23 questions and answers on Student Life, including specifics for students enrolled in the Corps of Cadets, for fall 2020.
Q: Will out-of-state students be required to quarantine or have a negative COVID-19 test before they arrive on campus? And will all U.S. states be handled the same?
A: Per Vermont Gov. Phil Scott’s directive:
- If you are traveling to campus by commercial transportation, (air, bus, or train) you must arrive on Aug. 8 and undergo a seven-day campus quarantine.
- If you are traveling to campus in an automobile with three family occupants total and you can self-quarantine at home for 14 days before arriving on campus (or seven days if you get a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arriving) and you are traveling in the most direct manner possible (stopping only at rest stops, gas stations or places of lodging, if required) you do not need to undergo an on-campus quarantine.
- If you cannot meet any of the requirements above you must arrive on Aug. 8 and undergo a seven-day campus quarantine.
- If you are coming from Vermont or a county in New England or northern New York identified as “green” (having fewer than 400 coronavirus cases per million), you will not have to quarantine or get tested before arriving as long as you come to campus in an automobile with no more than three family passengers (you and your parents, for instance).
Q: Will I have to quarantine if I’m coming to campus from within Vermont?
A: See No. 4 above.
Q: What will happen when we arrive on campus?
A: First, you’ll be stopped at a checkpoint where you will be asked a series of COVID-19-related questions (medical questionnaire). If you pass the screening, you will receive an appointment time to go to the medical station to receive your COVID-19 test. In the meantime, you will be directed to your dormitory (barracks) to unload your personal belongings and check in. Your parents will not be allowed in the building.
Once you receive your COVID-19 test, you will be under a strict quarantine for the next 24 to 48 hours until the results are confirmed. During the quarantine, you will be confined to your dorm room and have contact only with your roommate and a few selected officials, although you will be able to go to the Wise Campus Center for takeout dining. Once your COVID-19 test comes back negative, you will be allowed to move around campus, wearing your face mask and observing physical distancing. You’ll be tested again for COVID-19 in seven days.
Q: How will daily campus life look after the tests and quarantines?
A: We’ll have preventive measures — physical distancing in common areas, increased sanitizing of surfaces and mandatory mask wearing. We’ll also have reactive measures — protocols to follow if someone tests positive, including isolation rooms set aside at Ellis House and Crawford Hall, and contact tracing, to see who the infected person has been in contact with. That way, we can isolate those people also, if necessary.
Q: Will we be trained to find COVID-19 symptoms?
A: Yes. Everyone on campus will get this training. It will be recorded and electronically accessible.
Q: Will students who test positive for the coronavirus be sent home?
A: No, they will not be sent home, but they will be isolated. But students who test positive may be able to go home if family members can pick them up and take them off campus.
Q: Will my boxes be kept in off campus storage?
A: No. The plan is to have them in the room you’re going to live in, whether it’s the room you occupied last semester or a new one.
Q: Will parents be able to visit their students on campus this fall?
A: So far, no.
Q: If parents cannot visit students, may they still mail items?
A: Yes, but not until after the quarantine period and students have been accepted on campus. Freshmen will be assigned mailboxes; returning students will retain the mailboxes they’ve had.
Q: Will clubs be operating in the fall?
A: Yes, within physical distancing standards. We’re encouraging clubs to reach out to their members who are not on campus so they can keep updated and apprised; we have an online engagement platform for trafficking this information.
Q: Will campus gyms and athletic venues be open?
A: Yes, the weight and aerobic exercise rooms in Plumley Armory’s basement will be open, operating under physical distancing rules. Signs on the doors will designate the largest number of students that can be in that room. The tracks — indoor at Plumley and outdoor at Sabine Field — are also open, also subject to maximum capacity and physical distancing.
Q: Can I keep my work-study job?
A: Probably. If you are on campus, you still ought to be able to do work-study. If you’re off campus, and the job you do is virtual, you ought to be able to continue. For specifics, ask your work-study coordinator.
Q: Should students prepare to bring all of their belongings home with them at the end of the semester?
A: Unclear. If it looks as if the campus will again be operating at reduced capacity in the spring, we may ask students to bring their belongings home with them. Based on this uncertainty, we’re advising students to pack minimally, bringing no more than they need when they arrive.
Q: Will students, after tests and quarantines, be allowed to go off campus during the fall semester?
A: In general, movement off campus will be far more restricted than in past years. Students should arrive with the understanding that they’ll probably be staying on campus for the semester. Exceptions will be handled case by case. If a Corps of Cadets member, for example, is also in the National Guard and has an out-of-state drill, we will work to clear him or her to leave campus and attend. Also, there may be cases when civilian students need to go off campus, perhaps for medical exams. These students will likely be cleared to go, too. But all students who exit campus will need to follow strict protocols — achieving a negative COVID test and quarantining — when they return.
CORPS OF CADETS QUESTIONS
Q: What will be different for the Corps of Cadets this fall?
A: Some elements are very important to the Corps experience, so we will make every effort to continue them safely. Physical training is one of them; we will do that while mitigating the health risks. Morning flag formations are another important element of the military lifestyle. These formations also offer a chance for our cadet leaders to check the members or their squads to see how they’re doing and check them for COVID-19 symptoms.
Q: Will Corps rites continue?
A: Yes, with modifications. We will conduct the cadre and new cadet oath ceremonies, the 9/11 and Veterans Day memorial ceremonies and the Rook Recognition in reduced fashion. Following custom, rooks will continue to have copious weekend training opportunities that comply with safety guidelines.
Q: What if you’re in the Corps but off-campus for online learning in the fall?
A: You will still be on a unit roster; if you’re a sophomore, we’ll continue to deliver sophomore training online. We recommend you keep up with that training, which will put you on track for promotion. Unit leaders will be directed to track you and stay in communication with you to keep you updated. You will be expected to maintain your own physical fitness — it’s a personal responsibility — so you’re ready when you return to campus. When you return to campus in the spring, you will have until spring break to take and pass a physical fitness test. If you’re seeking a promotion, being offline will not count against you; you will stay on track and competitive.
Q: May commuter students in the Corps join Corps activities on campus?
A: Yes. You’re required to participate in mandatory Corps activities. If you are a Corps student who has been granted special commuter status this year, you are expected to attend formations, parades, ceremonies, training and other mandatory Corps events in proper uniform and to attend class in the uniform of the day. You will, however, not be allowed in the barracks.
Q: What should rooks be wearing when they arrive on campus?
A: Rooks may arrive in civilian clothing.
Q: Can rooks bring Clorox wipes?
A: Emphatically, yes.
Q: Is there a preferred face mask color?
A: Black is preferred. But it’s more important that you have a mask that covers your mouth and nose than have a mask of a certain color.
Q: Will Corps members wear masks during physical training?
A: Cadets will wear masks to and from training sites, but not during exertion. We’re planning to mitigate risks during physical exertion through physical distancing.
Q: What happens if rooks test positive for the coronavirus?
A: If rooks test positive for COVID-19 before Rook Week starts and are isolated and cannot participate in Rook Week at all, they may have to delay being a Corps student until the start of their sophomore year. If they test positive after Rook Week, they will be isolated and will enter online training. Once they recover, test negative and are medically cleared to re-enter the general populace, they’ll resume training with everyone else. Cases in which students opt to go home or need hospitalization will be handled discreetly and individually.