Welcome Back.

Now, more than ever, we need to be aware of the impact our individual decisions have on our entire community. Each of us will play an important role in maintaining a healthy environment that will allow us to provide you with the in-person learning experience we value so highly.

Below I have listed reminders of the most important actions you can take to support our collective health and safety this fall. 

These updates emphasize how important it is that we work together as a community. This week, faculty are using new instructional technology in their classrooms for the first time. Your professors have invested a great deal of time and energy in revising the structure and content of their courses to accommodate this unique semester, but there are certain to be some challenges early on. As we all adjust to these new ways of teaching and learning, I ask that you support this process by being patient, positive, and helpful. Be willing to work with faculty to problem-solve and connect with your fellow students. These times ask a lot of all of us, but this is a learning opportunity for both faculty and students.

Personal Travel

Once you arrive on our beautiful campus, remaining in Vermont for the duration of the semester is critical. Here is some important travel information:

  • Personal travel beyond Vermont is strongly discouraged until we recess for Thanksgiving break. 
  • If you do leave the state this semester, you will be required to observe the quarantine restrictions in place upon return.
  • Personal travel is not an excused absence; your related quarantine will likely have a negative impact on your academic performance.
  • If a family emergency requires your travel outside of Vermont, notify your Dean’s Office as soon as possible before departure; your Dean’s Office will work with your faculty members to ensure the continuity of your coursework during your quarantine upon return.
  • Any essential academic travel will require the pre-approval of your Dean’s Office. Further information about that approval process is forthcoming.

Face Coverings

Face coverings are one of the simplest and most effective methods of curbing the spread of COVID-19. You can do your part to create a safe community by wearing your mask, and also by reminding your friends to wear theirs. I have directed our faculty and graduate teaching assistants to set clear expectations for mask wearing in the classroom.

  • Your professors cannot hold class if even one person is present without a mask. If you arrive in class without a mask, I have instructed faculty to tell you to leave class to retrieve a mask. 
  • We can all forget to put on our mask sometimes. If you see a fellow student in a public space without a mask, take a moment to remind them that masks are required on campus, even outdoors. 
  • Play it safe. Always have a spare mask tucked in your backpack (and remember to replace it if you need to use it); do not share reusable masks that have not been laundered since the last use.
  • Faculty and staff members will vigorously enforce the mask requirement because we care about you and the health of our community.

Testing

Your response to the pre-arrival testing requirement has been outstanding—thank you. I know you will soon be busy with academic and co-curricular responsibilities but testing must remain a high priority. Make sure to build the few minutes it takes for your weekly test into your regular schedule. 

  • All students must receive negative test results before attending their first in-person class. The only students exempt from the on-campus testing protocol are:
    • Undergraduate students who have elected the at-home option
    • Graduate students who have elected the remote option
    • Graduate students enrolled in internships, practica or field courses outside of Chittenden County who have worked with their placement coordinator, submitted the remote option form, and have been approved for the remote option
    • Continuing and Distance Education Students who have elected the at-home option
    • Third and fourth-year medical students enrolled in clinical placements
    • Students who have been formally exempted from the testing process for other reasons
  • The testing center in the Davis Center is open Monday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Be sure to schedule your next regular test seven days after you last test using the CoVerified App.
  • Please review the comprehensive testing information located here.

Testing is about the health of our whole community. Because we care about you, your fellow students, faculty, and staff, students who do not complete the required testing will be subject to fines and other disciplinary measures.

Hand Hygiene and Six Foot Distancing

Good hand hygiene and practicing 6-foot social distancing are simple and effective practices that can help slow the spread of COVID-19. I know you are excited to see your friends and classmates and that you want nothing more than to socialize after a long five months apart. If you want to be together, for a safe in-person semester, show you care about your friends by gathering safely.

  • Wash your hands frequently; use hand sanitizers throughout the day; and keep your hands away from your face.
  • Practice 6-foot social distancing in the classroom and all other public places on campus.
  • Do not allow guests into you residence hall, or your residence hall room.
  • Observe the off-campus gathering limits as determined by the Governor and Mayor.

Green and Gold Promise

Please think deeply about the Green and Gold Promise throughout the semester. This is not simply a requirement that must be completed before classes begin—this reflects your ongoing commitment to our community.

Unfortunately, we do not know how long we’ll be wrestling with pandemic conditions. If we all commit to this new normal, which I recognize will require sacrifices, we can achieve a successful campus reopening and serve as a model for the rest of the nation. 

Please do your part.

PUBLISHED

09-03-2020
Patty Prelock, Provost and Senior Vice President