St. Michael's College, Vermont Law School Go Remote | Off Message

St. Michael's College, Vermont Law School Go Remote


St. Michael's campus - FILE: JAMES BUCK
  • File: James Buck
  • St. Michael's campus
St. Michael's College and Vermont Law School are joining their peers in cancelling regular classes and switching to online instruction amid concerns about coronavirus.

Vermont Law School is closing its South Royalton campus to students from March 16 "until at least March 30," according to a statement on the college's website. Beginning March 18, all classes will be taught online.

"After consultation with other schools and state experts, we need to take steps as a community to help limit the spread of the coronavirus," the statement says. "Our best opportunity to do so is to reduce the density of our population on our campus, thereby decreasing the risk of community spread."

St. Michael's students will get two extra days of spring break, which is set to begin March 16. Classes will resume online on March 25 and run until at least April 13, according to a statement posted by President Lorraine Sterritt on Wednesday evening.

The institutions join the University of Vermont, Champlain College and Middlebury College, all of which recently announced plans to transition to remote instruction in an attempt to keep their campuses coronavirus-free. The announcement comes the same day that Vermont confirmed its second "presumptive positive" test for COVID-19, a patient in Chittenden County.
St. Michael's, in Colchester, has canceled all on-campus events and college-sponsored trips until at least April 14. The college is open to employees and to students who receive permission to stay on campus, according to Sterritt.

"We recognize the disappointment that students, their families, and all of our community members are experiencing in response to this situation," Sterritt wrote. "Our decisions were not made lightly, and they reflect the care and concern of the administration, the Board of Trustees, the faculty, and the staff of the College."

Vermont Law School has canceled on-campus events until at least March 30. It's also closing the library, dining hall and fitness center to students and the public. The college is discouraging travel by students, staff and faculty "except for the purpose of returning home," the statement says.

Norwich University in Northfield has extended its spring break for students but has not moved to online classes, though faculty will begin training for that possibility on March 16.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Vermont State Colleges planned to remain open, but some schools have implemented their own precautionary measures.

Castleton University will cancel events and meetings that "bring external groups to campus" unless they can be conducted virtually, through April 5. Northern Vermont University and Vermont Technical College faculty are preparing to teach classes remotely in case the situation worsens. Vermont Technical College has also limited on-campus events to no more than 50 people.

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