June 23, 2020
Dear President Patton,
As nurses at Porter Medical Center, we have a sincere responsibility to our patients and take pride in the roles we play on the front lines of patient care for our local community. We have long appreciated the many ways Middlebury College has enriched our local economy and supported generations of critical thinkers who have added value to our society.
As Middlebury College continues to make plans for the fall semester, we recognize the complexity in calculating risks and balancing the many competing needs. You and your leadership team have a special responsibility in this era of COVID-19. The decisions that you make may have a severe impact on some within your campus community. Because of this, we ask that the driver of your choices be the health and safety of your students, faculty, staff, and our broader community.
The national shortage of Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, coupled with the challenges in procuring ventilators, ICU bed capacity, and trained critical care teams, is of profound concern for health care professionals across the globe, including here in our small Vermont community. These hard realities must be the central influence of the decisions made in each phase of Middlebury College’s response to the pandemic.
We urge you to partner with the Middlebury faculty chapter of the AAUP, along with all other staff, in a meaningful way to implement worksite protections that uphold their right to a safe environment in which to perform their work. We have seen first-hand the benefits in the care we provide when our professional voices are equal partners in the decision-making process.
In addition to providing quality patient care, we are committed to ongoing education within the communities we serve to create a culture of health. Middlebury College is now joining us in the call to service during this global pandemic, and we welcome your University community to join us in this vital work.
Executive Committee RNs,
Porter Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, AFT-VT
June 23, 2020