NVU implemented social distancing and mask-wearing rules last semester in an attempt to keep students COVID-19-free. As of Nov. 21, the Johnson campus has only had one positive case associated with a residential student. NVU will not be taking any extra precautions next semester, but instead will keep a close look on how the state is doing.
The state of Vermont has unfortunately seen a rise in cases after posting some of the lowest numbers in the country. This may be the only reason for a change in the NVU strategy. “As of November 7th, there has been a lot going on in the state with its increased positive cases so it kind of sets us up for some possible additional guidance from the state regarding rules and quarantines,” said Jonathan Davis, the dean of students. “But right now, the university doesn’t have plans to restrict further but I am not ruling out a possible change in state guidance before our February 1st start,” said Davis.
Based on student and faculty feedback, the limited in-person learning is currently working well, but remote learning has been unpopular and challenging. “We know what is working well, but we also know what isn’t, and that’s the experience of remote learning,” says Davis.
“I am taking both remote and in-person classes and there is no comparison,” said student and soccer team captain, Wyatt Moberg. “It’s been much easier to learn, absorb information and ask questions when I’m in a class. I feel I miss a lot of learning remotely.”
Davis hopes, at the very least, NVU will keep what in-person courses it has, but concedes it may not be anything he can control.
“Our success on campus will really depend on what’s going on around us and making sure the governor feels comfortable opening colleges face-to-face,” says Davis. “I am concerned about the current state of the pandemic but have high hopes that at the very least we open up as we did in the fall.”
NVU administration is aware and is working to ensure all classes can be accessed remotely. This has been an ongoing effort due to student concerns.
“It’s a question Provost Atkins is definitely aware of and he is working with the faculty to ensure that anyone who needs to access a class remotely can,” says Davis. “There are some cases where we learned a student couldn’t make an in-person class, which made it very difficult to access course content and participate.”
Davis credits the faculty and student body for the low positive rate at both Lyndon and Johnson and believes continuing to follow the rules in place will keep the community safe next semester. “I have great feelings about next semester because of how awesome the community has been, and most notably our students in terms of social distancing and being safe. I think this sets up beautifully for a successful spring semester.”