As we prepare for the spring 2021 semester, I write to share some essential information about what students need to do to prepare and what they can expect when they arrive on campus.
This information applies to students who will live on campus, as well as those approved to live off campus who are enrolled as in-person learners. We will send a separate communication to students living in Vermont who are enrolled to study remotely or who are on leave, with important health and safety expectations for all.
Spring 2021 Campus Guide
Understanding what life on campus will be like is an essential part of preparing to return. We will be making a number of changes to protocols in response to experiences in the fall. All students will therefore be required to read the Spring 2021 Campus Guide and COVID Health and Safety Policy, both of which will be available for review in late January and include details about living and learning on campus. Note that by returning to campus, students are affirming that they have read these important documents and agree to abide by the expectations and terms they outline.
14-Day Pre-arrival Quarantine
Observing the pre-arrival quarantine is among the most important ways students can contribute to a healthy semester. All students approved to be on campus for the spring semester, regardless of mode of transportation, must quarantine for 14 days prior to arrival. Per CDC guidance, quarantine means that individuals must stay home, separate themselves from others, wear cloth face coverings, maintain physical distancing if interaction with others is unavoidable, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department. Students may register to arrive on either February 21 or 22 (see below) on a first-come, first-served basis. Pre-arrival quarantine for February 21 arrivals begins on February 7, and for February 22 arrivals on February 8.
Students for whom a pre-arrival quarantine presents exceptional hardship may request exemption by emailing email@example.com at least one week prior to the start date of their pre-arrival quarantine period. Requests for exemption sent less than one week prior to your pre-arrival quarantine start date will be denied and will jeopardize your ability to return to campus. Exemptions will only be granted in cases of truly exceptional and compelling personal circumstances. Under no circumstances will a student be allowed on campus without having completed a 14-day pre-arrival quarantine or having been granted an exemption. Students granted an exemption will be required to do a seven-day room quarantine upon arrival to campus, followed by a Day 7 COVID-19 test. They will be released from room quarantine only after a negative test result is received.
What to Do if You Test Positive for COVID-19 Before Coming to Campus
Individuals with a positive PCR viral test for COVID-19 are not tested again for 90 days following the positive test. The Center for Health and Wellness webpage has information and instructions for students who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past. If you tested positive within the 90 days prior to arrival, you only need to upload your results into your health portal per the webpage instructions. If you tested positive more than 90 days prior to arrival, you will follow the normal arrival testing procedure.
Other Pre-Arrival Requirements
Update Emergency Contacts and Personal Evacuation Plans
Students must log in to BannerWeb to update their emergency contact information and personal evacuation plan, both located in the Personal Information tab. Incoming new students can enter this information via the prearrival checklist process shared by the orientation team.
Students, because they either live in congregate housing or have significant interactions with other students that do, are required to get a flu shot, barring documented medical or religious exemptions. Students without documented exemptions who have not received the 2020 flu vaccine will not be permitted to return to campus. Students who did not receive the flu vaccine from the College during the fall semester must upload documentation that they received the flu vaccination elsewhere (or documentation of a medical or religious exemption) through the Student Health Portal to Health Services prior to their return to campus. Students who have already received a flu vaccination or medical or religious exemption through Health Services are in compliance and do not have to provide further documentation.
Online Training and Student Health Pledge
Before arriving on campus or beginning remote learning, students must complete online training through the SafeColleges platform. Access information will be sent to all students in a separate email. As a part of the training, all students will be required to read and sign the College’s COVID-19 Spring Student Health Pledge, available for review in late January. The pledge represents a shared commitment to maintain a healthy campus and to respectfully hold one another accountable for doing so. Students who have not completed the course prior to arrival will not be permitted on campus.
Spring housing assignment will be displayed in students’ Housing Portal in February. Students should log in and confirm their assignment is correct before coming to campus. Questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Students involved in fall-to-spring room changes and students returning to campus for spring without current room assignments will receive more information about spring housing in mid-January after the College reopens from the winter break. Please note that inquiries received after the College closes on December 23 will be answered after we reopen on January 11.
