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COVID-19 Response Team Updates

An archive of messages sent from the William & Mary COVID-19 Response Team (CRT) about the university's plans and policies responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. View the 2020 message archive.

February 23 | Updates & Highlights from COO Amy Sebring
February 17 | COVID-19 test results may be delayed and important scheduling update
February 16 | Updates & Highlights From COO Amy Sebring
February 9 | Updates and Highlights from COO Amy Sebring
February 2 | Updates & Highlights From COO Amy Sebring
January 25 | Welcome and updates from CRT
January 20 | At-will COVID-19 testing available beginning January 25
January 8 | Return to Campus Testing - Spring 2021

 

Updates and Highlights from COO Amy Sebring

Dear William & Mary Community,

I’m happy to report that this week I am light on updates. That said, I do have a few items related to vaccinations and masking that I’d like to share.

Vaccination Information 

  • Virginia has launched a statewide registration system for COVID-19 vaccinations. All faculty, staff and students interested in receiving the vaccine should register in the state system. If you have registered previously with the local health district and/or if William & Mary has previously included you in its list of Phase 1A or Phase 1B employees, the website allows you to check if you are already in the database and if not, to register. 
  • Please check your registration status even if you have already received your first dose. W&M continues to work with vaccine clinic administration at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitors Center on vaccine coordination. As vaccines become available at more locations, however, it will be beneficial to be registered in the statewide database, so please be sure to register yourself and any loved ones in order to be in the system as soon as possible. 

Federal Mask Study

  • W&M is participating in the CDC’s Mask Adherence Observation Study. Student volunteers are working with principal investigator Dr. Carrie Dolan, W&M epidemiologist and director of Ignite Global Health, to collect 400 observations per week on campus mask use and compliance. The first week of results is impressive, with 97% of our campus community wearing masks at the observation sites. For more information on this study and COVID-19 cases, please see the weekly public health online update

Reminder: No Food or Drink in Classrooms

  • As a reminder, food and drinks are not permitted in classrooms or academic buildings. Last week, we heard reports of students eating after-hours in those spaces. If we continue to see evidence of food and drink in those areas, we will reassess whether those spaces should remain available for studying and small group work during evenings and weekends.

Special Thanks

A shout out this week goes to the folks in Athletics who have been transporting COVID-19 tests for people in quarantine to VCU Health in Richmond. With the country-wide weather conditions shutting down central hubs for shipping, our general census testing capabilities slowed, but the people in Athletics have been going the extra mile (literally) to make sure those in quarantine are receiving their test results.

Sincerely,

Amy S. Sebring

COVID-19 Director and Chief Operating Officer

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COVID-19 test results may be delayed and important scheduling update

February 17, 2021

Dear W&M Community,

Last week, William & Mary began its first round of COVID-19 census testing of all students living on campus and within 30 miles of the main W&M campus. Due to severe storms that have affected delivery schedules across the Southern states — and the Memphis FedEx hub in particular — we currently anticipate that results from those tests could be delayed by a number of days. This may also affect at-will and prevalence test results.

W&M does not yet have a firm timetable on when the samples will be received and processed by the lab, but we anticipate results will be returned and visible through Kallaco roughly a week from the day the student, faculty or staff member took the test.

Because of the shipping delays and because W&M is anticipating our own challenging weather conditions at the end of this week, we are rescheduling the remaining census tests for Monday and Tuesday.

As you know, for students and employees who have no symptoms of COVID-19, W&M offers census and prevalence tests (students) plus at-will tests (employees). If you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, please do not participate in census, prevalence or at-will testing. Instead, contact the Student Health Center (if a student) or your healthcare provider (if a faculty or staff member).

We will provide additional updates if we are advised by the lab that extra delay, beyond seven days, is likely. Thank you for your patience.

CRT Healthy Logistics

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Updates and Highlights from COO Amy Sebring

February 16, 2021

Dear William & Mary Community,

We knew this semester would be different. So, today, I write in that context of what’s different as we look at COVID-19 cases in the W&M community and new trends in close contacts. I also provide a brief update on vaccines and a new statewide registration process.

What’s different with COVID-19 Cases this semester?

