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Laurie Patton says the college ‘will be different’

MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE PRESIDENT Laurie Patton last week said students in the coming year would likely see a “hybrid model of education” that meant some students and faculty would be on campus while others would participate remotely.

Even in the best-case scenarios we are projecting some hybrid model of education, a blend of in-person and remote learning with the strong possibility that … not all our faculty and students may be able to join us in person.
— Middlebury College President Laurie Patton

MIDDLEBURY — In an effort to keep the campus community up-to-date during the COVID-19 health crisis, Middlebury College officials have established a timeline for making key decisions about college programs for the rest of the year.
“Our scenario planning considers a variety of situations,” said President Laurie Patton in an April 30 memo posted on the college website. Regardless, she said, it’s likely “that life at Middlebury will be different than it was. Even in the best-case scenarios we are projecting some hybrid model of education, a blend of in-person and remote learning with the strong possibility that — because of public health protocols and individual circumstances — not all our faculty and students may be able to join us in person.”
In mid-March the college suspended in-person instruction and sent most students home in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Soon after that the college cancelled any of its overseas programs that had not already been shut down.
Last month, the college announced that two summer academic programs — the Ripton-based Bread Loaf School of English and the Middlebury-based Language Schools — would convene remotely.
This week, Patton and her administrative staff were “cautiously optimistic,” she said, in part because there have been no known cases of COVID-19 on the Middlebury campus, and because the curves in the town of Middlebury and in Addison County have “continued to flatten.”
The college will decide the fate of at least two dozen programs and events over the next few months, including:
• May 15: the status of on-campus students, summer researchers and workers.
• June 15: the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, which typically convenes at the Ripton campus in mid-August.
• May 22: finances for first quarter FY2021.
• May 29: Museum of Art summer exhibit openings to the public.
• June 15: college participation in the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, which is currently scheduled for Aug. 27–30.
• June 22: academic plans for the fall 2020 semester.
• June 22: fall/winter sports.
• July 15: the college’s Schools Abroad programs.
“The well-being of our community remains paramount,” Patton said, “and as we have done since last January, we will continue to be guided by the expertise of our health officials, public orders issued by the State of Vermont, and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control.”
To see what other programs and events await decisions, visit middlebury.edu/office/announcements/decision-making-calendar.
Reach Christopher Ross at [email protected].

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