Dear Students,

Yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, joined Vermont Governor Phil Scott’s press conference to thank Vermonters for being a model of how to reopen an economy and our schools in a “safe and prudent way.” This high praise would not have been possible without the care that our UVM community has taken to commit to the health and safety of our entire community by signing the Green and Gold Promise, using face coverings, honoring our social distancing requirements, and complying with testing and health screening. I realize how challenging this is, especially for you our students. The university and our state owe you our thanks.

Throughout this challenging time, the university has been guided by science and commonsense; both have served us well. We are now moving to a time where science is telling us we need to be even more diligent in our efforts to maintain the positive outcomes we have enjoyed to this point. We know that our expectations for your behavior can lead to fatigue and a tendency to let your guard down. The weather is changing and as the colder air moves in the tendency is to ‘hunker down’ inside, where social distancing is harder to maintain. And, the flu season is right around the corner.

As you know, our COVID testing protocol was designed based on advice from our own public health and infectious disease experts. I asked our experts to review the data from the first month of testing and offer their best guidance about the future. Based on their counsel, we will continue existing protocols:  All students who are not entirely remote are required to continue to receive PCR testing every seven days. This requirement will remain in place until November 1, at which time we will revisit the results to date with our medical expert panel again. In addition, our medical experts strongly urge our students, faculty and staff to get this year’s flu vaccine. Flu vaccines will be available to students at the testing center.

Dr. Fauci warned us to not be complacent, particularly as the weather begins to change. Our own UVM experts have reinforced that message. Let’s stay diligent in following the Green and Gold Promise, bundle up and enjoy the beautiful outside even as the weather changes, and don’t forget to get your flu vaccine. Let’s continue to provide a positive example to the rest of the nation, and keep UVM Strong.

Commending you for your cooperation, and with thanks,

Suresh Garimella


University of Vermont


Suresh V. Garimella