Norwich University holds the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff as our number one priority. The fluid environment generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with the necessary public health reactions to infection rates and locations, have caused us to make adjustments to the Fall 2020 arrival plan. The changes outlined below are being implemented to ensure a safe environment on campus through which our students can enjoy the Norwich experience. The University continues to follow the most current guidance and directives from the Governor of the State of Vermont and the Vermont Department of Health to ensure we can safely and successfully facilitate our students’ return to campus this fall. As our knowledge of this virus evolves, we will adjust our operations to follow the most recent guidance from local, state, national, and international advisories.
We have used the most current guidelines to re-examine our fall reopening plans, including arrival timelines, and must make some adjustments. A summary of the changes is here:
On July 6, 2020, the State of Vermont released its Safe and Healthy Return to Campus Mandatory Guidance for College and University Campus Learning that provides guidelines for a healthy and safe return of students to campus. On July 9, Norwich University announced the provisions pertaining to its students’ and employees’ return in August. This communication addresses employee requirements for returning to campus and the vital role every member of the Norwich community will play in keeping our campus and each other safe and healthy during this unprecedented time.
After much coordination and thorough evaluation of all options, today I must deliver the very disappointing news that Norwich University will not be participating in fall sports this year. In the absence of a competitive season, we are evaluating ways to maximize on-campus athletics in ways that advance the skills and experience of our student athletes while preserving NCAA eligibility, including pursuit of NCAA waivers where appropriate. Our excellent coaches, trainers, and staff are working now on how we can support our athletes’ growth and continue to deliver the lessons of leadership and character development that are uniquely present on the fields of athletic competition.
We have not yet determined the status of winter sports. We will evaluate all options thoroughly and work with all constituent groups to make a decision as quickly as possible, informed by health and safety guidelines from the CDC and the Vermont Department of Health. All winter and spring athletes will be able to participate in athletic- related activities under the guidance of Norwich coaches and staff and as directed by NCAA regulations.
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 applied for and received funding under this program and used no less than half the amount, or $1,002,307, for emergency financial grants to students. Per Department of Education (DOE) guidance, the university made direct cash grants to students. Grants were prioritized based on socioeconomic circumstance. Students must have met federal eligibility requirements and could not have been exclusively enrolled in an online program prior to March 13, 2020 in order to qualify to receive HEERF emergency funds. The university has distributed $1,002,307 to 955 students. This represents approximately 46% of the 2,095 CARES eligible students.
Dear Norwich Students:
Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, Norwich University’s plans for 2020-21 focus on protecting the health of our community while delivering the highest quality educational and campus experience, and remaining a valued neighbor in Northfield, our state and region. Earlier this week, we provided our road map for the steps we are taking to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the parameters upon which we will re-open our campus on a restricted basis. This upcoming week beginning on Monday, July 13, we will host webinars and live Town Hall sessions where you will hear from Norwich leaders and have the opportunity ask questions regarding Academics, Financial Aid, Student Life, and ROTC.
Four town halls have been scheduled to communicate the specifics of re-opening Norwich University for the Fall 2020 semester. In these live town halls, we will respond to questions that our students, parents and families, faculty, staff and alumni may have about academics, financial aid, student life, campus safety and community health and well-being. Each town hall will be recorded and the recordings, together with FAQs, will be available at Norwich.edu/psa the day following the town hall.
10:00 - 11:00 a.m. Academics – Associate Provost, Dr. Natalia Blank
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Academics by Major by College – Simultaneous presentations will be conducted by each College Dean in this time period.
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. ROTC – Col Matthew Smith, Dean of the College of National Services
On Tuesday, July 7, 2020, the Vermont state government released their guidelines for the opening of institutions of higher education. Based on these guidelines, we are now ready to move forward with our opening plan.
The COVID-19 virus is still present in our nation and poses a significant threat to all of us. We are Norwich, and will not shy away from the challenge of delivering our unique experience to our student body as we prepare them to lead in a complex world. While we are committed to opening for Fall 2020, we must do so while ensuring the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and community. In this memo I will share with you our operational parameters for re-opening our campus. Next week we will host live Town Hall sessions to answer your questions and address your concerns regarding Academics, Financial Aid, Student Life, and ROTC.
Norwich will communicate the university’s fall re-opening plans to students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff tomorrow via email and my.norwich announcements. Live town hall ‘events’ will be conducted next week to answer questions and address any concerns regarding our plans. Thanks for your patience and understanding in these uncertain times.
We are looking forward to our students being back on campus this fall and are focused on developing strategies and protocols to prepare Norwich University for a safe return to on-campus operations. Above all, we value the health and safety of our entire campus community. In this spirit, we will be closely following the guidelines of the CDC and Vermont Department of Health, regarding our ability to host and gather for in person events.
Today, I am announcing that due to the persistent presence and continued spread of COVID-19, no large public events will be taking place on campus this fall. We know this is disappointing news for everyone. It is, however, consistent with the university’s priority to make Norwich safe for students, parents, alumni, faculty, and staff. Restricting events and visitors to campus will help minimize the likelihood or severity of an outbreak of the virus.
Convocation marks the beginning of our academic year and it will occur virtually on September 1st beginning at 1:30 p.m. The Class of 2020 Commencement ceremony will be celebrated virtually on September 12th at 2 p.m. and marked by a commencement address by President Emeritus Richard W. Schneider, RADM, USCGR (Ret.).
The Norwich University Board of Fellows Fall meeting will also occur virtually and will include First Read sessions with Norwich freshmen students. For Homecoming 2020, the celebration is moving from the Hill to your home as we pivot to a virtual experience that engages all our alumni in a fun and (hopefully) once-in -a-lifetime series of events and festivities. The events honoring this year’s reunion classes will be postponed until next fall when we will look forward to hosting class year’s ending in 0 and 5 on campus along with class year’s ending in 1 and 6. For more information about Homecoming planning, please visit alumni.norwich.edu/homecoming. Note that other boards who typically meet during Homecoming, including the NUAA, Partridge Society, Friends of the Kreitzberg Library, Sullivan Museum Associates, and Norwich University Military Writers’ Symposium Associates will be moving their meetings to a virtual format this fall.
To the parents and families of our students, the Parent and Family Weekend program is also being reimagined virtually; the Student Affairs and Office of Alumni & Family Relations team will have more information to share with you in the weeks ahead. We will continue to monitor the virus and will stay in close contact with government agencies, medical communities, and institutes of higher education so we remain in compliance and identify best practices for adoption here at Norwich.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a great disruption on us all, yet our priority remains the health and well-being of the Norwich family. Now is the time to rally together and to remain strong and resilient. Please continue to monitor the norwich.edu/PSA website for the latest information and updates on the upcoming fall semester.
Mark C. Anarumo, PhD
Colonel, USAF (Ret)
158 Harmon Drive
Northfield, VT 05663
Telephone: (802) 485-2065