Two people in a car wearing safety masks

In developing our reopening plan, the UVMStrong Fall 2020 Advisory Committee is working with expert faculty in public health and medicine, the Vermont Department of Health, Governor Scott’s office, and Mayor Weinberger’s office to ensure that UVM’s operating guidelines and our directives to students follow state and city mandates. Clearly conveyed expectations for COVID-safe behavior on and off campus are being augmented by a peer-driven campaign and are enforceable with serious sanctions. We know that maintaining our state’s low COVID caseload depends on the respect and cooperation of all, and we’re doing all we can to ensure that the UVM community is an active partner in the state's continued forward trajectory.

The state's College Restart Plan (pdf) guides UVM’s Safe and Healthy Return to Campus strategy (pdf). Listen as Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine, Provost and Senior Vice President Patty Prelock and Jan Carney, Associate Dean for Public Health at UVM's Larner College of Medicine, discuss school reopening plans on Vermont PBS. And in VTDigger, read Larner College of Medicine Leaders: UVM's on-campus plan maximizes safety.

Here are details on UVM's restart plans especially important to our Burlington and Vermont communities.

Health and Safety for Move-in

Students doing a self-administered test

In order to return to campus, students are required to follow specific guidelines that include mandatory pre-arrival testing (see details below) and quarantine, either at home before travel or on campus beginning August 14, depending on their point of origin and means of travel. The Center for Health & Wellbeing’s Health and Safety Move-In Information provides details on quarantine requirements both for students and for those who travel with them to Vermont.

Practices for Personal and Community Health

Students gathering while social distancing

An agreement on strict rules mandated by the state of Vermont, rules that go beyond Centers for Disease Control guidance, undergirds our plans for student testing and quarantine.

UVM is conducting pre-arrival testing for all students—undergraduate, graduate, non-degree, and medical students—who will be living or taking classes on campus this fall, with a positive test result leading to home quarantine and a delayed arrival for fall. Students already in Burlington must take the pre-arrival test no later than Aug. 26. All students will then be tested upon arrival to campus, if moving into a residence hall, or on the first day of classes; students will again be tested seven days later, then weekly through Sept. 18, and frequently thereafter based on public health and medical analysis of the initial testing.

  • In addition, students must complete a mandatory training on health and safety, and are required to sign the Green and Gold Promise, a promise to care for one’s own health and the health of the community by engaging in specific practices that help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • The Center for Health and Wellbeing supports students in protecting their health and the health of others and provides updated information on health policies from UVM and the Vermont Department of Health.

Planning and Communications

Student wearing a mask on moving in day

The University has been engaged in Fall 2020 planning for several months, working with partners on and off campus to provide information and put resources in place to promote a safe return to campus. The Division of Student Affairs, the Center for Health and Wellbeing, Residential Life, and others have been regularly communicating plans and requirements with students and families. Here are specific communications that lay out plans to students.

Communications to Off-Campus Students

Student wearing a mask looking at her mobile phone

The Office of Student and Community Relations has been providing information on COVID-19 regulations and recommendations via their Off-Campus Life Newsletter; door-to-door flyer distribution; and student surveys addressing plans for move-in, how COVID-19 has impacted students, understanding of quarantining, and other issues. Other communications specifically targeting off-campus students include:

Community efforts are also underway. Burlington Code Enforcement and the Burlington Police Department are working with the Office of Student and Community Relations to reach out to landlords to help educate Burlington tenants. Code Enforcement has been responding with rapid and frequent follow-ups with landlords and tenants when notified of COVID violations (too many people in a closed space, no masking, etc.) or quality-of-life concerns. Community-building projects bring off-campus student renters together with neighbors through Zoom meetings and neighborhood projects.

Accountability

Student with a mask gives the "all OK", "thumbs up" sign

Burlington Police Department patrols are educating off-campus students and addressing quality of life and COVID-19 health-related incidents (including promoting social distancing and mask-wearing). UVM Police officers participate in joint patrols with Burlington Police Department when officers are available. Officers are asked to document whether they are witnessing Executive Order violations or other areas of concern.

The University receives violations data from the Burlington Police Department, which will now include COVID-19 violations (the City of Burlington fine for the first offense is $100, which will increase to $250 and then up to $500), although the focus is on engagement and education.

Community members are always encouraged to contact the police regarding safety and quality of life incidents when they occur: 802-658-2704. Meeting an officer at the time the incident is occurring helps provide as much information as possible for a response and follow up to an incident. Community members may provide a signed statement of the incident the following day. Community members can also contact the following individuals:

  • Contact the UVM Office of Student and Community Relations if it is believed that a UVM student is involved using the incident reporting form
  • Email Corporal Carolynne Erwin, BPD Community Affairs Officer, or phone her at 802-540-2260, about incidents of concern.
  • Email Bill Ward at Burlington Code Enforcement. His office follows up with landlords and tenants when notified of COVID violations.

Information from City of Burlington Police Department violations and reports can be used to hold students accountable through the University’s Center for Student Conduct process, including quality of life and health and safety issues as referenced in the Green and Gold Promise. Adequate information related to an incident must be included (for example, in police reports or tickets) to ensure students’ due process in the Student Conduct system. Minimal information enables the Center for Student Conduct to send letters of warning and request a meeting with a student.

The Office of Student and Community Relations is proactively addressing off-campus behavior that impacts neighborhoods by sending letters to students and landlords of houses of concern identified through Burlington Police Department data and directly by from neighbors. Of the 25 letters sent this summer to tenants and landlords of addresses of concern, only two addresses had additional issues. Two students also wrote a letter of apology. If you have a concern with an off-campus address, please e-mail the Office of Student and Community Relations.

Contact us with off-campus issues involving students:

Incident Reporting Form

Opportunities for collaboration

The UVM Community Coalition, and on- and off-campus group run by the Office of Student and Community Relations and the Student Government Association, meets monthly and is open to all community members. The mission of the group is the health and safety of neighborhoods.  If you would like to join the e-mail notice for meetings, please contact the Office of Student and Community Relations at oscr@uvm.edu.

The UVM Mapping Group, a group of UVM and Burlington administrators, meet monthly to analyze Burlington Police Department data in order to identify and respond to issues. Group members also make visits to addresses that neighbors bring to our attention and addresses that receive three calls for Service.