Important COVID-19 Updates and Reminders as Winter Term Starts
Dear Middlebury Community,
In this email we will address:
- Start of Winter Term
- Booster Clinic for Employees Friday
- State of the State
- Mandatory Student Testing Today and January 15
- Employee Testing
- Accessing Test Results
- Isolation Period Parameters
- Mask Guidance
- Reimbursement for Antigen Tests
- Campus Status Webpage Updates
Start of Winter Term
Winter Term officially began on Monday, and classes moved to being in-person as of today, with flexibility to continue with remote instruction if circumstances warrant. As of now, Dining Services plans to switch from grab-and-go meals to in-person dining on January 24.
Students have completed their Day 0 arrival testing and will be tested again today and Saturday. We will post the latest test results on Thursday. For information about the student testing results and changes to the COVID-19 Reporting Dashboard, please see the January 10 update.
Booster Clinic for Employees Friday
Eligible employees are strongly encouraged to get a COVID-19 booster as soon as possible and, in accordance with our COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, no later than February 14.
There will be another on-campus booster clinic for employees this Friday, January 14, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. No appointments are required, and the clinic will take place at Kirk Center.
Please remember to bring your current vaccination card (or a picture or photocopy of your card if you do not have the original paper copy) with you so it can be updated.
As a reminder, the state of Vermont also offers COVID-19 boosters at its walk-in clinic at 55 Middle Road in Middlebury. Clinics are offered on the following days and times:
- Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to noon
Employees should upload their booster information in SentryMD as soon as possible. More instructions are available here.
We offered booster shots to students upon arrival and many reported to us they had received them over the winter break. Students who have received their booster shots must upload documentation to the student health portal. Students who are not yet eligible must receive them and upload the required documentation no later than two weeks after they are eligible.
State of the State
At Governor Phil Scott’s weekly press conference on Tuesday, January 11, Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine noted that we are in a period of transition with COVID-19, but he said he expects this will lead to a time when we are better able to live with the virus. Vermont officials anticipate that the numbers of cases in the state, New England, and across the United States will continue to increase through January or early February and then start to decline. For now cases in Vermont remain high–they rose about 70 percent over the last seven days and about 245 percent over the last 14 days.
To help prevent the spread of the virus, the state is making available 250,000 free test kits beginning today. Each household may sign up online for up to two kits and each kit includes two tests.
Although case numbers are still rising in Vermont and elsewhere in the United States, the state still has some of the highest vaccination rates in the nation with more than 50 percent of residents age 18 or older fully vaccinated and boosted, and about 48 percent of children age 5 to 11 fully vaccinated. During the past week, boosters have also become available for 12 to 16 year olds. Health officials stressed the importance of helping children to get vaccinated–and boosted if they are eligible.
Mandatory Student Testing Today and January 15
Required COVID-19 arrival testing continues today and on Saturday, January 15, for all students, except those who have recovered from COVID-19 within the past 90 days and have been given an exemption by Health Services. Students will receive an email from COVID-19 Testing reminding them of this requirement and they must sign up for appointments using the student testing link. Students will be required to be tested twice next week and will again need to sign up for appointments.
On-campus employees who are not experiencing symptoms may sign up for testing on campus on Monday, January 17, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. using the employee testing link. Close contacts of cases within our community will be able to schedule testing appointments on days that we offer asymptomatic testing to students. Employees who are symptomatic must secure testing through their healthcare provider, the Vermont Department of Health, or a local pharmacy. Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms and a positive antigen test are considered positive for COVID-19. A negative antigen test in an individual with symptoms does not rule out COVID-19, and a PCR test should be done to confirm the negative result.
Accessing Test Results
A day or two after employees and students are tested for COVID-19, they will receive an email from noreply@LKNotification.com with the subject “Lab results available from your provider.” This message includes links and instructions for accessing results. If you do not see a message in your inbox or junk folder, please search your mailbox for noreply@LKNotification.com. It is also possible to log into the website of the Broad Institute, our testing provider, to see test results.
Students or employees who experience difficulties can reset their password or contact Broad Customer Support directly Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. via email at email@example.com or by calling 617-714-7250.
Any students or employees who have been exposed, are experiencing symptoms, or have tested positive should follow these instructions.
Isolation Period Parameters
At this time, Middlebury requires a 10-day isolation period for those who test positive for COVID-19. We are aware of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Vermont Department of Health guidance which differs from this. Our plan is to move to a five-day isolation policy as soon as possible. This will depend on supply of antigen tests and other factors. We will provide more information as it becomes available.
We have received a number of questions about face coverings with the emergence of the Omicron variant. Face coverings still are required indoors on campus and outdoors in crowded spaces where distance cannot be maintained. Employees and students should refer to CDC guidance on well-fitting masks as well as this additional guidance.
Reimbursement for Antigen Tests
There are new federal and state rules regarding reimbursement for antigen tests that insurance plans are currently putting in place. Human Resources advises all employees who are enrolled in Middlebury’s health insurance plan with Cigna to save receipts for antigen tests that they buy for themselves or for their dependents if their dependents are also on the plan. As soon as more information is available about the process for reimbursement, Human Resources will provide it.
Campus Status Webpage Updates
The Campus Status webpage continues to offer the most up-to-date information about the College’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. More detailed information is in the Campus Guide. Should you need additional information, you may send general questions to COVIDInfo@middlebury.edu.
Thanks once again for all your efforts to support the health of our community.
Vice President for Student Affairs
Chief Health Officer and College Physician