiting your interactions with others, wearing a face covering anytime you’re with others, and calling Health Services at 802-443-3290 to schedule symptomatic COVID-19 testing.

Athletic Facilities Open to Faculty and Staff Starting Monday

Starting on Monday, October 18, active employees who are in compliance with COVID-19 vaccination and other policies for the fall semester, will be able to use the athletic facilities except during the peak times of student use. At this time, use of the facilities is by identification card access only and is limited to active employees. Please note that family members and other guests are not permitted.

Faculty and staff using the facilities must follow all COVID-19-related policies including the following:

  • Face coverings must be worn indoors at all times except when showering or swimming in the pool.
  • Pickup games such as soccer or basketball are not permitted.
  • Use is limited to employees only. No guests are permitted including family members.
  • Employees are not permitted to use the athletic facilities between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, due to high use by students.
  • More information is available on the Athletics website
  • Employee hours for the fitness center are as follows:
    • Monday through Friday: 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 
    • Saturday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Sunday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. 
  • Natatorium hours are as follows:
    • Monday through Friday: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    • Saturday and Sunday: Noon to 4 p.m. 
  • Building hours are as follows:
    • Monday through Thursday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
    • Friday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Saturday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Sunday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Flu Vaccine Clinics for Faculty and Staff

Flu vaccine clinics will be offered on both the Vermont and California campuses next week, and shots also are widely available at local pharmacies and doctors’ offices. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death and minimize symptoms. Getting a flu vaccine can also save healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.

For a list of Cigna in-network pharmacies click here. Staying in network for your vaccine will ensure that your vaccine is covered, and that you won’t incur unexpected costs. 

Vermont Campus: Free for all faculty and staff. Due to strict COVID-19 protocols, vaccinations will be by appointment only. Please use the Flu Clinic Appointment Scheduler to reserve your appointment, and bring a completed consent form. Please review the Vaccine Information Sheet and ACHHH Notice of Privacy Practices ahead of time.

Clinics will be offered at the following times and locations:

  • October 19: 7:30 to 10:30 a.m., Abernethy Room, Axinn Hall
  • October 21: noon to 3:30 p.m., Mitchell Green Lounge, third floor, McCullough Student Center
  • October 25: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tormondsen Great Hall, McCardell Bicentennial Hall
  • October 27: 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Abernethy Room, Axinn Hall

More than 1,000 students have already received their flu vaccines this year. Students will be notified in a separate message about upcoming flu vaccine clinics on campus. 

Thank you for your attention to these updates, and safe travels to those leaving campus for Fall Break.

Sincerely,

Mark Peluso
Chief Health Officer and College Physician

Smita Ruzicka
Vice President for Student Affairs