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COVID-19 Response Team Updates

September 11 | Maintaining COVID-19 protections at W&M under VA Phase 3
September 10 | Guidance for faculty & staff on mandatory health protocols
September 6 | What to Do If You Test Positive Through Prevalence or Third-Party Testing
August 21 | COVID-19 Prevalence Testing Coming Soon
August 10 | Mandatory COVID-19 Health Video Series
August 7 | CORRECTION: COVID-19 Test Results Time Frame
August 7 | Required COVID-19 Testing for Employees
July 22 | COVID-19 Testing
July 14 | Face Covering Requirements July 15-Dec. 31, 2020
June 26 | W&M work guidelines through July 31 and fall public health protocols
Maintaining COVID-19 protections at W&M under VA Phase 3

Sept. 11, 2020

Dear William & Mary community,

The COVID-19 Response Team is pleased that health metrics in Hampton Roads have improved over the past few weeks. As a result, Gov. Ralph Northam announced yesterday he was lifting enhanced restrictions on the region.

While the governor loosened some restrictions, William & Mary’s requirements remain in place, to minimize spread of the COVID-19 virus:

  • On- and off-campus gatherings continue to be limited to no more than 10 people with required masks and physical distancing.
  • Programs or events sponsored by the university or student groups will continue to be limited to 50 people, with required masks and physical distancing.
  • Masks must be worn indoors and outdoors on campus and off-campus, in all instructional and social situations.
  • At least six feet of physical distance must be maintained – 10 feet for those exercising, singing or cheering – consistent with state guidelines.

So far, your compliance with these basic requirements has resulted in a limited number of positive cases in the community. Our comprehensive testing and case management programs actively seek positive cases on campus so we can prevent them from further circulating in the community, provide individuals needed care and limit the opportunity for spread.

Remember, if you do test positive for COVID-19, through William & Mary’s testing regimen or an outside provider, you must respond immediately to any outreach from the university and visit ReportCOVID.wm.edu to be assigned a case manager to assist in transitioning work and study while isolating. If you test positive via W&M’s program, a case manager may reach out to you first. By reaching out after a positive test or by answering our call, you gain immediate help and protect other members of the campus community.

The health and safety protocols we’re currently maintaining are helping to limit the spread of COVID-19 in W&M’s close-knit community. We must continue these measures with increased vigilance. Thank you all for working so hard to protect your own health and that of the community this semester.

All the best,

Sam Jones

Chair, COVID-19 Response Team

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Guidance for faculty & staff on mandatory health protocols

Sept. 10, 2020

Dear W&M faculty and staff members,

We are writing to clarify and reinforce some of the mandatory COVID-19 health protocols in place for this fall. We are heartened to see so many students, faculty and staff members acting responsibly this semester, increasing William & Mary’s chances of completing a successful in-person school year. We are all watching closely the successes and challenges at other universities, and adopting those lessons into our phased re-opening of campus. At this moment, we are specifically and actively searching for positive cases of COVID-19 among our in-person student population, so that we reduce potential outbreaks, protect the health of the greater community and prevent spread.

