Middlebury College, in Vermont, announced Thursday night that it will move to distance education for the remainder of the semester as the outbreak grows. The college will conduct final exams remotely.
Officials announced 34 new cases, bringing the total number of active cases reported to 50, the largest number on campus since the start of the pandemic.
The new restrictions are set to begin Friday at 5 a.m., and on-campus dining will turn into fast food. All indoor events, sporting events and art performances have been postponed. Officials urged students to limit indoor gatherings to six people.
University officials wrote in a campus-wide email obtained: “While many of the new cases we identified appear to be related to each other, and occur in clusters between people who come into contact with one another, the increased spread of Covid-19 increases the potential for community transmission over the wider scope. by The New York Times.
While many colleges have mandated an on-campus test for all students, the test has remained optional this semester for most students at Middlebury, the Student newspaper reported, although unvaccinated students and traveling college athletes must meet test requirements. Officials said 99 percent of students have been fully vaccinated. Reinforcements will be required by mid-February.
DePaul University in Chicago plans to start remote winter classes, after students travel for their winter vacation. Southern New Hampshire University will take similar measures. Both schools plan to keep returning to in-person tutoring in mid-January.
Vermont is the most vaccinated state in the United States, according to federal data: 74 percent of its entire population is vaccinated. But cases are up 25 percent in the past two weeks. In Addison County, where Middlebury is located, new cases have increased 56 percent over the past two weeks.
Officials urged Middlebury students to leave campus early. “Students who are able to leave to take a break or change plans without unreasonable complications or expenses, should do so,” the officials wrote in the email, sent to students at 7:55 p.m.
The college offers an elective test on Friday and Saturday. University officials said students who are not showing symptoms will not need a test result to leave campus.
“There is a creeping public concern, both about our health and safety, but also about what that means for classes, finals, events and shows,” said Riley Bord, 21, editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Middlebury Campus.
“If I had to predict how people would feel tomorrow, that would be the defeated semester’s end,” said Ms. Burd. “Where we all have to leave a little early with the knowledge that something went wrong at the end.”