Update on the COVID-19 Coronavirus

15 Jun 2021

June 15, 2021

Today, President Moulton announced to students that once the FDA grants permanent approval to the existing COVID-19 vaccines, Vermont Tech will be requiring all enrolled students to be vaccinated. This will be in addition to the other vaccines currently required by the Vermont Department of Health. Once the COVID-19 vaccine is required, requests for medical and religious exemptions will be considered, in accordance with Vermont law.

The goal is for all members of the VSCS community who are able to be vaccinated to get vaccinated. We are sharing this information with students now so that they have plenty of time in which to get vaccinated before the start of the fall semester. Thank you to all those who are already fully-vaccinated.

June 14, 2021

A message from the Communications Director regarding Governor Scott’s recent announcement:

Many of you have read or heard today’s news from Governor Scott that Vermont is “fully open.” The Governor’s announcement states that, “As of June 14, 2021, more than 80% of eligible Vermonters have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and Governor Phil Scott has authorized the move to Step 4 of the Vermont Forward Plan, lifting business, gathering, and travel related restrictions, nearly two weeks ahead of schedule.”

Vermont Tech and all the Vermont colleges and universities have been subject to specific guidance, the College Guidance Safe and Healthy Return to Campus-Mandatory Guidance for Colleges and University Campus Learning. With today’s announcement, this Safe and Healthy Return to Campus guidance expires at midnight tonight as opposed to the original date of July 4, 2021. In accordance with the Governor’s announcement, Vermont Tech is lifting all masking and physical distance restrictions, regardless of vaccination status.

Vermont Tech plans for returning fully to campuses this fall with staff transitioning back to working on campus August 2, 2021. Based on our community’s demonstrated ability to care for individual and collective health and today’s announcement from the Governor, we have confidence that our fall plans and student experience will return to our traditional applied, in-person learning operations.

While some colleges and universities have announced plans to mandate vaccinations or not, Vermont Tech and the Vermont State Colleges System continues to weigh the decision and implications thereof. It is expected the VSCS will require student vaccines when the vaccines have been fully FDA approved beyond the emergency status in place now.  We will update everyone promptly when a final decision is reached.

May 24, 2021

We wanted to provide an update to the College Guidance Safe and Healthy Return to Campus-Mandatory Guidance for Colleges and University Campus Learning, Effective: May 18, 2021 and Expires: July 4, 2021

FAQ’s

Do fully vaccinated faculty, staff and students need to wear a mask indoors or outdoors?

  • Inside: No, only unvaccinated or partially vaccinated faculty, staff and students have to wear a mask indoors when in the presence of others and in public space.
  • Outside: No, unless six feet of distancing cannot be maintained, until July 4, 2021 upon expiration of the above guidance.

* Unless you have a medical or developmental condition or have trouble breathing, you are not required to show evidence or documentation of your condition.

Is this guidance interim or also for the fall semester?

  • This guidance is set to expire on July 4, 2021. At this time, we have not received guidance for the fall semester.

Are there still travel restrictions for students who are still living on campus?

Do we have to submit daily self-attestations?

  • No, you are asked to follow universal guidance
  • *Allied Health programs may continue with daily health screenings and clinical sites may have additional masking and distancing requirements regardless of vaccination status.

Do we need to provide proof of vaccination?

  • No, at this time we are following the Governor’s lead and using the honor system.
    • Students (at this time, we are NOT asking students to volunteer this information). This will likely change before the start of the fall semester. Please be on the lookout for any requests for voluntary vaccination reporting starting this summer.
  • We will update the college community if this changes in the future.

Can I still wear a mask if I’m vaccinated?

  • Yes, you may continue to wear your mask if that makes you more comfortable.

When would I be required to take a test, if ever?

  • If a student is symptomatic, they may be asked to take a test.
  • If an employee is symptomatic, please contact your medical provider to determine if you should have a COVID test.

May 21, 2021

Effective immediately: Vermont Technical College adopts and will follow the current guidance written in the Safe and Healthy Return to Campus-Mandatory Guidance for Colleges and University Campus Learning, (updated May 18, 2020, effective May 18, 2020 and Expires July 4,2020)

Here are the important updates:

