Dear Norwich Community:
I am writing today with some updates on our plans for spring semester student arrivals, early semester campus operating practices, and additional specifics for the period covering Friday, January 15th through Monday, January 18th, 2021.
News reports of the past weeks have underscored the dynamic nature of 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, and the COVID-19 vaccination plan is now underway nationally, we are not immune to the virus’ challenges as we bring together students, faculty and staff to campus. Recent reports have also indicated a new strain of the virus that may be more highly contagious than what we have already experienced. These events emphasize the need for the continued reinforcement of wearing masks/facial coverings, social distancing, and hand hygiene.
Our return to campus protocols will support these measures and limit gathering sizes. Cooperation, rigor, and discipline will be needed from the entire Norwich family 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.
Home Quarantine Requirement:
All students (including residential students and commuter students) will be required to quarantine at home for two weeks prior to returning to campus for the spring semester in January 2021. The home quarantine is required for all students, whether residing in the state of Vermont or out-of-state. This is in addition to the campus quarantine that all residential students will participate in upon arrival.
For those students who were in residence this past semester, this is slightly different than the fall arrival process, so please make sure you understand the changes. For those students who were not in residence this fall, please note the requirement to home quarantine prior to your arrival to campus.
Student Arrival, Modified Room 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 they were in the fall. Students should arrive to campus with no more than two adults, a limit of one adult is highly encouraged. Families will not be allowed to tour the campus nor to assist their students in moving belongings into rooms. You will get an opportunity for a final hug and farewell before you drive away, but you will be asked to only do so briefly and to remain within the immediate vicinity of your vehicle, reducing contact with other families, students, and arrival staff.
Arrival and COVID-19 Testing:
- Friday, January 15, 1000 – 1600 (respite day – no academic classes)
- Saturday, January 16, 1000 – 1600
- Sunday, January 17, 1000 – 1600
- Monday, January 18, 1000 – 1600 (Classes will be in session, please work with your faculty if you need to arrive this day)
Note: If you do not arrive on campus and test by 1600 on January 18th, you will be required to quarantine off-campus in Vermont at your own expense for a period of eight to ten days.
Arrival Checklist and Pre-Scheduling Arrival Date:
In order to distribute student arrivals over the four-day period, we have set up an arrival checklist system where students will be able to pre-schedule their arrival date and time. Arrivals will be scheduled in two-hour blocks from 1000-1200, 1200-1400, and 1400-1600 on each of the four arrival days. This arrival checklist system in Banner SSB will open in early January on a pre-advertised date and time. We will send out more information on how to schedule your arrival date and time in the coming weeks. Please monitor your email routinely over winter break.
For those students who are flying into Burlington International Airport (BTV), please schedule your flight on whichever date (January 15th, 16th, 17th, or 18th) that best meets your needs (but make sure you will be on campus prior to 1600 on the 18th). Norwich will accommodate your arrival date and time. Shuttle services will be available through Vermont Tour and Charter for a fee as well. Information on how to sign up for those services will be included in future communications.
Arrival Day Logistics:
- Students and families should arrive on their pre-selected arrival day during their two-hour registration block.
- All arriving students will enter the campus through a single access point from VT Route 12. All signs along the road will guide you to that location. Campus signage will point you to your assigned residence hall, barracks, or student parking lot to unload. A campus map is available here.
- Upon arrival to the residence hall or barracks, a University staff member will check you in and provide your room key.
- Parents or family members may assist their student to unload curbside.
- Norwich staff will be available to assist students to move belongings into the buildings and their rooms.
- VISITORS ARE STRICLTY PROHIBITED FROM ENTERING CAMPUS BUILDINGS. ONLY STUDENTS AND UNIVERSITY STAFF MAY ENTER NORWICH HOUSING.
- Once your student’s gear is unloaded, please take a few moments to say your farewells and share a final hug with your student.
- After returning to your vehicle, families will be directed to the campus exit to depart. Self-drive students will be directed to the student parking lots.
- Port-o-let toilets will be available behind Kreitzberg Library along University Drive for parent and family member use.
- Immediately after check-in at the residential building and parking, the student is responsible for walking to Plumley Armory for an arrival screening and COVID-19 test. This should be completed within the pre-selected two-hour arrival time.
- Arrival staff will confirm completion of all pre-arrival items on the Check-In Menu, which includes signing updated versions of the COVID-19 Liability Waiver and the updated Student Behavioral Contract.
- Reminder for all students and visitors to PLEASE WEAR YOUR MASK at all times while on campus.
- After testing, students will go to their rooms and stay in modified room quarantine until we transition to campus quarantine on or about January 20th. Students will be scheduled to return to the testing site on day-seven for a second COVID-19 test.
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.
Residential Students Modified Room Quarantine:
A modified initial room quarantine will begin on the student’s arrival day. All residential students will be tested on their day of arrival and be required to remain in the modified initial room quarantine until ALL arrival day test results have been received. We expect the modified initial room quarantine to conclude on or about January 20th.
What is a modified room quarantine? In the modified initial room quarantine, all students will remain in their rooms except to use the restroom facilities and to pick up their meals. We understand that this will be challenging for students who are used to being active, but the infection rate across the U.S. has increased to such an extent that this is the best way to return all students to campus safely. We will monitor the state of the virus closely and make adjustments as possible.
