person at workstation in Discovery Innovation space

In developing our reopening plan, the UVMStrong committee is relying heavily on the expertise of our faculty in public health and medicine. The committee is also working closely with the Vermont Department of Health and Governor Scott’s office, and connecting with Burlington’s Mayor Weinberger, to ensure compliance with state and local regulations.

Until scientists develop vaccines and widely available treatments to fight Covid-19, our best tools against spreading the virus are personal safety and hygiene practices, and teamwork. In choosing to be together in person to learn, to work, and to play, everyone has a role in protecting themselves, their friends and family, and the UVM and Vermont communities. The Center for Health and Wellbeing’s Covid-19 Information website details the most important ways for you to protect your health and the health of others, as well as details on quarantine measures that help prevent the spread of this virus.

In keeping with our shared values as a community and the need to work together to keep one another healthy, the UVMStrong Student Experience working group, along with the Student Government Association and the Graduate Student Senate, developed the Green and Gold Promise—a pledge to keep self and others protected from Covid-19. All students will be asked to sign this pledge, and UVM employees will be asked to sign the pledge as well. The critical practices that everyone in our UVM community must engage in are described below.

Practices for Personal & Community Health

Start Each Day with a Health Check

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 to entering a classroom, dining hall, or participating in any activity on campus. This daily health check will be aided by an app being developed by UVM’s Enterprise Technology Services. The information will be utilized in conjunction with Covid-19 testing.

If you have a temperature higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or any of the following symptoms, do not come to campus or circulate on campus. Students living in residence halls, please stay in your room and call Student Health Services at 802/656-3350. Off-campus students, stay at home and call Student Health Services. Staff and faculty, please stay at home, report your symptoms on the symptom tracker, and call your primary care physician. The symptoms are:

  • Fever above 100.4F, or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Practice Physical Distancing

While we may want nothing more now than to gather in warm camaraderie with our friends and colleagues, it’s very important at this time to stay at least 6 feet apart from other people, and not to gather in groups. People can harbor and spread this coronavirus before they know they are sick. That’s why it’s so important to stay a minimum of 6 feet from other people, even if you have no symptoms.

Signs throughout campus will help to remind and reinforce this practice, which is essential for slowing the transmission of Covid-19. Please pay attention to signs, partitions and stanchions, and other physical or visual directives that are employed to maintain physical distancing on campus. Keeping space between you and others is one of the best strategies we have to avoid being exposed to this virus, and to slowing its spread.

Wear a Mask

All UVM community members will receive a “Return to In-Person” health and safety kit containing Covid-19 supplies, including facial coverings. All employees and students are to wear face coverings when outside their private workspaces or residence hall rooms, and even in these private areas when in the presence of others. Visitors to campus are also required to wear facial coverings.

Wash Your Hands—A lot

Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer—at least 60% alcohol strength—if soap and water are not available. Wash your hands after touching your face covering or face, when entering common spaces, and while using any shared spaces or tools. Students, faculty, and staff will have easy and frequent access to soap and water or hand sanitizer.

Clean Your Workstation

Each morning and throughout the day, wipe down commonly used surfaces in personal and shared spaces: keypads, phones, printers, coffee makers, handles, etc. Custodial is increasing the frequency of routine disinfection of high-touch surfaces.

Keep a Contact Journal

All students and employees are encouraged to keep a journal of people with whom they have had close contact each day. This will make it easier to contact trace in the event that precautions need to be taken to prevent the further spread of Covid-19.

Covid-19 Testing, Treatment & Response

UVM will provide “Return to In-Person” work health and safety kits to students, faculty, and employees that will include approved facial coverings. We will keep a rolling two-month supply of personal protective equipment and a six-month supply of cleaning and sanitization supplies to be managed and distributed through a central warehouse.

Health screenings, testing and contact tracing for employees and students will be ongoing through this year, incorporating the use of an app being developed by UVM’s Enterprise Technology Services.

Results from Covid-19 testing on campus will help us to closely monitor our community public health. There is quarantine and isolation space for up to 50 students. We are developing health and safety risk metrics, and associated response strategies, that can be implemented as the COVID-19 situation changes.