Five months after he first issued the state of emergency, Governor Phil Scott has extended it through Sept. 15 and has given Vermont municipalities the ability to lower the limit on gathering size and set a curfew for bars and clubs as students return to various Vermont colleges and universities.
“As college students begin to return to Vermont, I believe giving our towns – especially the college towns – some additional mitigation measures to work with is the right thing to do,” said Scott at a news conference on Friday.
Scott said it is going be a combination of cities and schools to enforce these new restrictions.
“If we want to continue to suppress this virus, we are going to have to limit the amount of engagement,” Scott said. “I am concerned about some of those parties and clubs and bars that attract many of our youth, many of our college students.”
Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said that testing that has begun as students return has uncovered positive cases.
“Because of the unique nature of the campus setting, our guidance asked for colleges to come up with a plan to test students at entry,” Levine said. “This testing has already begun with many hundreds of results reported so far. We already know a few students have indeed tested positive.”
In addition, one University of Vermont student has tested positive using a preliminary test provided by the University of Vermont, delaying that student’s arrival.
“While we understand hearing about new cases of COVID-19 is cause for concern, these positive tests mean the system is working,” stated a news release from the governor’s office. “We want to find these so we know who needs to stay inside and away from other people.”