Thank you to our students, faculty and staff for your continued support and devotion to the health and safety of all as we take measures to increase the quality of life across campus. We continue to perform extremely well by all measures due to the diligence of our entire campus community. We should all be very proud of what we are accomplishing — again, THANK YOU!
On Feb. 2, we announced “mask optional” policies for Plumley Armory, Andrews Hall gym and courts, all barracks and dormitories, and Shapiro Field House. The easing of mask mandates in these areas has not resulted in any adverse public health trends. Accordingly, these areas will remain mask-optional except during certain hours as indicated below.
Effective immediately, additional facilities have been added to the “mask optional”* list. The complete list is included here for your reference:
Mask optional locations:
** To accommodate community members who cannot yet exercise in a mask-free environment, masks will be mandatory in the Plumley Gym on weekdays from 8 to 9:30 a.m. and 8 to 9 p.m. (Monday through Friday), and from 7 to 8 p.m. on weekends (Saturday and Sunday).
Masks will still be required in these locations:
First, THANK YOU to the entire Norwich University community for continuing to keep everyone safe and taking the personal steps needed to improve the campus experience. The booster clinic held Jan. 29 and Jan. 30 was a success; our numbers now support the easing of some restrictions, outlined below.
Effective immediately, the following locations are designated “mask optional,” meaning each individual should make a personal choice regarding wearing a mask while inside:
*Some members of our campus community cannot currently be in close quarters or exercise physically while in close proximity of unmasked members of the community. To ensure everyone can continue to exercise on campus, masks will be mandatory in the Plumley Gym from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays (Monday though Friday), and from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. weekends (Saturday and Sunday).
In accordance with policies mandated by outside entities, masks are still required for spectators at all on-campus indoor sporting events regardless of where the event is held.
The indoor masking mandate remains in effect for all other areas of campus at all times.
On Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, we will evaluate lifting several campus restrictions related to COVID-19. Increasing the percentage of students, faculty, and staff who have received a booster shot will allow us to reduce or eliminate restrictions more quickly. Please take advantage of the free COVID-19 vaccine and booster clinic offered this weekend at Plumley Armory from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29 or Sunday, Jan. 30.
First, I want to thank the entire Norwich University community for our remarkable success to date in the spring 2022 term. The vast majority of our population has done everything possible to open our campus safely and maintain our commitment to the in-person experience our students need and deserve. Classes are being delivered in person, our campus community is active and engaged, our student-athletes are competing at a high level in all sports, student clubs are thriving, and we have brought new experiences to campus including a boxing club and the return of our shooting team. We have much to be proud of, and I am sincerely thankful to everyone for their incredible efforts to once again make Norwich a national success story.
I also understand the significant fatigue felt by many in our community as we enter the fourth consecutive semester of COVID-19 related restrictions. Restoring the mental health of our entire campus population is a priority; the stress of persistent restrictions and reduced social interactivity has taken a clear toll on us all over the past two years. Given the importance of mental health, our sustained safe performance, the state of the virus locally and regionally, and in accordance with guidance from medical and public health experts, we are now ready to consider reducing some restrictions while maintaining a safe campus environment.
Before lifting restrictions, we need to satisfy public health expectations and concerns of our local communities by completing booster shots for all eligible students and employees. Thank you to all who were already able to get boosters; for those unable to get the booster or were previously ineligible, please remember we will be hosting vaccine and booster clinics this coming weekend, Jan. 29 and 30 at Plumley Armory. On Monday, Jan. 31, we will evaluate current rates of vaccinations and boosters and begin the process of “normalizing” campus operations.
Vaccine boosters will be critically important as Norwich University considers a pivot to an "endemic" COVID-19 response strategy this spring semester. As previously noted, this will allow the preservation of the in-person experience while also prioritizing the safety of the students, faculty, staff, and our entire Norwich community. Once Norwich achieves a high percentage of population with a booster we can consider transition to reduced restrictions and a return to prepandemic operations in many areas.
All fully vaccinated students and employees are required to obtain a booster dose when eligible. Eligibility is roughly defined as follows:
Community members who have a previous positive COVID-19 test are eligible for the booster after completing the five-day recovery period and their symptoms are no longer present.
Existing medical and religious exemptions for the vaccination mandate will be honored/continued for Norwich students and employees. Norwich will grant a new medical exemption (medical only) for any student or employee who provides documentation of support from a medical provider.
Norwich is coordinating with the Vermont Health Department and Waterbury Ambulance Service Inc. to host COVID-19 booster vaccine clinics on campus. All Norwich students, faculty, and staff who are eligible for a booster should plan to attend these free booster clinics, or should schedule their booster at other local sites, as listed here: https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/vaccine/getting-covid-19-vaccine
Upcoming campus-based booster clinics are scheduled as follows:
Saturday, Jan. 29 and Sunday, Jan. 30 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Plumley Armory.
*Please note that the Plumley Armory gymnasium will be closed during the dates and times of the booster clinics.
Employees will need to attest to full vaccination with a booster through Human Resources. Guidance for employees to access the attestation application on the Norwich SSO page will be communicated this week in an employee announcement. Paper attestations will be available in Human Resources (Jackman Hall 323) for those without access to Norwich University systems.
Thank you for your continuing commitment to prioritize the health and safety of the Norwich community to ensure the preservation of the Spring 2022 term as an in-person semester with a full academic and co-curricular student experience.
Norwich University is continuing our close coordination with our medical team, public health experts, local and state officials, other institutions of higher education, and published guidance from Vermont health authorities. This memo updates the community on our COVID-19 posture and policies based on this coordination. Because of our very high vaccination rate, we are able to make agile and responsible changes to our policies to create the best environment for our students and employees. Thank you to the entire community for achieving this status.
Please note the campus remains in safe operations. The current number of positive cases is lower than anticipated, due largely to prearrival testing, the reception plan, and our high vaccination rate. We have greatly increased testing through Sunday Jan. 16, and anticipate more positive cases based on the fact we are administering over 2,000 tests over a four-day period.
We also have a historically low severity of disease on campus (e.g., no hospitalizations for COVID-19 to this point). Because of this and our high vaccination rate, we are now in a position to consider other "endemic" COVID-19 response policies that ease the strain on resources to allow the preservation of the in-person experience while also prioritizing the safety of the students, faculty, staff, and our entire Norwich community. The policy updates contained in this memo are in anticipation of an increase in cases, taking into consideration professional guidance from all professional communities.
We are also pleased to announce the procurement of several thousand N95 masks. These masks have proven to be highly effective and are more comfortable than other options. They will be delivered to campus shortly and will be provided for free. Students should contact their company mentor or residence life staff for one of these N95 masks.
Effective immediately, consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new isolation and quarantine guidelines, students who test positive for COVID-19 will quarantine in their own room for five days of recovery management (previously termed “isolation”) after which asymptomatic students are cleared to engage fully on campus. Students who are symptomatic on Day 5 must remain in room quarantine and must contact NU Health Services. We continue to work with medical and public health professionals on the integration of rapid antigen testing in our recovery management protocols and will post updates once the plan is finalized.
As has been widely discussed, the omicron variant is highly transmissible but less severe than past strains of the virus. Given these facts, we will be able to maintain our in-person learning experience, which remains our priority given the importance of this resource for our students and our belief that we can do so in a responsible manner.