New COVID-19 Testing Program and Campus Guide Updates
Dear Faculty and Staff,
We write at the start of the fall semester and the first day of classes to share some updates about our COVID-19 protocols and to announce a new PCR testing program at Middlebury College as well as a change to our COVID-19 leave policy. We also have updated the Campus Guide and the Campus Status webpage, and we encourage you to check back periodically for the latest information.
More information about our fall approach is available in the guide and in the Fall Semester Prearrival Planning message sent on Aug. 11. Below you will find information for both employees and students. We shared similar information with students on Friday and are including that information here so our entire community has an understanding of our COVID-19-related procedures.
In this email we will address the following topics:
- New Self-Administered PCR Testing Program on Campus
- Campus Guide for Fall 2022
- Mask Optional/Mask Friendly Campus
- Vaccination Policy
- Instructions for Those Who Have Symptoms, Were Exposed or Tested Positive
- Isolation and In-room Recovery, or Recovery Off-Campus
- COVID-19 Leave Policy
- COVID-19 Booster Clinics in Vermont
- Flu and COVID-19 Booster Clinics on Campus
- Staying Informed
New Self-Administered PCR Testing Program on Campus
This fall, in addition to providing antigen test kits for employees and students on campus, we are launching a self-administered PCR testing program in partnership with Color Health. Self-administered PCR testing kits will be available at the Davis Family Library during regular business hours. You can find more information and instructions on the COVID-19 Testing page.
Employees and students must drop off their samples the same day they take the test at Centeno House, patio level, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. A courier will pick up the samples each afternoon, Monday through Friday, and bring them to the Broad Institute for processing.
Antigen test kits will continue to be available at the dining hall check-in stations, the Davis Family Library, and at Human Resources in the Marble Works. Please note the state of Vermont, pharmacies and Porter Medical Center no longer offer regular PCR testing in Middlebury. The U.S. government also suspended its free at-home testing kit distribution program as of September 2. Employees covered by the Cigna health plan can find more information about coverage for COVID-19 testing kits on the Cigna website.
Campus Guide for Fall 2022
In accordance with new CDC and Vermont Department of Health guidance, we have updated the Campus Guide for the fall semester with all of the information you will need about our COVID-19 protocols. We will continue to update the guide, our policies, and procedures as conditions warrant. You can find a summary on the Campus Status page.
Following are some highlights from the Guide:
Mask Optional/Mask Friendly Campus
We continue to operate as a mask optional/mask-friendly campus. Anyone who chooses to wear a mask even when not required is encouraged to do so. Masks are still required in certain spaces, such as the Center for Health and Wellness, in various departments, and in classrooms, as specified by faculty and department heads. Most departments display signs indicating whether masks are required. Individuals also are required to wear masks when they are around others when symptomatic, during isolation for COVID-19 or during the 10-day recovery period.
Our vaccination policy remains in effect. All employees and students must be up to date with their primary series and a booster shot when eligible. We encourage individuals to follow CDC guidance and the advice of their healthcare provider for securing additional boosters when eligible.
Instructions for Those Who Have Symptoms, Were Exposed, or Tested Positive
Per new CDC guidance, we have updated our instructions for those who have symptoms of and those who were exposed to COVID-19. The instructions contain information about testing and quarantine (stay home when sick) guidance in accordance with CDC guidelines. Individuals who test positive with an antigen, PCR or LAMP test must follow the applicable instructions for students or employees, including reporting their positive results to Middlebury.
Students who need help managing their symptoms should contact Health Services during business hours or contact TimelyCare 24/7. Employees who test positive and need further guidance should contact their healthcare provider. Those who don’t have a healthcare provider should call 211 to connect to care or contact the nearest federally qualified health center or one of Vermont’s Free & Referral Clinics.
Isolation and In-Room Recovery, or Recovery Off-Campus
Isolation is for people who, regardless of vaccination status, test positive for COVID-19 or are diagnosed with COVID-19 and need to be separated from others to avoid infecting them. Students should expect to recover in their rooms. This could include recovery with roommates who have not tested positive for COVID-19, with the assumption that, given the high transmissibility of COVID-19, these individuals already are close contacts who have been exposed. Students may also have the option of recovering at home or elsewhere off campus if it is safe to do so.
Meals will be provided at the dining halls by grab-and-go rather than delivery for those in isolation due to COVID-19. Students who feel well enough to do so should contact their faculty members to develop a plan for participating in coursework and other activities virtually, if those options are available. Students recovering from COVID-19 in their rooms are not permitted to have visitors.
During the recovery period, students remaining on campus (or other locations where housing is provided by the College, if applicable) must stay in their assigned room and may not leave except to use the bathroom or pick up a meal. They must wear well-fitted, high quality masks when leaving their rooms to pick up a meal or to use the bathroom. Students living off campus must follow the same protocols and isolate in their private residences.
COVID-19 Leave Policy
As of September 30, 2022 we will discontinue our supplemental COVID-19 paid leave for individuals who are unable to work during isolation or recovery periods. Absences or leaves will follow Middlebury’s normal processes for Combined Time Off (CTO), Sick Leave Reserve (SLR), Vermont Earned Sick Time (VEST), Family and Medical Leaves of Absence (FMLA), Short-Term Disability (STD), personal leaves of absence, and worker’s compensation. In addition, the Medical Leave Assistance Fund (MLAF) remains available to support individuals at times of unplanned illnesses after the exhaustion of CTO or SLR.
COVID-19 Booster Clinics in Vermont
The new bivalent COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are now available in Vermont, and a list of community clinics are posted on the Vermont Department of Health website. Middlebury Regional EMS intends to host walk-in clinics Tuesday through Friday from 9. a.m. to 4 p.m. through September at their headquarters, 55 Collins Avenue, next to Porter Medical Center. They also will run a special clinic on Saturday, September 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Beginning next week, Addison County Home Health & Hospice will be offering the new boosters at 254 Ethan Allen Hwy, New Haven, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Individuals are encouraged to speak with their healthcare provider about whether this booster is recommended for them.
Flu and COVID-19 Booster Clinics on Campus
We will offer several flu and COVID-19 booster clinics for employees in partnership with Addison County Home Health and Hospice. Sign up information will be available in early October.
- Tuesday, October 18: 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Mitchell Green
- Thursday, October 20: noon to 3 p.m., Abernethy Room, Axinn Center
- Monday, October 24: 10 a.m to 1 p.m., McCardell Bicentennial Hall, Great Hall
- Wednesday, October 26: 10 am to 1:30 p.m., Abernethy Room, Axinn Center
Vaccine clinics for students will be announced later this fall.
We encourage you to become familiar with these protocols and to check back regularly for updates on the Campus Status page. Should you have additional questions, please email COVIDInfo@middlebury.edu.
Thank you, and best of luck for the start of the new semester.
Chief Health Officer and College Physician
Vice President for Student Life
Vice President for Human Resources and Chief People Officer