Middlebury College will hold in-person classes this fall, the private liberal arts school announced Monday, but students must pass multiple COVID-19 tests and quarantine periods before they can return.
"While this fall will look much different than at any time in our history, I am grateful that we will be able to come together again in a way that upholds educational opportunity while maximizing the health and safety of the entire Middlebury community," president Laurie Patton said in a detailed campus letter.
Like the University of Vermont, Middlebury is planning for a semester in which in-person classes conclude before the traditional Thanksgiving break. On-campus classes will run from September 8 to November 20, and resume on November 30 for online instruction and remote final exams.
Before coming to campus, students will be asked to quarantine at their homes for two weeks. They will arrive according to staggered move-in and orientation schedules. Upon their return, students will be tested for COVID-19 and quarantined in their dorm rooms until they get results. If negative, they will enter a weeklong "campus quarantine" period, during which they cannot leave campus property.
Additional tests may be administered throughout the semester, Patton said. The college is setting aside one residential building for "isolation housing" for any students who test positive.
Professors may decide whether or not to hold their classes in person; Patton wrote that initial responses from faculty suggested that a third of classes will be taught remotely.
Athletics and extracurricular programs are still up in the air, though Patton wrote that the school hopes to "provide meaningful experiences for our student-athletes."
Off-campus travel will also be limited, and the college will restrict guest speakers and other visitors.
Patton said the college's plan meets or exceeds all state and federal guidance. Gov. Phil Scott has not released specific reopening guidance for Vermont Colleges, "but we have been working closely with the state and have a good sense of what the new guidelines will say," Patton wrote.