Dear UVM Students, Faculty, and Staff,
There have been a number of informational memos sent to students, their families, faculty, staff, and community members over the last several weeks as we prepare for our safe return to campus. In this memo, I am bringing together in one place the most current, critical information for you and providing links to webpages that contain greater detail:
Campus Plan for a Safe Return: The University of Vermont submitted a Safe and Healthy Return to Campus Plan to the Governor on July 7 aligned with the state’s requirements for higher education. Our plan meets, and in many cases exceeds, the requirements set forth by the Governor.
Fall 2020 Return to Campus Website: A comprehensive website has been created to serve as an ongoing resource for information related to the fall 2020 semester, as well as COVID-19 updates.
COVID-19 Information and Service Center: A COVID-19 Information and Service Center has been established to provide a central source for information and support for all questions and issues related to COVID-19. The center will be located in the Davis Center. You can contact the center by e-mail at UVM.Strong@uvm.edu or by calling 802.656.1010.
At-Home Option: To meet the needs of our undergraduate students who were unsure whether an on-campus fall semester was the right choice for them, an at-home semester option was developed. Students can continue to choose this option through August 30. First and second year students who have chosen the at-home option are only released from the fall 2020 on-campus residency requirement if they reside in their permanent residences this fall. Please remember, the intention of the at-home option was to be responsive to the health and safety concerns of students and their families and to de-densify the Burlington community.
Testing Protocol: To support the health and wellbeing of our students and the broader community, we have provided free COVID-19 tests for students to administer at home, before they arrive on campus/in Burlington. The overall testing protocol includes:
- Pre-Arrival Test: Day -5
(five days before arriving on campus
or five days before classes for students already in Burlington) See updated timing for testing of off-campus students in memo dated 8/22/2020, "On-Campus COVID-19 Testing Starts Monday."
- Arrival Test: Day 0
(upon arrival either to move into a residence hall or, for those living off campus,
the first day of classes) See updated timing for Day 0 testing of off-campus students in memo dated 8/22/2020, "On-Campus COVID-19 Testing Starts Monday."
- Week-One Test: Day 7
- Weekly through September 18. At that point, UVMStrong will consider data and advice from our medical/epidemiology advisors and determine the frequency of testing going forward based on an analysis of the data generated by the earlier tests.
Quarantine and Isolation: The Vermont Department of Health has created a useful graphic explaining the difference between quarantine and isolation.
On-Campus Isolation - On-campus beds have been identified in a few of our smaller, standalone residence halls for residential students who may become ill. A care and isolation support process has been developed to ensure students receive medical assistance and necessary support (food, etc.) while in isolation or quarantine.
A memo was issued to all students on August 10, 2020 sharing the Rules and Tips Surrounding Quarantine and Isolation
Contact Tracing: University personnel in the Student Health Center are trained and prepared to participate in contact tracing under the coordination of the Vermont Department of Health.
Green and Gold Promise: The Green and Gold Promise clearly articulates the expectations that UVM has for students to remain compliant with all COVID-19 recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control, the State of Vermont, and the City of Burlington.
Sanctions for Non-Compliance: The Code of Student Conduct outlines policies that potentially relate to violations of the Green and Gold Promise. Sanctions for violations include fines, educational sanctions, parent notification, probation, and suspension.
Daily Health Screening: All members of the UVM community must conduct a daily health check by taking their temperature and assessing symptoms prior to arriving on campus or entering a classroom, dining hall, or participating in any activity on campus. Employees will use a UVM web form to conduct daily screenings. The form will go live on August 12 and daily checks for employees will begin on August 13. Students will download a phone app, CoVerified, to conduct daily screenings.
Mandatory Training: In compliance with directives from the Governor, all employees are required to complete mandatory training on COVID-19 health and safety requirements before they are permitted to return to their workplaces following remote work.
Face Coverings and Other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Face coverings are to be worn at UVM whenever you are in the presence of other people or in a public setting. UVM’s face covering guidance was developed to comply with Vermont’s Stay Home Stay Safe order, the Vermont Department of Health recommendations, and the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandates. The University has established a process to provide and allocate other PPE including plexiglass shields, face shields, and gloves. Guidelines for PPE for students and faculty participating in clinical and research experiences requiring additional PPE have been established.
Social Distancing: UVM will incorporate social distancing—a proven public health strategy— into all of its educational and co-curricular activities. Students, faculty, and staff are expected to observe strict social distancing of 6 feet while on campus. The occupancies of classrooms, labs, lounges, study spaces, meeting rooms, and other designated common areas have been adjusted so that students, faculty, and staff maintain strict social distancing of no less than 6 feet per individual.
Classroom De-Densification and Cleaning: To support social distancing in classrooms, the fall 2020 schedule was revised to include four modes of instruction and reduce the physical presence of students in classrooms. All classrooms will be deep-cleaned on a nightly basis, and hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes will be available in all classrooms. Students and faculty will wipe down their seating or lecture area at the end of each class.
Classroom Technology: UVM’s efforts to prepare for the fall semester include nearly $3 million in technological improvements intended to enable the four modes of instruction while maintaining public health and safety. UVM’s Enterprise Technology Services is executing a plan to equip most of the University’s 230 classrooms and a number of conference rooms with enhanced technologies to create highly flexible spaces. All the classrooms will be equipped with webcams with integrated microphones to avoid the need to share a handheld microphone. Teaching spaces will be equipped with a tablet that can serve as a substitute for a whiteboard on which faculty would normally write. Our technological improvements will make it possible for faculty to webcast their lectures, synchronously or asynchronously, with a live or remote audience. These improvements will make it possible for students to have meaningful virtual interactions with the faculty or other classmates.
Residential Halls: In an effort to reduce the density in our residence halls, we created the at-home option, and we eliminated all triple and quad rooms from our housing inventory.
Dining Halls: Indoor dining seating has been reconfigured to allow for social distancing, new touchless technology has been implemented, and dining spaces will be disinfected more frequently to increase safety. Additionally, outdoor dining seating has been created and dining options will be expanded to offer more flexible grab-and-go options.
Off-Campus Student Conduct: Our Office of Student and Community Relations has been in ongoing communication with our students and responding to concerns raised by members of the neighborhood. A communication was sent to all off-campus students, outlining our expectations for behavior to ensure the health and safety of the community. We have also created a website to share health, safety, and accountability information with our Vermont neighbors.
Curtailing Visitors: Students may have only two guests with them on move-in day. Guests must meet State of Vermont travel restrictions. UVM will limit any other outside visitors, and also will not allow visitors to residence halls after move-in is completed.
Study Abroad: The global nature of this pandemic makes travel abroad risky on many levels; therefore, all fall 2020 study abroad and winter session travel programs have been cancelled. A decision regarding spring study abroad and travel study will be announced before November 1. If you have questions about fitting Study Abroad into a future semester, contact the Office of International Education.
These measures demonstrate the University’s commitment to your health and safety as students, faculty, and staff. As one community, we must work together in furtherance of our mission to provide students with a high-quality educational experience. I acknowledge and thank the UVMStrong Committee and Working Groups, Staff Council, student leaders, union representatives, and the Faculty Senate for their contributions to our safe return to campus.
I hope you will find this a helpful informational resource in preparing for the safe and healthy return to campus. We are committed to keeping you informed and will be providing future updates as necessary.
Looking forward to your return,
Patricia A. Prelock
Provost and Senior Vice President