We started in a different position. We opened the semester amidst record-high COVID-19 cases in the region, state and nation. Through pre-arrival testing, we identified students and employees who were positive prior to returning to campus. As expected in both cases, the number of pre-arrival positives is higher than what we experienced in the fall.

For those who returned to campus, we have also seen a higher number of positive cases. As of this morning, we have had a total of 100. That’s 100 students who have tested positive for COVID-19 since we began tracking in early January. Likewise, we’ve had 11 total campus employee positives over the same time period. Fortunately, the number of active positives -- those who tested positive in the last 10 days and remain in isolation -- is much lower: 28 active student positives and two active employee positives. The numbers are trending in the right direction, as noted in the Public Health Advisory Team’s online update.

Although the trend is encouraging, the next few weeks are critical to putting us on a path to success again this spring. In the fall, we started with low positivity rates and maintained them. This semester, our numbers began higher. If we are diligent, we expect that we will once again be able to keep transmission low. If we relax too soon, we face a semester that will be much more challenging.

What’s different about close contacts?

The student cases we’ve seen this spring have more close contacts and close contacts are more often testing positive. In the fall, students that were quarantined as close contacts often did not catch the virus.

This semester, we are seeing a higher number of close contacts test positive after the incubation period. So today I want to focus on what it means to be a close contact and what the potential implications are for a close contact who later tests positive for COVID-19.

  • What is a close contact?  The CDC defines a close contact as someone who was “within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.” Close contacts are those who come in contact within two days prior to someone testing positive or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
  • What happens if I am a close contact? If you are a close contact, you must quarantine for 10 days. If you live on campus, you will quarantine at Richmond Hall or the Woodlands (local hotel).
  • What if I feel okay during my quarantine? If you are asymptomatic, you will be tested after seven days, and if you do not develop symptoms you can return to normal activities after 10 days. 
  • What if I test positive while in quarantine? If you test positive at Day 7, the clock starts over for isolation. You will be required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days and can only return to normal activity if you are not experiencing any symptoms at the end of those 10 days. So, even if you are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, that means that you will be restricted from your normal activities for a total of 17 days. Of course, if you get sick, it may take you considerably longer before you feel well.

I provide this timeline not as a scare tactic, but for information. One of the attributes that makes W&M a special place to learn, live and work is the care that we have for those in the community.  None of us wants to be the one that puts our friends and colleagues in a position that requires them to be out of circulation for 17 days. As we each make decisions in our daily activities, we should be asking ourselves, “Is this activity important enough that I’m willing to potentially be sidelined for 17 days in quarantine and isolation? Is this activity important enough that I’m willing to be responsible for someone else having to do the same?” 

These are tough questions. But there are good answers:

  • When you’re in person, commit to limiting your close contacts to no more than two, three or four people routinely -- that means that you should eat, socialize and study with the same small group of people whenever possible. When you are together, continue to wear a mask (see updated recommendations from the CDC), maintain appropriate distance and wash your hands.
  • Look for opportunities to engage more broadly with friends and colleagues through virtual events, gatherings and exchanges. Remaining connected to the community is important and doing so in ways that reduce close contacts will accelerate our opportunities to be together in person as a community again.

Vaccines

Late last week, the Commonwealth of Virginia announced that it would be launching a statewide registration system that would bring together information previously held by each health district. If you have already registered with the Peninsula Health District or other local health district, you do not need to register again. If you have not yet registered and would like to be vaccinated, please visit the VDH COVID-19 vaccine page this week as the registration system is launched. W&M continues to work with vaccine clinic administration at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitors Center to notify them of employees that meet the criteria for Phase 1B. As vaccines become available at more locations, however, it may be beneficial to be registered in the statewide database.

Special Thanks

I’d like to give a shout out to the facilities maintenance staff in groundskeeping, building services, and operations and maintenance that have worked for the last two weekends to remove snow and ice from campus. They, along with the W&M Police Department and those in emergency management, are dedicated to providing a safe environment for W&M students, faculty and staff no matter what the weather!

Financial Update on the Horizon

My last few updates -- including today’s -- have focused on COVID-19 in an effort to provide information in a timely manner as conditions continue to evolve. In the coming weeks, I will also provide a financial update to campus now that we are well past the halfway mark of the fiscal year and are beginning to develop projections for FY22 in light of ongoing discussions with the Board of Visitors and pending actions by the General Assembly.