What to Bring
Once again, we all must be flexible and ready to adjust as needed, so pack light. We urge students to pack no more than they can reasonably depart with if campus evacuation becomes necessary. No more than two to three suitcases of essentials are recommended. Students will be responsible for either taking all belongings with them or arranging and paying for off-campus storage in the event of an evacuation.
Students should plan to bring personal healthcare items, including a sufficient supply of any over-the-counter or prescription medications to last through the campus quarantine period.
Students need to bring personal thermometers with them to campus so they can check their temperatures as a part of the required daily health check.
Belongings in Off-Campus Storage
Students with belongings in off-campus storage facilities should come directly to campus rather than going to their storage facility and will need to wait to retrieve their belongings until after receiving a negative Day 7 test. This is important so that they remain in compliance with Vermont’s arrival quarantine requirements. They should bring all essentials they will need during this period. Students may request approval to access off-campus storage units by emailing email@example.com after receipt of a negative Day 7 test.
Traveling to Campus
Following their 14-day pre-arrival quarantine, students may return to campus only if they are not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, have not been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, and have not tested positive for the virus. Close contact is defined as being within six feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period or having direct physical contact with someone.
Those traveling back to campus must follow strict health and safety precautions, regardless of what mode of travel they use. This means avoiding gatherings in public such as in restaurants, limiting gas stops if driving, and, if overnight travel is required, remaining in their rooms and practicing physical distancing from others, and wearing a face covering at all times, except while eating or engaged in personal grooming. Those who are traveling by plane or using other public transit such as a bus or train, or carpooling, must wear a face covering at all times and maintain physical distancing to the greatest extent possible. All must practice proper hand hygiene.
The Student Government Association is sponsoring bus transportation from Burlington International Airport; Penn Station and White Plains, New York; Ridgewood, New Jersey; Boston; and Hookset, New Hampshire. The buses will allow for physical distancing. Students will need to purchase tickets through the box office, and we will share details in a separate communication.
Arrival Dates and Testing Appointments
Students enrolled to be on campus this spring, whether they will live on or off campus, must book an arrival date and testing appointment on a first come, first served basis. The two approved arrival days are February 21 or 22 between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Note that all incoming new Feb students, all Feb Orientation Leaders, Feb Mentors, and all student ResLife staff are asked to arrive on February 21. We regret that we are unable to allow arrivals outside of these two arrival dates.
Students’ first campus stop will be at Virtue Fieldhouse where they will receive their Day 0 test before proceeding to their residence halls or off-campus residences. Students should plan to arrive no more than 10 minutes prior to their scheduled appointments. Negative test results will be sent to a personal health portal and students will be notified by email when that result is available, generally within 36 hours. Positive and/or indeterminate results (a rare occurrence that does not indicate a higher likelihood of a positive result) are sent to Parton Health Center, which will notify students directly.
All students are expected to arrive on their reserved day and time. Those who, due to unanticipated travel delays, arrive after the testing center has closed on their designated arrival day must inform the COVID-19 testing team, proceed directly to their rooms upon arrival, and quarantine there until the following morning. In the morning, they will report to the testing center by 9 a.m. Those who know in advance that they will be arriving after 8 p.m. on their arrival day must complete this form.
After testing, all students will proceed to their residence halls to move in and begin room quarantine. While Vermont guidance specifies that two visitors may accompany a student on their arrival day, we encourage students to bring only one drop-off guest. If families traveling long distances require two drop-off guests to enable safe driving, one guest should remain in the vehicle while on campus. During the testing process, we ask that families remain with their vehicles. Move-in day guests will not be able to enter the residence halls.
Students who need assistance with move-in due to disability should contact the Disability Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org. Students with temporary mobility concerns should contact Residential Life.
Thank you for taking the time to review these protocols. We are all looking forward to bringing our students back and coming together in meaningful ways inside and outside the classroom. Please do not hesitate to reach out via email at email@example.com you have additional questions.
Dean of Students