  • Unvaccinated Students arriving on campus for residential summer programming must have proof of negative test results taken within 3 days prior to arrival on campus.
  • All students, faculty and staff must conduct a health screening prior to or upon campus arrival. This screening no longer needs to uploaded in Castle Branch or VTC self-attestation form.
    • If you have even mild symptoms you are encouraged to contact your health care provider to get tested for COVID-19. Stay home and away from other people while you wait for your results. Symptoms include: Fever (100.4 F or higher), cough, Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, Chills, Fatigue, Muscle pain or aches, Headache, Sore throat, New loss of taste or smell, Congestion or runny nose, Nausea or vomiting, and/or Diarrhea.
    • No symptomatic or COVID-19 positive students or employees are allowed on site. Unvaccinated students and employees who have not had COVID-19 in the past 90 days and have had close contact for more than 15 minutes with any person who is diagnosed with COVID-19 are required to quarantine for 14 days or for 7 days prior to obtaining a COVID-19 test with negative results.
  • Vermont Tech may choose to implement surveillance testing for unvaccinated students and faculty. Students and faculty who are fully vaccinated or who have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days, who display no symptoms associated with COVID-19, should not be included in the testing protocol.
  • Masks or face coverings must be worn indoors by all unvaccinated faculty, staff, students and visitors when in the presence of others and in public. When outdoors, and more than six feet apart from one another, masks are not required, but discretion must be exercised, and masks should be carried on the person in the event circumstances warrant their use.
  • Distancing of 6 feet for unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff should be observed whenever possible and unvaccinated individuals should avoid prolonged close contact with others.

Important note: Allied Health programs may continue with daily health screenings and clinical sites may have additional masking and distancing requirements regardless of vaccination status.

Important Information:

April 12, 2021

Vermont Tech has learned of a COVID-positive student on the Bennington Campus.  Two additional students were identified as close contacts through contact tracing and are in quarantine. No faculty or staff were identified as contacts.

Vaccine registration will be available for Vermonters age 16 and over on April 19, 2021.  We strongly encourage our community to register for and be vaccinated.

April 8, 2021

Vaccine eligibility and distribution throughout the state is about to reach all Vermonters aged 16 and over this month. Governor Scott released a statement last week on Vermont residency and college students to clarify residency requirements and access to vaccines. Although Vermont Tech serves a largely Vermont-resident population, we also serve out-of-state students who may wish to get vaccinated while in Vermont. We also recognize that we serve students who are becoming eligible for the vaccine at different dates. We also appreciate that many of Vermont Tech’s students have already completed their vaccination rounds to meet clinical requirements in healthcare settings. To everyone remaining, we strongly encourage you to get the vaccine when your eligibility is reached.

To view eligibility requirements and find locations for COVID vaccine distribution, please visit the Vermont Department of Health website. As of this writing, the posted eligibility bands are:

Vermont Department of Health vaccination eligibility bands, as of April 5, 2021

Based on the Governor’s recent college students and Vermont residency statement, out-of-state college students meet Vermont residency requirements if they have “moved to Vermont within the last six months,” and plan to stay in the state for the summer. Therefore, out-of-state students are eligible to register for a vaccination appointment based on their age band and meeting residency requirements as defined above. The Governor anticipates that registration will open to out-of-state college students who do not plan to stay for the summer on April 30, 2021, if vaccine supply permits.

The college’s advice to students is the following:

  • Register now with the State of Vermont’s COVID-19 vaccine event system and sign up when your eligibility band has been reached.
  • If you are eligible for a vaccine in your home state, if it is within safe same-day driving distance and you do not plan to stay in Vermont for the summer, you can receive approval from the Student Affairs office to travel out of state. Please contact their office to request approval before traveling.
  • If you or any member of your household identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), you are currently eligible to register for a vaccination. Contact your healthcare provider if a code is required.
  • If you already have an appointment for a vaccination, please keep that appointment.
  • If you have already received your vaccination, please notify Bob Sivret, Health Coordinator.
  • Out-of-state students planning to stay in Vermont for the summer for courses, athletics, internships and/or work on a campus should also register with the state of Vermont using your Vermont address and make an appointment when your eligibility band is reached.

The question of whether or not Vermont Tech and the Vermont State Colleges System institutions will require vaccination prior to attending classes or labs in the fall remains open. No legal decision has been reached at this time.

There continues to be a great need to wear our masks and practice social distancing as cases in Vermont rise and variants begin to take a dominant role in viral spread nationally. We must remain vigilant through these remaining weeks of restrictions to get to the other side healthy and stronger as a community. Thank you for all that you have done to keep Vermont Tech a safer place to study and work.

March 27, 2021

The tracking data have been updated to reflect all new tests received for entrance to campuses for lab weeks and surveillance testing. There are no new positive results to report at this time.

March 20, 2021

This week’s update to the COVID-19 testing data reflects a number of off-campus, non-residential students who revealed their previous positive results while testing for entry to campus for a lab. Their positive results are accurately counted in the duration of our reporting period, but their infections were not recent and they did not come into close contact with any students or employees.

We remind all students that Vermont Tech is required to report all positive cases of COVID-19 among its student populations, including commuter students who may never be on a college campus. Please be sure to share your positive test results with the Health Coordinator, Bob Sivret, at the time of your notification, regardless of your residential status. Thank you for your cooperation.

