UVM reports slowing Covid case growth

Ira Allen Chapel on University Row on the University of Vermont campus in Burlington. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

The University of Vermont reported 31 student coronavirus cases over the past week, the lowest weekly total since classes began on Feb. 1.

Before Monday’s report, UVM had seen a rapid rise in student cases from the start of the semester — recording 61 cases last week, up from 46 cases the week before. 

The university has doubled down on Covid precautions in response. On Thursday, officials announced students now must be tested every three days, instead of once a week. 

The university also imposed more sanctions on students for violating Covid protocols. Any breach of the university’s coronavirus-related rules, except for one missed test, is now cause for suspension.

“With the spread of more contagious strains of COVID-19, we now find ourselves at a critical moment,” Gary Derr, university vice president for operations, wrote to students as he announced the new protocols last week. 

This week’s report brings the total number of student cases for the spring semester to 168. Three false positives that had previously been reported were removed from the total count.

Most of the new cases — 22 — were among on-campus students. The majority of cases this semester have been among students living in the university’s residence halls, although UVM has opened special quarantine housing for students who have been exposed to the virus.

No additional staff or faculty cases were reported Monday. Four UVM staff have tested positive for the virus since Feb. 1.

The spring cases have already surpassed the total for the fall semester, which saw just 91 cases among students over four months.

UVM’s administration has said that, due to higher case numbers in Vermont and nationally in January, the difference was inevitable.

"We are encouraged to see reduced numbers and look forward to the downward trend continuing," UVM spokesperson Enrique Corredera said Monday. "We appreciate the cooperation and collaboration of our entire community, especially our students."

He said last week that the earlier rising numbers were “something we anticipated and planned for before the start of the spring semester.”

This story was updated to include a comment from UVM spokesperson Enrique Corredera.

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Katya Schwenk

About Katya

A native Vermonter, Katya is assigned to VTDigger's Burlington Bureau. She is a 2020 graduate of Georgetown University, where she majored in political science with a double minor in creative writing and Arabic. She was a contributing writer for the Indypendent in New York, an assistant editor at the Boston Review and a writer for the Scoop News Group and Morocco World News in Rabat. 

Email: [email protected]

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