Letter to Students Regarding Updated COVID-19 Plans
Dear Marlboro Students,
At Town Meeting yesterday, I discussed the College’s plans to address the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. I listened carefully to your concerns, especially your desire for weathering this pandemic together as a community on campus. I said our intention was to monitor the progress of the virus and make a decision next week regarding how we would proceed after spring break. However, in the last 24 hours we have seen a dramatic increase in the level of concern regarding having a population—even one of our small size—living and working in close proximity.
The College’s Senior Team and I have been meeting for much of the day today, focusing on how best to prioritize the safety and well-being of our campus community. We also listened to the many students and families who have asked for more information about how Marlboro will address this ongoing crisis. Taking all of these perspectives into account and given the clear call from public health officials for colleges and universities to help “flatten the curve” by reducing the risk to overburdening our healthcare system, Marlboro is taking the following actions:
After Spring Break, all Marlboro classes will move to remote instruction for two weeks. Classes will resume on March 30th online and will continue in that format until Friday, April 10th. Conditions permitting, classes will resume on campus on Monday, April 13th. We will continue to monitor the situation over the next month and adjust that date if necessary.
In order to accommodate this change Residence Halls will remain open until Sunday, March 15th at noon. Students will be expected to exit their hall by that time.
Senior 2s who have been given permission to remain on campus during break to continue their academic work may remain on campus for break only. These students must leave the college campus no later than Saturday, March 28th at noon.
On-campus housing and assistance with meals will be provided only to pre-approved students who have no option but to remain on campus. Students from countries with travel restrictions, those whose legal residence is Marlboro College, and those with other extenuating circumstances that may require continued residence on campus should fill out this form. Requests will be reviewed on a case by case basis, but given the constraints we face we cannot guarantee housing.
As you leave campus for break please make sure that you take all academic materials you may need in order to keep up with your studies from a distance. Also be sure to take any necessities including medications and personal items that you may need during this extended time away from campus.
Please note that there will be very limited staff on campus during the next four weeks. So services, including dining, instructional support, and access to the Total Health Center, will be extremely limited. It is in every student’s best interest to return home where they will have access to better support systems.
We know that there have been offers of housing from alumni and residents of the town of Marlboro. While we appreciate the generosity and willingness of members of our extended community to support our students, please know that these offers are not affiliated with the college; we can not be responsible if a student chooses to stay with a member of our extended community. If you do decide to stay with an alumnus or community member, you will not have access to the Marlboro campus or any campus services over the next four weeks.
There are no known cases on our campus and only two cases in Vermont, but it is clear that one of the best strategies to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus is to practice social distancing—to minimize the circumstances in which individuals interact. We know that the potential for the virus to spread rapidly in communities is high, posing particular challenges for residential colleges like Marlboro.
We recognize how difficult this decision is for our community, especially given that this is our last semester on Potash Hill. We have been hearing from students over the past few days, and I know that there will be deep disappointment among you that you are having to leave campus for an extended period. Seniors, my heart goes out to you especially. Please know that we will continue to support you all in your education as best we can in these challenging circumstances.
Even with this decision, we are looking forward to celebrating the accomplishments of our seniors at commencement. As of this moment we have every intention of holding commencement on the hill, although the date of that special event may change based on conditions related to the COVID-19 virus.
We will continue to provide regular updates on how we are responding to COVID-19. Given how fluid the situation is, we may need to adjust this plan. Please check your email on a regular basis while you are off the hill.
With gratitude for your flexibility and understanding,
Kevin F. F. Quigley