March 10, 2021

During routine surveillance testing on Monday, one residential student tested positive for COVID-19. Their results were received Tuesday and the student was immediately moved to campus isolation. Contact tracing identified five residential and two commuter students as close contacts, who are now in quarantine.

No faculty or staff were considered close contacts. The seven students in quarantine were tested again today, and will be retested on Day 7 (March 15). They will be able to leave quarantine if they continue to test negative on Day 7.

We are working with the Department of Health and monitoring students’ well-being during isolation and quarantine.

Thank you for your continued diligence and adherence to safety protocols.

March 1, 2021

President Moulton has released her statement on plans for academic delivery and housing options for the fall. Her full statement is available on the college website and was sent to all employees and students today.

February 20, 2021

The data dashboard has been updated to include our most recent Broad tests that had all negative results.

February 13, 2021

The data dashboard has been update to include residential testing, surveillance testing, and tests provided by non-residential and commuting students. The single residential positive test was from a student not yet living in residence, but counted among residents as they arrived on campus after completing isolation.

February 10, 2021

Vermont Tech began a COVID-19 surveillance testing program on February 10, 2021. The purpose of this testing program is to allow the college to monitor and address any trends and prevalence of cases and make timely decisions on intervention and response. Once a week, a random sample of campus-based students will be selected and tested for COVID-19, regardless of whether they have a known exposure or are showing symptoms of COVID-19. The Broad Institute testing program used for arrival testing will be used again for this purpose.

If a student is selected, they will be notified via VTC email to drop in during that time. They will also be given instructions for next steps. We understand that this specific timeframe will not work for everyone, so your attention to the instructions in the VTC email that you may receive will be key.

Spring Testing Schedule

  • January 15, 4-6 pm, Randolph
  • January 22, 1-3 pm, Randolph
  • January 29, 9 am-1 pm, Williston
  • January 29, 11 am-5 pm, Randolph
  • February 5, 2-4 pm, Randolph
  • February 5, 12-1 pm, Williston
  • February 10, 11 am-1 pm, Randolph
  • February 15, 2-4 pm, Randolph
  • February 22, 2-4 pm, Randolph
  • February 24, 11:30 am-1:30 pm, Williston
  • March 1, 10:30 am-12:30 pm, Williston
  • March 1, 3-5 pm, Randolph
  • March 8, 12:30-3:30 pm, Randolph
  • March 10, 12-2:30 pm, Randolph
  • March 17, 3-5 pm, Randolph
  • March 24, 3:30-5:30 pm, Randolph
  • March 29, 11 am-12 pm, Randolph
  • March 30, 11:30 am-1 pm, Williston
  • March 30, 3:30-5:30 pm, Randolph
  • April 5, 3-5 pm, Randolph
  • April 7, 3:30-5:30 pm, Randolph
  • April 8, 11 am-1 pm, Williston
  • April 14, 3-5 pm, Randolph
  • April 21, 4-5 pm, Randolph
  • April 28, 4-5 pm, Randolph

January 25, 2021

As of today, the dashboard has been updated to reflect only spring semester data, per the tracking requirements of the State of Vermont. At this time, the data include Practical Nursing students and early returning residential students. Remaining residential students will be tested on January 29 for the start of the spring semester. Students coming to campus at any time must also provide a negative test result to the Health Coordinator, Bob Sivret, before the start of lab weeks. More information about testing requirements is found on this webpage.

January 18, 2021

Student athletes and resident assistants moved in to Randolph Center residential housing on January 15. They all received COVID-19 tests that day (Day 0 tests) and went into quarantine. All 21 tests came back negative, so residential students are able to leave their rooms while remaining on campus. These students will be tested again on January 22 (Day 7 tests).

The remaining residential students will move in to Williston and Randolph Center on January 29.

January 8, 2021

During the semester break, we continued to track student and employee COVID-19 testing results. During that period a number of health professions students tested positive outside of their classroom or college-sponsored clinical settings.

December 10, 2020

This week, we have been notified of an additional off-campus student testing positive for COVID-19. That student had one close contact to be notified, as that person is both a Vermont Tech student and relative of the person who tested positive. Neither student has been on a college campus.

December 4, 2020

In the last week, we have been notified of new positive cases of COVID-19 among four off-campus students and one Randolph Center employee. The employee has been in quarantine since November 19, 2020 and not on any of our campuses.

With these confirmations, no college students or employees required notification of being close contacts.

Everyone is reminded to keep a contact-tracing journal and continue following the safety protocols to ensure your own health and the safety of others by wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, and maintaining 6’ of social distance between yourself and others.

As we near the end of this fall semester, I will to thank everyone for your diligence in maintaining the safety of our community. It has required effort from you all, for which I am grateful.

November 25, 2020

We were notified that two new Randolph Center employees have confirmed positive cases of COVID-19. These employees have been in quarantine since November 19, 2020 and not on any of our campuses.

