Dear Middlebury Community,
We are writing to inform you that the Spring 2021 Campus Guide website, which provides all of the essential information for living, learning, and working at Middlebury in the upcoming semester, is now live.
In this email, we will address:
- Spring Approach and Campus Status Webpage
- Webinars for Students and Faculty and Staff
- COVID-19 Testing and Reporting Dashboard
- Prearrival and Travel Quarantine––and Super Bowl Sunday
- Arrival, Testing, and Quarantine
- COVID-19 Health and Safety Policy
- Health Pledges
- SafeColleges Courses
- Close Contacts and Spending Time Together
- Spring Athletics
- New Outdoor Spaces and Recreation Opportunities
- No Visitor Policy and Campus Quarantine
- Patience and Perseverance
Spring Approach and Campus Status Webpage
The Spring 2021 Campus Guide website, which replaces the Return to Campus Guide published in the fall, includes the updated COVID-19 Health and Safety Policy and the Student and Employee Health Pledges. It also includes information about prearrival quarantine, testing, and a new feature, the Campus Status webpage.
Drawing on lessons learned from the fall and in response to changing conditions and state of Vermont guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made some important changes to our approach for the spring. Rather than progressing through phases with rules and restrictions for specific time periods, we will publish the latest information on a new Campus Status webpage each week––and more frequently when needed. Here you will find requirements and other information for everything from dining to the classroom to study spaces to interactions with close contacts.
This is a lot of information to take in, but we hope that the new design and simplified content will make it easier to stay up-to-date and informed.
Students and employees are responsible for reviewing and complying with the 2021 Spring Campus Guide, the COVID-19 Health and Safety Policy, and the Campus Status webpage. Students and employees must also sign the health pledge that pertains to them.
Webinars for Students and Faculty and Staff
Starting March 5, we will offer weekly virtual office hours for students from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Fridays, with Dean of Students Derek Doucet, Chief Health Officer and College Physician Mark Peluso, and Director of Environmental Health and Safety Jen Kazmierczak. This is a chance for students to ask questions and clarify rules and regulations. Questions may be submitted in advance to COVIDinfo@middlebury.edu.
We will also offer monthly webinars for faculty and staff to ask questions. We will share more information about that when it becomes available.
COVID-19 Testing and Reporting Dashboard
With the higher prevalence of COVID-19 nationwide and worldwide, we expect that we will be conducting more testing this semester. This will start with arrival testing. In addition to Day 0 and Day 7 tests, incoming students will receive a Day 4 test as an extra screening measure. We are prepared to test students twice weekly if needed through our targeted dynamic testing program, based on conditions on campus, in Vermont, and in Addison County.
We have reset the COVID-19 Reporting Dashboard to reflect testing results and conduct outcomes for the winter and spring terms, as well as active cases of COVID-19 on campus. Please note that we do not plan to send individual announcements about targeted dynamic test results after the arrival period––unless we have a significant number of cases, an outbreak, or a public health concern.
Prearrival and Travel Quarantine––and Super Bowl Sunday
Similar to the fall, preparations for the spring semester will begin with prearrival quarantine, a critical element in establishing a low campus transmission rate of COVID-19. The prearrival quarantine period for students returning to campus starts on Sunday, February 7–Super Bowl Sunday–for students arriving on February 21, and on Monday, February 8, for those arriving on February 22.
It is absolutely essential that the entire campus community take precautions on Super Bowl Sunday and avoid gatherings, as this is two weeks out from the return of students and of faculty and staff working on campus. Those who will be working on campus must also plan to complete any travel quarantine before returning to campus.
Please note that faculty, staff, and students are welcome to use Middlebury’s Zoom accounts to host virtual Super Bowl gatherings.
Arrival, Testing, and Quarantine
Students will receive a more detailed email about what their first weeks on campus will look like, including arrival, testing, room quarantine, and campus quarantine procedures. Those traveling to Middlebury from international locations, including U.S. citizens, need to be aware of special quarantine requirements. Those who tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days of their Day 7 test date also need to upload their test results to their health portal as soon as possible.
A few things to note about the arrival testing period:
- All students will remain in room quarantine until they receive Day 0 negative test results.
- Students will receive their first meal at the testing center in Virtue Field House. A bag of snacks, utensils, a couple of face coverings, and some winter weather accessories will be left in each dorm room.