  • Prevalence Testing: To support that effort, we’d like to remind you that participation in prevalence testing at W&M is mandatory. All in-person students received a negative test result for COVID-19 before coming to our campuses, and they are all undergoing another round of testing starting this week. From that point, ongoing prevalence testing of the student population and of faculty and staff is essential to reducing any spread of the virus.
  • If you, as a staff or faculty member, are selected for prevalence testing, you will be notified by email, as will your supervisor, dean or department chair. You must then schedule a time for your test. It is imperative that you respond to these emails, get tested and show our students and the greater community our commitment to William & Mary’s health. Given the importance of testing in reducing potential outbreaks, ignoring this requirement is not an option. You can expect follow-up if you fail to schedule an appointment.
  • Masks: Please continue your vigilant, and required, use of masks on campus – indoors, outdoors, in shared spaces, when teaching, exercising, etc. While on campus, masks are required indoors and outdoors in all social situations. Again, we must all lead by example.
  • Consequences: To ensure that we all do our absolute best to protect the health of our community, faculty and staff members not abiding by the Healthy Together guidelines will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. The disciplinary procedures will follow the policies for the employee's classification (hourly, classified, operational, professional, faculty, etc.). The circumstances will determine the discipline administered. In all circumstances, William & Mary is committed to holding all faculty and staff members accountable for their actions (and inaction) related to keeping our community as safe as possible.
  • Additional Guidelines: Please follow other Healthy Together guidelines: Complete the required online training, respect physical barriers installed on campus, stay home when sick, quarantine if you’ve been so advised by the Virginia Department of Health and complete W&M’s form at ReportCOVID.wm.edu if you test positive for COVID-19.
  • Daily Health Check: Beyond these requirements, complete the daily health check through the W&M Mobile app or at m.wm.edu by selecting Healthy Together. To help us all adopt the daily habit, we will send reminders to anyone who has not completed it in 48 hours. The Healthy Together module has many additional useful features, including a link to reporting positive test results and concerns, checking test results, arranging pick-up dining and downloading COVIDWISE, Virginia’s anonymous exposure app.

Each of us plays a role in modeling the behavior we’d like to see adopted widely. We are examples to students of the value we collectively place on health. William & Mary is shifting the culture toward being more considerate and health-conscious. To that end, please hold each other and visitors to our campus accountable; there was terrific guidance in the required Healthy Together training videos which can be viewed on W&M’s YouTube channel whenever you need a refresher.

Finally, a number of you have said you admire the new “Masks UP” banners around campus and along Richmond and Jamestown roads, and that you’d like similar graphics for your own use. Attached you’ll find an 8.5x11 version (pdf) and an 11x17 version (pdf) to print for your spaces. They’re a quick way to signal your respect for students and colleagues as we establish a health-oriented culture at William & Mary.

Wishing you good health,

Peggy Agouris, Provost

Christopher D. Lee, Chief Human Resources Officer

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What to Do If You Test Positive Through Prevalence or Third-Party Testing

Sept. 6, 2020

Dear W&M Community,

As William & Mary expands student and employee testing for COVID-19, we wanted to offer guidance to the community about what to do in the case of a positive result and introduce you to the new case management system.

If you are a student and receive a positive test result from William & Mary’s ongoing testing or from another health service provider:

  1. Immediately isolate yourself in your residence hall, or if off-campus, in your residence. It is critical that you avoid interactions with others, maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distance and wearing your face covering.
  2. Please visit ReportCOVID.wm.edu to fill out the Positive COVID-19 form to generate a case. A case manager representing the COVID-19 Response Team should respond within an hour. During regular business hours, if you do not hear from a case manager or the Student Health Center, call (757) 221-2998. If it is after-hours and you have not heard from a case manager, please call W&M Police Dispatch at (757) 221-4596, which will refer your call to the on-call physician. Please also visit If You’re Feeling Ill for instructions, especially if you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, emergency or mild.
  3. The Student Health Center will assist you in deciding where to isolate.  On-campus students may move to Richmond Hall or return home. Off-campus students can either return home or isolate at your local residence.
  4. Students moving to Richmond Hall should prepare personal items, books, laptop, phone, chargers, prescriptions and clothing to last approximately 14 days.
  5. Staff at Richmond Hall will assist with your move-in, providing transportation as appropriate. Your case manager will help make the arrangements.
  6. A Student Health Center physician will clear you to return to normal campus activity after 10 days, as long as you have gone at least 24 hours without symptoms, including no fever (without the use of fever-suppressing medications).

If you are a faculty or staff member and receive a positive test result from W&M’s ongoing testing or from another health service provider:

  1. Immediately isolate yourself in your residence and contact your health services provider. Avoid interactions with others, maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance and wear your face covering.
  2. Please visit ReportCOVID.wm.edu to fill out an intake form and advise your supervisor, dean or department chair. During regular business hours, a case manager will contact you. Please also visit If You’re Feeling Ill for instructions, especially if you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, whether emergency or mild.
  3. To return to normal campus activity after 10 days of isolation, you will need to be cleared to return to work by a physician and have gone at least 24 hours without symptoms, including no fever (without the use of fever-suppressing medications).

