Information for Faculty and Staff

Local Testing Sites: See below for information from the Vermont Department of Health on nearby testing sites.


The planning and preparation for the fall reopening have been extensive and have involved many members of our own community in addition to members of our greater Vermont community. The Presidents from the 11 member institutions of the Association of Vermont Independent Colleges have been meeting weekly to discuss the unique challenges that higher education faces with regard to COVID-19 and developing a united approach to reopening safely. This group worked together closely to put a proposed reopening plan in place that the governor has subsequently endorsed. In addition, health services staff from all of the Vermont colleges and the Vermont Department of Health have been meeting regularly to stay up to date and to collaborate on reopening plans. All of this hard work and planning, combined with the extraordinary response and high standards of health and safety that have kept Vermont’s cases of the virus so low, have allowed us to move toward reopening to in-person instruction this fall. In the Vermont Department of Health’s August 18th update, Dr. Levine addressed how the plans for returning college students to campuses in Vermont are working and that we are in a different situation than colleges and universities in other parts of the country that have already begun to close shortly after reopening.

Over the summer, we have been carefully coordinating a gradual expansion of on-campus operations. This process has been implemented in phases and has been done in a thoughtful way that is in line with our commitment to supporting the health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students. As we near the start of the semester, additional employees have begun to return to campus to prepare spaces making sure that safety measures are in place prior to the start of the semester. As we are preparing to fully reopen, we will continue to deploy, evaluate, and refine the procedures necessary to ensure the health and safety of our campus and our community; mitigating the risks associated with COVID-19; sustaining campus operations; and maintaining research and academic excellence. Expanded on-campus operations will require us all to make changes to how we use our workspaces and how we interact with each other. There are actions that each of us will need to take to protect our own health and the health of others. Our success depends on collective efforts; each of us will need to do our part.

Information for Faculty and Staff

Below is a list of COVID-19 testing opportunities in Chittenden County for the week of Oct. 26 through Oct. 31.

Any employee returning to work on campus and any new hire must have completed the VOSHA training and provided a certificate to Human Resources as indicated in the information below:

Vermont’s Occupational and Health Administration (VOSHA) has announced a mandatory training for ALL employees, including those already working (except healthcare workers, first responders, and others already trained in infection control, personal protection/universal precautions). Employees, including student workers, working on campus or from home, must complete, and employers must document, this training on mandatory health and safety requirements.  Links to the online training in addition to a printable version of this training are below. Once completed, please email the completion certificate to Lorna Jewell-ljewell@smcvt.edu, or managers can email their employees’ names to Lorna if this training is completed offline. Please help us meet this important safety requirement.

To take the online training now CLICK HERE

Want to print the training and review offline? CLICK HERE

In addition to authorization from their supervisors, employees will need to be well to report to work on campus. Employees will engage in daily self-monitoring and certification of their good health. As such, employees will take their temperature each day before arriving on campus and complete the required health tracking survey. A paper version of this form can be found here. IT has also created an electronic version located here that will allow you to quickly and easily record your affirmation from any device.

All Saint Michael’s College community members (students, faculty, staff, the Edmundite community, contracted employees) and its campus visitors must do everything possible to limit the spread of Covid-19. Data show that 90-95% of the COVID-19 virus is transmitted via respiratory droplets. Since COVID-19 may be transmitted by someone who does not have symptoms, a facial covering helps you protect others.

On July 24, Governor Scott signed Addendum 2 to Amended and Restated Executive Order 01-20 with the objective of strengthening Vermont’s mask and facial coverings policy. This order took effect August 1, 2020 and can be read in its entirety here, and is in line with our policy, with a few clarifications added below. The Vermont Department of Health has posted FAQs related to this new face mask requirement. The DOH further expands that masks or face coverings are not required for anyone who is unable to remove the face mask without assistance or for outdoor workers who are doing strenuous work that causes heavy breathing when it is hot outside. When not doing strenuous work, these workers should wear a mask or facial covering. In addition, it stipulates that people who have trouble breathing can wear a light-weight bandanna or cloth covering or a face shield. According to the Department, if the work environment or individual’s health does not allow an individual to wear a cloth face mask, wearing a face shield is better than having no barrier at all.

