Let’s speak of a vision. As we sit mired in all things COVID, it may be difficult to envision Middlebury in 2021. But let’s look past the pandemic to a place we’d all rather be. As we course through 2021 with a re-invigorated spirit, we won’t accept masking, zoom meetings and social distancing as the “new normal.” The new normal we see will be a brand-new downtown, exciting new technology to reduce energy consumption, the resumption of commerce and economic stability. Medical science will have by then reduced COVID to a has-been, perhaps a seasonal annoyance. Imagine the resumption of spring...
MIDDLEBURY — It takes a lot of planning to reopen a college campus in the middle of a pandemic, and a lot of communication. Naturally, questions will arise.
Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about Middlebury College’s fall reopening strategy.
How many students are living on campus this semester?
How many students will be living off campus?
When does the fall semester begin and end?
Students began arriving Aug. 18. Classes began Sept. 8. Students will leave campus for good on Nov. 21 and complete the rest of the semester’s coursework remotely.
Consumer studies consistently show that during the COVID-19 pandemic one factor potential customers consider before doing business with a store, company or service is how safe they feel.
One major July study from global research firm Ipsos reached this conclusion:
“More than ever customers are eager to see visible efforts from retailers to implement health and safety protocols.”
The authors added, “Trust is highest among retailers that are making visible efforts in their stores to implement health and safety protocols, including clear reminders and signage.”
Among its findings were that “...
Gov. Phil Scott in mid-August gave communities — particularly college towns — greater latitude in tightening coronavirus-related restrictions if local officials determined such action was necessary to avert a new wave of COVID-19 cases.
Scott’s executive order — made in concert with his extension of the ongoing state of emergency — specifically allows towns to limit:
• The size of gatherings. The legislative body of each city and town may enact local requirements regarding gathering size limitations that are more restrictive than those established by the state
• Alcohol sales. The governor...
As national news of school-related outbreaks grab the occasional headlines, it’s normal to worry that our own towns in Addison County might be next; that we’re foolish to try to beat a virus that is spreading in unknown ways; and that the best strategy is to hunker down until vaccines are plentiful and the coast is clear.
That’s one legitimate train of thought.
It has, however, two significant shortcomings. First, it doesn’t account for the business community needing substantially more government aid to stay afloat if consumer activity is substantially restricted. More importantly, it fails...
MEMBERS OF THE Middlebury Union High School girls’ soccer team walk off the field Tuesday after their first practice, wearing face masks that are mandatory for all Vermont high school sports this fall.
Independent photo/Steve James
ADDISON COUNTY — New mandates recently released by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) take the rules for playing school sports during the COVID-19 pandemic and apply them also to organized youth and adult sports. That ruling took effect on the same date as school sports practices began, Sept. 8.
The biggest change for many athletes, notably those who played youth club sports or in adult sports leagues over the summer?
“Beginning Sept. 8, cloth face coverings will be required at all times when physical distance of six feet cannot be consistently maintained,...
BAR ANTIDOTE OWNER Ian Huizenga, with help from 3Squares Café owner Matt Birong and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes, is spearheading a new free meals effort that will begin in the city area and could spread wider in Addison County. It will run through at least December and also employ a number of restaurant workers, all thanks to a state-administered federal grant.
Independent file photo/Steve James
VERGENNES — A new effort set to begin on Sept. 14 will provide hundreds of free meals to residents in need in the Vergennes area — and possibly beyond at some point. It will also provide jobs to a number of cooks from downtown Vergennes restaurants.
The effort, supported by a $181,000 “Everyone Eats” grant — funds that came from the $5 million awarded to Vermont from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund to support the program — will be overseen by Ian Huizenga, owner of city eateries Bar Antidote and Hired Hand Brewery.
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes interim administrator Cookie...
MIDDLEBURY — Addison County’s largest employer on Friday announced a new staff leave policy, with the hope of minimizing the risk sick employees might pose to the campus community and to provide a financial cushion for those who may need to be quarantined or isolated because of COVID-19.
“One of the most important ways you can contribute to a safe work environment is to stay home if you’re sick,” wrote Middlebury College Vice President for Human Resources Karen Miller and Executive Vice President for Finance David Provost in a staff email Friday morning.
Roughly 1,200 people work locally for...
MIDDLEBURY — A second Middlebury College student has tested positive for COVID-19.
This was the student’s second COVID-19 test. The first had been negative.
“The student who tested positive was already in quarantine after learning of an exposure at home, and is now in isolation,” said Middlebury College Director of Health Services Mark Peluso in an announcement on the college website. “The student’s Day 0 arrival test was negative, and they learned about the possible exposure after arrival.”
The Vermont Department of Health has been notified and will begin conducting contact tracing.
MIDDLEBURY — Addison County public school districts are organizing a series of childcare hubs that will offer safe, supervised space for young students on days they won’t physically be attending classes during a very unusual fall semester.
The hubs are being set up as schools change the way they are delivering education in response to the dangers posed by COVID-19. When school opens next week, most county schools will have half of the students in the building for two days a week and the rest being taught through remote connections.
A new, $12 million grant program — funded through federal...