Dear Norwich Community:
I am writing today with some updates on our plans for fall opening and the phased student arrivals beginning next weekend.
As I know you are well aware, news reports of the past few days and weeks have underscored the fluid environment generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as cases continue to climb at a rapid pace throughout the United States, affecting people of all ages. While Vermont continues to be one of the safest states in our nation, we are not immune to these challenges as we bring together students, faculty and staff from places where cases are relatively low and from other areas where cases are rising at a rapid pace. These events emphasize the need for cooperation, rigor and discipline that the entire Norwich family must undertake to limit the spread of the virus. The health and well-being of our university family, and the central Vermont community, will depend on each and every one of us and our shared responsibility and commitment.
Student Arrival and Campus Quarantine:
In keeping with State of Vermont and CDC guidelines, and to ensure the health and safety of our students and their families, arrival days at Norwich will be restricted. As previously communicated, students should arrive to campus with no more than two adults. Families will not be allowed to tour the campus nor to assist their students in moving belongings into rooms. We understand how disappointing this may be for families, especially for those who are sending their child to college for the first time. You will get an opportunity for a final hug in farewell before you drive away, but you will be asked to only do so briefly and to remain within the vicinity of your vehicle, reducing contact with other families, students and arrival staff.
Arrival Day Logistics:
- All families and students may arrive any time between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on their assigned arrival day without any prior coordination. Arrivals who are driving to campus outside this window should follow the Out-of-Cycle arrival process below.
- All arriving students will enter the campus through a single access point on VT Route 12. All signs along the road will guide you to that location.
- At the first check-in station, students will remain in the vehicle and undergo an initial health screening (temperature check and symptom/activity questionnaire). PLEASE WEAR YOUR MASK at all times. Arrival staff will also confirm that students have completed their pre-arrival requirements which include signing the COVID-19 Liability Waiver, the Student Behavioral Contract, and the COVID-19 Testing Consent Form. The student will receive these required forms through their student portal system in the coming days. Please ensure the arriving student is seated near a window in the vehicle for proximity to the arrival staff.
- Students will also be given a COVID Test Chit at the first check-in station with a time window and location to report for their initial COVID Test on the same day of their arrival. Signage will direct students to the testing site and staff will also be available throughout the day to help you find your testing location.
- Families and students will then be directed to a second check-in station where their residential hall or barracks is located. Room assignments will be verified and students will be further directed to their specific dorm building. When parking at the dorm or barracks, please park as far to the curb as you can to enable smooth traffic flow.
- Upon arrival to the dorm or barracks, this is your opportunity to exit your vehicle and assist your student to unload their gear curbside. Norwich staff and students will be available to assist your student to move gear into the buildings and their rooms. ONLY STUDENTS AND STAFF MAY ENTER NORWICH HOUSING. Once student’s gear is unloaded, please take a few moments to say your farewells and share a final hug with your student.
- After getting back in your vehicle, families will be directed to the exit to return home. Self-drive students will be directed to the student parking lots.
No out-of-cycle arrivals will be allowed between 10-15 August as this is the “campus quarantine” period. Students not required to quarantine on campus may arrive out-of-cycle beginning 16 August. They must:
- Drive directly to the Jackman Hall parking lot and park in a designated visitor space.
- Stay in the vehicle and call (802) 485-2225 for assistance.
- A staff member will go to the vehicle and perform the health screening. Students who pass the health screening will be given their welcome packet and key after which they may proceed to their assigned room. Students who do not pass the health screening will be placed in quarantine or isolation.
- Out-of-Cycle arrivals will be tested within 48-hours of their arrival time.
Students who require quarantine and arrive after 9 August, will be required to quarantine off-campus or in University Isolation Housing. The University is working to secure the off-campus location for students who must quarantine off-campus.
If a student does not pass the health screening, they will be placed into quarantine or isolation housing based on the recommendation of a health care professional or they may choose to return home until they are cleared by a health professional. Their room on campus will be saved.
Student Arrival Schedule:
Saturday, 8 August from 0800 to 2359 Hours (schedule will be based on air arrivals)
ANY student who must complete a quarantine upon arrival at the University
Sunday, 16 August from 0800 to 1600 Hours (only those not required to quarantine)
Provisional Battalion Rooks
Corps and Civilian Student Leaders
Wednesday, 19 August from 0800 to 1600 Hours (only those not required to quarantine)
Rooks (last name A-L)
Thursday, 20 August from 0800 to 1600 Hours (only those not required to quarantine)
Rooks (last name M-Z)
Friday, 28 August from 0800 to 1300 Hours (only those not required to quarantine)
Residential Civilian New Students
Early College Program Students
Saturday, 29 August from 0800 to 1300 Hours (only those not required to quarantine)
All Remaining Upperclassmen
More information on student arrival and the campus quarantine is available here.
Every member of the university community and visitors will be required to wear cloth face coverings/ masks over their nose and mouth any time they are in classrooms and labs as well as in all public areas, indoors or outdoors, especially in congregate settings, and where it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet. A residence hall is not considered a public space.
