An increasing number of students, parents, family members, and others have been contacting me, and Provost Dr. Sandra Affenito, for assistance on a wide range of topics. Given the pace of our daily meeting schedules and large volume of emails, these messages are not always answered as quickly as would be the case if sent directly to the responsible office.
Today we come together as a community of learning, albeit virtually instead of in person as we would all want. The word “together” is growing in meaning and importance as we continue to live through great strife and discord in our nation. The chaos and violence at the U.S. Capitol last week demonstrated that instead of coming together to face threats and challenges as we have in our nation’s past, we continue to grow further apart. History will rightly remember this past week as a moment of great embarrassment for our country.
If we are to thrive as a nation and as Americans, we must reverse this trend. Each of us has an important role to play as members of Norwich University. We are an international institution of higher education, meaning how we act and what we say will reverberate around the world and across the military, government, businesses, and in our communities. Our alumni are serving with honor in all branches of our armed forces, in health care, as sworn law enforcement officers at all levels of government, as engineers, construction managers, cyber experts, and in every other area of vocation and service.
With the rising cases of COVID-19 across the country, and the Governor of Vermont’s recent directive regarding the need to increase attention to physical distancing and masking, and reducing gathering sizes to single households, Norwich University will require all residential students to participate in the campus quarantine upon their arrival to campus.
Additionally, all students (including residential students and commuter students) will be required to quarantine at home for two weeks before 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 in fall 2020, this is slightly different than the August 2020 arrival process. Please make sure you understand the changes.
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.
The health and safety of our students, faculty, alumni and guests is our top priority. It is with this commitment in mind that, today, we notify you that the 2021 Residency Conference scheduled from Monday, June 21 to Friday, June 25, 2021, will be held in a virtual format.
With the ongoing current global and domestic spread of the COVID-19 virus, we cannot be reasonably sure that conditions will improve sufficiently to safely host our students, faculty, and guests on campus.
The Directors of the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) have come to the difficult decision to cancel the 2020-21 league regular season schedule and championship tournament. Despite this news, I remain committed to working with our coaches and Director of Athletics to identify ways our student athletes can compete this season.
Our men’s and women’s hockey teams are both part of the NEHC, and now join our GNAC winter sport teams of men’s and women’s basketball, as well as men’s and women’s swimming and diving, in having their league seasons and championships cancelled. At this time, we do not have an update on the status of the wrestling championship.
On March 27, 2020 the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) was signed into federal law. Included in the Act was the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to support college students whose education was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic with financial grants. These emergency grants are intended to assist students with unanticipated expenses for food, housing, academic course materials, technology, health care and childcare.
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.
As an outcome of our meetings last week with Dr. Timothy Partridge, our Norwich University medical director, I want to provide a critical update on the Norwich University Mask Policy.
To comply with the Vermont Department of Health guidelines and continue on our current trajectory to maintain the health and safety of our campus, Northfield and central Vermont communities, I ask that you read, understand and fully comply with this policy. Thank you for your understanding and efforts to ensure that Norwich University is a safe environment for everyone. We will evaluate these rules and standards constantly and adapt as the situation and advise of medical professionals dictate.
Yours in Service,
Mark C. Anarumo, PhD
Col, USAF (Ret) President