To Our Middlebury Community,
The last few months have marked a potential turning point in the COVID-19 pandemic. The release of multiple vaccines and continued progress towards greater public access works to grant all of us a great deal of hope in making it through a difficult time, one in which many of us have dealt with great loss and grief. We want to take a moment to acknowledge that.
Unfortunately, inequities continue to present a threat to our collective community truly moving forward. The recent statements of Governor Phil Scott as it pertains to restricted access to college students not originating from the state of Vermont not only threaten the way in which we consider ourselves as a collective Vermont community, but also the health of the said community. Unvaccinated students living in close quarters, interacting with each other and community members, and receiving only inequitable solutions for a sense of relief is a description of a recipe for disaster. It disregards the simple fact of the matter that— contrary to what Governor Scott seems to suggest— we are still active members of the local community meaning we will continue to influence the community prevalence and spread of COVID-19 if left without true assistance.
With basic consideration, it is clear that all students, including those not originating from Vermont, should be vaccinated in the same mode as any other Vermont resident while actively residing in Vermont; however, the most important corollary of this that requires even more attention is our sub-populations who are at higher risk of infection. A college student not originating from the state of Vermont is not immune to COVID-19 nor any of the ailments that exacerbate the illness. They are equally at risk as vulnerable populations who happen to have been an official resident of Vermont for a longer period of time. They deserve equitable access and treatment as their susceptibility to the COVID-19 virus is a reality and their official residency does not change the fact that they deserve treatment and protection.
COVID-19 poses a threat to each and every one of us. Living in a small residential community with communal housing only exacerbates the threat posed by the virus alone Simply put: COVID-19 does not show exception to an individual based on the state they originate from. We are all able to contract the virus and unfortunately spread it. Delaying vaccination of thousands of students for thirty days can be detrimental to the collective community health. We urge Governor Scott to treat the students of the colleges in this state— who were counted in the census and thus played a role in dictating the number of vaccines Vermont received to begin with— equally to all other residents as it pertains to vaccinations, given we are held to the same expectations in terms of other obligations (taxes, local statutes, interaction with the economy). If you agree, please consider reading our recent suggestion to the state of Vermont and Middlebury College and signing on here. We will be delivering this to the proper channels by Sunday for further consideration and action.
We want to end this by taking the time and space to acknowledge that regardless of the verbiage of Governor Scott, you are as much an integral part of Vermont as anyone else. When you shop here, work in the state, pay taxes, attend school, and contribute to the very fabric of what we have come to know as Vermont life, you belong here and should consider yourself to be a Vermonter if you so choose.
Concerned Students of Middlebury
The views expressed in these updates are that of the overall CSM Board as an entity, not necessarily as individuals. Additionally, it is our position that these updates should be an official record of the statements of CSM as an organization as it has to do with our operations.