UVM says its reviewing suspensions

March 17, 2021 GMT

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The University of Vermont is reviewing all recent student suspensions related to COVID-19 rule violations, the school president said.

“Understanding the anxiety, loneliness and stress our students have been feeling, I asked our Dean of Students and his team to review all recent cases of suspension,” UVM President Suresh Garimella said in a message to the UVM community on Sunday night. “This work is done, and students and their families are being notified of any changes in the outcomes.”

The message came after a student-led petition, with more 3,800 signatures by mid-day Wednesday, called for a change to the suspension and other guidelines.

About 96% of undergraduate students have not received sanctions, said UVM spokesman Enrique Corredera.

The school is working to identify other ways to help students cope with the pressures they are experiencing, Garimella said in his message. “We know our outdoor ice-skating rink and fire pits have been useful in addressing social isolation, but we recognize additional measures will help. We are partnering with our students as we develop solutions.”

In other pandemic related news:

SCHOOL SPORTS

Vermont has its first known case of a school athletics team spreading the virus to another team.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said Tuesday that the Missisquoi Valley Union High School hockey team appears to have spread the virus to members of the Essex High School team.

“That’s the only time we’ve seen that in Vermont thus far,” Levine said during the governor’s twice-weekly virus briefing. “Missisquoi has its outbreak related to the team. It also has a separate number of cases that don’t seem to have any connection to the team.”

The school has switched to remote learning and canceled the rest of its winter season.

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Meanwhile, two more school hockey teams have withdrawn from the state’s high school playoffs because of COVID-related situations.

The Vermont Principals’ Association said Tuesday that the Rice Memorial boys team and the North Country/Lyndon girls team have forfeited their upcoming quarterfinal games, the Burlington Free Press reported.

On Monday, South Burlington withdrew its boys hockey team from the playoffs because of a presumed positive COVID-19 result, the newspaper reported.

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NUMBERS

On Wednesday, the Vermont Health Department reported 52 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to more than 17,100.

There were 24 people hospitalized with COVID-19, including three in intensive care.

The state reported 217 people in Vermont have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 97.29 new cases per day on March 1 to 108.71 new cases per day on March 15.

The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Vermont did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 1.00 deaths per day on March 1 to 0.57 deaths per day on March 15.