Sincerely,

Amy S. Sebring

COVID-19 Director and Chief Operating Officer

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Updates and Highlights from COO Amy Sebring

February 9, 2021

Dear William & Mary Community,

Here are the important pieces of information to know as they relate to COVID-19 and university operations:

Vaccines:  In response to Gov. Northam’s guidance that vaccine distribution should be allocated 50% to individuals qualifying under Phase 1B due to work responsibilities and 50% to individuals qualifying based on age, the local vaccine clinic administration asked William & Mary to add contact information for our employees who are over 65. In addition, the clinic administration expanded the definition of essential workers. As supply becomes available, the COVID-19 Response Team is working across all areas of campus to update that information to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

If you meet the expanded criteria, the university will ask you to provide a personal phone number to ensure we can reach you quickly.  Although you are not required to provide a personal phone number, doing so will help to speed up the process of vaccinating our community, as vaccines may become available on short notice and you may be asked to sign up within a couple hours of the vaccination time.

As a reminder, if you believe that you are eligible for a vaccine under Phase 1B due to an underlying medical condition rather than work requirements or age, please go to your local health department’s website to register and consult with your healthcare provider. You may also want to consider registering with your pharmacy, as major chains like CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart expect to begin vaccinating customers in the coming weeks.  

Regardless of where you get vaccinated, you will not be charged for the vaccine.  Some locations may charge a fee to administer the vaccine, so you may want to check before you arrive. If you are vaccinated at the local clinic at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitors’ Center, there is no charge.   

As we continue to push through the vaccination process, inevitably members of our community will get vaccinated at different times and from different locations. Although the lack of a clear process is frustrating, I want to reiterate that anyone being vaccinated has a positive impact on the rest of the community.   

In addition, I want to remind those who have been vaccinated that W&M expects you will continue to uphold the Healthy Together Community Commitment. The vaccine protects the individual vaccinated, but the science is not yet clear on the level of protection it provides to others in close contact. Those vaccinated may still be carriers of the virus with the potential to infect others. So, continue wearing your mask, maintaining distance, washing your hands and engaging remotely with friends, family and colleagues when you are able.

Focusing on Science and Data: Over the past week, we have seen concerns circulating regarding possible outbreaks at different locations on campus. Throughout the pandemic, we have learned several key pieces of information, and one of these is that reliance on data and science will get us through this. The Public Health Advisory Team reviews daily -- often multiple times a day -- data from COVID-19 testing, ReportCOVID.wm.edu, case management reports and local, regional and national COVID-19 data. They use these data to look for patterns of transmission or other indicators that inform W&M’s operational decisions. 

Although it is tempting to focus on fear and rumors, we continue to provide daily updates through the the COVID-19 Dashboard, which provides a high-level snapshot of key data points. In an effort to increase community awareness, the Public Health Advisory Team will begin providing periodic updates on its approach and process to assess the trends we are seeing. I will provide that information as part of my regular updates and we will post them online.

Even with that information, it is critical that each of us does our part. We rely on the community to make sure that we have up-to-date information. If you test positive whether through a test administered on campus or in the community, or are identified as a close contact, it is critical that you complete ReportCOVID.wm.edu. If you are concerned or have questions about others’ behaviors or activities, please fill out the COVID-19 Concerns form

Healthy Together Community Commitment: Another reminder that all employees – faculty and staff – must reaffirm the HTCC through Cornerstone Learning no later than this Wednesday, February 10. Students have already completed that affirmation. For those of you working with vendors on campus, please reinforce the HTCC principles and the expectation that they adhere to our protocols at all times on campus. Sanctions for violating Healthy Together Community Commitments are being taken seriously and are enforced quickly. 

