Updates and Community Messages

For older updates, please scroll down.

Updated, August 15, 2022

From President Lorraine Sterritt

Dear Saint Michael’s Community,  

I hope your summer has been wonderful thus far and that you have more good times planned with friends and family. The new semester is fast approaching, and we wanted to communicate our current health and safety guidelines so that you can prepare for arrival.  

As you know well, COVID is still a concern and is prevalent in many communities. While the vaccines and boosters have afforded us all considerable protection from serious complications, getting COVID is still serious for some and unpleasant and disruptive for others. Although we will continue to see cases on campus, our guidelines are intended to minimize those cases and the associated disruptions. Please read this information carefully and reach out to ReturntoCampus@smcvt.edu with your questions.   

New PCR self-testing procedure
The College has contracted with a company called Color to provide a simple, fast, and accessible way for members of our community to self-administer PCR tests. While rapid tests are available if you are feeling unwell, a PCR test will be required in many cases after a rapid test. All members of the community will need to create an account with Color for PCR tests. Please take a moment and create your account now. There are two important things to remember as you create your account. 

  • You must use your Saint Michael’s College email address to create your account. 
  • Once you enter your information, you’ll receive an email with a link to confirm your 

The testing station where you can pick up and drop off a Color test kit is in the lobby of the Bergeron Wellness Center and is available to students, faculty, and staff from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1:30-4:00 p.m. Monday – Friday. No appointment is necessary, but you must have a Color account in place. This video explains how to activate your kit and conduct a self-test.  

COVID-19 Vaccines

As a reminder, Saint Michael’s College requires COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. If you are a new student, you are required to send in your updated vaccine and booster information to healthservices@smcvt.edu before arriving on campus. Please do this now so you don’t forget as your to-do list grows approaching move-in time. 

Fall Guidelines

You can find current guidelines on the COVID pages of the website. We will not be conducting surveillance testing, but we do require that students exhibiting COVID symptoms of any kind, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, fever, headache, upset stomach (including very mild symptoms) test before returning to campus. You do not have to submit your test results before or after arriving on campus. If you test negative, no action is necessary. If you test positive, please email ReturntoCampus@smcvt.edu to make arrangements for your late arrival. 

We look forward to having you all on campus soon! 

Sincerely,  

Lorraine Sterritt
President 

Updated March 31, 2022

From President Lorraine Sterritt

Dear Saint Michael’s family, 

The Executive Policy Group (EPG) has deliberated on the question of updates to our mask policy. Our updated policy below reflects our ongoing desire to protect the health and safety of our community while recognizing that our high vaccination rate, low positivity rate, access to rapid tests, and changes to masking guidelines nationally and within the State present the opportunity to allow for some personal discretion. We have also received the results of the surveillance testing conducted on March 21 (6 positive cases) and March 28 (3 positive cases). 

Effective April 1, 2022, our mask policy for students, faculty, staff, and visitors will be as follows: 

  • Masks are required through May 15 in classes, labs, Bergeron Wellness Center, College vehicles, and for anyone who is feeling unwell. 
  • Masks are optional in all other settings. 
  • Anyone who wishes to continue to wear a mask in any setting will have the full support of the College in doing so. Each of us hasour own circumstances and concerns, and we must all respect the decision of anyone who chooses to continue to wear a mask, as many of us will.  
  • All students, faculty, staff, and visitors are strongly encouraged to carry a mask at all times. 

We are treating the rest of this semester as a transitional period in anticipation of being fully mask-optional in the fall if conditions warrant it. Personal responsibility and decisions based on individual circumstances will play an increased role as we transition into an endemic phase. We know we will continue to see positive cases, but you can help keep our community healthy by staying home if you have symptoms, continuing to carry a mask, and taking advantage of testing on campus. Of course, we will continue to monitor COVID, and we will adjust this policy as needed. 

To review updates to overall COVID policies, please visit our COVID website. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write to returntocampus@smcvt.edu. 

We thank all the faculty, staff, and students who reached out to us to share their thoughts about policies for the rest of the semester.  

I wish you all the very best for the remaining weeks, and as warmer weather makes its way to Vermont, I hope that you will take full advantage of the beautiful outdoors and all that the advent of Spring holds in store for us.  

Sincerely yours, 

Lorraine Sterritt
President 

Updated March 11, 2022

From President Lorraine Sterritt

Dear Saint Michael’s family,

I am sure you are all eagerly anticipating Spring Break next week. For those of you who will be leaving campus, best wishes for smooth travels.

The Executive Policy Group (EPG) met with student, faculty, and staff representatives on Wednesday to hear their perspectives on COVID policy for after the break. I want to thank each of those representatives for sharing their thoughts with us and for representing their constituents is such a thoughtful manner. The EPG will take all perspectives into account as we determine the COVID guidelines for after the break. We will not, however, make a decision about any changes to guidelines until after we return from Spring Break and have results from a second round of surveillance tests (please see below). The mask policy will, therefore, remain in place at least until the end of March.

Important Return and Testing Reminders

• Should you feel unwell over the break, please get tested and verify that you are negative for COVID before returning to campus. If students test positive or contract and recover from COVID over the break, please email the Bergeron Wellness Center at healthservices@smcvt.edu to plan for your return to campus.

• We will conduct mandatory student surveillance testing after Spring Break on Monday, March 21, and then again on Monday, March 28. Walk-in testing will take place on the track in the Tarrant Center from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. No appointment is necessary, and testing is open to faculty and staff as well.

• After you complete your second test on Monday the 28th, the College will offer you two free rapid antigen tests for your own future use. If you have recovered from COVID within the past ninety days, you are exempt from testing upon returning to campus. You are still invited to pick up two free antigen tests for future use from the Tarrant Track during testing on the 28th.

If you have any questions, please feel free to write to returntocampus@smcvt.edu. As always, thank you all for treating each other with such care and respect. I wish you all a fun and safe Spring Break.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt
President

Updated February 25, 2022

From President Lorraine Sterritt

Dear Saint Michael’s family,

We are very pleased to see that COVID infection rates are declining both nationally and in our region. The Executive Policy Group (EPG) here at Saint Michael’s has been watching these positive changes closely, communicating with the Vermont Department of Health and our peers in the State, and discussing how and when to amend our campus guidelines. Fundamental to our deliberation is consideration for the welfare of our community.

Preparing for a Transition to Endemic

As we all hear more about relaxing mandates and the pandemic evolving to an endemic phase, it may be helpful to understand what that means. Stated simply, a disease is endemic when it is consistently present within a population or geographic region. That said, as you can imagine, the transition from pandemic to endemic is far from simple.

The factors we watch as we consider changing COVID guidelines are trending in the right direction. Infection and hospitalization rates due to the virus are falling in the State and nationally. On campus, we are seeing a low and very manageable number of infections weekly, with no serious illness. Most importantly, our community vaccination rate, including boosters, is over 96%. These developments and factors allow us to plan for a transition to an endemic phase where we are coexisting with the virus at a time when we will rely less on prescriptive policies and more on personal responsibility and individuals’ respect for the needs of those around them. We know that we have the resources in place to manage the health and safety of our community and to pivot as necessary in the future. We must understand that as this pandemic becomes endemic it does not mean that guidelines will be discontinued, but rather that there may be times of low infection when there are few or no guidelines and other times when higher infection rates necessitate that we all return to certain health and safety practices.

Guidelines

We have decided to keep the indoor mask mandate in place at this time, and we will reassess the need for a mask mandate after Spring Break (March 14-18). Upon return from Spring Break, students will undergo return testing similar to the testing we conducted at the beginning of this semester. The results of these tests, combined with a review of trends in the State and situations on other area campuses, will guide our decisions about whether to lift some or all of the remaining COVID guidelines. In the event that we lift the overall mask mandate, we will also determine in what situations masks may still be required, and we will communicate these decisions to you. We ask that everyone be mindful of the need to recognize and respect the different circumstances that members of our community experience.

Finally, I want to take a moment to thank you again for caring for one another and for taking measures and making sacrifices to stay healthy. Be well.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt
President

Updated January 26, 2022

Message from President Lorraine Sterritt

Dear Saint Michael’s community,

Today we received results from Monday’s surveillance tests. Out of 885 tests that were conducted, we received 19 positive results. These students have been moved to isolation, and the Bergeron Wellness Center is working with them to do contact tracing. Based on regional trends and the experiences of other colleges and universities, we had prepared for higher numbers in this round of testing. I want to thank all of you for being so conscientious and vigilant before coming back to campus and since you have been here. You’ve been coming to Bergeron when you don’t feel well and self-isolating until you get test results. These actions are making a difference, and they are a testament to the wonderful community we have.

I want to stress that we must all continue to be conscientious and vigilant and support our students who must isolate. We will continue to have cases. Keeping each other healthy and safe, with few disruptions in our semester, means continuing to wear masks. One of the best things you can do is to monitor your own wellness closely and get tested if you experience even minor symptoms.

I am happy to report that since the current active case count falls below our projections, we are removing the additional guidelines that were temporarily put in place.

  • Tarrant and the Dion workout room are now open for recreational use.
  • Students may now register parties, but please keep them smaller than you would under normal circumstances, and do not exceed the capacity limits for your residence. Do not attend any gatherings if you feel at all unwell.
  • Non-Saint Michael’s student visitors are allowed. Please be sure these visitors are vaccinated and have received their booster if eligible, and that they do not have any symptoms.
  • Multi-student in-person meetings are permitted. Please be sure to wear masks and that everyone is feeling well.

How to order free rapid tests/On-campus PCR testing

It is useful for everyone to have access to a few rapid home tests. You can order four free at-home COVID rapid tests from the federal government’s website at www.covidtests.gov. The College still provides free PCR testing to any student who has symptoms through the Bergeron Wellness Center, and the Alliot testing center for asymptomatic students, faculty, and staff is now available on Tuesdays from 9:00 – 12:00. You can schedule a time here.

Masking

I have heard that it would be helpful to provide additional information about masking. You can read about what masks are acceptable, how to maintain your mask, and where to order free masks by visiting our COVID web pages, under additional information on masks.

Please stay warm and keep caring for one another.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt
President

Updated January 15, 2022

Message from President Lorraine Sterritt

Content Highlights:  

  • Confirming arrival Sunday
  • Important updates regarding isolation and quarantine
  • Updated temporary guidelines
  • Boosters
  • Permission
  • Masks

Dear students,

We look forward to welcoming you back on Sunday. Here on campus, we have been tracking the Omicron variant, meeting with leaders and medical professionals at schools that are already in session, assessing the newest guidance from the CDC and the Vermont Department of Health, and reviewing our plans and policies.

As you have heard, the Omicron variant is highly transmissible, so the beginning of this semester is going to require patience from all of us. As our Governor said in his press conference this week, Omicron moves quickly, and it requires that we be nimble. We are very likely to see more cases on campus than we have at any other time during this pandemic. Thankfully, for those who are fully protected with a vaccine and booster, the symptoms are very likely to be less severe. Still, it will demand much of all of us as faculty, staff, and administrators work tirelessly to serve our students while possibly dealing with COVID in our own families. Understanding and flexibility will be crucially important. We have a solid plan in place, and I want to acknowledge and thank everyone for their hard work, dedication, and patience.

Schedule Reminder  

  • Monday, January 17: Classes begin remotely; mandatory testing for all students (bring your vaccination card).
  • Thursday, January 20: Anticipated return to in-person classes.
  • Monday, January 24: Second round of mandatory testing for all students.

Isolation (positive cases) 

Students who test positive are required to isolate for up to 10 days, with the possibility of early release from isolation under certain circumstances (see isolation guidelines on the COVID web pages). If you test positive, you will be given an information packet with a packing list, advice, and important contacts:

  • Students who can safely travel home to isolate will be asked to do so.
  • Those who cannot return home will isolate in Joyce Hall or Ryan Hall.
  • Students who are isolating in Joyce or Ryan will be able to leave isolation briefly to go outside and to access to-go meals, which will be served in Eddie’s Lounge. A meal schedule with pickup times will be provided.
  • Students who violate policies while in isolation will be sent home to finish their isolation.

Quarantine (close contacts who are not vaccinated and boosted) 

Students who are not vaccinated and boosted and are identified as close contacts will be required to quarantine. Students required to quarantine will be provided with an information packet.

  • Students who can safely travel home to quarantine will be asked to do so.
  • Students will be moved to another building if unable to quarantine in place.
  • Students who are quarantining will be able to leave briefly to go outside and to access to-go meals, which will be served in Eddie’s Lounge. A meal schedule with pickup times will be provided to all students required to quarantine.

Updated Guidelines  

Until we have received results from the mandatory surveillance testing on Monday, January 24, and can re-evaluate, we will be limiting some activities on campus.

  • Tarrant and the Dion workout room will be closed for recreational use.
  • There will be no party registration process during this period. When gathering, please keep your group small and make sure everyone is free of symptoms.
  • Non-Saint Michael’s student visitors are not permitted in the residence halls. This does not include family members who may be helping you move back to campus this weekend.
  • All multi-student in-person meetings that are not classes should be conducted remotely. This includes student organizations, club meetings, etc.

Boosters 

As you know, boosters are required. Students may upload their boosters by logging in with their credentials here.

Please encourage your classmates who have not yet uploaded their information to do it now. It is critical that we have everyone identified who has not yet received a booster. You must bring your vaccine card to the mandatory testing in Tarrant on Monday. If you are not yet eligible for a booster, we will make note of your eligibility date. If you are eligible, but have not yet received your booster, a booster clinic will be available right there in the gymnasium.

Permission 

At the testing on Monday, you will be asked to sign a form indicating whether or not you give permission for the College to inform your professors and identify you if you test positive for COVID. Having such permission will make it much easier for us to keep professors informed on your behalf.

Masks 

The Omicron variant’s increased transmissibility makes certain kinds of masks less effective. A cloth mask by itself is not adequate. Consider a surgical mask alone or doubled up, a surgical mask under a cloth mask, or a KN95/N95. Indoor masking is required on campus unless you are dining or in your residence.

I am optimistic that after we get through these difficult few weeks, we will feel the days getting longer and spring approaching. There will be less talk of what we can’t do and so much more about what we CAN do. I put my faith in this community–that we will continue to work in partnership and support one another.

As always, please don’t hesitate to write to returntocampus@smcvt.edu if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt

President

Updated January 7, 2022

Message from Dawn Ellinwood, Vice President for Student Life

Dear students,

I hope your break is going well and that you are healthy. We are looking forward to having you all back on campus on Sunday, January 16. I am writing to you to let you know about changes to our isolation and quarantine guidelines for the spring semester. Keep in mind that these guidelines can change as the situation in our region or on campus changes. If you have questions, please write to returntocampus@smcvt.edu, and we will do our best to answer promptly.