COVID-19 Case Management at William & Mary

William & Mary has established a network of case managers (all W&M employees) to help members of the community navigate living, study and work after a positive test result. Case managers will be assigned after you have completed the intake form at ReportCOVID.wm.edu. For students, case managers will serve as a point of contact throughout the isolation period, helping with the transition to isolation or quarantine housing as needed, and arranging for cleaning and disinfecting of campus spaces, among other assistance. For employees, they will help transition to remote work or leave, coordinate notification to departments and arrange cleaning and disinfecting. William & Mary will not identify the names of people who have contracted COVID-19 to the public or greater campus community. 

We understand that a positive test result is by its nature distressing. By establishing a care network, we hope to lessen the complications of navigating the university system as you work to remain well or recover.

We hope this information proves helpful and comforting,

Sam Jones

Chair, COVID-19 Response Team

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COVID-19 Prevalence Testing Coming Soon

Editor's Note: Phased planning has amended some information in this message. At-will COVID-19 testing is scheduled to be offered for faculty and staff beginning the week of Sept. 8.

Aug. 21, 2020

Dear W&M Employees,

As you know, William & Mary this semester is adopting a vast array of safety measures to promote a healthy campus this fall. One key aspect of this program is COVID-19 prevalence testing, by which random samples of students, faculty, staff and contractors are chosen periodically to take COVID-19 tests so the university can rapidly assess potential community spread. W&M will begin its prevalence testing next week, with 5% of the student population and 2% of employees testing every two weeks, pulled from the local and on-campus population. These tests are administered at no cost to you.

As a result, you may be chosen to conduct a test at the clinic at 332 N. Henry Street. If so, you will be notified by email and will be given instructions for making a testing appointment. Appointments will be considered hours worked for which you will be paid.

To prepare, William & Mary faculty and staff must immediately register with Kallaco Health & Technology at https://kallaco.wm.edu, which William & Mary is using to coordinate student and employee COVID-19 testing. To register, click “forgot password,” and do not use your W&M password for the account. Your Kallaco account is where you will see results of your prevalence testing.

If you are selected to participate in prevalence testing, your testing appointment will be considered hours worked, and you will be paid for that time. Your supervisor will also be notified that you have been randomly selected. If you are unable to schedule an appointment within the timeframe you have been instructed to, please work with your supervisor to coordinate when you will be tested. If you receive a notification of prevalence testing in error, because you will not be attending or visiting any William & Mary properties within the next six weeks, please contact [[COVIDResponse]].

If you are sick or symptomatic when you are randomly selected, please stay home, contact your healthcare provider, advise your supervisor, and do not make a prevalence testing appointment. You will automatically be included in the next round of prevalence testing, approximately two weeks later.

To faculty members: Students are encouraged to make their appointments outside of class hours, but may be unable to do so. The provost has agreed that missing class or a portion of it for prevalence testing should be considered an excused absence.

Participating in prevalence testing is a condition to which we have agreed in order to work and study in person at William & Mary under the Healthy Together Community Commitment. The information it provides allows us to better support your health, and for you to better support the health of students, colleagues and others in our community. It is mandatory. We hope you will participate willingly, but need to advise you that not participating will result in disciplinary action.

Finally, many of you have asked about William & Mary’s plans to offer voluntary COVID-19 tests for $15 to employees who are not displaying symptoms. We will begin offering some at-will testing beginning next week and will be ramping up as the national testing supply chain and testing options allow. We will provide additional information next week.  If you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, please contact your healthcare provider; tests for symptomatic personnel are covered under all of W&M’s insurance plans.

Please continue to direct your questions to [[COVIDResponse]]. 

