Testing is an important component of our multilayered strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on campus. Middlebury has implemented a COVID-19 testing program in partnership with the Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Broad Institute. The testing program utilizes a COVID-19 viral test using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method, which is characterized by rapid detection, high sensitivity, and specificity.

Collection of the sample is self-administered and involves placing a swab within the lower part of the nasal passages while being instructed by a medical observer. This type of sampling (anterior nasal swab) is much more comfortable than a nasopharyngeal swab, which is how most samples were collected in the first few months of the pandemic. This video of the student arrival testing center can help you understand the process. You can also take a video tour inside the Broad Institute, which handles our testing.

Results are available approximately 36 hours after the test is administered. Students, faculty, or staff who are tested on campus will be informed as follows:

  • If the test result is negative, individuals will receive an email from CareEvolve@LKNotification.com with the subject “Lab results available from your provider—Confirm Registration” with instructions for how to access your results. Individuals expecting a result should always check their email spam or junk mail folders.
  • If the test result is positive, Health Services will contact the individual directly to notify them of the positive result and provide instructions. 
  • If the test result comes back as “insufficient sample,” Health Services will contact the individual to inform them that they need to be retested. An insufficient sample is not an indicator that the test result might be positive; it simply means that another sample is needed.

Students will be required to give permission to Health Services to disclose the results of their tests and their compliance with the testing procedures—but no other health information—to public health authorities and relevant Middlebury offices. Except as otherwise permitted or required by law, Middlebury will not disclose a student’s COVID-19 test result to their family, emergency contacts, or anyone else except to facilitate contact tracing, treatment, or infection control on campus, or for other public health purposes. Whenever possible, Middlebury will use test results without names or identifiers.

Middlebury’s COVID-19 testing program will be evaluated and adjusted as additional information becomes available. We will take into consideration the latest guidance from the Vermont Department of Health and the CDC Testing, Screening, and Outbreak Response for Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) among other factors.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, contact tracing and isolation procedures will be activated. Students who test positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to protect their privacy and carefully consider with whom they disclose this information. Health Services must be notified; however they will work with the Department of Health to provide confidential contact tracing. Contact tracers will notify those who were possibly exposed without identifying who they were exposed to in order to protect privacy. Deans and Counseling Services can provide confidential support to students in quarantine and isolation. Students may choose to share this information with individuals who may be able to support them during their isolation period and subsequent recovery. Students are also free to authorize Middlebury to share such information on their behalf for public health and student support purposes.

Arrival Testing

Upon returning to campus, students will be tested immediately, on Day 0, and again on Day 7. The student arrival web page describes arrival day procedures.

COVID-19 testing is not currently required for faculty or staff before working on campus. However, individuals must comply with current Vermont requirements, including travel, gathering, and quarantine requirements, in order to return to campus. These requirements change regularly, so consult the Vermont Department of Health web page to stay up-to-date with the requirements.

Symptom-Based Testing

When a student has symptoms that indicate a COVID-19 test should be performed, a viral test will be administered through Health Services, and the student will receive instructions to self-isolate until results are known. If a student receives a positive test result, Health Services will contact the student directly to notify them of the positive result and provide support and instructions for relocating to specific isolation housing.

If a faculty or staff member has symptoms that could be COVID-19, they should remain at home and contact their healthcare provider for guidance. If the healthcare provider recommends the employee get tested for COVID-19, the healthcare provider will order a test and provide information on where to receive the test. The employee must remain home until test results are received and they are cleared by their healthcare provider. If the healthcare provider does not recommend a test, the employee should follow their guidance as to when they may safely return to work.

If a faculty or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they should consult with their healthcare provider and isolate in accordance with state of Vermont and CDC guidance. The Vermont Department of Health will be notified and contact tracing will commence. They may not return to work on campus until they are cleared by the Vermont Department of Health and their healthcare provider.

Exposure-Related Testing

If a faculty member, staff member, or student is identified as a close contact of a positive case through contact tracing, the Vermont Department of Health will determine the requirements for quarantining and monitoring for symptoms. Individuals identified as a close contact by the Vermont Department of Health contact tracing team should expect to quarantine for 14 days, or until they receive a Day 7 test result that is negative. This process is subject to change according to any CDC or health department procedure changes. Students will either quarantine in their rooms, or in designated quarantine housing, as advised by Health Services. Students in quarantine will be supported by health, counseling, and residential life staff.

Employees must quarantine at home following all Vermont Department of Health requirements.