Isolation:

Under updated CDC and Vermont Department of Health (VDH) guidance, a person who tests positive for COVID needs to isolate for at least 5 days, wear a mask for a full 10 days both indoors and outdoors, and notify all close contacts (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) that they have tested positive.

You can leave isolation when you meet ALL three of these conditions:

  1. You no longer have symptoms or symptoms have significantly improved.
  2. You have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine that reduces fever, AND
  3. You have had two NEGATIVE rapid tests 24 hours apart. The test may not be given any earlier than 4 days into your isolation. In other words, if you are asymptomatic at day 4, you can test on day 4 and day 5 and be released from isolation only after both of these tests are negative. You must continue to wear a mask around others. If either of the tests are positive, your isolation will be extended until 2 consecutive negative tests are obtained, but no longer than 10 days in total. The Bergeron Wellness Center will provide you with rapid tests.

If you meet these criteria, contact the Bergeron Wellness Center at (802) 654-2234 to be released from isolation.

If it is safe and possible for you to travel independently and go home to isolate, we ask that you do so. If you choose to go home, someone from the Bergeron Wellness Center will help you make a plan to depart and return to campus safely.

Quarantine:

This updated guidance reflects recently updated information from the CDC and VDH for people to follow post exposure based on vaccination status.

If you are fully vaccinated, which is defined as receiving a full series of your vaccine PLUS your booster if you are eligible, students only need to watch for symptoms and call the Bergeron Wellness Center at (802) 654-2234 if you do not feel well. You do NOT need to quarantine! Please contact us to schedule a PCR test 5-7 days after your exposure. We DO ask that you be extra diligent about wearing a mask around others for the following 10 days which includes in all buildings and in all social situations.

If you are NOT fully vaccinated, which is defined as no vaccine, OR not having received a booster though currently eligible, you must follow these instructions:

  • Quarantine in your room for 5-7 days. If you live with a roommate, we may need to move you to quarantine housing in a separate residence hall.
  • You can test at day 5 and, once you receive a negative result of that test, you may leave your quarantine.
  • You MUST continue to wear a mask for a full 10 days in all buildings and in all social situations.
  • Some students prefer to go home (if nearby) to quarantine. If you do prefer to go home, please let the Bergeron Wellness Center know so they can help you plan for it.

Reminder, you will need to test negative to return to campus on January 16. Please hold on to (or take a picture of) the negative result of your pre-arrival test and have it available upon your arrival to campus.

I hope this updated information is helpful and clear. Please enjoy the rest of your break. I look forward to seeing you all back on campus on the 16th.

All the best,

Dawn

Updated January 6, 2022

Message from President Lorraine Sterritt

Content Highlights:

  • Boosters: required – bring evidence on the 17th or upload now
  • Move-in and classes during the first week
  • Testing: Prior to arrival, on 17th, and on 24th
  • If you had COVID over the break
  • Quarantine and Isolation

Dear students,

I hope you enjoyed the Christmas holiday and had a safe and happy new year. We are busy preparing for your return to campus.

I am writing to provide you with important updates on plans for the Spring semester. As I’m sure you know, Omicron is widespread, and we expect that we will see more cases of COVID this Spring semester. So, as I share these plans with you, please know that they are subject to change should conditions in our region or on campus change. We must be flexible and adaptable as we have all been throughout this pandemic. We will do everything we can to provide the best living and learning environment possible, while ensuring everyone is as safe as they can be.

Boosters are REQUIRED

To protect themselves and others, students who are eligible are required to get a COVID booster shot before returning to campus. If you are eligible but have not gotten your booster shot before returning to campus, additional COVID protocols will apply to you, and ultimately, you will not be able to register for classes for the Fall semester. Undergraduate students are required to upload their booster information to the Vaccine Record page on the portal. Graduate students must upload their booster information here. We will be checking your booster status on January 17 (see below). For those who have not been able to access their booster shots prior to returning to campus, we will offer a booster vaccine clinic in Tarrant Gym on Monday, January 17,  from 9:00-3:00 (same times and location as testing). All three vaccines will be available. This is a walk-in clinic and will be open to all students, faculty, and staff who are eligible but not yet vaccinated with the booster.

Move-in and Classes

Move-in will be January 16, as planned. Classes will begin remotely on Monday, January 17 and continue remotely through Wednesday, January 19. In-person classes are slated to  begin on Thursday, January 20. Do not come to campus if you are experiencing any COVID symptoms, or you have been exposed to someone who you know or believe has COVID, or you have tested positive for COVID-19 within 10 days prior to your arrival date. Please contact the Bergeron Wellness Center to make them aware healthservices@smcvt.edu.

COVID Testing 

We are requiring a three-step testing protocol for all students for the Spring semester:

  1. Pre-arrival testing: Students are required to test prior to returning to campus (within 72 hours of arrival). Either a rapid antigen test or a PCR test is acceptable. If you receive a positive test result, please stay home and contact the Bergeron Wellness Center by sending an email to healthservices@smcvt.edu.
  2. Mandatory surveillance test #1:  All students must be tested on Monday, January 17. Testing will take place on the track in the Tarrant Center from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This will be “walk-in,” so while it is mandatory, no appointment is necessary. Please bring evidence of your booster with you.
  3. Mandatory surveillance test #2:  All students must be tested again on Monday, January 24, with the same location and hours as the previous Monday.

Please note that you should not be tested and are exempt from these days of testing if you have had COVID in the previous 90 days.

We will continue to have a location in Alliot for optional asymptomatic testing. That information will be posted on the portal and shared in future communications when the schedule has been finalized.

If you had COVID during the break

Please let the Bergeron Wellness Center know that you had COVID by emailing healthservices@smcvt.edu so that they can make a note of it on your health record. While you will not be required to undergo mandatory testing within 90 days of recovering, you will still be required to adhere to all mask and any gathering policies in place during the semester.

Quarantine and isolation

The Vermont Department of Health has communicated that it is adopting the new quarantine and isolation protocols announced recently by the CDC, with some modifications. We are reviewing those changes to determine whether we can safely make any changes to our campus guidelines for the spring, and we will let you know as soon as we have made that determination.

Mask Reminder

Masks continue to be a crucial part of our safety protocols and are required in all indoor spaces except when dining or in your own residence. Please wear an appropriate mask and wear it correctly–over your nose and mouth.

If you have any questions, please feel free to write to returntocampus@smcvt.edu.

Please enjoy the rest of your break and stay safe. We very much look forward to seeing you soon.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt

President

Updated Dec. 21, 2021

Dear Students,

Now that exams are behind you, I hope this message finds you relaxed and preparing to enjoy a well-deserved break. Thank you all for working hard to keep yourselves and each other safe. I’d like to offer a particular thank you to CAN+ for their partnership in our COVID education efforts this semester.

Here on campus, we are working hard to plan for a healthy and safe spring semester. We continue to monitor COVID and the Omicron variant with vigilance. We attended a meeting with Vermont college leaders and the Vermont Department of Health today, and the Executive Policy Group held our regular meeting to prepare for the semester ahead. We have a few important updates for you.

Return Testing

Due to the potential for rapid spread of the Omicron variant, we want to do all we can to ensure that we have a healthy start to the semester.

  • All students are required to return to campus with evidence of a negative test within 72 hours prior to their arrival. We will send additional details in the new year, but please plan to get tested prior to your return. If you receive a positive test result, please stay home and contact the Bergeron Wellness Center by sending an email to healthservices@smcvt.edu.
  • The College will conduct surveillance testing of all students on January 17th and again on January 24th.

Booster Reminder

The most important mitigation tool we have is the vaccine. As you know, the booster is required as part of the College’s vaccination mandate. If you have not yet received your booster, please make plans to do so as soon as you are eligible.

  • Undergraduate Students: please upload your booster documentation
  • Graduate students: please upload your booster documentation here.

I send you my very best wishes for a peaceful, joyful holiday. We look forward to a new year together!

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt
President

Updated December 10, 2021

Message from President Lorraine Sterritt

Dear students,

Thank you to all of you for carefully monitoring symptoms and getting tested when you felt at all unwell. This has been the key to our low numbers these past few weeks.

Last week I wrote to you about the importance of getting your booster and your flu shot. I am writing again to provide information and to stress the importance of getting your vaccinations. The Executive Policy Group is requiring that you receive the COVID-19 booster, and we hope you find the following FAQs helpful as you make your plans. You’ll find answers to other common questions about boosters on the Vermont Department of Health website.

Am I eligible for the COVID booster? 

Everyone in our community is eligible if you are at least six months from your last Pfizer or Moderna vaccination or at least two months from your Johnson & Johnson vaccination. According to the Vermont Department of Health (VDH), you are not fully protected against COVID-19 if you are eligible for but have not yet received your booster, so please mark your calendar for that important eligibility date.

Where can I get my COVID booster or flu shot? 

If you are going to schedule your COVID booster or flu shot while you are home over break, there is a great online tool you can use to find an appointment near you at vaccines.gov. There are also locations throughout the area on the VDH website. If you used the VDH site to get your first dose (Johnson & Johnson) or second dose (Pfizer or Moderna), you can make your appointment online. If you did not use their system for your initial doses or have difficulty using the online scheduler, you can call 855-722-7878 to set up your appointment. The VDH website has information about all the locations in the area, including pharmacies, and explains how to set up your appointment.

When should I get my COVID booster or flu shot?  

If you are eligible based on the date of your last COVID vaccine, then you are required to have a COVID booster before returning to campus for the spring semester. Students who become eligible after the start of the spring semester are asked to schedule a booster as soon as possible. If you can schedule a booster locally before the start of the Christmas break, please consider the timing and any final coursework or exams you may have. You may not feel well the following day as your body’s immune response is triggered by the booster.

Mandatory booster documentation upload 

Once you have received your booster, undergraduate students need to upload their booster information to the Vaccination Record page on the portal. Graduate students can upload their booster information here.

I know it is a busy time, and I hope you have found this information helpful. I offer you my sincere encouragement as you prepare for your exams and complete your final projects. The holidays are just around the corner!

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt
President

Updated December 1, 2021

Message from President Lorraine Sterritt

Content Highlights:  

  • Campus status
  • Feeling unwell?
  • Boosters
  • Flu shots
  • Testing in Alliot
  • Updated guidelines and reminders

Dear Saint Michael’s community,

I hope you all enjoyed the Thanksgiving break.

Results from the mandatory student testing conducted on Monday are back, and five students tested positive. Those students are in isolation and being cared for and supported by our folks in Student Life. Positive cases were expected from these tests as COVID is widespread in our region. As we share our care and concern for those who tested positive, we are also grateful for the low numbers as we come back together.

If you don’t feel well 
We also have our first case of flu recorded on campus. That, together with the persistence of COVID, is an important reminder that you must avoid contact with others and get tested if you don’t feel well. Students should contact the Bergeron Wellness Center at 802-654-2234 with even the mildest of symptoms (e.g., headache, sniffles). The Dean’s office is reminding faculty of the need to accommodate any student who is awaiting test results.

Boosters 
Everyone in our community is now eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot if enough time has elapsed since their last shot. We encourage you to get your booster as soon as you are six months from your last Moderna or Pfizer vaccination, or two months from your Johnson & Johnson vaccine. You should get it before the Christmas break if at all possible. Booster shots are much easier to schedule and get in Vermont than in many other states in the region. You can schedule your booster and check available locations on the Vermont Department of Health site, which also has links to area pharmacies to schedule a booster. After receiving the booster, students should upload their information here and employees should upload their booster information here.

Flu Shots 
If you were not able to take advantage of the flu shot clinic held on campus, we encourage you to schedule a flu shot as soon as you can.

Testing in Alliot 
The asymptomatic testing center in Alliot Hall room 205 will continue through December 17. Students, faculty, and staff are still able to schedule a test here.

COVID Guideline updates & reminders 
Based on the current status of our campus, we are lifting the additional restrictions put into place during our spike in cases and returning to our original Fall policies.

  • Masks: Masks are still required indoors unless you are dining or in your private residence, and they are recommended in outdoor settings should you find yourself in a situation where distancing is difficult. Please wear your mask correctly—over your nose and mouth.
  • Gatherings: Students may now gather in groups greater than 10. Party registration for townhouse residents will be available on Friday at noon in Alliot. Please watch for additional party registration information from your Residence Director. Students must still adhere to established Student Life policies. Please use your judgement about when to wear a mask in outdoor gatherings, for example, in situations where it is difficult to maintain distance. Again, I want to stress that anyone feeling even mildly ill must not attend any gathering and should contact Bergeron at 802-654-2234.
  • Visitors: Students are now allowed to have guests from off campus as long as those guests are feeling well and adhere to all campus policies.

If you have any questions about these guidelines or other COVID related information, you may send your questions to returntocampus@smcvt.edu.

I wish you all the very best for the home stretch of the semester as we gear up for finals and the Christmas break.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt
President

Updated November 18, 2021

Message from President Lorraine Sterritt

Dear Saint Michael’s community,

I am pleased to let you know that the number of new COVID cases has dropped significantly. The trend is reflected on the dashboard which shows the data from the end of the previous day. Thanks to everyone for helping to bring about this dramatic decline in case numbers. We are in a much better place as we prepare to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. Asymptomatic testing is still available in Alliot 205 today until 1:00 p.m. and tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. if you would like to be tested prior to the break.

Importantly, before returning to campus, contact Student Health Services if:  

  • You feel unwell and need to arrive late to campus
  • You have developed COVID and will extend your home stay
  • You have developed COVID and need to finish isolation on campus

Email: HealthServices@smcvt.edu

Return Testing: Monday, November 29 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

The College will have mandatory surveillance testing for all students on Monday, November 29 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This will be “walk-in,” so while it is mandatory, no appointment is necessary. It will be held in the Tarrant Center on the track. Employees are also welcome to take advantage of this testing opportunity. Please note that you should not test and are exempt from this day of testing if you have had COVID in the last 90 days.

Community Forum 

Yesterday’s Community Forum was recorded, and you can find that recording here.

We all hope that you have a wonderful break, and we look forward to welcoming you back to campus rested and ready for classes.

Be well.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt
President

Updated November 18, 2021

Check out the most recent Zoom Town Hall with with members of the faculty and College administration answering questions about COVID.

Updated November 17, 2021

Message from President Sterritt

Dear Saint Michael’s community,

I am writing to provide you with an update on cases this week, this weekend’s events, and an upcoming community forum. I also want to address the importance and value of our community.

COVID Updates 

The test results from Wednesday are back, and we have two positive results out of the 195 tests that were conducted. Contact tracing is complete, and the students are isolating. The majority of Wednesday and Thursday’s tests were conducted for asymptomatic members of our community who utilized the new testing center that was set up in Alliot. This week, the number of students who were tested due to COVID-like symptoms dropped significantly. Since Monday, we have received 21 new positive results, and while that is above where we want to be, it is far below the prior week in which we spiked so quickly. These are good developments. I want to thank everyone for the hard work they have done to ensure that the number of positive cases is decreasing.