Following the modified initial room quarantine period, all students will be required to remain on campus (referred to as campus quarantine), but will be allowed to move about the campus more freely. Please note: students will only be allowed to enter the residential building in which they reside and are not permitted to enter any other residential buildings. Students will be able to participate in outdoor activities as well as indoor physical activities and student events with some restrictions to keep residential groups separate.
All residential students will then receive a second COVID-19 test on day-7. The campus quarantine will continue until all tests are back and it is determined that we can safely lift additional restrictions
To achieve a low-density physical presence, minimal faculty and staff will be on campus from January 15th to January 28th.
Commuter students (whether local Vermonters or out-of-state students living in the central Vermont community) will follow a process as the residential population.
All commuter students will sign up for an “arrival” date and time between January 15th and January 18th and come to campus for a 0-day test. Commuter students will then quarantine in their homes until they return for their 7-day test. They will be cleared for campus upon receipt of a negative 7-day result AND the lifting of the campus quarantine.
Every member of the university community and visitors will be required to wear cloth face coverings/ masks over their nose and mouth at all times while on campus, 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.
In the barracks or residence halls, facial coverings are required at all times except when students are in their own room alone, or with their own roommate only and the room door is closed. Facial covering must be in place (for student and visitor) if visiting another room and when in the hallway or restrooms, except for brushing teeth.
Masks or cloth facial coverings are not required for any 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 students 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 spring semester.
Daily Health Screenings:
In accordance with requirements by the Vermont Department of Health, students will be required to complete a Daily Health Screening. Once completed the student will receive a Green Cleared for Campus message. Students will be required to display the cleared screen from their phone or computer before attending classes and upon request by staff or faculty in campus buildings such as the library or Wise Campus Center. Repeated failures to complete the Daily Health Screening will result in consequences up to and including a requirement to leave campus and complete the semester remotely.
Gathering Limitations on Campus:
In Vermont and similar to the rest of the nation, spread of COVID-19 has been associated with multi-household gatherings. With this in mind and in accordance with requirements by the Vermont Department of Health, students will be required to limit gatherings to their single household. Every student will have a “defined” household and will limit gatherings to those individuals. More information about the definition of household will be forthcoming.
Norwich University is continuing a robust testing program in partnership with the Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Broad Institute. Each student will receive a COVID-19 PCR viral test upon arrival (day zero) and again on day seven at Plumley Armory or additional sites if necessary. 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. Please review this video to understand more about the COVID-19 test.
COVID-19 Surveillance and Wastewater Testing:
All students will be tested throughout the semester at no charge to students; for the first several weeks of the semester, all students will be tested weekly. We will then develop a frequency schedule based on the state of the virus and results from our other surveillance and mitigation programs. Employees will be tested multiple times throughout the semester as well. We will carefully monitor regional and local trends and administer tests as the situation warrants and according to public health guidance. Concurrently, Norwich will continue to perform wastewater testing as initiated in the fall semester. Learn more about the university’s wastewater testing program here.
Any students with a positive test 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 explained in the section above.
Spring Semester Webinars:
We have designed webinars with updated COVID-19 procedures for Spring 2021 to make your transition to campus under the COVID-19 regulations as simple as possible.
- Tuesday, January 12, 1300-1400 EST, students returning from remote study in Fall 2020
- Tuesday, January 19, 1300-1400 EST, returning students
Look for an invitation that will be specific to you.
New and transfer students will be invited to our virtual New Student Orientation on January 7th and 8th which will include a webinar addressing COVID-19 procedures, public health, and campus life.
We will have staff available to answer your specific questions.
Norwich will provide meals, activity programming, and support services to those in modified room and 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 the quarantine period.
During the campus quarantine period, 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 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:
The spring semester begins on Monday, January 11th. Residential and commuter students will be studying online in their classes until February 2nd. Students who are studying remotely will continue online instruction through the entire spring semester. The first respite day of the spring semester will be Friday, January 15th.
Spring Course Materials:
For students who wish to search for, or order, their upcoming course materials in advance of arrival, or during the campus quarantine period, may do so simply by logging on to ssb.norwich.edu. In the Student Services section, you will note a Purchase Books link at the bottom of a services listing. Select Spring 2021 (Traditional) for the term and click submit. If you click BookNow, you may order your books via the University Bookstore website, where your required course materials will be available. Students can order their books for the spring 2020 semester by calling the Bookstore at (802) 485-2200 or using the Bookstore web page at bkstr.com/norwichustore.
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 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 residence halls and barracks are also on 24-hour lock down with card access only. Students who need key or card access should contact their company mentor (cadet barracks) or the Residence Life staff (civilian residence halls). 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. Please call Public Safety.
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, in addition to reducing the risk of inter-mingling between quarantined and untested individuals. Please report any suspicious activity to Public Safety immediately by calling 485-2499 or 485-2525. Thank you for your cooperation.
In closing, we are very excited to launch the Spring 2021 semester and to see you on campus. Please join me in thanking everyone who has worked so diligently to create the plans and protocols necessary to comply with the health and safety guidelines to reopen our campus and to welcome you to Norwich. Our motto “I Will Try” has never been more relevant than in today’s challenging times, but there is light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. 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.
I hope you enjoy the holiday season and your winter break, and personally cannot wait to see you all after the new year!
Norwich Together, Norwich Forever!
Yours in service,
Dr. Mark C. Anarumo, PhD
Colonel, USAF (ret)