Why is an evacuation necessary during a pandemic?
The College has concluded that the safest response during a pandemic, requiring physical distancing to reduce the risk of illness transmission, would be to close the College – ideally before the illness strikes Middlebury. Unlike short term closures that occur during scheduled breaks, a pandemic will warrant a complete closure and all students will be required to vacate the campus until it is deemed safe to return. The college campus environment does not adequately provide the physical distancing necessary to prevent the rapid transmission of illness. Staying on a residential campus with others might actually increase the likelihood of infection.
How does an evacuation work for those living on campus?
During an evacuation, students must implement their Personal Evacuation Plan. If they can not implement their plan, they must quickly create and implement another plan. Because the availability of resources can never be assured in a crisis, individuals must plan for their own transportation and housing needs. Once the College closes, students will not have access to their dorm or any services. Because the evacuation will be rapid, students will be able to leave non-essential personal belongings in their rooms and all dorms will be closed and locked.
What role do students’ families have?
Students are responsible for communicating their plan and present location to their families. The College will communicate the overall status of the evacuation via a dedicated website and, where appropriate, a telephone voice-messaging system. Families should anticipate that the College will not be able to communicate the location or health status of their student.
In an extended campus closure, will students continue to work toward their degrees?
The College President and designated Deans will determine the best method of continuing academic work and completing degrees during closure following an evacuation.
Will College staff members continue their work during the evacuation?
Reporting to campus for work may be temporarily suspended for some employees. The President and the Director of Human Resources will determine staffing and benefits policies, and notify faculty and staff by a dedicated web page and mail when possible.