Northern Vermont University announced Wednesday that eight students at the university’s Johnson campus have tested positive for COVID-19 in less than a week, prompting the campus to move to remote instruction.

Five cases were announced Monday, with four of the students testing positive at the university’s on-site testing facility and one off-site. Two more positive-testing students were announced Wednesday, but the university stated that it now had eight cases, leaving one unaccounted for.

The university did not specify where the two most recent students tested positive and did not specify how long it plans to employ remote instruction.

The university also said athletic practices and matches on the Johnson campus are cancelled through Labor Day and the SHAPE fitness facility will be closed through Monday, Sept. 6.

“With cases rising in Vermont and throughout the United States, this is not unexpected. This underscores how critically important it is for our community to be vaccinated, masked up properly while inside, and testing as appropriate,” university spokesperson Sylvia Plumb said.

The university requires vaccination for students that will be on campus at any time during the semester, requires all visitors 12 and older to be vaccinated and those under 12 to be masked, though vaccine exemptions for religious reasons are allowed. Plumb did not respond to follow up questions about the vaccination status of those infected.

According to Plumb, the university was prepared for positive tests and the infected students are in isolation. Internal contact tracing is underway, and the university is working with the Vermont Department of Health to offer weekly testing at Johnson and Lyndon campuses.

Additional testing was offered Monday and last Thursday and Friday on the Johnson campus due to the positive tests. Additional testing will also be available on campus Friday.

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