A week of news

Fall semester, Burlington's plan for returning students, UVM suspends 575 positions

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Staff Report

UVM explores what the Fall semester might look like

UVM is exploring changes to the school year to lessen the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, according to a May 22 VPR article.

UVM’s Vice President for Operations and Public Safety, Gary Derr, told VPR that in person classes could end early.

“What we’re exploring is whether we could end in-person instruction the Friday before Thanksgiving, which would be Nov. 20 and finish the balance of the fall semester remotely, including exams,” Derr said.

In addition, UVM is exploring options that include mandatory masks, increased testing, smaller in-person classes and reducing the density in residence halls, the article states.

As of May 31, the University has not released any plan for the Fall semester.

Burlington City outlines new program for returning students amid pandemic

In an email sent to all UVM students, the mayor of Burlington outlined the city’s plan for reducing the spread of the coronavirus outbreak that specifically targets returning college students.

Mayor Miro Weinberger sent the email May 29 announcing city and state guidelines for COVID-19 that students should follow as they move into their off-campus housing as early as June 1.

According to a UVM survey on rising juniors, of the 276 respondents who said they planned to live off campus, 66% intended to move into their rentals in June. 

“Under the order of Governor Phil Scott, anyone returning to Vermont from out of state must quarantine for a maximum of 14 days. Quarantine means not leaving your house or interacting with anyone in person unless you need urgent medical care,” the May 29 email stated. 

Students can also choose to quarantine for seven days and then take a COVID-19 test. If the test comes back negative, they can end their quarantine early. 

Upon returning, the city is encouraging students to register on the city’s website and take a pledge to follow quarantine guidelines. They will check in daily with those who register.

“When you return to Burlington, we’re asking that you please register on the City website, take a pledge to quarantine in order to protect the health and safety of your friends and neighbors, and let us know if you’d like any supportive services,” the email stated.

Weinberger said a move-in package will be provided containing a mask, hygiene supplies and a Fletcher Free Library Card. Students will receive a gift card to a local restaurant if they adhere to the pledge.

Weinberger also said that the Burlington Police Department will be patrolling neighborhoods with high student populations, looking for gatherings of more than 10 according to a May 29 VTDigger article.

These patrols will be looking for that and attempting to educate, and, if necessary take further action if they find gatherings of more than 10,” he told VTDigger.

UVM will be funding the patrols which start Friday, the article states. 

The National Guard is setting up a testing facility at UVM’s Waterman Building parking lot to begin testing for COVID-19 June 1st, according to the VTDigger article.

“We know that this will be an inconvenience,” Weinberger stated in the email. “We need you to take it on in service of the greater good.”

UVM suspends 575 temporary positions

UVM has suspended 575 temporary employee positions in response to challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak, according to a May 28 Burlington Free Press article. 

“By definition, temporary employees have temporary appointments with no expectation of continued work,” UVM spokesman Enrique Corredera said in a statement provided to the Free Press. “This action was taken as a way for the university to avoid costs for work that can be allocated in other ways or may not be necessary under current conditions.”