In her message to you yesterday, Vice President Ellinwood shared details on the policies that will be in place through Thanksgiving. The Executive Policy Group is continuing to meet regularly, evaluate policies, and consult with health professionals. Students have asked if we have plans to return to “households.” Because we are a highly vaccinated community, and more and more people are becoming eligible to receive boosters, returning to “households” is no longer a protocol that is recommended for a campus community like ours.

Weekend Events 

We are excited to host our second fall Open House tomorrow. In addition to visitors being required to be vaccinated or test negative within 72 hours of the event, we have communicated with visiting families about the recent uptick in COVID cases and introduced additional mitigation strategies. We have asked our Saint Michael’s participants to get tested, introduced modifications to the programming to provide lower density sessions, and adapted the schedule and facilities.

Community Forum 

The Executive Policy Group is working on organizing a Community Forum via Zoom. We will communicate the details of the event as soon as they are confirmed.

Our Community  

The days since we had this spike in cases have been difficult for all of us. First, I want to acknowledge that it has been most difficult for those students who are now in isolation. They deserve our care and support. I thank all of you for the work you are doing to deliver meals and to care for our students. I also want to thank the student body for all that you are doing to protect yourselves and others. The vast majority of our students are doing a very good job adhering to our COVID guidelines. I should have made this clear in my message last Sunday, and I am sorry that I did not. I know that this impacted our students. We on the Executive Policy Group fully recognize how difficult it is to be a college student during a pandemic. We very much want you all to have fun and to be safe at the same time.

This community is our most precious resource. We come together to face challenges and to overcome difficult circumstances—it is as a community that we grow, heal, and succeed. I look forward to coming together and to the brighter days sure to come.

I hope that everyone will have a restful weekend as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.

Be well.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt

President

Updated November 11, 2021

Dear Students,

The Executive Policy Group met yesterday with your Student Government Association (SGA) Executive Board. They raised the issue of the need for additional clarity around gatherings through Thanksgiving. I hope this provides you all with that added clarity. Shortly after Thanksgiving, we can revisit these policies.

In-person student social gatherings: 

  • Gatherings must be limited to ten or fewer people if indoors.
  • Do not gather with others if you are feeling unwell.
  • Wear masks indoors in all common areas. If within your personal space, use your discretion, but we advise you to continue to wear your mask outside of your immediate residence and when you are indoors with people who are not your roommates.
  • No parties are permitted – registered or not.
  • No non-Saint Michael’s student guests are allowed on campus unless they are attending a College-sponsored event.

Note about Students in Isolation
Students isolating in Joyce are permitted to leave the hall under certain circumstances for fresh air and exercise. Please do not assume these students are breaking the rules. We want to support them in every way we can.

Counseling
I also want to remind you to take care of yourselves. Your mental health is a big part of your self-care. The dynamic nature of living in a pandemic can be a source of added stress and anxiety. Counselors are available through the Bergeron Wellness Center. Please contact them if you feel the need at 802-654-2234 to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are also available every afternoon.

Halloween
I just wanted to say another thing based on feedback from the SGA. As we shared with you in Sunday’s message, the timing and contact tracing indicate that the spread of our cases took place primarily at Halloween gatherings. However, I want to stress that we also know that the vast majority of you went to great lengths to adhere to policies. We thank you for that. We all long to have fun together and unfortunately, the coincidence of Halloween weekend, a few symptomatic students, and the rain which drove everyone indoors into tight spaces created an opportunity for this virus to spread quickly. The intent of our message last Sunday naming Halloween gatherings as the probable cause was to be transparent and to educate students about high-risk behavior. Yet the impact of our statement caused disillusion among all those students who had abided by all the health and safety policies. We sincerely regret that.

As we continue working together, I am confident that we will get back to where we were soon. Please be kind to each other and remember what we have learned – if you do not feel well, do not socialize, get tested, and wear your mask!

Be well and thank you,
Dawn

Updated November 9, 2021

Message from President Sterritt

Dear Saint Michael’s community,

As promised, we have set up a testing center on campus for asymptomatic students, faculty, and staff who want or need to schedule a COVID test. The center will be located in Eddie’s Lounge on the second floor of Alliot starting tomorrow. There will be plenty of availability, but an appointment is needed. An email will go out shortly from the Office of Student Life with details and a link to schedule a test.

This testing center is for asymptomatic tests only. Students who are symptomatic, please contact the Bergeron Wellness Center for testing, and any faculty and staff members who are symptomatic should contact their primary care provider or schedule a test at a local testing center.

On behalf of the Executive Policy Group, I also want to acknowledge that the vast majority of our students have been adhering to our COVID guidelines and using very good judgement in their social interactions. We really appreciate that they have done so, and we thank them. We also acknowledge the many sacrifices that this has involved. We have a great community that is very highly vaccinated, and we are optimistic that this will help us get through this situation quickly and safely, and that we will be able to avoid the additional social limitations we were constrained by last year.

We have also heard from some students requesting clarification about policies relating to parties, gatherings, and mask wearing. The Executive Policy Group will discuss these points, and VP for Student Affairs Dawn Ellinwood will send a message to provide clarification.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to write to returntocampus@smcvt.edu.

Please be well.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt

President

Updated November 7, 2021

Dear Saint Michael’s community,  

As of this email we have received the results from the student testing for COVID that was done through Friday, and we have another 14 positive cases. These students have been moved to isolation on campus or have gone home to isolate. It is important to note that we have no students at this time who are experiencing symptoms that have required hospitalization.  

The situation we are in was not inevitable. We were doing really well as a community up to the point where there were numerous Halloween parties where students were unmasked and in close contact. We are managing this situation, and we will get back to where we need to be, but we need to be clear about what caused this disruption to all of our lives. It was the disregard for our health and safety guidelines and College policies on the part of some members of our community. 

We are deeply saddened that the investigation of the genesis of this increase in positive cases points to Halloween parties as being a significant part of the problem. I call on all members of our community to act responsibly in order to protect the entire community. 

Failure to comply with the College’s policies during a pandemic can have very serious consequences for one’s own safety, for the safety of other community members and their families, and for the functioning of the College. Non-compliance with COVID guidelines will be met with severe sanctions.

Classes for this week
Classes will be in-person beginning tomorrow, with faculty members having discretion through the Thanksgiving break to offer some or all of their classes virtually. Faculty will receive a follow-up message from Academic Affairs with further details, and students should watch for communications from their faculty members. We are thankful for the seating charts that have been provided to the Bergeron Wellness Center, which has helped with contact tracing. We continue to ask that faculty maintain seating charts. 

Meetings
Employees may meet in person or virtually, at the discretion of the meeting organizer and attendees. 

Masking
Proper masking indoors (i.e., mask over your nose and mouth) is still required, even in social gatherings with people you know. For outdoor activities in groups where distancing is not possible, please also wear your mask. 

Testing
A testing center is being set up in a central campus location to provide tests for any and all asymptomatic students, faculty, and staff who want a COVID test. Times and location will be communicated as soon as we have confirmation of the details. Symptomatic students should still go to the Bergeron Wellness Center for testing. Employees who are symptomatic should contact their primary care provider or visit the VDH website for symptomatic testing locations 

We are in regular consultation with the VDH. The VDH and the CDC do not recommend asymptomatic surveillance testing in such a highly vaccinated community. The College will, however, require all students returning from the Thanksgiving holiday to be tested on Monday the 29th between 9 am and 3 pm in Tarrant on the track due to travel and social mixing.  

Student gatherings and visitors
In-person student social gatherings through Thanksgiving are suspended; no party registration will be happening, and this will be reevaluated after Thanksgiving. No non-Saint Michael’s student guests are allowed on campus at this time. Students are asked to limit any unnecessary travel off campus, unless related to academic or work life. 

College events
All in-person College-sponsored events are still permitted; events must be masked and attendees from off campus are required to be vaccinated or provide evidence of a negative test within 72 hours of the event.  

Booster Shots
Please get your COVID booster when you are eligible—all who live or work on a college campus are eligible, provided that they are six months past the last shot for those who previously received Pfizer or Moderna shots, or two months after a Johnson & Johnson shot. The vaccines are effective, but that effectiveness has been shown to wane with time, hence the need for boosters. Students who have received their booster should upload their updated vaccine card here, employees should upload their booster information here.  

We will keep you apprised as the week progresses. If you have questions, please feel free to write to returntocampus@smcvt.edu. 

Please stay safe.  

Sincerely,  

Lorraine Sterritt
President 

Updated November 5, 2021

 

Dear Saint Michael’s community,

As of the sending of this message, the Bergeron Wellness Center has received notification of additional positive cases, making this week’s total 54 positive test results for COVID among our students (since Monday). Contact tracing is underway for the additional cases received today. The Executive Policy Group (EPG) will be meeting on Sunday to assess the status of campus and make decisions about next week’s classes and events and will communicate those decisions by 4 pm on Sunday. If you are symptomatic and awaiting a test or result, you must lie low until you receive your results. Avoid close contact with others, wear your mask at all times, and please avoid social gatherings.

To be in this situation after such a well-managed semester is heartbreaking. In addition to classes being moved on-line today, important athletic events, performances, trips, and other events have been canceled or postponed. Students and families are feeling pain, frustration, and anger–understandably. Faculty and staff are too. My heart goes out to all of you. The cause of this situation is still being investigated, but the timing of these cases points back to the likelihood of Halloween gatherings at least being a part of it. I can’t emphasize enough the crucial importance of abiding by the College’s COVID policies. There are vulnerable people on campus and vulnerable family members in the homes of faculty and staff. It is imperative that everyone make wise choices, choices that take into account the wellbeing of every member of our community.

The Dashboard continues to be updated daily, but please know that we receive results throughout the day, and the reporting is subject to validation and, if necessary, correction as numbers are confirmed. Quarantine and isolation numbers are particularly hard to report accurately as some students decide to isolate at home.

Students, faculty, and staff can get tested nearby at the Health Department’s Winooski location which is at 32 Malletts Bay Avenue between the hours of 9 am – 2 pm Saturday and Sunday. To view other testing sites and hours visit the Health Department website. Any student who tests positive over the weekend should call 802-654-2000 and ask for the assistant dean on duty.

I thank the staff in the Bergeron Wellness Center and Student Life and all the other faculty and staff who are stepping up to care for our students. They are doing heroic work. We have a strong community, and we will get through this by taking care of one another.

Please stay safe.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt
President

Updated November 4, 2021

Message from President Sterritt

Dear Saint Michael’s community,

I am disappointed to report that we received another 31 positive COVID-19 test results today. We are awaiting results from additional testing that was conducted today and have a number of tests already scheduled for tomorrow. We anticipate that we will experience more positive cases in the coming days. This rapid increase, together with today’s significant increase in the state, dictates prudence, so we have decided that all classes tomorrow, Friday November 5, will be conducted virtually. Employees may come to campus but should conduct meetings virtually or allow ample room for distancing.

MASKS: They work, but only if you wear them. Be vigilant and wear your mask correctly!

TESTING: If you are at all unwell, get tested!

We can manage this situation, but everyone must cooperate. The College is well prepared to handle all the necessary care and services that are required, and we are grateful to the Student Life staff and all those who are working to support our students.

The Dashboard will be updated tomorrow with the final count of today’s cases. College staff met with the Vermont Department of Health today and will consult with them again tomorrow. We will continue to provide updates to the community with additional guidance, and we will notify the community about plans for Monday’s classes by 4 pm Sunday.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt
President

Updated November 3, 2021

Message from President Sterritt

Dear Saint Michael’s community,

Today we received ten positive COVID-19 student test results. The students are being moved to isolation, and contact tracing is underway. The dashboard will be updated tomorrow and will reflect the new cases. Since this is the first significant uptick in cases we have seen this semester, we felt it was important to let you know and to remind you that it is critical to be vigilant and adhere to the COVID guidelines.

  • Be sure to wear your mask indoors at all times and outdoors when you cannot safely distance yourself from others.
  • Students who do not feel well should contact the Bergeron Wellness Center to be tested.

We need to do our absolute best to manage this situation well and keep cases low so that we can continue the semester uninterrupted to Thanksgiving.

Please be safe.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt
President

Updated October 15, 2021

Message from President Sterritt

Dear Saint Michael’s community,

Weekly cases reported by the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) are still high for our state, but Saint Michael’s and area campuses are reporting low numbers of cases because of the high vaccination rates and masking policies within our communities. We, and other area colleges, are continuing to see and test students reporting upper respiratory virus or seasonal allergies. Students, faculty, and staff, if you are returning from travel, or experience even mild symptoms, we encourage you to get tested. COVID-19 testing is provided for students on campus and widely available for employees in our local area. Information on local testing is available on the VDH website.

COVID-19 Booster Shots

As you know, the College requires students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 unless you have an approved medical or religious waiver. Boosters are an important part of the maintenance of your protection, so the Executive Policy Group has determined that our vaccine mandate will include boosters.

  • Pfizer: The FDA recently approved booster shots for certain people who received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago. VDH has notified us that college students are included in the definition of those who are eligible to receive the Pfizer booster, as are faculty and staff who work in higher education. Details and locations can be found on the VDH website.
  • Moderna/Johnson & Johnson: Booster shots for recipients of the Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines are being considered by the FDA. We will keep you apprised when we receive more information.
  • Deadlines & Documentation: Details on deadlines for the requirement are forthcoming as more information becomes available. Students, when you receive your booster, please upload an image of your updated vaccination card here. A link for faculty/staff updated cards is coming soon.

Flu Shots

We also strongly encourage everyone to get the flu vaccine. The College will be hosting on-campus flu clinics for students, faculty, and staff on October 25, November 2, and November 3. For more information and to schedule an appointment, please click here.

Enjoy your break and please travel safely. Keep in mind that you are leaving our highly vaccinated community as you go off campus, so always have your mask with you and wear it indoors or out if you find yourself in situations where you cannot maintain physical distance.

Be well.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt
President

Updated October 8, 2021

Message from President Sterritt

Dear Saint Michael’s community, 

We are excited to welcome about 100 prospective students and their families to campus tomorrow for our Fall Open House. We thank all those who are volunteering to help us showcase Saint Michael’s College at this beautiful time of year. We want to assure you that we are committed to hosting a fun, engaging, and safe event. Just as we did when we held Commencement 2020 and Alumni and Family Weekend, we have implemented additional COVID-19 protocols for this event. All visitors are required to bring evidence of vaccination or of a negative test taken within 72 hours of arrival. In addition, all participants, families, and Saint Michael’s volunteers are required to be masked indoors and outdoors. Since we are anticipating good weather, we are moving some events outside. Additionally, to reduce density, we are repeating presentations more than once throughout the event. Even if you are not an official volunteer, we encourage everyone to join us in welcoming these future Purple Knights to campus. 

