The University of Vermont is asking undergraduate students in campus residence halls and non-local students who live in off-campus housing to return to their families.
In a message to the university community Monday, Suresh V. Garimella said on-campus residents, other than those approved for emergency housing, will not be able to enter their rooms or retrieve their possessions after March 30. Students who vacate their rooms by then will receive a $1,000 housing credit.
“I wish there were other options,” Garimella said, “but my first priority is student safety and the safety of our communities. We understand that some students may not have viable alternatives; we will work with those who have challenging circumstances to provide emergency options for housing.”
The university “strongly encourages” undergrads who live in off-campus housing to return home “as soon as possible.” He warned that the close quarters of shared housing could exacerbate the spread of the coronavirus.
“What will you do if one of you becomes ill or needs to self-quarantine?” he said. “Most of you will be better off back home with your family.”
Garimella said that, while a decision has not yet been made, it is unlikely that graduation ceremonies will be held as scheduled.
“The social-distancing measures advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are unlikely to change in the next few weeks,” he said. “Unfortunately, many of the celebratory aspects associated with our Commencement do not align with social-distancing principles.”
Garimella said UVM would continue to offer remote learning for the remainder of the spring semester.