Middlebury is responsible for ensuring that its workplace is safe for staff and faculty—and by extension, the communities of which we are a part.
Our policies and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic are rooted in safety for our faculty, staff, and students. Returning faculty, staff, and student employees to on-campus work will occur in a gradual, measured way. On-campus work will be aligned with the College’s phased approach to mitigate potential risks and protect the safety of our community.
The initial resumption of on-campus activities does not mean a return to normal operations. No unit or department should increase on-campus activity levels beyond the current needs to support critical on-site operations without approval from their vice president or senior leadership member.
Departmental plans are being developed to determine which employees will return to working on campus. Employees who can work from home should expect to continue to do so. Some faculty and staff whose work can only be accomplished on campus will be invited back to modified office space where they can be physically distanced from others. Staff who support campus operations and whose work must be performed on-site will receive area-specific training on new protocols and safe work practices. Any faculty, staff, or student employees who work on campus are required to complete health and safety training and follow an area-specific exposure control plan.
The Return to Work Guide outlines recommended health and safety protocols as the institution begins its gradual resumption of on-campus activities. This guide is intended to apply to all employees while on campus or in Middlebury facilities. We anticipate these guidelines will evolve as the changing severity of the pandemic and our ability to respond to it allow us to move through the phases of our return-to-campus framework, subject to state and local regulations and our own health assessment.
Preparing for a Safe Return to On-Campus Work for Staff and Faculty
As an initial step in planning for the fall, all area managers will conduct a staffing plan to determine which employees will continue working remotely and which will be directed to return for on-site work, even if in a limited capacity.
Guidelines have been created to assist managers in their workforce planning efforts. All employees who can perform the majority of their day-to-day responsibilities remotely should continue to do so. However, as the governor’s orders are modified and Middlebury begins to resume on-campus operations, additional employees may be required to physically report to work given the business needs (other than mere convenience or a desire for increased productivity). Consistent with public health guidelines, most employees should continue to telework; in the limited circumstances of a physical return being necessary, supervisors should use these guidelines in conjunction with the Decision Tree to inform their decision making. Staffing plans require written approval from the area vice president or senior leadership member before any employee returns to work on campus.
Human Resources is available to support, guide, and counsel staff to ensure all are committed to performing their work in a safe, responsible, and supportive environment. Should individual circumstances impact one’s ability to work, contact Human Resources to explore possible pathways.
Protecting At-Risk Faculty and Staff
Some individuals may have a higher risk of severe illness and should carefully consider their plans. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified groups at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (People Who Are at Increased Risk for Severe Illness and Other At-Risk Populations). Please note the CDC revised its guidance on June 25, identifying seven conditions that cause individuals to be at higher risk for severe illness, and also identifying several other conditions, such as asthma and Type 1 diabetes, that might cause increased risk.
Consistent with Middlebury’s ADA policy, employees who have any of the medical conditions identified by the CDC and require reasonable accommodations to perform their job duties should contact Human Resources. Documentation from the individual’s healthcare provider must be submitted.
Creating a Safe Workplace
Once a department is approved to have employees work on campus, a workplace plan must be developed. The plan includes a hazard assessment to determine when, where, and how likely it is that the employees may be exposed to COVID-19 based upon job functions and implementation of exposure control measures to minimize and adjust activities that present greater risk.
Limiting the spread of COVID-19 is essential to protecting the health of our community and maintaining business operations. The Middlebury COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan documents the measures used to protect the health and safety of our employees and comply with mandatory health and safety requirements. The plan should be reviewed by department managers, supervisors, and designated health officers as they identify exposure prevention methods to implement in their areas and complete this checklist.
The COVID-19 Exposure Control Checklist for Vermont Locations is designed to ensure compliance with Middlebury College and Vermont Department of Health (VTDOH) health and safety requirements. The checklist can also serve as a training tool for employees as they return to on-site work.
The COVID-19 Exposure Control Checklist for MIIS Campus is designed to ensure compliance with CDPH and Cal/OSHA health and safety guidelines. This checklist can also serve as a training tool for employees as they return to on-site work.
COVID-19 Safety Requirements
The most important components of our efforts to maintain a healthy community are a shared commitment to complying with all health and safety expectations, and to respectfully hold one another accountable for doing so. All Middlebury faculty, staff, and student employees who are eligible to return to in-person work at any Middlebury location must read the COVID-19 Safety and Return to Work Requirements and complete the mandatory Health Pledge.
Prior to working on-site, all faculty and staff will be assigned mandatory training through SafeColleges. Log in with a Middlebury email address at go.middlebury.edu/safecolleges and take the course COVID-19 Update: Getting Back to Work Safely. The course will take 30 minutes to complete.
Employees must also be trained on the control measures identified in the Exposure Control Checklist and understand all required department/building protocols.
Submit the Work Plan and Exposure Control Checklist
Managers must submit the work plan and a completed COVID-19 Exposure Control Checklist for Vermont locations to Human Resources and the Environmental Health and Safety Office (for the MIIS location, submit to the Vice President’s Office). This is to ensure all steps are in place and that future changes can be communicated to the designated health officer (Vermont locations) and employees in the work area.