Limited Return to Indoor Dining: With in-person classes resuming this week, we will also be providing limited indoor dining options to facilitate students grabbing meals before and after classes. Indoor dining will be limited to two people per table and all diners are encouraged to meet with roommates or others with whom they are already in close contact. Outdoor dining -- again with limited two per table gatherings -- or to-go dining in your residence or office remains the preferred option from a public health standpoint. If you do choose to eat indoors, please make sure that you continue to wear your mask when you are not actively eating and drinking, and that you limit your time in the dining spaces to the extent possible. For more information about dining locations and operations, visit the William & Mary Dining webpage

COVID-19 Testing:  We resumed prevalence testing for students and employees the week of January 18. We will conduct full census testing of the student population living within 30 miles of campus beginning Thursday, February 11, with the bulk of the testing occurring the week of February 15. Students should look for additional information later this week. In addition, we will continue offering free at-will testing for W&M employees via VCU Health clinic at 332 N. Henry Street. Please go to the at-will testing portal to schedule an appointment if you’re interested. 

In closing, I continue to marvel at the small wins that we are accomplishing together every day.  So with that, I provide a quick shout-out to all of the staff who continue to support the COVID-19 Response Team’s Health Logistics squad, including those involved in testing logistics, vaccination rollout, wastewater testing, case management and quarantine and isolation housing. As a group, these individuals are working seven days a week, along with the Public Health Advisory Team, to monitor and adjust with a singular goal of continuing to be healthy together. 

Sincerely,

Amy S. Sebring
COVID-19 Director and Chief Operating Officer

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Updates & Highlights From COO Amy Sebring

February 2, 2021

Dear William & Mary Community,

As many of you are aware, I became director of W&M’s COVID-19 Response Team in December, in addition to maintaining my role as chief operations officer. With the fluidity of the public health landscape, I plan to provide you with periodic highlights related to COVID-19 developments as well as share brief updates related to university operations. 

Important Updates:

Vaccines: W&M is working closely with the City of Williamsburg, the Peninsula Health District and the Three Rivers Health District (VIMS campus) to offer vaccines to employees, including student workers, who meet the criteria for Phase 1A or Phase 1B based on their current work responsibilities. Determination of eligibility rests with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

To date, we have been able to schedule vaccines for roughly 170 employees, with another 320 to be scheduled as soon as vaccines become available, potentially as early as this week. If you believe you are eligible to receive a vaccine in Phase 1A or Phase 1B due to non-work criteria (e.g., age or underlying health criteria), please go to your local health department’s website to register and consult with your healthcare provider. [Ed. note: In response to Gov. Northam’s guidance that vaccine distribution should be allocated equally under Phase 1B between work responsibilities and age, the local vaccine clinic administration asked William & Mary to add contact information for our employees who are over 65. See the Feb. 9 message for more information.]

Some may feel they should wait or may even feel guilty about the opportunity to receive the vaccine before other community or family members. It’s important to remember that anyone being vaccinated has a positive impact on the rest of the community. Each administered vaccine offers more protection to all of us.

Health Protocols: Given current vaccine supply, it is likely that our entire community may not be vaccinated until summer or even fall. With case levels high in the surrounding communities and the emergence of new variants nationally, it is critical that we be more vigilant than ever in wearing face masks, maintaining appropriate distance and washing our hands. We need to make sure not only that we are wearing a mask, but that we are wearing it over our mouth and nose at all times.

We also need to be cognizant of those with whom we are in close contact and limit those number of close contacts routinely. All of the actions we are taking are intended to reduce close contacts on campus – whether indoors or outside. As much as we long to share a meal with one another or gather socially, adhering strictly to our health protocols now will ensure that our care systems are not overwhelmed and speed up our ability to gather together in the future.

Travel and Remote Work: W&M continues to restrict work-related travel to only essential trips that cannot be accomplished remotely or deferred to a later date.  Following a work-related trip, employees are required to work remotely for five days before returning to in-person work.

Although the university cannot require remote work following personal travel, we encourage you to work remotely for five days after you return home if your work responsibilities allow for that. Please work with your supervisor to schedule your work accordingly.

Healthy Together Community Commitment: All employees – faculty and staff – must reaffirm the HTCC through Cornerstone Learning no later than February 10. Students have already completed that affirmation. For those of you working with vendors on campus, please reinforce the HTCC principles and the expectation that they adhere to our protocols at all times on campus.

COVID-19 Testing: Over the next week, we will complete our pre-arrival testing for students and employees in high-contact roles. We have begun weekly prevalence testing for employees and students; prevalence testing is mandatory if you are selected. In addition, we will continue offering free at-will testing for W&M employees via VCU Health at the clinic at 332 N. Henry Street. Please go to the at-will testing portal to schedule an appointment if you’re interested.

