COVID cases remain high while large gatherings raise concerns among UVM admin


Elaina Sepede

Tissues and hand sanitizer sit on the table in the Covid testing tent April 12.

In a marked decrease from the last round of COVID-19 testing numbers, UVM’s latest numbers show that 59 students and one staff member tested positive for the virus.

According to UVM’s COVID-19 dashboard, between April 5 and April 11, 39 new, off-campus students tested positive while 21 on-campus and one staff member also tested positive for COVID-19.

Last week, UVM reported 94 cases among students while keeping elevated COVID-19 conduct sanctions in place. Since the Feb. 1 start of the semester, 566 positive test results from students have been received.

This past weekend, Burlington’s North Beach saw large crowds causing alarm among Burlington and UVM officials, according to an April 12 VTDigger article.

Vice President of Operations and Public Safety Gary Derr told VTDigger that between 2,000 and 3,000 people were at the beach on Saturday alone, most of which were college-aged.

“Needless to say, it was deeply troubling and discouraging to see what was going on, and I think it’s really important to note that, while we can hold students accountable for their actions off-campus, in this situation, we couldn’t step in unless asked to do so by BPD,” Derr told VTDigger.

Derr also told VTDigger that UVM is going through video footage from the beach seeking to identify students involved.

Mayor Miro Weinberger also told members of the media that a cautionary email was sent to students over the weekend, however, students have not received any such email from UVM as of Tuesday morning.

As COVID-19 cases continue to remain elevated at UVM, prospective students and their families have been welcomed to campus, with seemingly minimal supervision.

The administration plans to expand the guided tour options in the coming weeks, Jay Jacobs, VP for Enrollment Management stated in an April 8 email to the Cynic.

“Small-group guided tours with very limited access to buildings will begin on April 12. The guided tours will be initially limited to nine guests plus a guide,” the email stated. “The size of guided tours may be increased to 15 guests later on.”

Despite this seemingly relaxing of UVM policy, elevated COVID-19 regulations still apply to students which ban guests that do not live on campus or attend UVM from entering residence halls, limits gatherings and outright bans gatherings with people who do not live in your household off-campus.