Private employers must continue requiring employees to wear non-medical cloth face coverings (e.g. bandanna, scarf, or nonmedical masks) over their nose and mouth when those employees are in the presence of others, as required by Addendum 10 to Executive Order 01-20, signed on April 17,
2020. Addendum 2, requiring the general public to wear masks, does not limit a private employer’s ability to require medical documentation to support an employee’s request to be exempt from wearing a mask or face covering due to medical conditions while at work. In compliance with the American’s with Disabilities Act, the College will engage in interactive dialogue regarding whether a reasonable accommodation may be available to address these requests, provided those requests are medically supported.

Each of us must do our part for the safety of our community. If someone is in a shared space not wearing a facial covering, they should be asked to put on a mask or to immediately leave the area for the safety of those around them. For recurring issues with individuals or specific areas, reach out to your supervisor (in the case of faculty, department chairs will be considered equivalent to “supervisor” in references throughout this document) or V.P. about next steps for addressing the behavior.

Procedure, effective July 3, 2020 until further notice:

  1. Outdoors: All employees, students, and visitors are required to have a mask or facial covering readily available on their person (e.g., around neck) when on campus outdoors and to put on their mask or facial covering when it is NOT feasible to maintain physical/social distancing measures (i.e., at least 6 feet of separation).
  2. Indoors: Anyone entering a building is required to put on a mask or facial covering prior to entering the building and to continue to wear a mask or facial covering in common areas such as elevators, lobbies, hallways, bathrooms, when traveling around the building and working in shared spaces. Masks and facial coverings are required in common areas of academic buildings, office buildings, residence halls, dining halls, and community gathering spaces across campus.  Facial coverings or masks can be removed when alone in an office or dorm room or when eating/drinking but must always be available in case circumstances change.

Note: Make sure your facial covering covers your nose and mouth. Wash your cloth facial covering often. It is recommended that you have 3-4 coverings available to use. Students and employees are expected to supply their own facial coverings. A limited number of face shields have been purchased and can be requested by placing a work order and citing one of the reasons below that necessitate the use of a face shield rather than cloth mask.

Click here to visit the CDC website for additional mask guidance.

There may be some instances where a face shield might be an alternative to the use of the cloth mask. NOTE, the face shield does not offer as much protection as the cloth mask and MUST fully cover the face expanding out to both ears and below the chin. Some instances where this may be an alternative could include:

  1. When instruction is delivered and visualization of the mouth/lips is critical
  2. When a student is hearing impaired and needs to see the mouth/lip movement of the instructor
  3. In science labs where chemical droplets getting on cloth masks may cause harm
  4. In a theater setting where facial expression is critical to instruction
  5. In a counseling setting where facial expression is critical to instruction/care
  6. In a setting where the wearer has a medical reason that prohibits them from wearing a cloth mask.

Face shields may hold droplets on them, so clean them frequently with the recommended solution. AGAIN, this should not be seen as a universal alternative to cloth face coverings.

*Note- some of these guidelines are suggestions and best practices based on current information available and others relate to policies that are mandated and that we are required to enforce.

  1. Care for and monitor your own health. Employees will engage in daily self-monitoring and certification of their good health. As such, employees will take their temperature each day before arriving on campus and complete the required health tracking survey. A paper version of this form can be found here. IT has also created an electronic version located here that will allow you to quickly and easily record your affirmation from any device. Please set a reminder for yourself to complete this affirmation each time you come to campus.
    Electronic affirmation forms are routed based on the department/area that you select and are viewable by your Health Officer. Denise Brault has developed a plan for faculty health officers for the academic year based on physical locations. For staff, your health officer is most often your direct supervisor. Human Resources will receive a notification if you report “No, I have Symptoms” and will reach out to you to check in.