Important Reminder:

The indoor mask mandate is still in place. While we have all been managing the virus very well this semester, its prevalence in the surrounding community is still higher than we would like. Because masks are an essential component of keeping our community safe and our cases very low, we want to stress that everyone must adhere to this requirement. This means wearing a well-fitted mask designed for this purpose and wearing it correctly, namely, over both your mouth and your nose. There have been reports of community members not wearing masks properly. Please do the right thing and consider all those who have unvaccinated children or compromised family members at home. Let’s all demonstrate our respect and care for one another. 

For helpful information about mask-wearing, we encourage you to visit the Vermont Department of Health’s Guide to Masks and COVID-19

Thank you all for all that you are doing. I hope you will get out and make the most of the natural beauty that surrounds us this weekend! 

Be well.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt
President

Updated August 24, 2021

Message from President Sterritt

I have been delighted to see so many of you outdoors enjoying this transition from summer to fall. I’m also pleased that we have had very few positive COVID-19 test results, although the team at the Bergeron Wellness Center has been very busy. I encourage you all to continue to be vigilant. If you have any symptoms, even if you are relatively certain that it is just allergies or a slight cold, please go to see a provider at Bergeron Wellness Center, or a local urgent care facility if it’s an evening or a weekend. Many of you have been doing this, and we thank you for it. Students can contact the Bergeron Wellness Center, and employees can find a variety of testing options nearby. Our COVID dashboard is updated every weekday.

As we stated at the beginning of the semester, the Executive Policy Group reviews the indoor masking mandate on a weekly basis. As of yet, we find that we cannot lift it because we have had a few positive cases, and statewide positivity rates are still relatively high. Please continue to wear your masks indoors. We strongly recommend that you also wear a mask outdoors if you find yourself in a group where social distancing is difficult. Consider this especially as you venture out into the surrounding communities to enjoy the beautiful fall, as you may find yourself in a group that does not have as high a vaccination rate as we have here on campus. We must all bear in mind that many in our community go home each evening to children who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated and to other family members who are also vulnerable.

Changes to Contact Tracing
The Vermont Department of Health (VDH) has advised all institutions of higher education in the State that the VDH cannot conduct timely contact tracing within our community. This means we will be conducting our own contact tracing for students as well as employees who have tested positive and identify contacts within the Saint Michael’s community. Importantly, any close contacts identified outside of the College community will still be contacted by the VDH.

We have created and trained our own contact tracing team. That team will employ the following procedures for conducting contact tracing in the Saint Michael’s community. Please note that your Saint Michael’s College email account is the primary method by which you will be contacted if you are deemed to be a close contact of someone who has tested positive. It is important that you monitor your email account.

Students:

  • If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted by a nurse practitioner from Bergeron Wellness Center as well as by a member of the Saint Michael’s Contact Tracing Team. They, together with Student Life, will work with you to identify any close contacts you may have had and to move you into isolation.
  • If you are identified as a close contact and you are vaccinated, you will receive an email from the Contact Tracing Team explaining what you need to do. You will be asked in the email to acknowledge receipt of the information. Unvaccinated students identified as close contacts will be contacted by phone in addition to email and moved into quarantine.

Employees:

  • If you test positive for COVID-19, do not come to work. Contact your supervisor, department chair, or the dean of the faculty to let them know you will be missing work in order to isolate. Human Resources will be notified, and you will be contacted by a member of the Contact Tracing Team or Human Resources to identify any close contacts within the Saint Michael’s community. The VDH will also contact you about any close contacts you have had outside of your work at the College.
  • If you are identified as a close contact, you will receive an email from the Contact Tracing Team which explains what you need to do. If you are vaccinated, and not exhibiting symptoms, you can continue your normal work schedule. If you are unvaccinated and identified as a close contact you must not come to work. A representative from Human Resources will work with you to identify an appropriate timeline.

Thank you for all that you are doing to keep the community safe. We will continue to combat this virus as one team working together for the good of our entire community and those who live in surrounding communities.

Be well.

Sincerely,
Lorraine Sterritt
President

Updated August 6, 2021

Message from President Sterritt

Dear Saint Michael’s community,

The Executive Policy Group is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Vermont and in our community. In light of the recent trends in our county, and after further consultation with health officials, we are updating our masking policy. Effective Monday, August 9, all employees, students, and guests will be required to wear masks when indoors in shared spaces on campus. This policy applies to all employees and students, regardless of vaccination status. We will continue to review our health and safety guidelines on a weekly basis, and we appreciate your flexibility as we adjust our policies to best position ourselves for a healthy start to a vibrant academic year.

Yours,
Lorraine Sterritt

Updated May 26, 2021

Message from President Sterritt: Campus Summer COVID Policies 

Dear Saint Michael’s community,  

I am pleased to see the low incidence of virus and the high rate of vaccinations here in Vermont. Late last week, in light of that progress, the Governor released new guidelines both for the State and specifically for colleges and universities. The Executive Policy Group has reviewed these new guidelines in detail, and I am writing to share our campus policies for the summer. 

Please understand that our campus policies will remain in place through August 15. While our community is in transition from the spring semester, with some members of our community not yet fully vaccinated, the College’s policies are necessarily more conservative than the State’s guidelines. While we expect that the State will lift restrictions even further in the weeks ahead, the College policies below will remain in place through August 15 for the health and safety of our campus community.  

Summer Health and Safety Policies 

  • Vaccines—As communicated at the end of the spring semester, vaccines are required for students working on campus this summer and for all students in the fall. Students can apply for a religious or medical exemption by completing this form. Employees are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated.  
  • Return to In-Person Work—Employees who have been working remotely will begin a phased transition back to in-person work on June 2, with full in-person operations by June 16, which coincides with our employee appreciation event. Employees who have caregiving responsibilities, or who need more time to make necessary arrangements, should speak with their supervisors.   
  • Masks—Unvaccinated community members must wear a mask when in the presence of others indoors, and outdoors when six feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained. Fully vaccinated community members may choose to wear masks but are not required to wear them indoors or outdoors. All community members are encouraged to carry masks at all times, as many local business and medical offices will continue to require them.  
  • Physical distancing—For their own safety, unvaccinated community members should avoid prolonged close contact indoors and try to maintain six feet of physical distancing indoors and outdoors.  
  • Meetings—Community members may meet in person and at normal room capacity if all attendees are fully vaccinated. If not, or if you are unsure of anyone’s vaccination status, you may choose to meet outdoors, meet in a space large enough to accommodate physical distancing, or meet via Zoom. As you schedule meetings, please respect the privacy of those who may not want to share their vaccination status or who are not vaccinated. 
  • Testing—There will be no surveillance testing conducted on campus. Students who are symptomatic can request a test through the Bergeron Wellness Center. Unvaccinated community members returning from out of state must test for COVID and have a negative result within three days of returning to campus.  
  • Daily Health LogAll community members are still required to complete the daily online health check. The link is posted in the Daily Digest every morning and at the top of the COVID webpages.  
  • Visitors—Fully vaccinated visitors are allowed on campus. Unvaccinated visitors should wear a mask and maintain physical distancing.  
  • Travel—Fully vaccinated community members may travel within the United States with no additional restrictions. Unvaccinated community members must have evidence of a negative COVID test within three days of returning to campus after traveling. There is still a moratorium on all College-sponsored international travel. 
  • Events and Performances—Per the State guidelines, only those events that allow for adequate physical distancing should be conducted.  
  • Dining—The Alliot Dining Hall is open and available for takeout dining to those on meal-plans and those purchasing meals. It will convert to allow for inperson dining later this summer.

Action Items:  

  • Students, when you are fully vaccinated (2 weeks after your final shot) please upload an image of your vaccine card here. 
  • Employees, if you have not already done so, please complete the one-question anonymous vaccination survey sent to you from Human Resources on Tuesday afternoon. The survey results will inform future policy decisions, and it is critical that we have full participation from the community.

This is a time of transition. I understand that for some who have been working remotely, the return to campus is a significant change, just as it was when you began working remotely. As strange as it felt to wear masks when all this began, it may seem strange to go without them now. As we adjust, I ask that you be respectful of the choices of those around you. If there are employees who need support during this period of adjustment, you can reach out to the Employee Assistance Program, and students are encouraged to reach out to the Bergeron Wellness Center. 

We have proven that we are adaptable and that we do what it takes to care for one another at Saint Michael’s College. I ask that you adhere to the guidelines above as we continue to respond to change with concern for one another. It is my hope that this time of transition will also be a time of wellness and renewal for all of us.   

Lorraine Sterritt
President 

Updated May 7, 2021

Student Town Hall

Check out the most recent Zoom Town Hall with students Kristin Burlew and Mackenzie Traska from SMC CAN! facilitating a Q&A about vaccines and the College’s move-out plan.

Updated April 30, 2021

Message from Dawn Ellinwood, Vice President for Student Life

Dear Students,

We had no positive results in testing for COVID-19 this week among students or employees. Thank you all for doing the hard work to keep each other safe and healthy.

Reminders and Updates

  • Move-out: I am happy to report that the State has changed its policy, and you can now have two fully vaccinated family members help you move out of your residence hall. This change was the result of colleges and universities advocating concertedly with the State for the change.
  • Masks outdoors: Today the Governor relaxed the State’s mandate on mask wearing outside, and I am happy to say that we too can adopt this change. If you can maintain physical distance from others (six feet) and are not congregating for an extended period, masks are optional.You must have a mask readily available, should you find yourself in a situation where distancing is difficult. Masks are still required indoors. Please note that there will still be outdoor events at which we require masks. At Commencement on May 13, for example, masks will still be required of all students, guests, faculty, and staff. Any increase in the level of virus on campus or in the surrounding area could also necessitate a return to wearing masks outside.
  • Vaccination opportunities: All students, regardless of Vermont residency, are now allowed to register for a vaccine. Saint Michael’s College will be a location for a State-run vaccination clinic on May 6. Appointments are still available!To learn more about that and other opportunities for vaccinations nearby, you can find the email with more information which was sent to all students yesterday posted to the COVID web pages.
  • Vaccine scheduling: If you have scheduled your vaccine but are not happy with the time or date, try to go in and reschedule. Opportunities are opening up regularly, and some have reported being able to reschedule for a better date/time. Please keep in mind, you want to feel your best for exams!
  • Vaccination records: The Bergeron Wellness Center would like to remind students that if you receive your vaccination(s), please notify the Center so that the staff there can update your medical records. You can do this by uploading an image of your vaccination card online via a secure form. The information will be stored as part of your confidential medical record and will only be accessed by our licensed healthcare providers. Please only complete this form once your vaccine series is complete.
  • Commencement: An informational Zoom was held yesterday to provide an overview of commencement and address student questions. You can find a recording of the Zoom as well as a summary of questions and answers that were asked on the commencement webpage.
  • Guidelines: While we have seen that the State has lifted or modified some health and safety guidelines, we have not learned of additional changes to the guidelines for colleges and universities. You must still wear masks unless outside, limit gatherings outside to groups of 10 or fewer, and stick to your household. If we are able to make any additional changes to guidelines, we will do so with the approval of the State and with an eye toward being sure we finish the semester healthy and able to complete the important academic work we have left.

We have just a few weeks left in the semester. Let’s finish strong—caring and supporting one another so that we are all healthy, safe, and successful.

Be well.

Dawn

Dawn M. Ellinwood, Ed.D.|she, her, hers: pronouns
Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students

Updated April 30, 2021

Message from the Bergeron Wellness Center and VP Dawn Ellinwood

Dear Students and Employees,  

 

As you likely know, vaccination scheduling in Vermont opened today for all students, including non-Vermont residents. If you have not had a chance to get a vaccination or schedule one, there are many locations and dates available throughout the area, and there are a few new opportunities coming up nearby that we want to share with you. If you recently scheduled your vaccine, and these or other opportunities are better for you, you can reschedule using the same online system you used to schedule it. To schedule a vaccine, your first step is to register on the Vermont Health Department Portal, which you can do here. The dates, times, and locations of these vaccine clinics have been set up by the Health Department in conjunction with state and local resources.  

 

NOTE: These are not walk-in clinics. You must register, then schedule your appointment by selecting the location, time, and date.  

 

Location: Saint Michael’s College, Tarrant Recreation Center  

Date/TimeThursday, May 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

These will be one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines. This is a State-run community clinic which will be staffed by the Vermont National Guard and open to all students and employees, as well as to members of the local community. Priority scheduling for Saint Michael’s will be open at 8 a.m. tomorrow (Friday). To secure an appointment at this location, be sure to be registered now and access the portal to schedule your appointment promptly at 8 a.m. or a few minutes before. Appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis, and the number of appointments is limited. Non-SMC community members who use the clinic will be required to leave campus immediately after they receive their vaccine and complete the observation period.  

 

NOTE: Many individuals experience side effects after the vaccine due to the body’s reaction to building protection against the virus. While this is normal, these side effects can mean you could feel quite ill a day or so after receiving your shot. Plan accordingly! If you have a final exam scheduled on May 7 or May 8, consider other dates for a vaccine. The date of this clinic was chosen by the State according to the dates on which they receive supplies of the vaccine. 

 

Location: UVM Medical Center Retail Pharmacies 

The University of Vermont Medical Center has appointments available at its retail pharmacies next week, including at the Fanny Allen complex, which is within walking distance of campus. Students and employees may use this link to schedule at one of these locationsNote: These vaccine appointments are not scheduled through the Vermont Department of Health, but directly through the UVMMC scheduling system. These are currently the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines.  

 

Medical Office Building Pharmacy (Fanny Allen): 790 College Parkway, Colchester 

Main Campus Pharmacy: 111 Colchester Ave., Burlington 

South Prospect St. Pharmacy: 1 South Prospect Street, Burlington 

  

Reminders: The Bergeron Wellness Center would like to remind students that if you receive your vaccination(s), please notify the Center so that the staff can update your medical records. You can do this online via a secure form and upload an image of your vaccination card. The information will be stored as part of your confidential medical record and will only be accessed by our licensed healthcare providers. Please only complete this form once your vaccine series is complete. 

 

We encourage you to make the most of these and other opportunities to get your vaccine, but please remember that you may not feel well for a day or two after receiving it, so please, plan accordingly.  

