Spring 2021—January Update for Students

Dear Students,

We hope you are enjoying a restful winter break. We’re looking forward to the start of classes on January 25. As we transition into 2021 and the spring semester, I want to provide a few updates as it relates to our COVID-19 risk mitigation efforts and plans to ensure your health and safety as well as that of our employees and our surrounding community in the months ahead.This email includes critical information for our safe return-to-campus and we appreciate your careful attention to these details.

We continue to monitor the national and local landscape of COVID-19. We are encouraged by the roll-out of the vaccine here in Vermont, and yet we are concerned about the recent post-holiday surge in cases and the new variant of the virus. Our approach to our return-to-campus this spring is informed by the learnings we had from our successful fall return-to-campus, as well as the latest guidance from the state of Vermont. Our current plans remain consistent with what we shared in October, with the understanding that we are monitoring local and regional conditions on a daily basis and these plans are subject to change based on city and state guidance

Please join me along with our Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of Students, the Medical Director, and others for a Spring Opening webinar to better understand Champlain’s reopening on Friday, January 15 from 7:00-8:00 PM. We encourage you to submit your questions in advance using this form. Join us on Zoom, passcode: 900931.

As you prepare for the spring semester, please be aware that Vermont’s state guidelines, which the College supports, are very restrictive. Specifically, the following orders are currently in place:

  • Masks are required in public spaces.
  • Gatherings with individuals outside your ‘household’ (as defined by the College) are prohibited.
  • Bars and social clubs are closed for in-person service. 
  • Restaurants are restricted to one household per table. All guests must be seated, and no standing or mingling is allowed. All in-person table service stops at 10 PM; only take-out and curbside service is allowed after 10 PM.

This email provides several updates related to the spring semester, including:

  • Important dates: move-in and the start of spring semester 
  • Pre-arrival testing 
  • Weekly surveillance testing & health monitoring
  • Revised Community Health Pledge
  • Campus Life: What to Expect 
  • Virtual Learning Course Access & Class Schedules
  • Virtual Learning Survey

In addition to this email, residential and commuter students will receive a second message with specific details about residence hall check-in, pre-arrival testing, surveillance testing, and quarantine requirements. Please read both emails carefully.

At this time, the plans we announced in October remain in place, however, we will continue to monitor all available data and guidance to determine if changes are necessary to protect the health of our students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community. 

Academics: Spring semester classes will begin on Monday, January 25. Instruction will be fully virtual until Monday, February 8, when in-person instruction for those courses with a classroom-based course design will begin. Note: Faculty can and will make the determination for when/if in-person instruction will begin (and once begun, whether it will continue) for each of their courses. The semester will end on Friday, May 7.  The complete Spring Academic Calendar is available here

Move-In (residential students): All residential students returning to Vermont from out of state are required to quarantine, either on campus or at home, prior to arrival. Quarantine is also required for students currently in Vermont who meet certain criteria. Students quarantining on campus will move in Saturday, January 23 or Sunday, January 24. Students quarantining prior to arrival will move in Thursday, February 4 or Friday, February 5. Please review the detailed instructions for selecting a move-in date and check-in time in the follow-up email you receive today. 

In order to protect your safety—and that of our entire community—we will begin with a fairly restricted campus experience and ideally move to one that allows for more freedoms over the course of the semester. This phased approach will allow us to establish a healthy community while following state guidelines. These restrictions will be different than what students experienced this fall.  

At the beginning of the semester, until a healthy community is established, no guests of any kind will be permitted in residence hall rooms (including those living in the same residence hall). Residential students are not permitted to visit students or family members living off-campus in their homes. Similarly, off-campus students should not be visiting family or other students in their off-campus homes. Throughout the semester, we will continue to evaluate our community and the state guidance and ideally phase in guest privileges.

In the earliest phases of the semester, the College definition of ‘household’ is restricted to those students you share a room or suite with. As the semester progresses, we will expand this definition to allow for larger groups of students to gather. 

Phases 1–2 are briefly outlined below. Changes to the phases will be communicated and published on The View over the course of the semester. The dates provided below are preliminary and subject to change.

Our approach to campus life is reflective of current restrictions in the state of Vermont and also specific guidance provided to colleges by the Governor’s office. 