      1. Stay at home if you are not feeling well and experiencing any symptoms. If you begin to feel ill at work, inform your supervisor and/or HR and leave immediately.
      2. Current guidelines recommend that you be tested right away and monitor symptoms if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms.
      3. If you believe you might have COVID-19, reach out to your primary healthcare provider for further guidance. Click here for testing locations throughout Vermont.
      4. The Health Department is notified whenever someone tests positive for COVID-19 in Vermont. They have a team of trained contact tracers and will be responsible for conducting contact tracing, so be ready to provide them with a list of people you may have been in close contact with (within six feet for at least 15 minutes) during the time you were infectious (contagious). The Health Department will contact each person who may have had close contact to assess their risk for COVID-19 and provide information about staying home and the importance of getting tested. Below are some examples from the Vt Dept of Health website:

    1. The College is required to maintain confidentiality of any employee that tests positive and will comply with ADA guidelines. Per the Clery Act, the College is required to notify the campus community of the first confirmed case on campus through a timely warning through our usual channels or via our website. We will be posting the results of the on-campus student testing on the Return to Campus webpage as they become available. Beyond that, we are required to have information available in good faith and will rely on the contact tracing done by the Health Department to follow the proper processes for direct notification of potential contacts.
      If you are identified as a close contact a contact tracer will call you and tell you the date when you may have been exposed. They will give you guidance to stay home and away from others for a certain amount of time. They will ask you to watch for symptoms and ask if you need any help while staying home. Click here for more information.
    2. If any faculty or staff member believes that they might have contracted COVID-19 on campus, a First Report of Injury should be completed as soon as possible and returned to Karen Underhill. For information regarding worker’s compensation as it relates to COVID-19, please see bill S.342 and associated memo. 
  • Anyone deemed to be medically vulnerable or who has a chronic medical condition is encouraged to consult with their primary healthcare provider prior to returning to work. They should seek counsel from both their supervisor and Human Resources if they feel they cannot perform their job safely or need accommodations to be able to perform their job safely. If this is the case, please contact Emilie Marcotte in Human Resources at emarcotte@smcvt.edu.
  • If your household includes one or more medically vulnerable individuals, then all family members should act as if they, themselves, are at higher risk.
  • Practice physical distancing when at all feasible; that means 6 feet between you and others.
  • Faculty are not to hold office hours in their offices. Virtual meetings are to be considered the standard for all meetings with students for office hours and help sessions. If an in-person meeting is essential, then the use of larger designated meeting spaces with 6 feet distance or outdoors would be the option.
  • Wear a mask/facial covering. As an educational institution, kindly remind one another of this requirement as we reinforce a culture of education, safety and responsibility. Refer to the Policy on the Use of Facial Coverings above for more details.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Keeping our workspaces and living spaces clean is important and everyone’s responsibility to help minimize the spread of germs. Our custodial staff is working hard to sanitize common areas and touch points but cannot reach every location. Shared work spaces, common areas, work stations, and high contact areas must be wiped down regularly by users after each use. Disinfectant spray and paper towels will be made available to all common areas.
  • Contact Tracing Journal: Students, faculty and staff should consider keeping a contact journal – a list of other people who you have been in close contact with each day. If you do get sick, this would make it easier to get in touch with those people so they can take proper precautions to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
  • Current guidelines recommend that you be tested right away and monitor symptoms if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Travel: All institutional out-of-state travel by faculty, staff or students shall be suspended except with institutional leadership permission.
  • If you have traveled outside of Vermont, it is your responsibility to follow state guidelines and quarantine for 14 days upon return to Vermont. Note: subject to change per the Governor’s guidance.
  • If you are unable to work due to COVID-19, please coordinate with your supervisor and Human Resources. Our PTO and time off policies specifically related to COVID-19 are listed below:

Employees who are unable to work due to a COVID-19 related absence will be expected to use accrued, unused PTO, grandfathered vacation or grandfathered sick leave for the hours they are unable to work. For employees who do not have a sufficient PTO, vacation or sick balance to cover the time that they are out due to a COVID-19 related reason, we are expanding the typical use of Donated PTO time beyond FMLA eligible leaves and will grant up to 80 hours of Donated PTO time. PTO will continue to accrue when using Donated PTO time.

