December COVID Update for Employees
Welcome back—we hope you all had a restful break. As we begin the last few weeks of the fall semester, we want to share a few COVID-related updates and reminders:
- Post-Thanksgiving return and the weeks ahead
- COVID variant
- Spring semester
- Ongoing COVID management
POST-THANKSGIVING RETURN AND THE WEEKS AHEAD
As we return from the Thanksgiving break, it is important for all of us to minimize risk from holiday travel and gatherings. Testing is recommended for employees if you traveled, attended large gatherings, or attended functions with little indoor masking. As a reminder, all students were expected to be COVID tested by Wednesday (12/1). All residential students were required to test, regardless of whether or not they traveled over the break.
As always, get tested if you are experiencing symptoms and stay home if you are not feeling well. If you test positive or are identified off campus as a close contact, please let the College know so that Champlain’s medical team can conduct contact tracing, assess potential impact to the campus community, and provide you with information.
We are also strongly encouraging booster shots as individuals become eligible. We anticipate communicating to students before the end of the semester that they will be required to receive the COVID-19 booster. We will also likely require them in the future for employees as state and federal guidance evolves.
We are still finalizing our process for a confidential, secure system for collecting and recording COVID-19 vaccination information for employees. We will share more information as well as instructions for submitting documentation in the weeks to come.
Based on the COVID modeling for the state of Vermont, we anticipate that we may see COVID positive cases in our campus community in the weeks ahead as a result of holiday travel and the higher positive case counts in Vermont and beyond. We will continue to carefully monitor our on-campus community to determine whether additional protocols are needed.
By now you may have read about the Omicron variant that has been detected in a number of locations around the world including the United States. While little is currently known about this new variant, we are watching this closely, and will adapt our health and safety measures accordingly as new information and data emerges. In the meantime, this reinforces the importance of the protocols we have in place, including required vaccinations and indoor masking.
Champlain plans to be an in-person living and learning experience for our undergraduate students next spring. We will continue to monitor all available data and guidance from the Vermont Department of Health and other colleges to assess any potential impact on the spring semester and determine if adjustments are necessary to protect the health of our students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community. This includes assessing safety implications for international travel and any impact on our study abroad programs in Montreal or Dublin.
ONGOING COVID MANAGEMENT
We recognize many of you may have questions about how the emergence of the new variant may impact our campus operations. It is important to remember that Champlain has built a robust infrastructure for the ongoing mitigation and management of COVID throughout the evolution of the pandemic. This approach, coupled with the diligent individual and collective efforts of our community, has enabled us to sustain low case counts in our campus community.
As new information pertaining to Omicron emerges, keep in mind:
- The COVID operations and communications teams continue to meet regularly, continuously monitor ongoing information, data, recommendations, and guidance, and adapt campus operations accordingly.
- The College has published pandemic preparedness guidelines, and our planning continues to be guided by the VT Governor’s Office, VT Department of Health, CDC, City of Burlington’s Mayor’s Office, and other local, state, and national entities.
- Any decision to modify our operations would be made in response to the data and in close consultation with these entities. We are committed to keeping the community informed of any changes to our operations as responsibly as possible.
We should take pride in how our Champlain community has navigated the pandemic, and the success we have had this semester. We recognize that it has been challenging for all and we applaud everyone in their continuing efforts to minimize the risks to our community. As we enter a new phase of the pandemic, we will continue to keep the health and safety of our community, and our care for one another, as our top priority.
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
Vice President, Student Affairs & Emergency Management Coordinator
Acting Director of Human Resources