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Welcome and updates from CRT

January 25, 2021

Dear W&M students, faculty and staff,

Welcome back to the spring semester. As students return to W&M’s residence halls and campus activity increases, I write on behalf of the COVID-19 Response Team to reinforce practices that contributed to our success in the fall. This email also summarizes additional measures to mitigate COVID-19 at William & Mary this spring.

Coronavirus case numbers continue to surge nationally. The local and state landscapes are not much better. The Public Health Advisory Team continues to monitor health information daily, informing the university leadership as we operate under pandemic conditions.

One of the lessons we learned from the fall was that our shared commitment to protecting our community’s health allowed us keep positivity rates below that of other communities. So, under the current conditions, it is now more important than ever that we each maintain our diligence and support others in doing the same. Each student, faculty and staff member plays an important role in this effort. I’m confident we will build on the lessons we’ve learned and double-down on our health practices.

I have important updates in four areas today: Vaccinations, Reporting Violations and Concerns, After-hours Building Access, and the Healthy Together Community Commitment and Daily Health Check.

Vaccinations

Phase 1A and Phase 1B

William & Mary is working with local Virginia Department of Health districts to identify W&M and VIMS employees who have job responsibilities that qualify them for vaccination in Phase 1A or Phase 1B. Many of our employees with direct patient-care responsibilities – such as those working in the Student Health Center or in dedicated quarantine and isolation housing – qualify for Phase 1A distribution and have already received their first vaccination. Police and other essential workers are eligible for Phase 1B distribution and we are working to get them scheduled for vaccines. If you fall into one of those categories, you will be contacted directly with instructions on when you can schedule your vaccination, should you choose to be vaccinated.

We will continue providing information to the local health districts on employees meeting job-related criteria for 1A and 1B vaccinations as more vaccines become available through the health districts and the City of Williamsburg, with whom W&M is closely partnered in this effort.

Phase 1C and General Population

The majority of faculty and staff members, because they work in Virginia higher education, qualify for the 1C distribution schedule. At this time, the local health districts have not begun offering vaccines to individuals in Phase 1C. We anticipate most of our students will be vaccinated with the general population following Phase 1C. We have not yet received information on the timing of vaccinations for either Phase 1C or the general population. We will update you as we know more.

We recognize that students, faculty and staff who do not qualify for vaccinations at present due to their job responsibilities at W&M may have additional circumstances that qualify them for a different phase of distribution. For example, students, faculty or staff members with underlying medical conditions or meeting certain age criteria may qualify for the 1A or 1B distribution schedule. At this time, William & Mary, as an employer, has been asked to forward information to VDH for those with job functions that fit into the early phases of vaccination.

If you believe you qualify for Phase 1A or 1B due to your age or underlying medical condition(s), you should follow up with VDH and your physician or healthcare provider. VDH has launched a portal to assess your status and sign up for vaccination alerts at VDH COVID-19 Vaccination Response. Click “Find out which phase you are eligible for” to access the portal.

As vaccines become more widely available, we will continue to work with our regional partners to advocate for access for those W&M students, faculty and staff seeking to be vaccinated.

Vaccine Requirements

Because the current COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed under an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA, they are not currently required of any faculty, staff or students. However, in the future, when the vaccines are approved beyond emergency use, they may be included among the other vaccinations the Commonwealth requires of students who attend W&M or for employees. W&M will continue working with state officials on those determinations as more information becomes available.

Reporting Violations and Mutual Respect

William & Mary continues to monitor the [[COVIDConcerns]] email address for reports of instances of unsafe behavior in our community. You should feel empowered, as a student, faculty or staff member, to report persistent concerns; the COVID-19 Response Team refers the reports to the appropriate academic, student or HR department or division for investigation, follow-up and action, including discipline.

Let me stress the importance of non-judgmental stances with respect to reporting and compliance. William & Mary community members must strive not to shame others as we create shared norms and habits. We all make honest mistakes as we continue to adjust to living, working and learning under pandemic conditions; many of these can be addressed on the spot with a respectful reminder of the community standard. When you think that won’t work, please don’t hesitate to ask a colleague or friend for thoughtful support or report the unsafe behavior.