 

Best,  

Bergeron Wellness Center 

 

Updated April 23, 2021

Message from Dawn Ellinwood, Vice President for Student Life

Content Highlights:

  • Numbers for this week
  • Vaccine requirements
  • Final week testing
  • Commencement Zoom
  • Reminders and Updates

Dear Students,

This week’s results from COVID testing are two positive students and zero positive employees. We continue to have very low numbers and the State’s COVID positivity rate is also getting better. As always, thank you for keeping the community safe and healthy. I know you all hope that this would represent a change in the Alert Status, as well as additional relaxation of certain guidelines. Although we have relaxed a number of guidelines on campus, the consistent (although low) positives each week, together with the high rates we have seen on campuses nearby, have made more relaxation of guidelines neither wise nor within the State’s guidelines.

Vaccine Requirement
Beginning May 23, Saint Michael’s College will add the COVID-19 vaccine to its list of required vaccines for students. This requirement applies to students on campus for summer research or employment and to students returning for the fall semester. Students will also be required to keep their COVID-19 vaccinations up to date as booster shots become available. Students on campus for the summer must at least have their vaccine scheduled or in process by May 23. Saint Michael’s joins a growing list of colleges and universities requiring an updated COVID-19 vaccine to help ensure that the campus is safe and can resume normal operations when appropriate and to protect those who cannot be vaccinated due to medical or religious reasons. Students who qualify may apply for a medical or religious exemption by contacting the Bergeron Wellness Center at 802-654-2234.

Final Week Testing
Mandatory weekly testing will continue through the remainder of the semester, however, during the final week of testing it will be moved to Monday, May 10 and Tuesday, May 11. The location is still the Tarrant Recreation Center, and times remain 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Moving testing up that week will allow students heading home to have their results before leaving campus.

Commencement Zoom
A Zoom Town Hall for students participating in commencement will be held next Thursday, April 29 at 5:30 p.m. Vice President for Academics Jeffrey Trumbower and members of the Commencement Committee will describe plans and answer student questions. The Zoom is for graduating students only and will require a Saint Michael’s email address for access. It will be recorded and a link posted to the commencement page for those who are not able to attend. A link to the Zoom will be posted to the Portal Calendar and in the Daily Digest next week.

Reminders and Updates
The Bergeron Wellness Center would like to again remind students that if you receive your vaccination(s), please notify the Center so that the staff there can update your medical records. You can do this online via a secure form and upload an image of your vaccination card there. The information will be stored as part of your confidential medical record and will only be accessed by our licensed healthcare providers. Please only complete this form once your vaccine series is complete.

The snow was beautiful, but if you are like me, you are happy to see it melt away and the sun and warmth return. It has been an emotional week for all of us. As Fr. Michael reminded us during our vigil, “Whenever you have a chance, do the right thing for your neighbor.” Let’s walk alongside and notice one another in this Saint Michael’s community.

Be well.

Dawn

Dawn M. Ellinwood, Ed.D.|she, her, hers: pronouns
Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students
St. Michael’s College
Colchester, Vermont

Updated April 16, 2021

Message from Dawn Ellinwood, Vice President for Student Life

Content Highlights

  • Week’s COVID numbers
  • Commencement plans
  • Athletics update
  • If you received your vaccination
  • Events and activities

Dear Students,

I was delighted to see that the weather aligned perfectly with your respite days this week! Thank you for your continued efforts to keep our community safe while hopefully enjoying some time to rest and recharge. This week’s results from COVID testing were two positive students and zero positive employees. We are managing the virus well on campus even as the State and the surrounding area struggle with continuing high numbers.

Commencement Plans

Wednesday, graduating students received an email from President Sterritt letting them know about changes to our plans for commencement. You can read about those plans on the Commencement 2021 web pages which we will continue to update as plans take shape. We are happy that changes to the State’s guidelines will allow us to have an in-person, outdoor ceremony.

Athletics Update

This week we were also pleased to announce in an email to you that you can now attend remaining outdoor home athletic contests here on campus. Tickets are limited, and for St. Mike’s students only. You can reserve them through the IMLeagues system (the same one used to reserve time in the fitness center). Let’s all show our support for our student athletes by wearing purple on days with home games and on every Friday!

Vaccinations

Vaccination registration for Vermonters 16 and above, including out-of-state students who plan to spend the summer in Vermont, opens on Monday on the Vermont Department of Health’s website. If you receive your vaccination(s), please notify the Bergeron Wellness Center so that the staff there can update your medical records. You can do this online via a secure form and upload an image of your vaccination card here. The information will be stored as part of your confidential medical record and will only be accessed by our licensed healthcare providers. Please only complete this form once your vaccine series is complete. If you have any trouble accessing the form or uploading your information, contact the IT Helpdesk at ithelp@smcvt.edu.

Upcoming Events and Activities

I want to remind you to check the Daily Digest and the Portal Calendar for upcoming events and activities. There are dates for outdoor live music, art exhibits in McCarthy, and a disc golf tournament Sunday, and let’s all tune in to the livestream tonight or tomorrow at 7 p.m. to see our Theatre student’s performance of “Eurydice.

It looks like it will be cool this weekend, but we’ll be done with the rain by tomorrow.  Let’s all try to get outside and get some exercise—go for a hike in the Natural Area, go for a bike ride or run. Exercise and just being outside is important for our mental health. You can find information and links to a host of mental health resources on the counseling pages on our website. Check it out.

Be well.

Dawn M. Ellinwood, Ed.D.|she, her, hers: pronouns
Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students

Updated April 9, 2021

Student Town Hall

Check out the most recent Zoom Town Hall with students Kristin Burlew and Mackenzie Traska from SMC CAN! facilitating a Q&A with vaccine experts and members of the College’s administration.

Watch Here

Updated April 1, 2021

Message from Dawn Ellinwood, Vice President for Student Life

Content Highlights:

  • Weekly testing results
  • Vaccine information
  • Updates and reminders
  • Spring Fair

Dear Students,

We are encouraged by how many of you are working hard to contain the cases we have had in these past weeks. This week so far we have had three positive student test results and no positive employee test results. As always, you can view the dashboard to see the current number of students in isolation and quarantine. In light of these numbers, we are able to make some modifications to our COVID-19 policies. Please see below.

Vaccines

We are actively discussing with the State and our peer institutions the question of whether students will be able to be vaccinated in Vermont, or even here on campus. Last night Governor Scott’s office issued a statement to clarify its current position on vaccinations for college students in the state. It indicates that college students who are residents of Vermont, or who plan to stay in Vermont through the summer, will have access to scheduling their vaccine on April 19. It also indicates that, if vaccine supplies permit, they expect to make registering for a vaccines available to students who are not Vermont residents on April 30.

Saint Michael’s College and other institutions in the State are advocating with the Governor to allow us to administer the vaccine on campus. We will keep you informed with any updates. Importantly, out-of-state students who are eligible for vaccines in their home state and have the means to travel there should contact the Bergeron Wellness Center at (802) 654-2234 or email Mary Masson at mmasson@smcvt.edu to organize a safe plan to do that.

Updates and Reminders

We are very much aware of the stress that is caused by the restrictions that are needed for the safety of the community in the midst of a pandemic. We have heard your concerns, and in light of the stable number of cases on campus, the Executive Policy Group has made some modifications that will give students some more flexibility. We are, nonetheless, keeping the Alert Level at Orange in light of the rising cases in the surrounding area and continued COVID violations on campus.

  • Break Days—as was communicated by Vice President Trumbower earlier this week, an additional Break Day has been added on April 14. This is in addition to the previously established Break Day on April 13.
  • Gatherings—we are increasing the number of students that can gather outdoors from five to ten. Effective immediately, students may gather with members not in their household in groups of up to 10 people—outdoors, masked, and physically distanced.
  • Holy Week—the schedule for Triduum Liturgies during Holy Week is posted on the Campus Ministry web page. Students are invited to attend as the Chapel has ample room for physical distancing.
  • COVID Fatigue—we are all feeling the fatigue of the restrictions and adherence to the State’s guidelines. It is stressful for all of us, especially those who have been in isolation and quarantine. Let’s all show each other patience and respect as we look ahead to vaccines and warmer days.

Spring Fair

This Saturday, April 3, we will be having Food Trucks on campus from noon – 4 p.m. These will be free to all students. Additionally, an Easter Egg Hunt is being organized for Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The disc golf course is also finally going up for the weekend, (now that we’ve resolved the issue of being shipped the wrong parts).

We hope you take the time to enjoy the outdoors as temperatures warm up, despite today’s snow!

Be well.

Dawn M. Ellinwood, Ed.D.|she, her, hers: pronouns

Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students

Updated March 29, 2021

Message from Dawn Ellinwood, Vice President for Student Life

Content Highlights:

  • Current numbers and state of virus in the area
  • Updates and reminders
  • Athletics
  • Town Hall recording

Dear Students,

This week’s testing, which includes tests conducted through Wednesday, resulted in eight new positive cases. We now have 14 students in isolation, and approximately 36 students in quarantine. While we have done a good job in isolating positive cases and conducting contact tracing to limit the spread, we are concerned. Our current cases on campus are manageable. Our concern stems largely from what we are learning from the surrounding area and from colleges in neighboring states. Burlington, which has reported a large number of new cases among college students, represents a particular source of concern as the City’s restaurants and bars begin to open. We ask that you please limit your off-campus activities for the time being, especially in any settings that would put you in close proximity to others. Our concerns are also heightened after learning of colleges in nearby states that have had to send students home, having run out of isolation and quarantine beds. We are in the home stretch, and everyone must hang in there. I know it is difficult.

Updates and Reminders

  • Masks – please be sure to wear them, even when you are outside in the presence of others.
  • Gathering sizes – we are still limited to five people outdoors and to your household indoors. A number of students have received sanctions for violating this guideline.
  • Outdoor time for students in quarantine – we are going to pilot a program to give limited outdoor time for students in quarantine and isolation. We are working to establish the parameters and will begin piloting this in the next couple of days.
  • Spring Fair – we are planning for a spring fair on April 3 if conditions permit. We will send out more information as the date approaches. We were heartbroken when we had to cancel the Field Day last weekend. Believe me, we agonized about that decision. At first, we decided to scale back food offerings, and then when there were new positive cases at the end of the week, we reopened the conversation, and felt compelled to cancel it in the interest of safety.

Athletics

A number of students have expressed concerns about testing protocols and fairness in accountability of student-athletes. Let me reassure you that student-athletes are being held to measures that are just as strict, if not more strict, than those to which the rest of the student body is held. The NCAA requires that those actively competing be tested three times a week, and if any student on the team is positive, all team activities are paused which includes competition and practice.

Town Hall

Yesterday evening we held a Town Hall with vaccine experts who were able to answer student questions and provide helpful information about vaccines. You can see a recording of the Zoom, as well as answers to some additional questions that time did not allow us to get to on the COVID webpages.

Again, I know how difficult this is. We are in the home stretch. Let’s keep our eyes on finishing this semester and making it to May!  Please stay safe and healthy.

Be well.

Dawn M. Ellinwood, Ed.D.|she, her, hers: pronouns
Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students

Updated March 26, 2021

Student Town Hall

Check out the most recent Zoom Town Hall with students Kristin Burlew and Mackenzie Traska from SMC CAN! facilitating a Q&A with vaccine experts and members of the College’s administration. To read the answers to “over-time” questions which were not able to be addressed during the Town Hall, click here.

Watch Here

Updated March 19, 2021

From President Lorraine Sterritt

Dear Saint Michael’s family,

We are encouraged to report that we received the results from Wednesday’s COVID testing and that there were no additional positive cases. This afternoon, however, we received results from tests conducted yesterday, and there are three new positive cases. We are in a situation that requires our very careful attention. Contact tracing continues and our dashboard will soon be updated to reflect approximately 37 students in quarantine and 11 students in isolation—our largest numbers so far this semester. We expect that additional students in quarantine may become positive, and that there may be more positive cases on campus in the coming days. Please continue to complete your daily health affirmation and report any symptoms to the Bergeron Wellness Center at (802) 654-2234. It is imperative that we all continue to abide by ALL guidelines to control the number of cases. We agree with what we have heard in our conversations with the Vermont Department of Health about the cases on our campus: now is NOT the time to let our guard down.

These next two weeks are critical. Some of our peer institutions around New England and in New York state are experiencing spikes in virus levels and have returned to remote learning and higher levels of restriction. We need to work together to avoid any further spread. Students who violate guidelines will continue to be held accountable.

There are many reasons to look ahead with hope. Today the Governor announced the plan for vaccines for the remaining age bands. You can read about this on the Vermont Department of Health website. This much-anticipated announcement is a real boost to everyone’s spirits as it is concrete evidence that more help is indeed on the way.

Next week we will have two guests from the State at our Zoom Town Hall. Dr. Kristin Pierce is an infectious disease specialist, and Karen Vastine is the senior community relations officer at the Office of Government and Community Relations. They will share information about vaccines and take your questions. The link to the Town Hall can be found on the portal events calendar.

Enjoy this beautiful weekend, and please be safe.

Lorraine Sterritt
President

Updated March 18, 2021

From President Lorraine Sterritt

Dear Saint Michael’s family,

Early today we received the results of surveillance and contact testing from Tuesday. As of this morning, we have seven new positive student cases. These seven students are being moved into isolation, and contact tracing is underway. After several weeks of low incidence on campus, this number of cases is concerning. When we receive the results from Wednesday’s tests and tests of the contacts of these new cases, we will have a better picture of whether additional health and safety measures are called for.

I remind everyone that adhering to ALL the health and safety protocols is essential. It does not take much for this virus to get a foothold, but we can control the spread by being vigilant. It takes an enormous amount of work from every member of the community to keep our campus safe. I want to credit all of our students who have adapted to these challenging circumstances and necessary guidelines. I also want to thank all the faculty and staff who have been working tirelessly on behalf of our students to give them the best experience we can.

We will be updating the dashboard shortly, and we will send additional updates as we learn more.

Please be well.

Lorraine Sterritt

President

Updated March 6, 2021

From President Lorraine Sterritt

Dear Saint Michael’s community,

As Dawn Ellinwood shared yesterday, we are pleased that the incidence of virus on campus is low, and this week’s results are no exception. Our semester is progressing in the right direction. We nonetheless remain vigilant, and even small numbers require our close attention and analysis.

While conducting initial contact tracing of the positive cases from this past week, we identified a science lab as a shared point of contact. As a result, we are suspending in-person science labs for Monday and have scheduled a meeting with the Vermont Department of Health for Monday morning. There we will discuss what course of action, if any, is recommended for science labs and other lab-like courses for the rest of the week.

Regular in-person classroom-style classes will proceed on Monday as normal. Please watch for communication from individual faculty members if you have Monday classes that are not traditional classroom style.

After our meeting, and with complete contact tracing, we will share the Health Department’s recommendations and any resulting decisions. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write to returntocampus@smcvt.edu.

Be well and stay safe.

