Vermont state college leaders say they are confident in reopening strategy

Local News

Days after a returning student tested positive for COVID-19 at Vermont Technical College, state college officials said they were confident in their testing and quarantine protocols.

Campus leaders told the Vermont State College System Board of Trustees on Monday that while positive cases are likely to happen, they’re prepared. Patricia Moulton, president of VTC, said the student who recentty tested positive is in isolation as required, and the other students on the floor of the positive test are in quarantine.

“All students are quarantined, meaning they can’t leave campus, but the students on his floor are quarantined meaning they cannot leave the building,” she said.

Campuses will have designated spaces for any students who test positive, and testing will be conducted upon arrival. Most schools will send students home for the semester around Thanksgiving, wrapping up the year remotely.

VTC will have about 100 residents at its Randolph campus, and 28 in Williston. Given the school’s hands-on nature, a larger portion of its classes will be in person.

Meanwhile, the Community College of Vermont will be largely online. President Joyce Judy had some positive news to share in the midst of all the uncertainty.

“It gave me great pause (online classes) because I didn’t know how enrollment would look, but our enrollment is incredibly strong so we are very happy with the certainty we provided to students and faculty,” Judy said.

As far as testing is concerned, some schools have partnered with a private company for results rather than local hospitals. Northern Vermont University President Elaine Collins explained the upside.

“What I particularly like about them is that they’re able to turn their tests around in a few days, almost 24-72 hours,” Collins said.

While the process may be different for each school, VSCS Chancellor Sophie Zdatny remains confident the various strategies are working.

“We do recognize there’s pushback going on around the country with respect to reopening plans, but I would point out in Vermont we’re having a somewhat different experience given the conservative approach the Governor’s taken,” Zdatny said.

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