‘This is something we anticipated:’ UVM says virus is under control as cases continue to rise


Kyle Elms

UVM Students come to the first floor of the Davis Center to get tested weekly for COVID-19.

UVM has surpassed previous testing highs for the second week in a row, but officials say the University’s COVID-19 policies and mitigation strategy will remain the same. 

With 64 new positive cases this week alone, UVM has exceeded the total number of COVID-19 positives in the entirety of the fall semester in just the third full week of testing.

Of the 64 cases, 41 were on-campus students and 21 off-campus, with two staff members testing positive. 

144 students and staff members have tested positive for the virus as UVM enters its fourth week of the spring semester while 99 total students and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 in a full 15-week semester. 

Last week, UVM saw record-high positive case numbers as well, with 36 on-campus students testing positive and 10 off-campus. 

Sunday evening, Gary Derr, VP for operations and public safety, announced that UVM has added an additional quarantine building in Mercy Hall on Trinity Campus, forcing the 62 students that live there to move to another area of campus. 

Though cases continue to rise, UVM expected positive cases would be higher this semester, UVM Spokesperson Enrique Corredera stated in a Feb. 22 email. 

“As is the case in Burlington and throughout the state of Vermont, we have again seen more positives this week than we were seeing last semester,” he stated. “This is something we anticipated and planned for before the start of the spring semester.”

Corredera also indicated in the email that no changes or restrictions will be made to the current safety protocol except for increased quarantine space.

“We will continue working in partnership with public health and infectious disease experts, and we will monitor the situation closely to determine if any additional adjustments are needed,” Corredera stated. 

The 64 cases reported reflect test results received between Feb. 15 and Feb. 21. Forty-one on-campus students, 21 off-campus students and 2 staff members have tested positive for the virus out of the 11,023 total student swabs received. 

Even if new variants of the virus we found on campus, UVM’s current safety measures will not change, but will require “strict adherence to masking and distancing guidelines,” he stated. 

UVM has not provided a specific threshold for closure since the beginning of the year. Despite multiple requests for comment, Corredera has provided no answer, instead reiterating the University’s low positivity rate of less than half a percent compared to Vermont’s seven-day average of 1.6%.