I would first like to reiterate President Emeritus Schneider’s warm welcome to our new President, Colonel Mark C. Anarumo, PhD, USAF (Ret). President Anarumo has already immersed himself in the good work begun by Dr. Schneider and the Reopening Task Force to plan for our upcoming academic year. Under President Anarumo’s leadership, I am confident we will continue to make good progress on planning for and executing a productive and safe Fall term in support of Norwich’s students, faculty, and staff.
Fall 2020 Reopening Task Force
Under the leadership of co-chairs Greg Matthews and Cathy Frey, the task force subcommittees continue to work through a range of contingency plans for reopening the campus this fall. To date, plans have been submitted for full residence, partial residence, and fully online scenarios. Planning for a full in-residence opening has informed the University’s Reopening Plan, which will soon be submitted to the Governor’s Economic, Mitigations, and Recovery Task Force. Using this information – submitted to the Governor by all Vermont colleges and universities – the Governor will make a decision in the coming weeks regarding when and how we may move forward with reopening for the Fall term.
Norwich’s Reopening Plan places primary importance on keeping the University and surrounding community safe and healthy, and it is aligned with principles articulated by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), specifically to
- Reduce interaction with others;
- Promote behaviors that reduce the spread of COVID-19;
- Maintain healthy environments;
- Maintain healthy operations; and
- Prepare for when someone becomes ill.
The plan additionally details pre-arrival requirements for all students, faculty, and staff returning to campus (to include COVID-19 testing prior to return); supports a staggered arrival of students on campus; outlines a Fall 2020 schedule in which students continue their courses online after the Thanksgiving holidays; and outlines a comprehensive campus closure and evacuation plan should we face a situation similar to that in the Spring 2020 term.
To prepare for a potential in-person reopening, all units are currently working to create strategies for physical distancing in the classroom, the cafeteria, in the residence halls, and for other activities that typically bring the community together. In addition, students are now in the process of registering for Fall classes, and new student orientation is being planned relative to the various reopening scenarios being considered by the task force.
Employee Return to Work Update
At this time the majority of staff continue to work remotely, with the exception of Facilities Operations staff who returned to full duty on May 26, 2020 in order to prepare for the potential return of students to campus for the Fall term.Norwich continues to expect a phased return to work for all employees in accordance with CDC guidelines. Please remember that before any staff return to work in person, they must complete a mandatory training course regarding health and safety protocols; the training module may be accessed here.
In closing, I wish to reiterate my continuing commitment to and support of all students, faculty, and staff. Thank you for all you do on behalf of our institution.
Be well, stay safe, and Norwich Forever!
Sandra G. Affenito, Ph.D.
Provost and Dean of the Faculty
158 Harmon Drive
Northfield, VT 05663
Telephone: (802) 485-2025