Coronavirus news in brief: first employee case of Covid-19, wage continuity update and summer planning

By JAMES FINN

JAMES FINN
The college will make a decision about summer programming by mid-April, Treasurer David Provost said in an interview with the Campus. Above, Otter Creek in the summer.

College announces employee case of Covid-19

A Middlebury staff member has contracted Covid-19, Treasurer David Provost and College Physician Mark Peluso told the community in an email Tuesday afternoon. The staff member, who is the first college employee to test positive for the virus, is isolating at home and “doing well,” the email read. 

Separate investigations by college health officials and the Vermont Department of Health determined there was “no risk of transmission of COVID-19 to any College student, faculty, or staff member.”

Porter Hospital announced the first case of Covid-19 in Middlebury on March 19. Since then, the Vermont Department of Health has reported 49 total cases in Addison County, which includes an employee at the Shaws grocery store in Middlebury. The county has not yet reported any deaths of the virus, which had infected 605 statewide as of April 8. 

College pledges wage continuity through June

Middlebury will continue to pay all benefits-eligible staff — faculty, administration and other full-time staff members — through June 30, according to an email sent to employees on Wednesday. Paychecks will continue to roll out regardless of employees’ sick leave and combined time-off status. 

The announcement of the June 30 date follows several weeks of planning shaped by the college’s March 18 to prioritize wage continuity. Administrators recognize that setting that date creates the expectation for employees that something “dramatic” might happen on that date, Provost wrote in the announcement. “While we cannot guarantee that that will not happen, we are naming the date because it is what our best budget projections allow us to say at this time,” he wrote. 

The SGA has pledged $200,000 of its reserve funds this spring toward helping maintain wage continuity.

Mid-April date set for decision on summer programs

The college will make a decision in mid-April about the status of summer language schools and other summer programming, Provost told Campus editors in an interview on Monday. 

The Campus reported on April 2 that the College was still accepting Language School applications, according to a recent email to a Language Schools mailing list. However, the email asked applicants not to make travel arrangements at that time, and said the college was “looking at alternative options depending on language and level, should our programs be disrupted.”

For more coronavirus updates, check here.