Therapy dogs, curling coming for the weekend; dining options to increase

Progress against the coronavirus has been dramatic and steady, Norwich President Mark C. Anarumo said Thursday. An on-campus COVID-19-positive case count that had been 65 on Jan. 27 and 42 on Feb. 8 was down to five. Ten people were isolated in quarantine on campus as of Thursday, down from 91 on Feb. 5.

Mask wearing, physical distancing and handwashing is paying off, Anarumo said in his Update from the Hill video. Anarumo said Norwich had administered 11,249 COVID-19 tests since January, a number he called remarkable. He lauded Career and Internship Center Director Nicole DiDomenico, who’s been running the Plumley Armory testing center, Nursing Director Paulette Thabault, who’s led the testing, and the many volunteers who’ve helped them.

“It’s been a tough couple of weeks certainly. (But) everyone’s done beautifully and I’m very, very grateful.” Norwich University President Mark C. Anarumo

He also hailed the campus community, which includes 1,089 on-campus students, for persevering.

“It’s been a tough couple of weeks certainly,” he said. “(But) everyone’s done beautifully and I’m very, very grateful.”

The COVID-19-positive case reductions, he said, will let campus programming expand. The Center for Civic Engagement coordinated a blood drive in the Vermont National Guard building; Anarumo said he would attend and donate blood.

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Therapy dogs frequently visited the Counseling and Wellness Center before the pandemic. On Saturday, they’ll visit the Shaw Outdoor Center to visit students and the Norwich University community. (Photo by Mark Collier/Norwich University.)

On Saturday, therapy dogs will visit the Shaw Outdoor Center and the outdoor skating rink by the Wise Campus Center will host a curling demonstration. (Curling, a Winter Olympics sport, has players slide stones toward a target area that’s segmented into four concentric circles.)

Winter athletics, which were canceled last weekend for student-athletes’, trainers’ and coaches’ safety, will also resume. Up to five games, including hockey (women’s and men’s) and basketball are scheduled; all will be livestreamed.

On Monday, hot breakfast will return to the Wise Campus Center dining hall. Breakfast will be served 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., first come, first served, Anarumo said; students may eat on site until the physically distanced seating capacity is reached, or take their meals to go.

Running on Dunkin’

On Wednesday, Wise Campus Center’s Dunkin’ Donuts outlet will return to its full menu, including iced coffee, a beverage Anarumo said a letter-writing student from New Hampshire told him was required year-round.

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Dunkin’ Donuts in the Wise Campus Center will resume offering its full menu Monday. (Photo by Mark Collier/Norwich University.)

On March 8, if COVID-19-positive cases stay low, Anarumo said, full in-person, three-meals-a-day dining will return. Students’ dining times will be linked to their Banner schedules. The Mill will also return to full operation, serving grilled items including chicken tenders and fried mozzarella cheese sticks.

Kreitzberg Library will also reopen Monday, Anarumo said, and many campus offices, including the Writing Center, Center for Academic Success, International Center and Career and Internship Center stand ready to help students excel.

Also, Anarumo said, ROTC units will soon announce expanded training for its detachments; the U.S. Army’s Mountain Cold Weather Company is already training. Commandant Michael Titus would soon have Corps of Cadets announcements, including news on cavalry, pipe and drum and artillery club activities.

“As we have a better experience on campus, where our (COVID-19-positive case) numbers stay low and our students are doing everything they can right we can do more and more,” Anarumo said. “Please keep taking care of each other, please keep doing the right thing.”

Commissioning and Commencement

President Mark C. Anarumo said Thursday that the university so far intends to hold in-person Commencement on May 1 and Commissioning on May 2 for all Class of 2021 students, whether they’ve studied on campus or off.

Optimally, he said, these ceremonies will include families, friends, faculty and staff.

However, he said, the coronavirus and Vermont Health Department rules will shape plans.

“We cannot predict at this time what those policies will be, so please remain flexible,” Anarumo wrote.

Anarumo said the university expects to decide on Commencement and Commissioning formats on March 19 and release details soon after. However they occur, Anarumo said, the ceremonies will be livestreamed for off-campus viewing.

“We appreciate your patience, understanding, and continued support in these uncertain times. We will do everything we can to have the fullest celebration possible.”

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