Norwich University is continuing our close coordination with our medical team, public health experts, local and state officials, other institutions of higher education, and published guidance from Vermont health authorities. This memo updates the community on our COVID-19 posture and policies based on this coordination. Because of our very high vaccination rate, we are able to make agile and responsible changes to our policies to create the best environment for our students and employees. Thank you to the entire community for achieving this status.
Please note the campus remains in safe operations. The current number of positive cases is lower than anticipated, due in large part to pre-arrival testing, the reception plan, and our high vaccination rate. We have greatly increased testing through Sunday 16 January, and anticipate more positive cases based on the fact we are administering over 2,000 tests over a four day period.
We also have a historically low severity of disease on campus (e.g., no hospitalizations for COVID-19 to this point). Because of this and our high vaccination rate, we are now in a position to consider other "endemic" COVID-19 response policies that ease the strain on resources to allow the preservation of the in-person experience while also prioritizing the safety of the students, faculty, staff, and our entire Norwich community. The policy updates contained in this memo are in anticipation of an increase in cases, taking into consideration professional guidance from all professional communities.
We are also pleased to announce the procurement of several thousand N95 masks. These masks have proven to be highly effective and are more comfortable than other options. They will be delivered to campus shortly and will be provided at no cost. Students should contact their company mentor or residence life staff for one of these N95 masks.
Effective immediately, consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new isolation and quarantine guidelines, students who test positive for COVID-19 will quarantine in their own room for five days of recovery management (previously termed “isolation”) after which asymptomatic students are cleared to engage fully on campus. Students who are symptomatic on Day 5 must remain in room quarantine and must contact NU Health Services. We continue to work with medical and public health professionals on the integration of rapid antigen testing in our recovery management protocols and will post updates once the plan is finalized.
As has been widely discussed, the Omicron variant is highly transmissible but less severe than past strains of the virus. Given these facts, we will be able to maintain our in-person learning experience, which remains our priority given the importance of this resource for our students and our belief that we can do so in a responsible manner.
Watch this video from President Mark Anarumo welcoming back students, faculty and staff and updating the Norwich community on the start of the spring semester with a reminder of the importance of upholding our Norwich Guiding Values in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spring semester starts Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. Watch this video from President Mark Anarumo about important arrival processes and requirements and COVID-19 testing to ensure the Norwich University community’s health and safety.