Targeted Dynamic Testing

COVID-19 tests will be administered to asymptomatic students, faculty members, and staff members throughout the 2020–21 academic year as part of Middlebury’s dynamic testing program.

Decisions about how much dynamic testing is conducted—including how often and how many employees and students are tested—will be informed by the health conditions of Addison County and Vermont, as well as by campus health conditions.

During the spring semester, dynamic testing will be scheduled by appointment. Individuals selected for testing will receive an email from COVIDTesting@middlebury.edu or will be notified by their supervisor. Scheduling information and instructions for testing will be provided. Participation in targeted dynamic testing is mandatory, and College community members who fail to participate when directed to do so will be referred to the appropriate office or authority for a response. 

Targeted Dynamic Testing Categories

The frequency that an individual is tested will vary based on which targeted dynamic testing category they are in, as well as on local health conditions and the campus situation. 

Peripheral Contacts
A peripheral contact is someone who has interacted with an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 but has not been identified by the Vermont Department of Health as a close contact through contact tracing. Middlebury will identify peripheral contacts from positive cases on campus and prioritize testing of peripheral contacts through the dynamic testing program.

Examples of peripheral contacts include classmates and faculty from an in-person class, hallmates, suitemates, housemates, teammates, coaches, athletic trainers, and/or coworkers of someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

Positional Contacts
Individuals may fall into one of the testing categories listed below based on the type of work they perform. An employee’s COVID-19 risk level is based on position and/or job task and may change as an employee performs different tasks, moving from one exposure risk level to another.

Positional Contact 1:

  • Employees conducting high-risk activities, such as performing or being present for aerosol-generating activities (e.g., specimen collection, CPR) or individuals who require close contact with a COVID-19 patient.
  • Examples include Health Services staff in close contact with COVID-19 patients; Public Safety or Student Life staff if responding to an emergency in isolation housing where physical distancing is not possible and close contact with a COVID-19 patient is necessary.

Positional Contact 2:

  • Students who live on campus or in-person learners who live off campus.
  • Employees performing medium-risk activities, such as working in public-facing locations where they have frequent contact with others. This includes working closely with coworkers, or interacting frequently with students in close-contact activities, such as athletics or performing arts or in some research environments.
  • Examples include staff in Health Services, Public Safety, or Sports Medicine; employees working at retail locations or service desks; staff and faculty working closely with coworkers or having frequent interaction with students (such as Dining Services or Facilities Services, or faculty performing close-contact activities such as research activities).

Positional Contact 3:

  • Faculty and staff working on campus while maintaining physical distancing from others and with other control measures in place (face coverings, engineering and administrative controls).
  • Most faculty and staff fall into this category. Control measures have been implemented following Vermont’s mandatory health and safety requirements and College Restart guidelines to reduce exposure risk for in-person work. Examples include employees whose work on campus does not require close contact (within six feet for more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period) with others. 

Positional Contact 4:

  • Students, faculty, and staff who engage only in virtual learning, teaching, or working.
  • Examples include students studying remotely and not living on campus, faculty teaching remotely, and staff who are able to work remotely. Faculty and staff who stop into their offices only to pick up or drop off materials while wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distancing from others would be considered Positional Contact 4.

Frequently Asked Questions: Testing

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No. The targeted dynamic testing program is not available for employees to finish their travel quarantine early. Faculty and staff are strongly advised to avoid nonessential travel in order to maximize the safety of our campus for our students living and learning here. Employees who engage in personal travel must comply with Vermont’s current Vermont Cross-State Travel guidelines including quarantine upon return to Vermont and, if they are not able to work remotely, must use CTO or other leave time. Visit this Vermont Department of Health page for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 testing locations and availability.

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Yes. For information on testing procedures, please refer to this testing fact sheet about what to do if you previously tested positive for COVID-19. Individuals meeting the CDC and VDH criteria will not be required to do Day 0 or Day 7 arrival testing, or targeted dynamic testing, if testing dates fall within 90 days from illness onset or their positive test result. Individuals must continue to follow all health precautions, including wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distance, and practicing good hand hygiene.

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Individuals completing an approved COVID-19 vaccination series will still be expected to participate in targeted dynamic testing. The vaccine should not affect testing or results.

Inside the Broad Institute

Inside the Broad Institute

Ever wonder what happens with all the COVID-19 tests administered at Middlebury? Take a video tour of the Broad Institute in Massachusetts, which processes all of Middlebury’s testing.