Contact Tracing

We continue to follow Vermont Department of Health guidelines for contact tracing of students and employees. Should these guidelines change or the volume of cases become too high to expediently perform contact tracing, we would abbreviate or discontinue this practice. In these situations we may ask individuals to provide that information to Human Resources and Health Services or inform their close contacts themselves, which is the current practice in the state of Vermont for low-risk cases.

Currently, if a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19, contact tracing procedures will be initiated. If a student tests positive via a test not administered through College Health Services, they must notify Health Services. (As stated in COVID-19 Testing at Middlebury, we strongly advise against testing outside of Health Services.)  To protect privacy, when contact tracing is performed by College staff, contacts are informed only that they may have been exposed to someone with the infection. They are not told the identity of the person.

Employees, whether they work on campus or remotely, or their managers should report any positive test results through the Employee COVID-19 Reporting Tool. This form will allow Human Resources to quickly provide employees with the latest guidance and limit possible transmission of COVID-19 on campus. Employees should then complete the Contact Tracing Form so that Human Resources can notify close contacts. Employees should also continue to contact their supervisor or manager directly with this information.

Middlebury staff, including counselors, can provide confidential support to students in quarantine, isolation, or other recovery locations. Students may choose to share this information with individuals who can support them during their recovery period. Students are also free to authorize Middlebury to share such information on their behalf for public health and student support purposes.

In order to ensure full compliance with contact tracing, information gathered in the contact tracing process for students is confidential and not shared with the Office of Community Standards or otherwise used in conduct processes.

For information about what to do if you are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, see Instructions for Those Exposed, Symptomatic or Who Have Tested Positive for COVID-19

Contacts of Contacts

Sometimes, individuals who know a person with COVID-19 may wonder if they are at risk for developing the illness, even if Health Services, the College, or the Department of Health does not contact them. Examples include friends of close contacts of the infected person or coworkers of an individual who has a family member at home diagnosed with COVID-19. In most cases these people are considered a contact of a contact and are not considered to be at risk for developing illness. Contacts of contacts are therefore ordinarily not required to test unless they are in direct contact with someone who tests positive. For further information, see Instructions for Those Exposed, Symptomatic or Who Have Tested Positive for COVID-19.

Isolation or In-Room Recovery and Quarantine

Isolation, 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. Given the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, there is a strong probability that separate isolation housing will not be available for all students who test positive for COVID-19. This means that, although we will have isolation housing set aside, we expect that those spaces will be utilized quickly. As such, students who are safely able to do so will likely be required to return home or to another safe place to recover, or to recover in their rooms. This could include recovery with roommates who have not yet tested positive for COVID-19, with the assumption that these individuals already are close contacts who have been exposed.

For students who test positive, mental health support is available while students are recovering through Counseling Services and 24/7 through MiddTelehealth. Medical support is also available through and Health Services and 24/7 through MiddTelehealth. Student Life staff will be available to support students as well. 

Depending on the number of students assigned to isolation housing or in-room recovery, meals may be provided at the dining halls by grab-and-go rather than delivery.  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 or in separate isolation housing are not permitted to have visitors.

During the recovery period, students remaining on campus (including Bread Loaf and other locations where housing is provided by the College) must stay in their assigned isolation room or their residence room, as applicable, and may not leave except to use the bathroom or pick up a meal. They must wear well-fitted face coverings 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 residences. 

In accordance with CDC and Vermont Department of Health guidance, isolation, in-room recovery, or recovery at home or another off-campus location will normally last 5 full days, ending on Day 6 (Day 0 being the date someone took the COVID-19 test that came back positive or when symptoms began, whichever occurs first). However, some individuals may require additional time for recovery, depending on the course of their symptoms. Students and employees must remain in isolation (or in-room recovery or recovery at home, as applicable) until they meet the criteria below:

5 days have passed (Day 6) since their COVID-19 symptoms first appeared (or since they took the test that came back positive for COVID-19 without symptoms), and:

  • They never had symptoms or their symptoms have improved and they feel better.
  • They have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine that reduces fevers.

Students and employees must also meet other criteria in order to return to campus. See Instructions for Students who Test positive for COVID-19, Regardless of Vaccination Status and Instructions for Employees who Test positive for COVID-19, Regardless of Vaccination Status.

Students must inform Isolation and Quarantine Housing staff about their departure from isolation or in-room recovery based on the directions provided in the Day 4 to 5 email. If they do not meet the criteria above and need to remain in isolation or in-room recovery for additional days, they must also send an email to COVIDOps@middlebury.edu to ensure that they have the support and resources they need. See also Instructions for Those Exposed, Symptomatic, or Positive for COVID-19 .

Quarantine

Quarantine is a way for individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 through close contact with an infected individual to limit their contact with others while it is determined whether they have COVID-19.

Students or employees identified through contact tracing who need to quarantine will be contacted by Health Services, Human Resources, or other staff, as applicable. College staff will provide specific instructions to students on where the individual will complete the quarantine period (either in their current room, a residential space designated for quarantine, or off campus). Employees must quarantine off campus.

There are specific quarantine requirements for unvaccinated individuals (including those with medical or religious exemptions) who may have been exposed to COVID-19 through a close contact. Please see the quarantine and testing instructions for unvaccinated students and employees.

Eligible individuals who have not yet received their booster shot and who may have been exposed to COVID-19 through a close contact must quarantine for five days after the close contact exposure and get a PCR test on or after Day 5 following their last exposure. Please see the quarantine and testing instructions for students and employees.

During quarantine, individuals living on campus must remain in their assigned quarantine room and may not leave except to use the bathroom or pick up a meal from the dining hall. They must wear well-fitted face coverings when leaving their rooms to pick up a meal or to use the bathroom. Students should contact their professors to develop a plan for participating in coursework and other activities virtually, if those options are available, until they complete the quarantine period.

Mental health support is available while students are in quarantine through Counseling Services and 24/7 through MiddTelehealth. Medical support is also available through Health Services.

Students who can safely complete exposure-related quarantine or isolation away from Middlebury rather than remain on campus may be required to do so depending on the circumstances. Individuals who wish to return to campus after quarantine may be subject to additional testing and/or quarantine requirements before and upon return.

For detailed additional information information about quarantine requirements, see Instructions for Those Exposed, Symptomatic or Who Have Tested Positive for COVID-19.