The coronavirus pandemic forced Norwich University to adapt, but as a university with an “I will try” motto, we’re adept at just that. We tested rigorously students and employees for COVID-19. Our nursing students helped deliver 16,735 tests in all, yielding 16 positive tests, and a 0.09 percent rate. And, in the interest of the health and well-being of our campus community and central Vermont neighbors, we readjusted operations in response to the pandemic’s foothold in our state.
Our faculty operations team sprayed and scoured, to keep everything clean, and added plexiglass barriers and other structures, to keep classrooms and labs safe. We arrived in the fall in phases to allow for campus quarantine from students from states with higher COVID case rates. Our dining provider, Sodexo, developed new traffic patterns, serving lines, dining times and food options to keep students both nourished and safe. Our faculty mastered new lesson delivery, simulcasting classes for in-person and remote engagement; we all mastered Zoom and GoToMeeting. Our president emeritus, Richard W. Schneider, joined Restart Vermont’s higher education task force developing policies and procedures to keep new COVID cases low.
And our new president, Dr. Mark C. Anarumo, stressed the need for collective responsibility — wearing face masks, minding physical distance and handwashing. Our students rose to the occasion. The Corps of Cadets trained and rooks had their indoctrination week. All students followed the Maroon and Gold Behavioral Contract so well that restrictions for campuswide movement were twice loosened during the semester, and some athletics happened, in scrimmages, even though the broader competitive season was canceled for safety.
The collective effort meant we had a dynamic, vibrant learning experience and a semester full of innovation and change.