Phase 1a: Campus Quarantine (January 23–at least February 3)
During this phase, our physical campus will be closed to visitors and Champlain College students living off-campus. Students will be in quarantine and no guests will be allowed in rooms (this restriction also applies to residents of the same residence hall). During this Phase, residence hall common areas are closed and students should remain masked even in their apartment common space (194 St. Paul Street). Our goal during Phase 1 is to limit in-person interactions while we transition residential students and employees back to campus and re-establish our surveillance testing program. 

Campus services will be available as follows during Phase 1. Please see the Campus Operations FAQ on The View for specific facility and shuttle hours:

  • Campus Store: The Campus Store will be open for contactless book pickup, but not for casual browsing. Commuter students are encouraged to pick up orders prior to January 23 to avoid contact with students quarantining on campus. Place your book orders online and see pick-up hours here
  • Dining: The dining hall will be closed with the exception of offering take away meals for residential students who are in campus quarantine. 
  • Engagement Activities: Outdoor on-campus, socially distanced engagement activities will be planned and posted on The View events calendar.
  • Library: Contactless pick-up service will be available, but the physical space will not be available. 
  • Labs: All campus labs will be closed.
  • Shuttle: The shuttle will be available on move-in days to allow students to drop their vehicles at Lakeside, and during the week for the purpose of transporting students residing at 194 St. Paul Street to and from testing only.

Phase 1b: Transition Out of Campus Quarantine (appx. February 3–7)
Phase 1b will begin when Day 7 tests for all quarantined students have been returned. Students who quarantined at home, or who were not required to quarantine, can return to campus. Students who quarantined on campus will be allowed to leave campus to travel downtown, to the grocery store, etc. Campus services will remain available as described above. 

Phase 2: Post-Campus Quarantine (no earlier than February 8–TBD)
In-person instruction is permitted to begin for those sections with a classroom-based component to the course design. Faculty can and will make the determination for when in-person instruction will begin for each of their courses; students should communicate with their faculty for each course plan. Champlain College students living off-campus are welcome to return to campus to attend class.

Students are no longer required to wear masks in their apartments. Common areas in residence halls and campus buildings will reopen. Students will be permitted to gather in public common areas while maintaining a distance of at least 6’ and while wearing masks. Students of the same residence hall are permitted to gather in their hall’s common space; visitors from other residence halls and off-campus students are not permitted. 

Weekly surveillance testing for all students accessing campus will continue. Campus services will be expanded to include dine-in service at the dining hall, and the Campus Store, library, and labs will be open with COVID precautions in place. Both in-person and virtual social programs/events will be offered. 

Residential students who quarantine at home (arriving on February 4 or 5) are required to submit a negative test result for testing conducted no more than 5 days before returning. All other residential and commuter students are strongly encouraged to get tested prior to returning to campus.

Weekly surveillance testing for commuter and residential students will continue through the spring semester. In addition, all students must participate in Champlain’s mandatory health monitoring by completing the Daily Health Screening each day you are on campus. 

The Champlain Community Health Pledge has been updated for the spring semester. The Health Pledge describes the College’s expectations of you—and our expectations of one another—as we work together to establish and maintain the health of our campus community and our Burlington home this spring. All students are required to sign the revised Community Health Pledge before returning to campus by completing this Google Form.

Students can expect a Canvas announcement from each of their faculty on the first day of class for each course. This announcement will have information on how to access the course virtually.

We have made slight modifications to class start and end times. Students will see a small adjustment to their schedule with classes starting later and ending earlier in the day. Please login to Student Planning to review your updated class schedule.

Your participation in the Virtual Learning Survey gives us information that is important for planning for the spring semester. First, by indicating any technical needs you have, we can respond with potential resources to support you. Second, the survey tells us how you plan to learn this semester. We provide this information to the faculty so they can plan their courses with the understanding of the number of virtual learners vs. classroom-based learners in each section. If you have not already done so, please fill out this survey.

We hope you will join us for the webinar on Friday. If you have follow-up questions, please email feedback@champlain.edu and continue to check your email to ensure you have the latest information regarding plans for the spring semester.  

Stay well,
Danelle Berube
Vice President of Student Affairs

Click here to read the Spring 2021–Important Return to Campus Details for Students emails here.