Dear UVM Students,

We find ourselves at a pivotal point in our effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Infection rates are rising across the nation with a spike in the northeast and a number of new cases here in Vermont, including Chittenden County. With the flu and cold season fast approaching, it is critically important we continue to follow the measures that will protect us, such as mask wearing, social distancing and handwashing. I urge you to get a flu shot as soon as possible; students can do this at the COVID Care Center.

During her visit to campus on Saturday, Dr. Deborah Birx, Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, shared how impressed she was with UVM’s response to the pandemic. But she also warned us to stay vigilant. Both Dr. Birx and the CDC have counseled that family and small-group gatherings are where the current risk is most concentrated.

During her visit, Dr. Birx characterized UVM’s approach as a “coalition of the willing.” Our community’s extensive planning, preparation, implementation and ongoing partnership has enabled us to continue the education and research endeavors at the heart of our mission—the very things that will help our world overcome COVID-19 and the many other challenges we face.

But while being willing is powerful, it is nothing if we are not also resolute. Maintaining our guard against the coronavirus is tiring and grinding work; however, we have shown that we are up to the task. And we need to continue to strictly follow good practice, not only for our own well-being, but for the health of those around us.

To put it simply, your university needs you; your community needs you; and your friends and family need you. We have done well and set a strong example. But if we start to relax our efforts, things can go awry quickly—we’ve seen it happen, even in neighboring states. So, keep up your guard and keep up the good work!


Suresh Garimella
University of Vermont


Suresh Garimella