Lorraine Sterritt

President

Updated March 5, 2021

Message from Dawn Ellinwood, Vice President for Student Life

Content Highlights
  • COVID Status – test results, etc.
  • Reminders and Updates
  • Commencement plans
  • Caring for your mental health
Dear Students,
Surveillance testing continues to go smoothly. The improvements we made from the fall have helped, and everyone is now getting through the processes quickly and efficiently. Thanks to all the people who continue to be a part of this process.  I am again happy to report that this week’s positive test results of students and employees were low (two students and one employee tested positive). Let’s keep up the hard work!
Reminders and Updates
  • Break Days – To clarify for students who have asked, there is no spring break this year due to the pandemic. In its place we have instituted three mid-week break days (2/25, 3/24, and 4/13).
  • Travel – Any travel beyond Chittenden and adjacent counties or out of state will require quarantining in Ryan Hall before returning to your residence.
  • Fitness – The Dion cardio room is now open for use by reservation only. Or, just get outside and go for a walk or a run. Getting exercise is critically important for mental and physical wellbeing.
  • Career Services – As part of the Career Readiness Program, you are encouraged to participate in an upcoming “Workshop Wednesday.” 
    o  
    Job Searching – March 10 from 6:30-7:00 pm
    o  
    Resumés & Cover Letters – March 17 from 6:30-7:00 pm
    o  
    Interviewing Skills – March 31 from 6:30-7:00 pm
    o  
    LinkedIn & Professional Profiles – April 7 from 6:30-7:00 pm
Email careereducation@smcvt.edu for a Zoom link, or make an appointment with a Career Coach for individual assistance via Handshake.
Commencement
The commencement committee has been meeting regularly throughout this semester to consider how we can best celebrate our graduates this May. The State’s limitations on gatherings to 150 individuals outdoors and 75 indoors, along with restrictions on out-of-state visitors to campus, place substantial constraints on what we can do. While COVID rates are declining and vaccines are increasing, it is still unlikely that these guidelines will be lifted to the extent that we could host a traditional commencement ceremony. We wish so much that we could.
We have heard from our seniors, and we know how much they want to have some kind of in-person ceremony with classmates – even if it means a strict no-guest policy. With that in mind, we are working with student leaders to plan for a seniors-only commencement procession on the morning of Thursday, May 13. Seniors, please let your families know that there will not be any access to campus on that day until after 11 a.m. when families can help with your move-out. We know that it is important for families to mark this occasion as well, so we are also planning a meaningful commencement online to honor our seniors and allow them to attend the ceremony from home with their families on the morning of Sunday, May 16. This will be the official commencement at which degrees are conferred.
We will be communicating more details about these and other plans to honor our seniors in the coming weeks.
Mental Health message from the Counseling Staff
This pandemic has presented big challenges, and it has been a very difficult time for many of us. The approaching anniversary of our transition last spring is particularly painful. We have been presented with profound challenges, physically, mentally, and spiritually. We have also seen and experienced some of the best qualities of humanity – the community spirit, the courage, the generosity, the tenacity and the resilience of so many. These qualities are present here at Saint Michael’s College – individually and collectively.
Here is a universal truth about mental health: We are each unique, but we are not alone.  Whatever we are dealing with, someone else has that going on too.  Here is another truth: we are stronger and more resilient than we know.  And with support we can build on the strengths we have in order to deal with the stressors in our lives.
Remember too that there are MANY other wonderful staff and faculty here at St. Mike’s to support and guide you on your journey through this semester. Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of the staff in the Counseling Center at 802-654-2234.
Sarah, Bhuttu, Jenna, Dan, Erin and Kathy
Counseling Staff at the Bergeron Wellness Center
Thanks to all of you who are doing so much to persevere and take care of each other. The warm weather is coming!
Be well.
Dawn
Dawn M. Ellinwood, Ed.D.|she, her, hers: pronouns
Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students

Updated February 26, 2021

Message from Dawn Ellinwood, Vice President for Student Life

Content Highlights:

  • Weekly testing results
  • Updates and Reminders
  • Things to do this weekend

Dear Students,

I hope that our first Break Day yesterday gave you the chance to either relax or get outside and enjoy the warmer temperatures. This week we had one positive student test result and zero positive employee results. While there have been some COVID violations which have resulted in a number of sanctions, I continue to thank the vast majority of you who are following the guidelines and keeping our community safe. Our goal is to get to a less restrictive COVID level. In order to do this, we must all adhere to guidelines currently in place, such as appearing for mandatory testing on campus each week, not eating in Dion, and continuing to follow the residential guidelines.

Updates and Reminders

  • Vans are now able to be used for sanctioned trips by authorized drivers. Usage requires reduced capacity and strict adherence to all van guidelines. Information about van use policies can be found on the Facilities pages on the portal. When traveling in a van, please consider wearing a double mask.  This is not a state requirement, but it does make good sense.  The program leader may request this of participants going forward.
  • Varsity athletic teams have returned to practice activities, following detailed protocols.  The Northeast-10 Conference Council of Presidents has approved health and safety plans for spring sports, and the league’s membership continues to work collaboratively toward a possible return to competition this spring.
  • According to the Vermont Department of Health, new cases of COVID-19 are trending downward, but levels are still high in the state, and UVM has reported an increase in new cases this week.
  • Please remember to fill out the daily health affirmations!

Things to do

  • VTIFFThe Vermont International Film Festival’s Split/Screen, focused on African American women filmmakers, ends after this weekend. Tickets are still available for students, faculty, and staff. Visit the portal for more information on how to download tickets.
  • Hot chocolate and ice skating – Tonight, Friday at 7:00 p.m. there will be hot chocolate available by the fire pits and ice rink.
  • Trivia Night Join your fellow students via Zoom tonight, Friday from 8:00 p.m. -10:00 p.m. and see if you have what it takes to be a Trivia Master.  Zoom information is on the Master Calendar on the Portal.

I hope you get out and enjoy the outdoors this weekend. Let’s all keep up the good work!

Be well!
Dawn

Updated February 19, 2021

Message from Dawn Ellinwood, Vice President for Student Life

Content highlights:

  • Weekly surveillance testing results
  • Important reminders and updates
  • Commuter student areas on campus

Dear Students,

We were gratified to see low positivity in the results of the surveillance tests conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Thank you all for working hard to follow the guidelines. This week we had one positive student test result and zero positive employee results. We are also monitoring the cases in the surrounding communities, and the increased positivity rates at area colleges and universities, and we remind students to avoid contact with any off-campus student groups.

Important Reminders and Updates

  • Dion is still not open for in-person dining.
  • Please remember to complete your daily health affirmations.
  • In-person dining or take-out in Alliot Green Mountain Dining room is available.
  • Ross-Tarrant recreational facility is now available for student use – by appointment only. Reservations can be made online.

Commuter Students

While commuter students cannot be part of an on-campus household, and so cannot socialize with on-campus students in residential buildings, spaces are available for commuter students to use while on campus:

  • The Durick Library is open for commuters, with a designated lounge for commuters in room #111.
  • Dion Family Student Center is available for studying between classes. Eating is not allowed.
  • Alliot Hall’s Green Mountain Dining Room and campus store are open to commuters for dining or take-out.
  • The Vermont Room on the second floor of Alliot is available for commuter students to eat or to relax and study between classes.
  • Ross-Tarrant fitness rooms are open to commuters–by reservation only.
  • The Chapel is also open to commuter students.

Let’s all keep up the good work and progress we are making as we keep the community safe and healthy.

Be well!

Dawn

Dawn M. Ellinwood, Ed.D.|she, her, hers: pronouns
Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students

Updated February 12, 2021

Student Town Hall

Check out the most recent Student Town Hall with students Kristin Burlew and Mackenzie Traska from SMC CAN! facilitating a Q&A and members of the College’s administration providing updates and information about the Spring Semester.

Watch Here

Updated February 10, 2021

From President Lorraine Sterritt

Content Highlights:

  • This week’s test results
  • In-person classes
  • In-person dining in Alliot
  • Reminder—health affirmations

Dear Saint Michael’s community,

We have received the results of Monday’s testing of students and employees. This was the required second arrival test for students who arrived on January 31. The results from the tests of 1,183 students and 70 employees showed one positive student, with three identified close contacts who are also students, and no positives among employees. The student who tested positive has been moved to isolation, and the three contacts have been moved to quarantine.

While this is very good news, and a testament to our community and your adherence to safety, we must not be complacent. We have seen other institutions in the State start well and then experience a subsequent outbreak of cases. It is indeed a great start and sets us up well for the semester, but we must not let our guard down.

I have spoken with academic leadership this morning, and we agree that it is appropriate to begin in-person classes tomorrow for those classes that were scheduled to be in-person.

Additionally, we will begin in-person dining for students on Friday, but students will still have the option to do take-out.

We remain at an Orange Alert Level—no guidelines have changed at this time. We will continue to meet over the coming weeks with the Vermont Department of Health and other institutions in the State, and we will communicate with you about whether we are able to relax any guidelines.

I want to remind everyone that you must complete your health affirmation every day you are on campus. Please do this first thing. It takes only minutes and is a key to identifying potential cases early.

Thank you all for doing the work to quarantine appropriately, staying within your households, and following health and safety guidelines.

As always, if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to write to returntocampus@smcvt.edu. I wish you all the very best as you begin in-person classes.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt
President

Updated February 5, 2021

Message from Dawn Ellinwood, Vice President for Student Life

Content Highlights:

  • Testing results from Monday
  • Important reminders
  • Future Zoom Town Halls
  • Outdoor activities
  • Questions of the week

Dear students,

I hope that you are all well.

So far this week we have conducted 1,233 COVID-19 tests of students and 40 tests of employees. Of those, seven students and zero employees received positive test results. You can see all the results on the new dashboard page. Students who tested positive are in isolation and any students identified as close contacts are in quarantine. We are in daily contact with those students to do health checks, and also to communicate about activities that are available to them. I encourage those of you who have friends in isolation or quarantine—reach out to them to check in. Maybe watch a movie, play an online game, or just chat. As many of you know, being in isolation and quarantine is not easy. These community members deserve all our support.

The positive cases we have so far were not unexpected, given the prevalence of the virus around the country. Next Monday’s all-student testing and subsequent results will be an important benchmark for us. I again stress to all of you – stick to your households only. This next week is critical to our success.

Health Affirmations!! Do them, please! Every day (including weekends). It just takes a minute or two and last semester it helped identify a few cases of COVID. To encourage you to do it we are starting a weekly prize drawing from students who submit their health affirmations 7 out of 7 days. Each week we will award 5 gift certificates to GrubHub, DoorDash, Amazon, or other online vendor.

We will be hosting regular community Zoom Town Halls on alternating Thursdays from 5:30 to 6:30, starting Thursday, February 11. We will be posting the link in the Daily Digest, in the Portal Announcements, and on the Master Calendar in the portal. We will also be recording them and posting them to the COVID website.

Today we will begin construction of the ice rink, which we hope to have finished and ready for use very soon. Propane fire pits, for special programs, and seating will be set up in several locations on campus. We also hope that the Frisbee golf course will be ready early next week. We hope you take advantage of these opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy Vermont.

Common Questions of the Week:

Periodically, I will share common questions and requests for clarifications that we receive in Student Life. Here are a few common questions and answers from this past week. I hope sharing them is helpful.

What is considered “essential” travel off campus?

Examples include shopping locally for necessities, doctor’s appointments, an internship, student teaching, or an off-campus job.

If I leave Vermont this semester, what is the process for coming back to campus?

Per Vermont state guidelines, any student who leaves Chittenden or adjacent counties in Vermont during the semester for any reason will need to complete another quarantine in Chittenden County off campus at a hotel, Airbnb, or private home at your expense, OR on campus in Ryan Hall. Please email housing@smcvt.edu to request this.

If I see someone on campus not adhering to the guidelines, what should I do?

We all have the responsibility to remind each other the importance of following the guidelines. Please politely remind that person. If for some reason, you are not comfortable doing so, contact your residence life staff, the switchboard at 654-2000 and ask for the Associate Dean on call, or send a LiveSafe message.

If I miss testing, what do I do?

Please plan to go to the Vermont Department of Health Winooski testing site at 32 Malletts Bay Ave. (Check site for hours) to receive a test during the same week that you missed testing on campus. The result of that test needs to be sent to Mary Masson in Bergeron Wellness. It is imperative that you make one of the testing days on campus for us to understand the viral load on campus. Please do everything you can to make it to one of the testing days.

Thank you all so much for doing your part in keeping our community safe and healthy!

Be well,

Dawn

Dawn M. Ellinwood, Ed.D.|she, her, hers: pronouns
Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students

Updated February 1, 2021

Student Town Hall

Check out the most recent Student Town Hall with students Kristin Burlew and Mackenzie Traska from SMC CAN! facilitating a Q&A and members of the College’s administration providing updates and information about the Spring Semester.

Watch Here

Updated January 28, 2021

From President Lorraine Sterritt

Content Highlights: 

  • Move-in Sunday, January 31—check your time
  • Revised start date for in-person classes
  • Confirmation of testing schedule and new location
  • Zoom Town Hall for students —Friday, January 29, 4pm
  • Plans for outdoor activities

Dear students,

Move-in Sunday, January 31

I hope you have all enjoyed your break and are happy to have started your classes. This Sunday, January 31 we will be welcoming the majority of you back to campus, transforming this quiet, snowy space once again into a community fully engaged in academic pursuits. It will be great to have so many of you back. If you have not yet done so, please check the website for your move-in time. For those who need to study entirely remotely this semester, your presence on campus may be virtual, but our connections remain quite real.

Revised start date for in-person classes

As has been our practice throughout this pandemic, we have been in regular contact with the Vermont Department of Health and with our peers in higher education in Vermont. This week we learned that several Vermont schools that have welcomed students back recently have had more positive cases of COVID-19 than they expected after results of their second arrival test (day 7) were received. Additionally, we have learned that these positive cases are displaying more symptoms. This highlights the importance of your quarantine now, before your arrival. As a precaution, we have decided to delay the start of in-person classes until after we receive results from our day-7 tests conducted on Monday, February 8, so the new target date for the start of in-person classes is Thursday, Feb. 11. Please note that this does not change the move-in date (January 31).

Testing location

The location for testing is still in the Ross/Tarrant Sports Center, however for this spring semester the testing will be on the second floor of Tarrant, on the track. There will be ample signage to direct the flow of people for testing. Please visit the COVID website to learn more about testing.

Town Hall

We will be hosting another Zoom Town Hall for students this Friday at 4:00 p.m. We hope you can join us. As with the recent Town Hall, it will be recorded and posted on the COVID website for those who cannot attend.

Zoom Town Hall: 4:00 p.m. Friday, January 29 

https://smcvt.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_6DfyrYA-QRm7bY_6z5k-1Q

We plan to host future Zoom Town Halls every other week and will post that schedule in the Daily Digest as well as in the events calendar.

