Changes include restart of Corps of Cadets, ROTC training, residence hall visits by food trucks

Norwich University’s community might have breathed a small sigh of relief as the workweek started Monday, the modified in-room quarantine gave way to the campus quarantine and athletics practice resumed for winter and spring teams.

President Mark C. Anarumo portended the changes Feb. 10 in an Update from the Hill, saying campus COVID-19 positive cases had dropped (they stood at 24 on Monday), thanks to student, faculty and staff vigilance and Facilities Operations’ scrubbing and sanitizing of campus buildings and locales.

“It is time to start recovering the campus and offer a more normal environment than we’ve been able to offer for the last few weeks,” Anarumo said in a video.

“It is time to start recovering the campus and offer a more normal environment than we’ve been able to offer for the last few weeks.” Norwich University President Mark C. Anarumo

Under this campus quarantine, as in the fall, university grounds will be closed to outsiders. But students, who’d largely been confined to their rooms in barracks or residential halls, will be allowed to move more freely around campus. For example, students, in face masks, keeping physical distance, will be allowed to visit rooms of other students from their “student households” in their residential buildings.

Meanwhile, Anarumo said ROTC leaders and Corps of Cadets Commandant Col. Michael Titus are working to resume training and military labs.

Dining options will improve, he said; a food truck will visit dorms and barracks, delivering breakfast sandwiches, hot chocolate, loaded macaroni and cheese and other vittles.

And, as Norwich Athletics announced Friday, winter and spring sports teams returned to practice. Winter teams also released abbreviated game schedules.

With few exceptions, academics will remain mostly online, Anarumo said, given the lingering number of COVID-19-positive cases. He acknowledged that some students had left campus to spend the semester’s balance studying remotely.

corps pt tests copy min
Members of Norwich University’s Corps of Cadets take physical fitness tests on Sabine Field in August 2020. With the transition to campus quarantine, the Corps of Cadets and ROTC units are preparing to resume training. (Photo by Norwich University Corps of Cadets/Flickr.)

As in previous addresses, Anarumo said students who opt to leave campus may do so stigma-free and will receive prorated room-and-board refunds based on their departure dates.

A Thursday student town hall, led by Senior Vice President of Student Affairs and Technology Frank Vanecek, Provost Sandra Affenito and Titus may have signaled an incremental easing of worry. It ended before its allotted hour when student queries ran out.

Anarumo acknowledged the academic year’s difficulty and said collective mental health has affected his every decision. Entering campus quarantine isn’t risk-free, he said; COVID-19 cases aren’t at zero. But it was time to relieve some pressure.

“The students have really been advocating beautifully for themselves,” he said, adding that many students wrote him notes. “They’ve been using the chain of command, they let (administrators) work the issues, they articulated their concerns.

“I appreciate everyone’s continued support and patience,” Anarumo later added. “I look forward to seeing you around campus.”

Click here for complete updates on coronavirus protocols at Norwich University.

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