BREAKING: UVM reports 35 new cases among students, faculty and staff


Kate Vanni

Students filter through the COVID testing entrance Nov. 6 in a line stretching back to the Howe Library stairs. Each student must blow their nose and use hand sanitizer before proceeding to the testing area.

35 UVM community members tested positive for COVID-19 in just the last week, more than tripling last week’s record high of seven positive cases. 

20 off-campus and seven on-campus students tested positive for COVID-19 this week, and eight faculty and staff tested positive.

The weekly testing report showing test results received between Nov. 9 and Nov. 15 follows an announcement from Governor Phil Scott Nov. 13 that Vermonters should not interact with anyone outside of their household, and that bars are now closed indefinitely. 

Before the test results were released Monday, UVM notified students Sunday that all undergraduate students are permitted to leave campus this week and continue their studies remotely if they choose, before in-person classes end next Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Gary Derr, vice president for operation and public safety, sent an email to students Nov. 16 just minutes after the weekly testing report was updated at 5 p.m., roughly an hour after it usually updates.

“As you are aware, there has been a recent increase in coronavirus infections in Chittenden County and throughout the region,” Derr stated. “Not surprisingly, the university has also seen a recent increase in the number of coronavirus infections.”

Vermont reported 122 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, setting a new record for highest cases reported in one day. 28 of the new cases were in Chittenden County. 

Despite the rise in cases, Derr said all students that tested positive have been notified and are in isolation, and that contact tracing has been completed, and close contacts are in quarantine.

“It is worth noting that despite the increase in positive cases, the university’s positivity rate from last week remains low relative to the rate in the state,” Derr stated. “The 27 student cases translate to a positivity rate of 0.25%, compared to the state’s 1.6%.”