Middlebury College, in Vermont, announced Thursday night that it would switch to remote instruction for the remainder of the semester as an outbreak grows. The university will conduct the final exams remotely.
Administrators announced 34 new cases, bringing the total number of reported active cases to 50, the most on campus since the start of the pandemic.
The new restrictions will begin Friday at 5 am. Meals on campus will become take out meals. All indoor events, sporting events and artistic performances have been postponed. Officials urged students to limit indoor gatherings to six people.
“While many of the new cases we have identified appear to be connected, occurring in groups among people socializing together, an increase in the prevalence of Covid-19 increases the likelihood of wider community transmission,” university officials wrote in an email obtained throughout the campus. by The New York Times.
While many colleges have required on-campus testing for all students, testing remains optional this semester for most students in Middlebury, the student newspaper reported, though unvaccinated students and traveling seasonal college athletes should meet the testing requirements. Authorities said 99 percent of the student body was fully vaccinated. Reinforcements will be required in mid-February.
DePaul University in Chicago plans to start winter classes remotely, after students travel for winter break. The University of Southern New Hampshire will take similar steps. Both schools plan to return to classroom teaching in mid-January.
Vermont is the most vaccinated state in the US, according to federal data: 74 percent of its population is fully vaccinated. But cases are on the rise, 25 percent in the past two weeks. In Addison County, where Middlebury is located, new cases have increased 56 percent in the past two weeks.
Administrators urged Middlebury students to leave campus early. “Students who are able to go out to take a break or change plans without complications or unreasonable expenses should do so,” officials wrote in the email, sent to students at 7:55 p.m. M.
The university offers optional exams on Fridays and Saturdays. University officials said asymptomatic students would not need a test result to leave campus.
“There is growing widespread anxiety, both for our health and safety, but also for what it means for classes, finals, events, performances,” said Riley Board, 21, editor-in-chief of the student newspaper The Middlebury Campus.
“If I had to predict how people will feel tomorrow, it would be this defeated end of the semester,” Ms Board said. “Where we all have to go a little earlier and knowing that something went wrong in the end.”