COVID-19: Here’s what we know about Vermont colleges making pandemic testing plans

With the summer winding down, college students are getting ready to start their school year in Vermont.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, students can expect a different experience this fall than in previous years.

Here’s what awaits students as they arrive at campuses across the state.

Normalcy at first glance: UVM's Patrick Gym is seen on April 7, 2020. Inside, workers are converting the space into a 50-bed overflow facility for COVID-19 patients from UVM Medical Center.

University of Vermont

The University of Vermont in Burlington is the largest university in the state with an undergraduate student population of about 10,500. Classes for all UVM students begin on Aug. 26.

The university is requiring students coming from “quarantine counties” as laid out by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development to quarantine for 14 days or a shorter quarantine if a student receives a negative test result taken on day seven.

Students must use the tool linked here that uses ACCD guidelines to determine if they need to quarantine.

This quarantine can occur prior to arrival or upon arrival. In addition, at least five days prior to arriving on campus or in Burlington, students are required to take an at-home COVID-19 test provided by the university.

All students must complete an online training course on COVID-19 health and safety and sign UVM’s Green and Gold Promise, pledging to follow all safety protocols outlined by the university.

See also:Only 2 UVM students tested positive for COVID-19 following move-in day on June 1

Students living on campus 

  • Students living on campus have the option to quarantine on campus when they arrive or off campus prior to arrival.
  • Students opting to quarantine on campus must arrive on Aug. 14.
  • A COVID-19 test provided by the university will be administered as soon as a student arrives.
  • Each student will be assigned their own room with its own bathroom in University Heights

While students are in quarantine at University Heights: 

  • UVM will deliver three meals a day to students waiting for test results in quarantine.
  • Students who test negative will be split into groups based on floor and building. They will then be allowed to hang out in these groups provided they maintain a six-foot distance and wear a mask at all times when not eating.
  • Students will be allowed to go outside for fresh air, socialize from a distance and access laundry and microwaves.
  • Students must remain at their designated quarantine area on campus.
  • Students will be required to take a COVID-19 test on day seven, and if the test results are negative, these students will be able to move into their permanent dorm rooms. 

Students living off-campus

Students living off-campus must abide by all the same testing protocols.

  • Students will be required to be tested five days prior to returning to campus, on the first day of classes, and seven days after.
  • UVM has little control over off-campus students and recommends students use the city’s “Box it in” plan and Burlington’s Supportive Quarantine program. Through these plans, the city offers testing for students and various incentives to responsibly quarantine, including daily check-in calls and a gift card to a local restaurant for delivery.

All students will be required to test weekly through Sept. 18 and then periodically for the remainder of the semester.

For more information, go to UVM’s website.

McDonald Hall, a residence hall at Champlain College, remains unoccupied Aug. 3.

Champlain College

Champlain College in Burlington has an undergraduate student population of about 2,100. Classes will begin on Aug. 31.

Champlain students traveling from “quarantine counties” as laid out by the ACCD will be required to quarantine for 14 days, either at home for 14 days prior to arriving or on campus.

Students are required to take a COVID-19 test within 48 hours of returning to campus and a second test seven days later, both provided by the school. Champlain will also conduct weekly tests throughout the semester.

Students living on-campus

  • Students quarantining on-campus may move in on Aug. 15 to Aug. 17.
  • Students quarantining prior to arrival may move in on Aug. 28 to Aug. 30.
  • Quarantining on-campus means that students will be required to stay on campus for the duration of their quarantine and follow strict social distancing policies.
  • Students will only be allowed to interact with other students on the same quarantine schedule.
  • “Grab and go” meals will be provide to students quarantining on campus.
  • The college lacks space to house all students in single rooms. However, rooms that previously accommodated three, four or five students will be limited to two.

Students living off-campus

Champlain College points to Burlington’s Supportive Quarantine program as a resource for students living off campus.

More information for students and parents can be found here.

The Durick Library sits on an empty St. Michael's College campus Aug. 3.

St. Michael’s College

St. Michael’s College in Colchester has an undergraduate student population of about 1,600. 

St. Michael’s requires students coming from “quarantine counties” as laid out by the ACCD to quarantine for 14 days.

  • Students coming from non-quarantine counties as laid out by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development will move in on Aug. 29 or Aug 30.
  • Students required to quarantine will move in on Aug. 15.
  • Students have the option to quarantine for 14 days immediately prior to traveling to Vermont.

Testing:

  • Students who do not have to quarantine will receive a college administered COVID-19 test seven days after arriving on campus.
  • Students who quarantine in their home states must receive a COVID-19 test upon arrival or within 48-hours of coming on campus, and again seven days after arrival.
  • Students who quarantine on campus will receive a COVID-19 test upon arrival and again seven days after.
  • All students will be charged a COVID-19 testing fee of $150 to support the cost of testing. 
  • All students will be tested sometime at the beginning of the semester and randomly throughout the term.
  • No student will be tested more than four times during the semester, and test results will be available 24 hours after testing.

More information can be found here.

An unidentified lab specialist tests samples for coronavirus at the Vermont Department of Health Laboratory in Colchester on Friday, March 13, 2020. The lab is separated from other parts of the building by a thick window.

Middlebury College

Middlebury College in Middlebury has an undergraduate student population of about 2,500.

Middlebury will divide the campus population into three groups and have staggered arrival.

  • The first group will consist of residential life staff, peer health educators, orientation leaders and other student leaders and will arrive on Aug. 18.
  • The second group will consist of all new students, all fall athletes and all international students, and will arrive on Aug. 26.
  • A third group arrives on Aug. 28.

All students are required to quarantine for 14 days prior to their arrival on campus.

  • Students will undergo a testing on the day they arrive and seven days after.
  • All students will then head to their assigned rooms for “room quarantine.”
  • Students who were able to complete the 14-day quarantine prior to arriving on campus will be released to campus quarantine after they receive a negative result on their first test.
  • Campus quarantine means students will be allowed to leave their residential buildings for meals and other activities, but will not be allowed to leave campus.
  • Students who were not able to complete the 14-day quarantine prior to arrival must stay in in-room quarantine until the results of the day seven test comes back negative.

More information and frequently asked questions can be found here.