November 2, 2020
The decision to bring University of Vermont students back to campus for an in-person fall was not a popular one with local residents in Burlington.
Like residents of many college towns, they worried the university students might spread COVID-19 among themselves and in the broader community.
“The community was very concerned in May and June,” said Suresh Garimella, UVM’s president. He said he was asked, “‘How many people have to die before you go back on your decision?’ But now we hear praise.”
Through a program of weekly required testing for all students and enforcement of social distancing and masking rules — and the luck of being located in a state with the lowest COVID rates of any state in the nation — the university has kept the virus largely at bay. Vermont reports just 27 total positive coronavirus tests among students since Aug. 7, and zero among faculty members and staff.