Outdoor Activities being planned

To provide more ways for you to engage safely outdoors with one another, including with those outside of your household (limited to five or fewer, and masked), the Student Government Association and the Student Life Office have been busy preparing activities and areas for you that will be safe and fun. These include building an ice rink, setting up a disc golf course, placing several propane hearths around campus, and more. Please watch for messages from Student Life early next week with updates.

Our beloved Vermont and our campus are beautiful in the winter. They will become even more beautiful with students here, making it bright and warm. Please don’t hesitate to write to returntocampus@smcvt.edu if you have questions. We very much look forward to welcoming you back to campus.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt

President

Updated January 22, 2021

From President Lorraine Sterritt

Content highlights:

  • Classes begin remotely on Monday.
  • Arrival quarantine students all tested negative last week. Second test tomorrow.
  • Update on cases of the virus in Vermont.
  • Moving to campus—this final week of home quarantine is critical.
  • Important reminders—move-in times are by last name.
  • Next Town Hall planned for Friday, January 29 at 4:00 p.m.

Dear students,

It will be good to start classes once again on Monday and engage in our academic work together after a longer than usual break. I hope you have enjoyed the break and are eager to get started.

I am pleased to report that 38 students moved back for arrival quarantine last Friday, were tested on that following Saturday, and all their tests were negative. Those students will be tested again tomorrow, and with a negative result will be approved to leave quarantine in Ryan Hall and move into their living spaces.

The prevalence of the virus in Vermont is still high, relative to where the state has been throughout the pandemic. That said, because our state authorities have been conservative in their planning, the state is in better shape than many others. I am also pleased to see that the positivity rates in the state and nationally appear to be plateauing. Let’s hope that it starts to decline and continues so that at some point we will be able, with the state’s approval, to relax some guidelines.

I remind students who will be moving back on the 31st that it is critical that you have been in home quarantine and strictly limiting your contact with others. This final week before arrival is crucially important. We expect, given the rates of infection in many areas of the country, and the experiences of other schools with students returning, that we will have some students who test positive upon arrival. If, however, we can start our semester with a very low level of infection, it bodes well for maintaining low levels throughout the semester, provided that everyone follows the health and safety protocols. It is imperative that every member of our community do so.

I remind students to check the Return to Campus COVID website for information about:

We have scheduled another Zoom Town Hall for Friday, January 29 at 4 p.m. We will be sending out and posting a link to it early next week. You can find a recording of the last Town Hall on the COVID website under “Recent Updates.” We are also planning to host bi-monthly Zoom Town Halls throughout the semester and will communicate that schedule as soon as it is finalized.

I look forward to Monday, and even more to having everyone back on campus together next week. Please know that we understand that the restrictions the state has put in place feel limiting, but let us use these limits as motivation to adhere to guidelines so that we can transition to a more traditional Saint Michael’s experience when the time is right. You have our full support as we all continue to navigate these challenging times. We must not let our guard down as we wait for the broad distribution of the vaccines, and we must keep our chin up in anticipation of the light at the end of the tunnel.

I send you all my very best wishes for our new semester.

Sincerely
Lorraine Sterritt
President

Updated January 14, 2021

Student Town Hall

Check out the Student Town Hall with students Kristin Burlew and Mackenzie Traska from SMC CAN! facilitating a Q&A and members of the College’s administration providing updates and information about the Spring Semester.

Updated January 12, 2021

From President Lorraine Sterritt

Dear students,

We have missed you over the holidays, and we can’t wait to welcome you back to campus. As part of our preparations, the Executive Policy Group is looking forward to hosting an informational Town Hall for students via Zoom tomorrow from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Your fellow students, Kristin Burlew and Mackenzie Traska from SMC CAN!, will facilitate the Q&A portion of the Zoom. I will be joined by:

  • Mary Masson, Director of Student Health Services
  • Dawn Ellinwood, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Kathy Butts, Director of Counseling
  • Jeffrey Trumbower, Vice President of Academic Affairs
  • Alex Bertoni, Director of Marketing and Communications

Each will provide a brief update and then we will open it up to your questions. We hope you can join us.

Zoom Town Hall – Wednesday, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.

Note: You will use your Saint Michael’s email to access the Zoom. We are restricting this Town Hall to students because of licensing limitations on the number of attendees, but we are also recording the session and will share it with everyone.

Moving Back to Campus

January 15 Arrival and Move-in: We will be welcoming students who have requested to quarantine on campus on Friday, and they will be moving into Ryan Hall for their quarantine.

January 31 Arrival and Move-in: To reduce density, we need to stagger arrivals on Sunday, January 31, so we ask that all students and family members adhere to the following move-in schedule to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate requests to arrive on Saturday, January 30.

Students with the last names:

  • A – Cl: 9 a.m.
  • Co – Ga: 10 a.m.
  • Ge – K: 11 a.m.
  • L– M: 12 noon
  • N – R: 1 p.m.
  • S – V: 2 p.m.
  • W-Z: 3 p.m.

Arrival Quarantine Requirements: Please check the COVID website section on spring semester move-in to be reminded of the requirements for campus quarantine (arrival on 1/15) or home quarantine (arrival on 1/31).  Please note that these quarantine categories apply to all students, including students from Vermont and students who have already tested positive for COVID-19.

Student drop-off during move-in: Parents/guests dropping off students for move-in are asked not to enter any campus buildings, and we request that only one parent/guardian accompany the student for drop-off.

Updated COVID Web Pages: You can still access the COVID information pages from the home page of the website, or by going to COVID website. Now you will find updated content with information about the spring semester, testing, and a new COVID Alert Level page.

Important Changes for the Spring Semester

As was the case in the fall semester, the guidelines for the spring semester are based on the guidelines issued by the Governor’s Office and the Vermont Department of Health. You can find more detailed information and explanations on the COVID website. We will also be explaining these changes in more detail during the Town Hall.

  • Weekly testing: students will have weekly surveillance testing offered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, in addition to arrival testing which will take place the day after arrival and seven days later.
  • All quarantining will take place in Ryan Hall: any students who are required to quarantine will no longer be able to do so in their own rooms but will be moved to Ryan Hall. Please see the details of quarantine or isolation on the information for students pages.
  • Household definition: The State of Vermont is currently restricting gatherings to take place only with members of a single household. “Households” at Saint Michael’s are defined as the following:
    • Townhouse/suite/apartment residents – members of that residence only.
    • Single and double room residents – you and four other members of your residence hall wing.

Read more about Gatherings and Defining your Household online.

  • Prior COVID diagnosis: if you have been diagnosed with COVID over the break, please send documentation of test results to mmasson@smcvt.edu. While you will not need to undergo surveillance testing for 90 days after diagnosis, you will still have to adhere to all health and safety guidelines.

As we experienced in the fall, we will have to be flexible and adapt as the pandemic affects our nation, our state, and our campus. We know that these guidelines restrict our activities in ways that we wish were not necessary. We very much look forward to vaccinations becoming more widely available, and we take great comfort in knowing that they are on the way, but in the meantime the requirements are necessary for us to protect each other and the community around us. We are all in this together.

As always, please don’t hesitate to write to returntocampus@smcvt.edu with any questions that you may have.

We look forward to welcoming you to campus and hope that you can join tomorrow’s Zoom Town Hall.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt
President

Updated January 5, 2021

Message from Dawn Ellinwood, Vice President for Student Life

Dear students,

Happy New Year! We are looking forward to the spring semester.

We are finalizing guidelines for the upcoming term, and we have some updates on COVID-19 testing and health requirements to share with you now. As a reminder, if you are traveling to St. Mike’s with people from outside your household via private vehicle, or by bus, rail or commercial airline, you must arrive on campus on January 15 and quarantine for 14 days. You must also complete this Request to Quarantine on Campus form by Friday, January 8. All other students must quarantine at home, avoid prolonged stops on the way to campus, and arrive on Sunday, January 31.

COVID-19 Diagnosis/Vaccine Documentation

  • If you were diagnosed with COVID over the winter break (not while you were on campus during fall semester), please send a copy of your COVID test result with a date on it to mmasson@smcvt.edu (Director of Student Health Services, Mary Masson) in the Bergeron Wellness Center. We will keep this as part of your confidential medical record and calculate when your surveillance testing in the spring should resume.
  • If you have received the COVID-19 vaccine, please send a copy of your vaccination record to mmasson@smcvt.edu so that it can be included in your medical record.

Arrival Testing

  • Campus Quarantine: If you have been approved to return to campus on Friday, January 15 for quarantine reasons, we will offer testing on Saturday, January 16, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Bergeron Wellness Center. Your second test will be available on Saturday, January 23, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Bergeron Wellness Center. It is mandatory that you come for both of these tests.
  • Home/Off-Campus Quarantine: If you return to campus with the majority of our students on Sunday, January 31, your first test will be on Monday, February 1, in the Tarrant Center (like the fall) and your second test will be on Monday, February 8, in the Tarrant Center. Testing on both Mondays will be offered from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Surveillance Testing

Spring testing will be offered weekly, starting on Tuesday, February 16, on both Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Tarrant Center. No appointments are necessary. You can come at your convenience, but you MUST come once a week and no more than once a week. We hope this offers more flexible options for your weekly testing. You must bring your Knight Card as you will swipe your card at the entry point.

Be well,
Dawn

Updated December 15, 2020

Message from President Sterritt about winter athletics

Dear Saint Michael’s Community,

I am writing to share with you some important and difficult news about winter sports. After painstaking deliberation and with great regret, the Council of Presidents of the Northeast-10 Conference voted this afternoon, in light of the spread of the virus nationwide, to cancel formal regular season and championship competition in winter sports.

Impacted sports at Saint Michael’s include both men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s ice hockey. We are also extending this decision to include our non-NE10 sports, namely, women’s ice hockey and Alpine and Nordic skiing. Student-athletes received the news in an email communication earlier today from Director of Athletics Chris Kenny. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write to returntocampus@smcvt.edu.

We know that this decision is in the best interest of public health and our community. At the same time, I know that it comes as very disappointing news, particularly for our athletes and coaches who have worked so hard. My heart goes out to you. We are encouraged that the vaccine is on the way, and we very much look forward to a time when our wonderful athletes can again participate in competition.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Sterritt
President

Updated December 10, 2020 5:30 p.m.

Dear Saint Michael’s Community,

We are encouraged by the progress that has been made on the COVID-19 vaccine and by the way in which the State of Vermont is managing the virus. As we prepare for the spring semester, we want to keep you apprised of our plans and of any new information we receive from the Governor’s Office. We understand that this is a complex and challenging time, and we know that, depending on the course that the virus takes in the coming weeks and months, we may have to adjust. Please rest assured that we will continue to share information as it becomes available to us.

IMPORTANT DATES

The dates for the spring semester that we announced on October 15 remain the same. We very much look forward to welcoming our students back to campus as follows:

  • Friday, January 15: Move-in for students required to quarantine on campus (see below). Students in this cohort will be tested on Saturday, January 16 and Saturday, January 23.
  • Monday, January 25: All classes begin remotely for all students.
  • Sunday, January 31: Move-in for students required to quarantine at home (see below). Students in this cohort will be tested on Monday, February 1 and Monday, February 8.
  • Monday, February 1: Remote classes continue.
  • Thursday, February 4: In-person instruction begins for those classes that have in-person components (when test results are back).
  • Break: There will be three mid-week respite days (break days) during the semester, but no traditional spring break, per the Governor’s requirements. The break days are February 25, March 24, and April 13. The Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Dean of the Faculty, and the faculty are working to ensure that break days are truly restful for everyone—faculty and students alike.
  • Wednesday, May 5: Last day of classes.
  • May 7 – 12: Final exams.

REGISTERING FOR CLASSES

Students who have not yet registered for classes should do so through Knightvision Self-Service as soon as possible. Additionally, students who plan to stay completely virtual and learn remotely must let the Associate Dean’s office know by Friday, January 8, 2021 at OfficeoftheAssociateDeanoftheCollege@smcvt.edu.

SPRING ARRIVAL QUARANTINE REQUIREMENTS

The State of Vermont has established new criteria for arrival and quarantine for the spring term. Please review these two categories carefully to determine which of them applies to your circumstances:

CAMPUS quarantine (Move-in January 15):

If traveling to campus with people from outside your household, via private vehicle, bus, rail or commercial airlines, you must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to campus (after day 7 you may get a COVID-19 test and upon receiving a negative result, end your quarantine).

Home Quarantine (Move-in January 31):

If traveling to campus in a private vehicle without making a prolonged stop (avoid gatherings such as restaurants, limit gas stops, if overnight travel is required—reduce social contacts), you must quarantine at home for 14 days immediately prior to traveling (you may complete a shorter quarantine if you receive a negative COVID-19 test after day 7 and travel directly to campus without breaking the quarantine).

Please note that these quarantine categories apply to all students, including students from Vermont.

COVID-19 TESTING AND FEES

All students will undergo initial day 0 and day 7 tests as well as weekly mandatory surveillance testing in addition to any symptomatic testing that may be necessary. The schedules for testing will be communicated before the start of the semester. Students can choose to be tested on either Tuesday or Wednesday of each week so that they can plan their COVID-19 tests based on their class schedules. Faculty and staff who come to campus will also be included in the testing, and they will receive more details from the Office of Human Resources soon.

Over the course of the semester each student will have approximately 15 surveillance tests. Due to the significant increase in the total number of tests, the College must increase the spring semester COVID-19 testing fee to $300. We regret that this increase is necessary. The College has tried to limit the impact on families by bearing a portion of the cost of the surveillance tests and covering all symptomatic testing costs.

QUARANTINE PROTOCOLS

Outside of arrival quarantine, students may be required to quarantine either to await result from a symptomatic test, or because they were identified as “close contacts” of a positive case. These students will no longer quarantine “in place” as was the case in the fall for students in single rooms. They will now be required to move to a designated living space on campus until their quarantine requirement is fulfilled.

GATHERINGS

The Governor’s office, in consultation with colleges and universities in the State, is in the process of updating the regulations for how college students can gather and interact safely next semester. We realize how important this is to your experience at Saint Michael’s, and we will communicate this information as soon as the Governor has finalized his directives.

ATHLETICS

We are awaiting decisions from the NCAA and our NE10 conference, and we will communicate their decisions as soon as we hear from them.

COMMUNICATIONS

The Communications Team will be updating the COVID-19 pages of the website based on feedback from the community. They will continue to report any positive cases on the dashboard daily. We are exploring additional ways to communicate as we know the amount of information and new regulations can feel overwhelming at times. It will still be very important to watch your email for COVID-19 updates.