With this confirmation, college staff have notified all employees who came into close contact with the employees to quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms. We have also shared information about how to get a COVID test and FFCRA protections.

If any additional employees are deemed a close contact, college staff will discuss next steps and guidance. We are in contact with the Vermont Department of Health (VDOH) and are taking necessary steps to protect the health of our students and staff.

Everyone is reminded to keep a contact-tracing journal and continue following the safety protocols to ensure your own health and the safety of others by wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, and maintaining 6’ of social distance between yourself and others.

Please have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving, remembering that multi-household gatherings are restricted in order to stop the spread of the virus. Cases in Vermont are up 260% in the last two weeks with a 300% increase in deaths. We can and must do our part to avoid overwhelming our healthcare systems.

November 20, 2020

A suspected case of COVID-19 of a commuter student on the Williston campus has been confirmed as positive. Their last time on campus was Thursday, November 12 and they developed symptoms days later.

With this confirmation, college staff have notified all students and employees who came into contact with the student and provided guidance from the Vermont Department of Health.

Everyone is reminded to keep a contact-tracing journal and continue following the safety protocols to ensure your own health and the safety of others by wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, and maintaining 6’ of social distance between yourself and others.

November 19, 2020

Today, we were notified that a Randolph Center employee has a confirmed positive case of COVID-19.

With this confirmation, college staff have notified all employees who came into close contact with the employee to quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms. We have also shared information about how to get a COVID test and FFCRA protections.

If any additional employees are deemed a close contact, college staff will be in touch to discuss next steps and guidance. We are in contact with the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) and are taking necessary steps to protect the health of our students and staff.

Everyone is reminded to continue following the safety protocols to ensure your own health and the safety of others. Wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, and maintaining 6’ of social distance between yourself and others is proven to make the difference. Please continue to give these steps a priority. Any employees with symptoms are reminded to report them to your supervisor.

If you have questions about health and safety protocols, please contact our COVID-19 Coordinator, Stacy Plourde.

November 17, 2020

In reporting the numbers for this week, please note that an additional positive case was added among the non-residential students. This nursing student from a distance site was a close contact of a family member who had tested positive and went into quarantine, and subsequently developed symptoms. Their COVID test has since come back positive.

November 11, 2020

Stacy Plourde, RDH, MS, CPHDH , the college’s COVID-19 Coordinator, sent the following message to all students that was shared with college employees:

Today, the suspected case of COVID-19 of an employee at Catamount Center has been confirmed as positive.

With this confirmation, college staff have notified all students and employees who came into contact with the employee to remain in quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms. We have also shared information about how to get a COVID test and FFCRA protections.

Out of an abundance of caution, labs scheduled for this week in the same facility are postponed until January so all students and employees can safely quarantine for the duration required.

Everyone is reminded to continue following the safety protocols to ensure your own health and the safety of others by wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, and maintaining 6’ of social distance between yourself and others.

October 28, 2020

President Moulton sent an update to the Vermont Tech Community about another positive case among our student population.

Good morning Vermont Tech Community,

Vermont Tech has recently been alerted to a positive COVID case among our students.  A nursing student at one of the distance sites has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing symptoms.  That student is isolated and has been since symptoms began.  Fortunately, when nursing students are in clinical or labs, they are wearing full PPE.  As a precaution, fellow students at this site are being asked to quarantine. The State is conducting contact tracing and we are hopeful that the risk of spread is minimal.

However, it is critical to remain vigilant. For anyone who may have had contact with this student, you will be contacted by the VT Department of Health. We also ask you please pay close attention to the attached guidance on what to do if you are in close contact with someone who is positive.

This is also an excellent reminder we all must REMAIN VIGILANT with our COVID precautions!  As we know very well, wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, frequent complete hand washing, and avoiding large gatherings are the best preventions.  If you are experiencing symptoms, been around anyone with a positive test or symptoms, remain home or go home and isolate.

There are three weeks remaining for labs and residency for the fall semester. Paying close attention to and following protocols is CRITICAL to get through this semester safely.  It is also critical when you get home! We are seeing a disturbing rise in cases in Vermont.  The ONLY way we will beat this virus is doubling down and following precautions.

This student is in our thoughts as we hope for a speedy recovery.

Resources

Prevention and Staying Healthy

You can help avoid the spread of illness by following CDC guidelines for keeping healthy. No single action will provide complete protection from illness, but an approach combining the following steps can help decrease the likelihood of transmission.

  • Stay home from work or class when you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Scrub your hands at least 20 seconds, or roughly twice the length of the “Happy Birthday” song.
  • When you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue and throw the tissue away after you use it. Alternatively, cough or sneeze into clothing — i.e. your sleeve rather than your bare hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs and viruses spread that way.
  • Get sufficient sleep, exercise regularly, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.