Masks or cloth facial coverings are not required when someone is engaged in strenuous exercise or activity, for anyone under the age of 2 years, any child or adult with a medical or developmental issue or challenge that is complicated or irritated by a facial covering, anyone with difficulty breathing or as further set forth in guidance issued by Vermont Department of Health. A person who declines to wear a mask or cloth face covering because of a medical or developmental issue, or difficulty breathing, shall not be required to produce documentation, or other evidence, verifying the condition.
All should arrive with at least one mask for their usage upon arrival to campus, preferably black in color. All students will be provided with two masks upon arrival. Masks will be available for anyone that does not have one during student arrival and throughout the fall semester.
Norwich University is implementing a robust testing program in partnership with the Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Broad Institute. Each student will receive a COVID-19 viral test upon arrival (day zero) and again on day seven at Plumley Armory unless they provide the University with proof of having undergone a test within 48 hours of arrival with a negative result and traveled directly to campus in their personal vehicle without any prolonged stops. The test that will be used is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method, which is characterized by rapid detection, high sensitivity, and specificity. Collection of the sample involves placing a swab within the lower part of the nasal passages. At the testing center, the student will be instructed by a medical observer to move their mask or face covering in order to self-administer a nasal swab. This type of sampling is generally much more comfortable than a nasopharyngeal swab, which is how most samples were collected in the first few months of the pandemic.
After testing, students will move into their rooms and stay in room quarantine until the test results are available (expected in about 24 hours). Once students receive a negative result from the day-zero test, they will be able to leave their rooms and participate in activities allowed during campus quarantine. Students will be scheduled to return to the testing center on day seven for a second COVID-19 viral test.
All students and employees will be tested multiple times throughout the semester at no charge to students. We will carefully monitor regional and local trends and administer tests as the situation warrants and according to public health guidance.
Any students with positive tests will be relocated to specific isolation housing with ongoing medical, emotional, dining, and residential life team support. Contact tracing and subsequent testing of individuals identified as a contact will be managed by the Vermont Department of Health. When a student has symptoms that indicate a SARS-CoV-2 test should be performed, a test will be administered. When a student is identified as having a positive test, they will be required to isolate, and their close contacts will be notified as noted in the section above.
Norwich will provide meals, activity programming, and orientation experiences to those in campus quarantine at no additional cost to the student. The Commandant and the Corps of Cadets, Residence Life, Athletics, Student Activities, the Center for Civic Engagement, the Counseling and Wellness Center, and other departments on campus are collaborating to provide safe co-curricular opportunities for all students on campus during our reception period in August. On-campus and virtual programming will include daily movie screenings, Friday WICKatNITE games and activities, intramural tournaments, Paint Nite, Transcendental Meditation, weekly trivia, yoga, and more.
The Plumley Armory Fitness Center and the Shaw Outdoor Center will be available for students and student groups to utilize fitness and recreation equipment, and access the Paine Mountain trails. The Shaw Outdoor Center staff and the Campus Activities Board will also host a series of outdoor recreation events and activities open to all students. During this time, student clubs will be encouraged to meet and to host campus activities in keeping with Vermont Department of Health and CDC guidelines. A comprehensive calendar of events and hours of operation for the Plumley Armory Fitness Center and Shaw Outdoor Center will be published to students, and all events will be included on the calendar of events on the Norwich website.
Counseling and Wellness Center:
WellTrack is designed to help you understand your mental health and to provide you with the help that you may need right now. WellTrack is a suite of online tools and courses that uses aspects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help you identify, understand and track your levels of stress, anxiety and depression to help you get better and maintain your mental well-being. To learn more, contact the Counseling and Wellness Center.
Fall Course Materials:
As of 31 July, the following Norwich University administrative and academic buildings on campus will be on 24-hour lockdown. Students will not be permitted access to Jackman Hall, Mack Hall, Schneider Hall, Dewey Hall, Ainsworth Hall, the U-Building, the Communications building, Chaplin Hall, the Hollis House, Flint Hall and the Alumni House. These buildings will remain locked until after the quarantine period from August 8-16 has expired on campus. Faculty and staff will have access to buildings by either card or key to their offices and work areas if needed.
Campus resident halls and barracks are also on 24-hour lock down with card access for approved students and staff only. If for any reason faculty, staff or students need to access buildings and don’t have keys or an access card, Public Safety can accommodate access requests. Call Public Safety at 485-2499 or 485-2525. Unlocked buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic represent a safety and security risk. We do not want unauthorized individuals entering any building at any time for any reason. We need to be vigilant across our campus and protect property from damage or theft during these challenging times. Please report any suspicious activity to Public Safety immediately. Thank you for your cooperation.
In closing, we are very excited to launch the Fall 2020 semester and to see you on campus. It will be like no other in the history of our great University. Please join me in thanking everyone who has worked so hard over the past months to create the plans and protocols necessary to comply with the health and safety guidelines to open our campus and to welcome you to Norwich. This is a great moment in the history of Norwich University and our motto “I Will Try” has never been more relevant than in today’s challenging times. Please help us to ensure a safe environment on campus and in our continued operation by following the rules, staying engaged, and holding each other accountable.
We cannot wait to see you!
Yours in Service,
Norwich Together, Norwich Forever!
Mark C. Anarumo, PhD
Col, USAF (Ret) President