Believe me, I know that this is hard. All of us are struggling with limits on the way we socialize, the way we celebrate, and the way we connect with other people, but for college students, these restrictions can feel especially difficult. You rightly have hopes and expectations for your college years, and this pandemic continues to have an enormous impact on that experience. We all recognize this, and we are here to support you.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to write to ReturntoCampus@smcvt.edu and the staff members who monitor this email account will either answer your question or forward it to the relevant office to answer.

I wish you all the very best for the remainder of the semester, and I hope that you and your family enjoy a safe and peaceful holiday. We all look forward to welcoming you back to campus in January.

Sincerely yours,

Lorraine Sterritt
President

Updated November 23, 2020 5:30 p.m.

Message from President Sterritt: COVID-19 update to the community

Dear Saint Michael’s Community,  

I am writing to provide you with an update on our COVID-19 management and planning. As of this evening our last two students have completed their isolation, and no students remain in quarantineCOVID-19 tests from Wednesday and Friday of last week resulted in no positive cases, and students were free to return home 

The containment of cases was the result of hard work on the part of the entire community. From our students who observed the health and safety guidelines, to the staff across campus who worked tirelessly to care for our students, to faculty who adapted quickly to conducting classes remotelyI extend my heartfelt appreciation.  

As our students and faculty continue their academic work over the next few weeks, the College will continue making plans for the spring semester, working very closely with the Vermont Department of HealthAs previously announced, we plan to have students complete this semester remotely and return to campus for the spring semester. Between now and then we will monitor the situation with the virus very closely, and we will keep you fully apprised as the Governor’s office releases updated information that pertains to quarantining and the return to campus for the spring semester.  

May you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving break.  

Sincerely,  

Lorraine Sterritt
President  

Updated November 23, 2020

Message from the VP for Academic Affairs: Extension of Withdrawal deadline to December 4

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

In recognition of the planned-for but nonetheless disruptive events of the last several weeks in the academic and student-life spheres, the College has decided to extend once more the deadline to withdraw from a course without penalty.  The deadline was originally November 6 (the typical point in a semester for such a deadline), was extended to November 18, and now will be Friday, December 4. Students who avail themselves of this opportunity will see a “WD” on their transcript next to the course in question.

Please keep the following in mind:

  • If you have a federal student loan, and a withdrawal means you will be enrolled in fewer than 6 credit hours, you should contact the Office of Student Financial Services at FinAid@smcvt.edu.
  • International undergraduate students must maintain full time enrollment with at least 12 credits. For international graduate students, the minimum is 9 credits. Please contact Office of International Student Services at mholzman@smcvt.edu with any questions.

Please accept my best wishes for a restful and safe Thanksgiving break.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Trumbower, Ph.D. (he, him, his)
Vice President for Academic Affairs

Updated November 17

Joint Message from Academic and Student Affairs

Dear Students,

We are grateful to you for your hard work, both in your academic studies and in your lives outside the classroom, as we continue to navigate this semester together. As we approach the Thanksgiving break, we are in a much better position with regard to our positive COVID cases. At this point, there are just two cases in isolation, and fewer than five students in quarantine. While everyone has done a great job to get this outbreak under control, we must remain vigilant. With COVID becoming more widespread nationwide, and with the Governor of Vermont issuing additional restrictions statewide, it is critical that we adhere to health and safety measures both on campus and at home. We must not let our guard down.

Important Reminders from Academic and Student Affairs:

Departure: 

  • You must schedule a COVID-19 test, receive a negative result, and move out within 48 hours of the date the test was administered. You may schedule your departure and testing here.
  • The Broad Institute, the lab that processes our tests, is not open Thanksgiving week, so the last day for move-out is Sunday, November 22. If you plan to depart on that day, your test must be scheduled for Friday, November 20.
  • If a family member is coming to pick you up, keep in mind that they may not enter any building on campus.
  • If you have questions about the November 22 closing date, please email Housing at Housing@smcvt.eduas soon as possible.
  • For full move-out instructions, refer to the emails sent to you from Housing.

New Vermont State Guidelines:Due to the increased spread of COVID-19 nationwide, the Governor of Vermont recently issued new restrictions statewide on gatherings and on travel in and out of state, and he asked families to celebrate Thanksgiving in-person only with their immediate households. Those remaining in Vermont can read the State’s new policies here.

Academic Schedule:

  • Last day of class prior to Thanksgiving Break: Tuesday, November 24
  • Thanksgiving Holiday: November 25 – 29
  • Instruction resumes remotely: November 30 – December 11
  • Final exams administered remotely: December 14 – 18

Grading Policies:  Some students have asked about transitioning to Pass/No Pass grades due to the pandemic. The College is adhering to our traditional grading practices for Fall 2020. A Pass/No Pass policy can relieve stress in the moment but presents long-term challenges to evaluating preparation for advanced courses, graduate school admission, and identifying students who need advising or assistance. For any student who is struggling academically, I encourage you to make use of all the support available to you. These include:

For additional questions about academic support, please contact:
OfficeofheAssociateDeanoftheCollege@smcvt.edu.

This has been a challenging semester, and we are now in the final stretch. The work has been hard, but worth it. Let’s all stay focused, help each other, and finish strong.

Stay well,

Dawn Ellinwood
Vice President for Student Affairs

Jeffery A. Trumbower
Vice President for Academic Affairs

Updated November 4, 2020

From Vice President for Student Affairs Dawn Ellinwood: Testing and Policy Clarifications

Dear Students,

Many of you have been asking questions about move-out, testing, and other matters related to the end of this semester. I hope the information below provides additional clarity.

As you know, we have developed our testing protocols in close collaboration with the Vermont Department of Health. As a further precaution, we have decided to continue weekly mandatory surveillance testing. While we hope the update to our testing plan below provides an additional measure of reassurance, I must remind you of the critical distinction between prevention and testing. No matter how often you are tested, you can still become positive for COVID-19 if you do not abide by all College health and safety policies.

Testing Requirements:

  • Weekly Surveillance Testing: If you plan to stay on campus beyond this weekend, you MUST have one surveillance test each week, including this week. This mandatory surveillance testing in Tarrant is taking place according to the schedule below and does NOT require advance registration.
    • Friday, November 6, 8:30 am – 2:00 pm
    • Monday, November 9, 8:30 am – 2:00 pm
    • Wednesday, November 11, 8:30 am – 2:00 pm
    • Friday, November 13, 8:30 am – 2:00 pm
    • Monday, November 16, 8:30 am – 2:00 pm
    • Wednesday, November 18, 8:30 am – 2:00 pm
    • Friday, November 20, 8:30 am – 2:00 pm
    • Monday, November 23, 8:30 am – 2:00 pm
    • If you have been approved to remain on campus beyond the 23rd you will receive specific instructions for your ongoing testing.
  • Departure Testing: You must notify the College of your intended move-out date and you must be tested for COVID-19 within 48 hours of your departure and receive a negative result. This final test of the term DOES require advance registration. Sign up for your final move-out test and date here.
  • Quarantine, Contact, and Symptomatic Testing: If necessary, you will work directly with the Bergeron Wellness Center for your testing.

Campus Policies: Continue to follow all health and safety policies (masks, distancing, etc.). Violations may be subject to a $250 fine.

  • No visitors are allowed on campus, except for family pick-up on your scheduled day.
  • You may not visit another student’s room, townhouse, or suite.
  • No indoor gatherings (this includes Dion, Alliot, etc.).
  • Only essential travel off campus is permitted, and it is restricted to our local area.
  • You may visit with each other in groups of 2 or 3 outdoors, masked, and appropriately distanced.
  • Library and computer labs are open.

Move-Out

  • You must use the link above to schedule your move-out. If you have family coming to pick you up, they cannot enter any buildings on campus.
  • You may leave your belongings for next semester. If due to State or Health Department requirements there is any change to the spring semester, we will safeguard your belongings until you are able to pick them up over the spring term.

Please help us to keep everyone safe and well as we approach the end of this semester.

Thank you,

Dawn Ellinwood
Vice President for Student Affairs

Updated November 3, 2020

From Vice President for Student Affairs Dawn Ellinwood: Testing and move-out

Hello Students,

The decision to continue remote learning for the remainder of the semester has generated inquiries from some of you who wish to leave early and complete your studies from home. This is possible but will require that you sign up for a date to be tested. Upon receiving a negative result, you must depart campus within 48 hours of that test being administered. We will also need you to share the date that you plan to leave campus so that we can manage the health and safety of everyone. Below you will find information about the new test dates that are available, as well as a link to a form where you can schedule your test and share the date you wish to leave campus.

This replaces the weekly surveillance testing that has been conducted for the past two weeks. Do not plan to come to testing unless this is part of your return to home plan.

Please note, if you receive a positive test result for COVID-19, you will be required to isolate on campus for at least 10 days before you may depart campus. If you are deemed a close contact of someone who tests positive, you will be required to stay and quarantine for at least 7 days and then test negative. It is important to understand that if you test positive after November 13, you will be unable to complete your isolation and be home in time for Thanksgiving. Please follow all health policies so that everyone can be home for Thanksgiving.

All testing will be in Tarrant from 8:30 am-2:00 pm. The testing schedule is as follows:

  • Wednesday, November 4
  • Friday, November 6
  • Monday, November 9
  • Wednesday, November 11
  • Friday, November 13
  • Monday, November 16
  • Wednesday, November 18
  • Friday, November 20

Schedule your test and submit your move-out plan here.

In order to protect those who remain on campus, students who move out are prohibited from returning to campus before the start of the spring semester. There can be no exceptions.

All students who remain in residence must comply with all COVID policies so that we can continue to contain the virus. As mentioned in Dr. Sterritt’s email yesterday, please understand that there will be no indoor gatherings for the remainder of the semester.  You are only allowed to be in your own suite, townhouse or room.  You may not be in any other residence but your own.  If you are in a suite, townhouse or room that is not your own, you will be fined $250.00 for this infraction.  If this happens a second time you will be removed from campus housing for the spring semester. If your family or friends are coming to campus to help you move out, please note that they are not allowed to enter any building on campus.  Additionally, you may leave your belongings in your room for next semester. Please remember to close windows/doors, keep your keys /Knightcard, and bring home valuables, medications, and anything else you will need over the holiday break.

If you have any questions about your departure plans, please contact housing@smcvt.edu.

For more general questions, please feel free to email returntocampus@smcvt.edu.

Thank you and please be well.

Dawn Ellinwood
Vice President for Student Affairs

Updated November 2, 2020

From President Sterritt – Important decisions for the next few weeks

Dear Saint Michael’s Community,  

This afternoon we met with Commissioner of Health Mark Levine MD and his team at the Vermont Department of Health. We focused on the practical considerations of managing the final weeks of the semester on campus, given the additional positive cases and their close contacts identified this past weekend.  

In collaboration with the Health Department, we have made the following decisions: 

  • The rest of this semester’s classes will be conducted remotely.  
  • There will be no in-person group activities. 
  • We will continue with take-out dining. 
  • All gatherings of any size are prohibited, and no on-campus or off-campus guests are allowed in any residences, including rooms and common areas.   

Some students have asked about going home early. The Health Department reinforced Saint Michael’s concern that the health and safety of students’ families and home communities are crucially important. Therefore, students who wish to depart early may do so, but they MUST have an additional COVID-19 test and then must depart within 48 hours of the test being administered, provided that thresult is negative. We have developed a plan for offering testing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, beginning this Wednesday. This will accommodate students who wish to leave campus early and finish the semester from home. Please watch for an email message tomorrow from Vice President Dawn Ellinwood that will provide details. This communication will also have strict guidelines for families wishing to pick up students from campus.  

When making plans regarding testing and departure, students should keep in mind that if their test result comes back positive for Covid-19, they will need to stay and complete a 10-day isolation period. All of those currently in isolation and quarantine will continue their current plan of care and may leave after being medically cleared to do so. 

It is of paramount importance for everyone to adhere to all COVID policies, including policies for quarantine and isolation, in order to avoid having to spend Thanksgiving break in isolation or quarantine on campus or causing a friend to have to do so. We want every student to have a safe and healthy return home for the holidays. 

Sincerely,  

Lorraine Sterritt
President 

Updated November 1, 2020

From President Sterritt – Update regarding yesterday’s COVID testing

Dear Saint Michael’s Community,  

We have already received all but the last five results from the 1,140 COVID-19 tests that were conducted yesterday, and ten positive cases have been identified. We also received additional results from testing of close contacts and have seven cases among students who were already in quarantine. The new positive cases have been moved to isolation, and the Vermont Department of Health, supported by the Bergeron Wellness Center, is conducting contact tracing. While we are adding students to isolation and quarantine, we have also been able to release other students from both isolation and quarantine since they have been medically cleared. We continue to support students who have tested positive and check in with them frequently. They are receiving the College’s full care and support.  

We, along with the Health Department, had anticipated that we would find additional cases before completely containing the virus on campus. While we had hoped for fewer, we are encouraged that there are not more, and that the cases still seem connected by social circles. We are continuing to work with the contact tracers at the Health Department. 

We have been in communication with the Health Department today and are meeting with thetomorrow to discuss our plan movinforwardAt this time, we have decided that classes for this coming week will continue to be remote. Athletics and all in-person events will continue to be suspended, and meals will continue to be takeout only, through next weekend. We will communicate additional information after we meet with the Health Department.  

If you have questions, please feel free to write to returntocampus@smcvt.edu. This email account is monitored by several staff members who will either answer your question directly or forward it to the best person to provide an answer. 

As we know from Commissioner of Health Mark Levine, once the virus is present, it takes hard work and conscientiousness to eliminate it. Everyone must follow all our COVID-19 policies, including wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, washing hands, avoiding gatherings, and having no guests from off campus, so that we can effectively contain the virus. 

We are grateful for the hard work and many sacrifices that students, faculty, and staff have made in response to the pandemic and its impact on our campus.  

Sincerely,  

Lorraine Sterritt
President 

Updated October, 28, 2020 6:00 p.m.

From Bergeron Wellness Center counseling staff

Dear Students,

We at Bergeron Counseling are writing to let you know that we have been thinking about all of you, those on campus and those studying remotely.

As we come to the end of week 9 in this historic semester, we are aware of the time passing quickly.  We have 4 weeks to go before heading home for Thanksgiving and finishing the semester from there.   As we have been thinking of you, we wanted to highlight a few things.

*We have been struck by the resilience and grit of our student body as a whole, and by the way our community has come together in many cooperative ways to address the challenges posed by COVID-19.  It is during the hardest times that the ideal of community gets tested.  We have the opportunity to put into action every day the living vision of our SMC community.  Thank you for your part in this effort.

*Let’s remember to be particularly aware of our community members who are in quarantine and isolation, and lend support to all of them.  By quarantining now, they are helping to minimize the spread of COVID-19.  And the more the rest of us support them to do the qu