Faculty who are unable to work due to a COVID-19 related reason should inform their chair and the Dean’s office immediately. We encourage departments to coordinate their plans with each other and plan for the possibility of illness and/or unexpected absences, ahead of time. We require all faculty to plan their courses on Canvas and populate them with learning materials ahead of time; this not only provides consistency for the students but also facilitates instructional continuity in the case of illness.

*Note: Childcare challenges that are directly related to COVID-19 are covered under this policy

  1. We recognize the challenges faced by parents when their children’s schools or childcare providers may be closed and will strive to be as flexible as possible. To protect the health of our children and the SMC community, at this time, faculty and staff should not bring children on campus for extended periods. Exceptions may include quick trips to campus, as long as all of the safety protocols are followed. If you have childcare challenges that can’t be mitigated through regular absence processes, please speak with your direct supervisor about potential options.
  2. All employees must log into Oracle and verify that emergency contact information is accurate and up-to-date.
  3. Remain vigilant and adhere to the guidance in this document, the SMC COVID-19 website and other directives from our leadership. In this way, everyone plays a key role in helping to minimize the potential spread of
  4. We recognize this is a challenging time for everyone, and it is normal to feel anxious and stressed. Our EAP program offers 3 free confidential counseling sessions for employees and their family members. A link to the brochure with more information can be found here or on the Benefits portal page. The State also has additional resources on stress and coping and additional information on programs and benefits that may be available to you and your

We fully expect that faculty and staff will perform their duties safely and follow all of these requirements and mandated public health safety standards. Since the health and safety of our community depends on each of us doing our part, please be sure to carefully read these guidelines and speak with your direct supervisor or Human Resources at any point if you have any questions or concerns. The disciplinary actions below are not intended to be a first resort, but rather would be implemented when a reasonable number of reminders and discussion of the importance of following these guidelines do not result in behavior changes and compliance with these health and safety standards. In the event that faculty and staff choose not to wear a face covering or follow existing public health safety standards, per the Mandatory Guidance from the State of Vermont, they shall face immediate disciplinary action.

In instances of violation, direct supervisors will take the following actions:

  1. On first and second instance of violation notify the staff or faculty member of the specific violation in writing including date, time, and place.
    1. Provide information about the public health mandate, including the health benefits of following the mandate and any practices or instructions associated with the mandate.
    2. Include consequences as outlined in this policy if the mandate is not followed and the rights enjoyed if discipline is pursued.
    3. Due to the immediate risks to the campus community, the employee must immediately correct the behavior or leave campus if they are unable or unwilling to do so.
  2. On third instance of violation, the Vice President of the area will be notified for consideration of a ban on being present on campus for a period of time, or furlough if remote work is not possible.
    1. Such notification must include a record of two previous violations and the subsequent enforcement, the most recent violation, with the date, time, and place indicated for each violation and enforcement action and will be provided to both the employee and Human Resources.
  3. If a banned employee continues to come to campus, the direct supervisor and Human Resources or in the case of the faculty, the Dean and department chairperson, in collaboration with the Vice President of the area, will discuss the severity of the initial three violations in addition to the violation of the ban from being on campus to determine what actions are needed to protect the health and safety of campus. Depending on the severity of the violations and their implications on the health of the community, additional disciplinary action may include:
    1. Faculty: provide faculty member with a final written warning summarizing all of the details from the previous violations and explaining that any additional violation will result in the initiation of the procedures in section II.J.1-5- Imposition of Sanctions Other Than Termination or II.I.6- Termination for Cause of the Faculty Regulations based on criteria in II.I.3.
    2. Staff: provide staff member with a final written warning summarizing all of the details from the previous violations and explaining that any additional violation will result in termination of employment.