After-Hours Building Access

Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 27, some academic buildings supporting Arts & Sciences will be accessible to all students, with swipe access, for evening study hours. Monday through Friday, select buildings will be accessible from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. [Weekend hours extended. - Ed.] Students may remain in the facilities until midnight, but will not be able to swipe in past 10 p.m. The William & Mary Police Department will periodically patrol the facilities during this time.

  • Tyler Hall
  • Tucker Hall
  • Morton Hall
  • Jones Hall
  • Integrated Science Center (except the third floor)
  • Blow Hall (third floor)
  • McGlothlin-Street Hall

Please note that not all spaces within a building will be available and that all university health and safety guidelines apply for after-hours use of these facilities. No food is to be brought in, ordered or consumed in these spaces. Masks that cover both nose and mouth are required, as is maintaining at least six feet of distance. Access to these spaces brings with it an obligation to sanitize the space when you come in and as you leave.

Healthy Together Community Commitment and Daily Health Check

W&M students are required to affirm their agreement to the Healthy Together Community Commitment again this spring. We are also requiring all faculty and staff to reaffirm the Health Together Community Commitment by watching a 10-minute video recapping the highlights from our video series this fall and again attesting to the commitment in Cornerstone no later than Wednesday, February 10. These will be available for faculty and staff in Cornerstone Learning no later than February 1; visit the “My Transcripts” tab to access the videos and agreement.

The Healthy Together Daily Health Check is available through the W&M Mobile app or m.wm.edu. We highly recommend that you continue to use it; however, we will not be requiring its use this semester. When we originally introduced the tool, general understanding of COVID-19, risky health behaviors and potential symptoms were not well understood. After six months, we recognize that we all have a much better understanding of the virus, so the mandated daily reminder is less useful. If you need a refresher or are concerned about potential symptoms, it may provide a first check to help you determine whether you need to modify your actions or reach out to a health care provider for a diagnostic assessment.

Please remember now that we are in the midst of winter and with spring allergy season on the horizon you should not attend in-person classes or come to campus if you are not feeling well.  Do not assume it’s only a cold or allergies. Rather, assume you may be infected and seek medical guidance before continuing to study or work in person. We want to make sure that you’re getting the care you need and that you are not inadvertently putting others at risk.

As a final note, this past weekend we welcomed new undergraduate freshmen, transfer and international students to move-in, along with freshmen who studied entirely remotely in the fall. We recognize that these students have been oriented to W&M’s health and safety protocols, but don’t yet have a successful semester under their belts in terms of our shared norms and expectations. They will be looking to all of us – students, faculty and staff – for guidance, modeling and mentorship. We know the first semester of college can be challenging and stressful for students under normal conditions – so much more during a pandemic! I know that we will all do our best to help our students develop the habits and norms that will help protect themselves and others throughout the spring semester.

Sincerely,
Amy Sebring
W&M COO, COVID-19 Director

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At-will COVID-19 testing available beginning January 25

January 20, 2021

Good afternoon,

Free, voluntary COVID-19 testing is again available for all W&M faculty and staff members, without a physician's referral. This at-will testing is intended to provide asymptomatic employees an additional tool for risk mitigation as they move between the campus community and other populations. This testing will resume the week of January 25 by appointment only. Make an appointment.

The at-will tests, held at the VCU Health Clinic at 332 N. Henry Street in Williamsburg, take approximately 15 minutes. Appointments are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Please bring a photo ID with you to the appointment. To see your results, you will need a free account registered with Kallaco Health & Technology before your appointment. To get started with an account, please visit the Kallaco portal. Click "Forgot Password" to create a new account, and DO NOT use your W&M password. Test results will be available to view within Kallaco in three business days.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, do not schedule an at-will testing appointment. Consult your healthcare provider instead. This also applies to faculty and staff members who have been identified as close contacts of a COVID-19-postive person -- begin quarantine and consult your healthcare provider; do not schedule an at-will test through William & Mary.

Thank you for all you are doing to keep William & Mary healthy this spring. If you have additional questions about testing, please email [[HealhtyTogether]].

