Norwich University Students, Parents, Alumni, Employees and Friends
This past weekend we welcomed about 500 students back to campus in the first phase of a six-phase schedule of arrival days in advance of the start of the fall semester on August 31st. The process was highly organized, and included COVID-19 testing for every student with results returning as quickly as within 24-48 hours. As of Monday, there were three positive test results. Those students were immediately notified by the Green Mountain Family Practice and have been quarantined according to our policy. The Office of Communications will be complying with Vermont Department of Health reporting guidelines under my direction.
The health and safety of the Norwich and central Vermont community is our top priority as we respond to the global coronavirus pandemic together. As we prepare to reopen the campus for the fall semester in a safe manner for students, faculty, staff, and our local communities, we must continue to follow the CDC and Vermont Department of Health guidelines.
Dear Norwich Community:
I am writing today with some updates on our plans for fall opening and the phased student arrivals beginning next weekend.
As I know you are well aware, news reports of the past few days and weeks have underscored the fluid environment generated by the 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, we are not immune to these challenges as we bring together students, faculty and staff from places where cases are relatively low and from other areas where cases are rising at a rapid pace. These events emphasize the need for cooperation, rigor and discipline that the entire Norwich family must undertake 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.
Thank you everyone for your tireless efforts during a very unique time in the history of Norwich University. Receiving, teaching, and training our cadets and civilian students while ensuring a safe environment for all has required a significant amount of creativity and innovation. I sincerely thank all of you for supporting our Fall 2020 initiatives.
As part of our plan for re-opening campus to our students, I have directed that our employees undergo COVID-19 testing to ensure a safe campus environment. Employees who have been authorized by their supervisor to work remotely for the entire fall semester and will not be on campus for any reason, including being in the CGCS building, are exempt from this testing requirement.
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.