Please note that these guidelines are based on current mandates from the state of Vermont. They will likely change based on disease prevalence and we will continue to update these guidelines based on the current mandates from our Governor.

  1. While we gradually begin to reopen, if a member of your department needs to enter an SMC building to retrieve a personal item or perform a necessary task and will be there for 30 minutes or less, employees should contact their supervisor/health officer for approval. These trips do not require the health officer to be physically present. Employees are responsible for adhering to safety guidelines – masks/facial coverings, handwashing, social distancing, etc. before entering any buildings and touching any surfaces.
  2. In response to violations of these public health safety standards, we are required to take immediate disciplinary action and will be using the disciplinary process listed above. As a supervisor, it is your responsibility to enforce these health and safety guidelines in your areas. Education and affirmation in addition to leading by example are crucial to compliance and the disciplinary process outlined in this document is meant to provide consistency and clarity for supervisors and demonstrate to all employees the importance of following these mandatory guidelines for the health of our entire community. As stated, a reasonable number of reminders that result in immediate behavioral changes do not qualify as a disciplinary action. We will be discussing the consistent enforcement of these guidelines at an Administrative Council and Chairs’ and Directors’ Council meeting at the start of the academic year.
  3. We encourage all managers and supervisors to think creatively about how to support all employees in caring for their health – and reducing their risk of exposure to COVID–19 – while enabling them to continue performing their work. Be flexible with your overall department planning to reduce density and provide the safest possible work environment.
  4. Establish a chain of command/coverage and a contact notification process (call chain) for your department to provide critical College status updates or in the event of multiple employees becoming ill or incapacitated.
  5. List the essential department tasks and identify those that could experience delays in the event of short staff or a College closure. Develop contingency plans and backfill options for coverage to ensure continuity.
  6. Supervisors and staff should meet (maintaining social distancing or through Zoom/Team meetings) to address any concerns they may have and to discuss the information in this summary. Establishing a transparent safety and communication plan for your department is vital in a successful return to campus.
  7. All possible meetings should still be virtual at this time. Encourage your employees to use telephone, online conferencing, e-mail or instant messaging to conduct business as much as possible, even when participants are in the same building.
  8. Consider staggered lunch break times for your employees.
  9. As a supervisor, you may ask employees who report feeling ill at work, or who call in sick, whether they have any COVID-related symptoms so that you can determine whether the employee must stay away from work. Your discussion about the employee’s health symptoms should be limited to asking about the presence of only those COVID-related symptoms. You should not inquire about any underlying medical conditions.

Vermont’s mandatory health and safety requirements currently require all business operations to designate a health officer on-site at every shift responsible for ensuring compliance with the executive order. Currently, this guidance is designed specifically for departments that are physically back on campus and have been approved by Human Resources.

The role of a Health Officer includes the following:

  1. Ensures compliance with the mandatory health and safety requirements within their department or work area.
    • As a Health Officer, your role is to hold employees accountable for completing the Affirmation Logs and foster a culture and expectation that these checks need to happen.
    • Currently, the Affirmation Logs are available in paper version on the portal and as an electronic form with specific permissions to Health Officers and Human Resources. Health Officers can check compliance with the logs by going to https://mailsmcvt.sharepoint.com/sites/CovidForms
  2. Has the authority to stop or modify activities to ensure work conforms to the mandatory health and safety requirements.
  3. Consults with Human Resources and/or Public Safety on concerns related to employee compliance with the mandatory health and safety requirements.
  4. Sets a good example by following COVID-19 protocols at all times. This involves practicing good personal hygiene and workplace safety practices to prevent the spread of the virus and requiring this same behavior from your respective areas.

The Natural Area

As we prepare for an unusual Fall, I wanted to address socially distant use of the Saint Michael’s College Natural Area.  The area is open for use and with 360 acres, we can certainly maximize social distance.  That said, for instructors leading students groups, there are practical limits to distance while still maintaining group cohesion.  I anticipate several area uses in the coming semester:

  • Class engaged moving as a group or dispersing and returning to regroup at appointed times and places.
  • Individual students or pairs assigned to work in the Natural Area without an instructor.
  • Athletic team use.
  • Scholarly creative and/or research activities as part of faculty and/or student research projects.
  • Recreational users from on and off campus.