All the best,
W&M Testing Coordination Team

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Return to Campus Testing - Spring 2021

January 8, 2021

Dear William & Mary Students, Faculty & Staff,

As William & Mary moves into a new semester, the COVID-19 Testing Coordination Team provides the following information on testing efforts for the Spring 2021 semester.

William & Mary is continuing to partner with the VCU Health System (VCUHS) for expanded medical services, including COVID-19 testing for students and employees. We continue to work closely with Kallaco on testing logistics, partnering with Clinical Reference Laboratory for return to campus testing.

In coordination with those partners and in consultation with W&M’s Public Health Advisory Team, we will continue to modify our testing program to reflect current public health conditions and use appropriate testing options based on the data and science available. For now, I write to provide an update on our current testing plans as we approach the start of the spring semester.

Student Testing

All students  living in campus housing or within a 30-mile radius of campus, who plan to attend in-person instruction or use university facilities, will be required to have a negative COVID-19 test before returning to campus. The timing of initial testing depends on when a student has been approved to return to campus:

  • Students will receive an email 10 to 12 days prior to return asking them to confirm their order for a self-administered, mail-in saliva COVID-19 test kit prior to coming to campus.
    • Students must confirm the order no later than 8 days prior to their planned return to campus through their Kallaco portal in order for the test kit to be mailed. Test kits will arrive in time for students to self-administer the test, mail it back and receive test results before they are due to arrive on campus.
    • Consistent with current VDH and CDC guidelines, we recommend students self-quarantine for 8-10 days prior to arrival.
    • For the first 10 days after arrival, close contact should be limited to roommates or housemates.
  • Tracking information for returning the test to the lab is not available in the portal, so you will need to record the tracking number provided on the return label so you can track it through the FedEx website.
  • International students must send their test to a stateside address. They should plan to self-quarantine off campus while they await the results of their test (2-3 days). If they do not have a stateside address to mail the test, they can be mailed to and picked up from the Student Health Center at:  
William & Mary
Student Health Center
P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, you must isolate at home and the Student Health Center will work with you on your return to campus plans. You must also complete the form at Report COVID to initiate case management that will assist with isolation requirements and help you navigate classes and study.
  • If you are in quarantine as a close contact, you must finish your 10-day quarantine at home prior to returning to campus.
  • Similar to the fall, W&M will conduct mandatory prevalence testing (sampling at least 5% of the student body) weekly and census testing of the full student body based on guidance from the Public Health Advisory Team and our healthcare partners.
  • Students who experience symptoms over the course of the semester should make an appointment with the Student Health Center or a private healthcare provider for a clinical assessment and testing if necessary.
Employee Testing

As we did in the fall, employees in high contact positions that are not able to sustain masking, distancing or other health provisions due to the nature of their jobs may be required to test before the university welcomes returning students to campus. You will be notified by your supervisor or the Testing Coordination Team if you have been identified.

  • Voluntary at-will testing through VCUHS will resume the week of January 25 by appointment only. A reminder message with the link to book an appointment will be sent the week prior.
  • Mandatory prevalence testing (sampling at least 2% of the employee population) will continue weekly.
  • Employees who experience symptoms should make an appointment with their health care provider for a clinical assessment.
  • If an employee tests positive or has been identified as a close contact, they are also required to complete the form at Report COVID. They must remain off campus until cleared to return by their assigned case manager, who may ask for documentation from a physician or health care provider.
Testing Exceptions and Return to Campus for Individuals who Recently Tested Positive for COVID-19

Tests can continue to detect viral material in those who have previously tested positive after they are no longer infectious. Following CDC guidelines, W&M will exempt students, employees and dining workers from pre-arrival and prevalence testing for a period of 90 days after the date a positive test was administered, upon documentation of the result. To provide documentation of the prior positive test result, please visit the Kallaco portal Records menu and follow the prompts to Upload Record.

Will there be testing at the end of the Spring 2021 semester?

Depending on the timing of vaccinations, William & Mary may again offer voluntary testing for students and employees who wish to be tested prior to returning home for the summer. We are working with our local health district and will provide information on vaccines as information becomes available.

We will continue providing update information in the coming days and weeks. Thank you for your diligence and commitment to keeping William & Mary healthy together.

Sincerely,

Amy Sebring, COVID Director and Chief Operating Officer

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