- Dining Halls will remain closed until lunch on February 25, and all students will receive meal delivery until then. Updates on dining operations will be provided via email and the Campus Status webpage.
- Classes will begin remotely on February 24. Those classes that meet in-person will move to the in-person format once arrival testing is complete and campus health conditions allow.
- Once released from room quarantine, students should expect to stay in campus quarantine until otherwise announced, meaning trips to town and Addison County, including Rikert Nordic Center and the Snow Bowl, will not be permitted. Deliveries from businesses in town may still be sent to our pickup location at 75 Shannon Street.
COVID-19 Health and Safety Policy
We have updated our COVID-19 Health and Safety Policy with health and safety-related conduct expectations and disciplinary outcomes for students, faculty, and staff as they relate to the pandemic. The policy and process also address the behavior of students residing off campus in Vermont—regardless of whether they are enrolled to study in person, remotely, or are on leave. This administrative policy will remain in effect until state of Vermont mandates are lifted or if otherwise announced.
All students, faculty, and staff must sign a Middlebury Health Pledge. Faculty and staff must log into SafeColleges, our online training program, using their @middlebury.edu email address to sign the health pledge. Students who are enrolled to study on campus will also sign the health pledge through SafeColleges as a part of a comprehensive online course. Students living in Vermont who are enrolled to study remotely or who are on leave will receive separate instructions on how to sign the health pledge.
Students enrolled to study on campus or remotely will receive access to the student course beginning today, and the course must be completed by February 17. Employees who work on campus will also be asked to complete new training for the spring.
Close Contacts and Spending Time Together
The state of Vermont requires colleges and universities to implement policies that restrict multi-household social gatherings on their campuses. Recognizing the variety of housing and living situations on Vermont college campuses, this guidance allows institutions to define a household as appropriate for their campus environment. At Middlebury, a student’s household is defined as up to six close contacts. The Spring Campus 2021 Guide website and Campus Status webpage will have the most up-to-date information.
There will be many opportunities to spend time with friends and classmates who are not close contacts, as well, including studying together in designated spaces, attending College-organized events, and sharing meals in designated dining spaces within the limits of what the state of Vermont allows.
Please keep in mind that indoor spaces continue to present the greatest challenges to preventing the spread of COVID-19.
As previously announced, the NESCAC presidents have delayed the decision on spring athletics until at least late February, when they will assess whether conditions have improved. We will share any announcement about NESCAC play as soon as we have the information.
New Outdoor Spaces and Recreation Opportunities
With the colder weather of winter and spring, we are making some physical changes to campus to provide more opportunities for outdoor activities and recreation. The additions include:
- Nine tents, including larger heated tents, for approved activities and events.
- Fire pits.
- An outdoor ice rink by McCullough Student Center.
- Groomed trails at the Ralph Myhre Golf Course for cross-country skiing, fat biking and snowshoeing, and equipment available to borrow.
We are making arrangements to provide cold weather clothing to those who need it, and hope our students will take advantage of these offerings. Outdoor Programs has tips on how to keep your head, hands, feet, and body warm during winter weather so you can pack confidently for your return to campus.
No Visitor Policy and Campus Quarantine
Our no visitor policy and travel restrictions remain in effect. Students will remain in campus quarantine until it is announced that travel into town is permitted. Any travel that is allowed likely will be limited to town and eventually Addison County. In addition, portions of the Trail Around Middlebury (TAM) that run through campus will be limited to student use only.
Patience and Perseverance
Living, working, and learning together in a pandemic requires incredible patience and perseverance, and our work together so far has been commendable. Even with the knowledge we gained in the fall and vaccines in distribution, the spring semester will present some new challenges that could mean we need to tighten restrictions throughout the semester in response.
At a time when we all are experiencing pandemic fatigue, it is more important than ever to protect ourselves and one another from contracting or transmitting the virus. All of us––including those who have been vaccinated or who have recovered from COVID-19—must be extra vigilant in the core practices of wearing face coverings, physical distancing, hand washing, avoiding unnecessary travel, and limiting gathering sizes, to help minimize the spread.
Thank you for taking the time to read through these updates and for your continued support. We very much look forward to welcoming our students back to campus.
As always, this and all College announcements will be published on the College Announcements page.
Dean of Students
Chief Health Officer and College Physician
Director of Environmental Health and Safety