Thanksgiving is here and with it come the innocent, but at times difficult-to-answer questions. We all know the type: “Did you purposely dye your hair that color?” “So what are you planning on doing with your degree after graduation?” “Do you have a partner yet?” This year’s dinnertime conversations will likely be a little different (they may even take place over Zoom), so we’ve listed below several possible questions you may be asked this holiday season along with some quick and simple answers.

Q: Is the school doing well at handling the pandemic?

A: We did really well this past semester, mostly because of how diligent everyone was both on campus and in Vermont in general. We got tested weekly, encouraged social distancing, and wore our masks. There was special quarantine housing for those few that tested positive. 

A look inside an in-person classroom set up for social distancing.

Q: Are you headed back to campus after Thanksgiving?

A: No, we are going 100% remote after the holiday. Everyone is going home to various parts of the country/world for Thanksgiving, and those places all have varying numbers of COVID-19 cases, so bringing everyone back to campus would increase the risk of positive cases due to all the inter-state travel.

Q: Are you living on campus next semester?

A: Champlain is planning to be open next semester, but it all depends on the federal and state mandates. We want to make sure it’s safe for everyone to be there like it was this semester, so we have to wait and see! 

Professor Keith Oppenheim arranged for his Broadcast Media Production students to meet in the courtyard as they learned how to use their field equipment.

Q: Are you going to have in-person classes next semester?

A: That all depends on whether or not campus is open. We are planning to spend the first two weeks of the semester remote while everyone quarantines and then gradually transition toward our flex-hybrid format.

Q: What is Flex-Hybrid? 

A: It’s a model that the College adopted so that professors and students could limit exposure by staying at home for classes. We still meet during a designated class time and have some additional assignments to complete throughout the week.

Dr. Christina Erickson takes her class on an outdoor tour to learn about the various sustainability initiatives across campus.

Q: If none of your classes were in-person, why did you live at school?

A: With everything crazy that’s gone on this year, I ultimately wanted to feel a little bit of normalcy. It was refreshing to be able to go to classes and see my friends. Six feet apart is better than a hundred miles apart and through a phone screen!

Q: Can you see your friends?

A: While this year was definitely different than usual, I was able to hang out with friends within my hall, and toward the middle of the semester, I was able to see my friends that live in different halls or off-campus since all of us did so well at getting tested weekly and following health guidelines. Now because cases in Vermont are increasing again, the state has asked us to no longer gather with anyone we don’t live with.

This year’s Spirit Week culminated with the Vermont Classics Carnival, when students flooded to the quad to play a variety of carnival games, eat fresh maple cotton candy, and snag a limited edition Camp Champ hat!

While the holiday season looks a little different this year, we know all of you within our Champlain community will adapt and find safe and healthy ways to enjoy time with your loved ones—just like you’ve done this semester. Everyone pat yourselves on the back for the great work you’ve done these past few months and remember to continue wearing your masks and practicing social distancing!

Cat Butrick
Cat Butrick
Class of 2021
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