Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
This afternoon, Vermont Governor Phil Scott issued an executive order in response to a record number of COVID-19 cases in the state, placing further restrictions on social gatherings, recreational sports, and other group activities, effective at 10 p.m. Saturday, November 14. We have consulted with state officials about how this order affects Middlebury, and are writing to provide clarity.
We are also writing to tell you that, as of this evening, we have two students on campus who are in quarantine due to close contact with an individual outside the College who tested positive for COVID-19.
While there are no other known exposures, this is an important reminder of how quickly conditions can change. Students: Please keep in mind that violations of COVID-19 policies remain in place and could lead to sanctions, including removal from campus for next semester.
Campus quarantine continues with the additional modifications described below.
Governor’s Executive Order
The governor’s order restricts gatherings to only those with members of the same household, limits in-person meetings, recreational sports. It says, in part:
“Multiple Household Social Gatherings Suspended. Attendance at all public and private social, recreational and entertainment gatherings, indoor and outdoor, including large social gatherings incidental to ceremonies, holiday gatherings, parties and celebrations, shall be limited to participation with only members of a single household. For the sake of clarity, nothing in this Order prohibits the gathering of members living in the same residence. Individuals who live alone may gather with members of their immediate family residing in a different household.”
What This Means for Middlebury
As a result, the following restrictions, in addition to campus quarantine, will be in place on campus as of 10 p.m. Saturday:
What is staying the same:
- In-person classes and learning will continue as planned.
- Dining halls will continue to operate as planned, with renewed vigilance on physical distancing and masking.
- Athletics practices, fitness activities, and classes in the performing and studio arts may continue as of now.
- Libraries, study spaces, and fitness centers will remain open.
- Room capacities remain in place.
- Telework and approved work on campus for faculty and staff will remain the same for now.
- Meetings must take place virtually when possible.
- Students who wish to depart campus early may do so.
What is changing
- Social gatherings are limited to people you live with—for students that means those in your dorm room, suite, or apartment.
- Residence hall access will be available only to the building where students live.
- All in-person non-academic activities after Saturday night that are not limited to a single household are canceled or will be held virtually. Amanda Reinhardt will follow up to guide students.
- We regret that this includes the in-person Feb Celebration scheduled for Saturday, November 21, which so many of us have worked so hard to plan. We will hold a virtual celebration for all Febs on Saturday, February 13, 2021.
- Theater, music, and dance activities outside of class will be evaluated case by case.
The governor attributed the recent COVID-19 surge primarily to increased informal social gatherings involving alcohol, both indoors and outdoors, among people of different households. Even with no known cases of COVID-19 on campus, it is more important than ever that we adhere to the health and safety protocols we have practiced so diligently throughout the semester.
Vermont Resident Students
For those spending the winter break off-campus in Vermont and reuniting with families or friends: The order also requires college students returning home from both Vermont colleges and from colleges out of state to quarantine for 14 days after arrival, or seven days followed by a negative test, while practicing strict health and safety protocols, including wearing face coverings and physical distancing even around family members.
We know that this news is difficult to hear. It is especially disappointing because we all have worked so hard to put in place ways that we could spend meaningful time during our final week together. But it is absolutely essential that we all continue to do our part and practice the behaviors that have served us so far. Our goal is to get to the finish line as a healthy, connected community. We appreciate all you have done to protect yourselves and one another and thank you for your continued vigilance.
Chief Health Officer and College Physician
Environmental Health and Safety Officer
Acting Dean of Students