Rules/tips:

  1. Physical distance between masked participants is required; follow the laws of the state and rules established by the college.
  2. We instituted a dog leash rule during the pandemic following CDC guidelines.  This rule has been posted since May.
  3. The blue trail markers are numbered 1 near the main campus entrance, through 18  near Woodside Avenue.  If you plan to meet with students regularly, pick a trail marker number as your meeting place and communicate that with other instructors in your time slot to spread people out. Be flexible and shift your number as needs be.
  4. If you need to install something (art, sampling devices, cameras etc), communicate first with me (dmccabe@smcvt.edu) and then signpost them including a contact person with phone number or email.
  5. If you have any questions regarding activities that may change the nature of the Natural Area (plantings; construction; weeding; trail work; art installation) please let me know so that I can help coordinate those and minimize conflicting uses.  I’m not discouraging any activity; simply encouraging communication.  Our philosophy is one of active landscape use while maintaining a natural character that captures carbon, reduces soil erosion, and enhances biological diversity; we are pursuing restoration activities, but also actively maintaining trails, performing research, and installing art.
  6. Unauthorized motor vehicles are prohibited. Trucks and other vehicles are authorized on a case-by case basis and are important for delivering compost, tools and transporting alternatively abled participants (no requests have been declined to date).  Motorbikes are not permitted at any time; report any you see to Public Safety.
  7. Hunting and trapping is strictly prohibited and enforced by reporting infractions through Public Safety to the state game warden.

Others you can expect to occasionally encounter:

  • Facilities workers staging landscaping materials and handling our waste management including compost. The compost facility is on the main trail.
  • Utility workers: waste water pumping station; Champlain Water District maintains the water line and brush hogs part of the main trail that strategically follows their pipe.
  • USDA/APHIS officials fire small cardboard rockets to disperse seagulls infringing on the airport flight path. They also trap, radio collar, and releases opossums as part of a non-target rabies bait study.
  • A UVM graduate student is researching rodent and parasite populations.
  • Federal and state officials (Fish and Wildlife; NRCS) are actively engaged in site restoration (see the map).
  • Bird watchers; at any time but particularly during the major migrations in Fall and Spring; our Natural Area is a local hotspot with 161 bird species recorded thus far.
  • iNaturalist users logging biological diversity.
  • Law enforcement agencies training their K9 teams.

New and established trails: About 2 miles of very well-placed trails were generously installed by Jeff Vincent bringing out total to just over 3 miles and approaching our eventual goal of 4 miles of trail. From the compost, simply follow the road downhill to the right to connect with this loop; there’s a connector trail from that loops back uphill to the upper former cornfield.  The new trails are not yet on the map; perhaps an activity for the fall.  The existing blue trail runs 1.3 miles from Col. Cook’s statue to Woodside Ave where you can connect with a 1-mile loop in Woodside Natural Area. Together with the 1 mile Gilbrook loop, we are well endowed with trails and outside space.

Finally, a word about site restoration.  The larger of the two former corn fields (55 acres) is being actively managed by NRCS and other collaborating agencies. More than 18 acres of this is has already been naturally colonized by tree seedlings during the two years post corn planting. Professor Trevien Stanger’s classes have been planting trees since 2018. You can anticipate seeing construction vehicles digging pits and installing tree snags and logs to simulate natural wetland conditions in that site once the archeological permitting is complete. Depending on the extent of your wanderings, you may see conservation easement signs on metal posts ringing a protected area; these are certainly not intended to keep anyone out of that area. Restoration outside that area is up to us and again, Professor Stanger’s has lead the charge on tree planting in the upper field (former P-Day field)…..and by now, even the tallest of us can look up at the fruits of that labor capturing carbon and reaching for the light.