Norwich University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been exceptional. Our commitment to our core values and our collaboration in support of protecting the health and safety of all members of our community has made all the difference. Every student, faculty member, and staff member has had to make changes to routines and learn new ways of accomplishing goals, and I am so grateful to each of you. To remain ahead of the pandemic, the University has appointed a COVID Response and Action Team who has taken on the additional duties inherent with the pandemic. While I am certain most of you will already know the team members, I am delighted to introduce their new roles to the community.
To ensure the health and safety of our Norwich and Northfield communities, the University has been working closely with Dr. Timothy Partridge, Medical Director for Norwich Health Services (NUHS), receiving direction and support for all health services and care. Central to this overarching work is Dr. Paulette Thabault, Director of our School of Nursing, who has assumed additional responsibilities to serve as our Director of COVID-19 Health and Safety. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Dr. Thabault took the lead on the Health and Safety committee of the COVID-19 Task Force. She partners with Dr. Partridge, the Vermont Department of Health, Vermont colleges and universities, and our COVID-19 Task Force to ensure protocols and policies meet Vermont’s Higher Education mandatory guidance for opening our campus and maintain safe operations. Given Dr. Thabault’s extensive clinical expertise and experience in regulatory compliance, she established our COVID-19 testing site, worked with our NUHS, Information Technology, Human Resources, and Student Affairs on our daily health screening process, and with the Health and Safety Subcommittee to develop the COVID-19 education module.
Creating safety protocols for early identification and appropriate isolation and campus quarantine measures, Drs. Partridge and Thabault developed an ongoing surveillance testing plan at the Plumley Armory. Working closely with Dr. Thabault, Ms. Nicole DiDomenico, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement brings years of volunteer organizational experience to assist with the COVID-19 testing surveillance plan. Nicole’s added duty includes organization of the testing site and its volunteers, coordination of testing appointments with Student Affairs and Human Resources as well as the communication needs inherent in the testing program. Nicole is also coordinating our flu clinic.
Our ability to test all students, staff and faculty is critical to the safety of the entire campus. Our Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, COL Tracey Poirier helped to launch student-specific protocols to ensure testing, as well as compliance with the student COVID-19 behavior contract. Tracey has taken the lead role in planning the successful student arrival in August and transitioning into the operational role of responding to the Student-Affairs related challenges presented by COVID-19. While her title has not changed, COL Poirier remains integral to the current COVID-19 operations for the Fall semester. Tracey remains proactive in planning for both the student departure in November and their safe return for the Spring semester.
Please join me in thanking our COVID-19 Response and Action Team for their remarkable work and their continued commitment to helping to advance the health and well-being of our Norwich and Northfield communities.
Dr. Sandra G. Affenito
Provost and Dean of the Faculty