Since our earlier announcements about fall planning, we have grown steadily more optimistic about the fall semester as our state and our nation make great strides in combating the spread of COVID-19 through vaccinations and adherence to health guidelines. Given the progress and reviews of modeling and research, it is our goal is to have a vaccinated campus by 1 August 2021, allowing us to return to a much more normal student experience, including in-person classes, a vibrant campus life, military training, club activities, and athletics.
We are cautiously optimistic about predictions that the pandemic could subside with the arrival of summer 2021- if we all stay the course. We must be vigilant in continuing our multilayered approach, including the practices of daily health screenings; wearing face masks in classrooms, public spaces, or when moving about campus; physical distancing; and hand hygiene, regardless of vaccination status for the summer term.
To ensure the health and safety of the Norwich community this summer all residential and off campus students, staff and faculty coming to campus to attend classes or labs, and individuals conducting research or work on campus, are required to be fully vaccinated or in the process of being fully vaccinated. Additionally, all prospective students or families visiting campus for an approved tour should have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the event, or proof of being in the vaccination process. Testing on campus has concluded; for testing locations in Vermont please visit: https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/testing/where-get-tested.
Please note that the Norwich University campus remains closed to general visitors. Only those with prior approval will be permitted on campus with the exception of those utilizing the outdoor trails at the Shaw Outdoor Center.
Vermont Governor Phil Scott announced a schedule for vaccine eligibility that sets a course for all Vermonters age 16 or older and non-resident college students to be fully vaccinated by July. The governor noted that typically it takes two weeks to get an appointment once eligible, and depending on which vaccine people receive it may be two months before they are fully vaccinated. The VT Department of Health has recently increased vaccine clinics making the vaccine even more readily available. Our expectation is that all faculty, staff, and students will be vaccinated at the earliest time possible. Information about vaccination scheduling is available here: https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/vaccine/getting-covid-19-vaccine.
We realize many of our students reside out of state and around the world. These students will be expected to receive the vaccine wherever they can through the course of the summer months. First-year and returning students unable to access vaccines before arrival will need a negative PCR test 72 hours before arrival in Vermont and will be expected to follow Vermont guidance for entering the state. Norwich University will assist non-vaccinated students with obtaining a vaccine upon arrival to campus.
Norwich University will be closely monitoring Vermont Department of Health and CDC COVID-19 guidelines to ensure the health and safety of the community throughout arrival programs and the academic year ahead. We will continue to rely upon a multi-layered approach that may include daily health checks, face coverings, physical distancing, frequent handwashing, COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation, building ventilation, and visitor and travel restrictions as necessary and part of daily life to reduce the chance of spreading the virus, as required by the state of Vermont.
Norwich University will adjust COVID-19 health and safety requirements as guidance is updated with the priorities of providing a safe environment and robust campus experience. Each member of the campus community has a responsibility to follow these practices to protect themselves and others. We look forward to returning to a more traditional operating status and are confident we can do so if our campus community works together to establish and maintain a safe environment.