Return to a Safe Workplace
As faculty, staff, and student employees return to on-site work, each of us must continually assess what is working and what we can do better. The first priority is the safety of our employees, our families, and our community. Thank you for your support and dedication as we reimagine how to work together safely in the era of COVID-19.
Your Health on Campus
As we plan for a return to residential liberal arts education on our Vermont campus this fall, the health and safety of the Middlebury community is our paramount concern. Until a vaccine or curative treatment is developed, there is no single strategy that will stop the pandemic or make it possible to return to prepandemic life at Middlebury. However, using multiple layers of protection does make it possible to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The Return to Campus Guide describes Middlebury College’s phased approach to opening our campus for staff, students, and faculty, and the multilayered protective protocols we will operate under for fall 2020, if not all of the 2020–2021 academic year. The details in the guide will inform our campus community about health and safety requirements, policy changes, adjustments to academics and campus life, and updates to available services required for safe use of our campus.
Limiting the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 is essential and requires changes to how we live, study, and work together on campus. Our strategy for a successful campus reopening is multilayered, with many control strategies combined simultaneously to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Each of our individual behaviors directly impacts not only our own health but also the health of those around us. These required individual actions protect ourselves and those around us:
- Daily Health Checks
- Face Coverings
- Physical Distancing
- Hand Hygiene
Daily Health Checks
All students, faculty, and staff must complete a daily health check prior to interacting with anyone on the campus, which includes going to class or work, going to a dining hall, or participating in any campus activity. This daily health check requires an individual to verify that he or she has no symptoms of COVID-19 and has not been in close contact with (within six feet of) an individual who is positive for COVID-19.
An online survey to complete the daily health check is found at go.middlebury.edu/healthcheck. Faculty and staff who experience any symptoms that may be associated with COVID-19 or believe they have been in close contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19 should not come to campus. They should contact their supervisor or department manager. If they are at work when symptoms begin, they should leave immediately and contact their healthcare provider.
Face coverings must be worn by all faculty, staff, students, and visitors when on campus in both indoor and outdoor locations with few exceptions, except these for employees:
- Any individual working alone in a private office
- Any individual eating in an appropriate physically distanced location from others
- Any individual exercising alone outdoors
Face coverings should be carried on the person in the event circumstances warrant their use.
Face coverings must completely cover the nose and mouth. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to provide face coverings of their choosing. Middlebury will provide two cloth face coverings to each student and faculty and staff member and will make additional face coverings available for those who cannot provide their own.
The ability to wear face coverings in a variety of settings (indoors and outdoors) and temperatures (hot and cold) and for extended periods of time will be an essential requirement for faculty, staff, and students who will be on campus. Any faculty or staff member who has a disability or medical condition that requires accommodations for a specific type of mask or face covering should consult Human Resources.
One of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is to maintain physical distance. Because the virus mainly spreads among people who are in close contact, and a person can spread the virus before knowing they are sick, it is important to maintain physical distance from others, even if there are no symptoms.
Students, faculty, and staff should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially when entering a new area, after being in a public place, or after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching their face. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, and do not touch any personal items (keys, cell phone, etc.) or eat with unwashed hands.
Mental and Emotional Well-Being
It is recognized that COVID-19 creates stress from fear of becoming ill or loved ones becoming ill, financial insecurity, and the impact on our normal routines, including having to practice physical distancing. Middlebury offers a variety of support resources:
Employee and Family Assistance Program: New Directions is available to offer emotional support during this stressful period. Telephonic or video counseling is available, and you can access this service by calling 800-828-6025 or visiting the EFAP website (New Directions).
Resources for Employees: Middlebury is committed to supporting your overall health and well-being as we deal with the effects of COVID-19. Visit the Resources pages for more information and resources to offer support, manage stress, and enhance your resilience.
Federal and State Agencies
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): https://www.osha.gov/
- Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration (VOSHA): https://labor.vermont.gov/vermont-occupational-safety-and-health-administration-vosh
- Vermont Department of Health (VTDOH): https://www.healthvermont.gov/
- Vermont Agency for Commerce and Community Development (ACCD): https://accd.vermont.gov/
- California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA)
- California Department of Public Health (CDPH)
- California Statewide COVID-19 Information
- Vermont’s Mandatory Guidance for College and University Campus Learning
- VT ACCD COVID-19 Recovery Resource Center
- Update on New Work Safe Additions to the Stay Home, Stay Safe Order
- State Actions
- Monterey County Health Department COVID-19 Information
Cleaning and Disinfecting
Cloth Face Coverings
- VTDOH Guidance
- Monterey County Cloth Face Covering Orders
- CDC Guidance
For more information on Middlebury College’s safety resources, visit go.middlebury.edu/covid19 or contact the Middlebury Environmental Health and Safety Office at 802-443-5726.