Thank you for your attention and I wish you a healthy and safe semester,

Peggy Agouris, Provost 

Christopher D. Lee, Chief Human Resources Officer

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Mandatory COVID-19 Health Video Series

Editor’s note: Phased planning has amended some information included in the Aug. 10 message. The deadline for student, faculty and staff training has been extended to Friday, Aug. 28.

Aug. 10, 2020

Dear W&M Community,

One aspect of our being able to reconvene this fall with health and safety foremost in mind is agreeing on best practices, and then committing to them, through the Healthy Together Community Commitment. To that end, the university has developed a series of training videos to teach the community about COVID-19 and how to protect ourselves and others in a campus environment.

This baseline training, designed for students, faculty, staff, contractors and vendors, introduces skills to promote the health of yourself and others. It outlines hygiene practices and how to best navigate situations in which the people around you don’t uphold our community’s standards. They are based in our shared values of “respect” and “flourishing,” by which we empower those who live, learn and work here to make choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.

The series consists of five modules:

  1. An introduction to the Healthy Together commitment, COVID-19 and its prevention
  2. A tutorial on mask use and requirements at William & Mary
  3. A review of proper preventative hygiene, including hand washing, the use of sanitizer and the difference between cleaning and disinfecting spaces
  4. Tips on how to handle situations in which people’s behavior diverges from our shared commitment to health
  5. A conclusion that reinforces the main points and offers additional resources

The modules are mandatory viewing for both students and employees on all of our campuses and properties as you return over the next several weeks.

Students may access the video series through Blackboard, and must view the training by 5 p.m. ET on Friday, Aug. 14 to ensure that no holds are put on their accounts.

Employees will access the series through Cornerstone Learning. Human Resources will send you an email detailing how to launch the training. For employees who do not have computer access, we will work with supervisors to make the training available to you. Completion of the training program must occur by Monday, Aug. 24. You will receive a reminder four days before the deadline, and you and your supervisor will be notified if you have not completed the training by Aug. 24.

While the series is mandatory, the COVID-19 Response Team hopes you will find the videos informative and reinforcing of the promises we’ve made to one another as community members through the Healthy Together Community Commitment.

We continue to invite your questions and comments at COVIDResponse@wm.edu as we implement the Path Forward: Fall 2020 plans.

I wish you a safe and productive semester,

Sam Jones

Chair

COVID-19 Response Team

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CORRECTION: COVID-19 Test Results Time Frame 

Aug. 7, 2020

Dear William & Mary students,

Recently I shared with you detailed instructions for registering with Kallaco so we may send you an off-campus COVID-19 test based on your move-in date or the date you will resume in-person classes.

The prior message you received included incorrect information regarding the time frame for tests to be analyzed and results posted for view in your Kallaco account. The correct time frame is between 36-72 hours of receipt of the test kit by the lab.

We anticipated a 72-hour maximum turnaround time in determining when to mail the test kits to you.  Assuming you returned the kits as promptly as expected, we do not anticipate the turnaround from lab to results will affect your ability to move in or begin classes as scheduled; however, we want you to know accurately when your test results will be available to view.

Questions can still be submitted to us at COVIDResponse@wm.edu. Thank you for your patience as we continue to work diligently to ensure a safe and successful fall semester.

Sam Jones

Chair, COVID-19 Response Team

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Required COVID-19 Testing for Employees

Aug. 7, 200

Dear W&M Faculty and Staff,

Recently, I shared details about the university’s COVID-19 testing program, which goes beyond state health and CDC guidelines and is designed to be responsive to the most vulnerable populations within our community as we return to work on campus. Central to that effort is the initial testing of certain employees if their work may require them to be in close contact with others where barriers, distancing or changes in ways of working may not be able to be consistently maintained.

Once the semester begins, we will be engaging in ongoing (prevalence) testing that allows W&M to see trends of COVID-19 within the community. These tests consider cross-samples of both students and employees to understand the extent to which we are seeing positive cases, or trends, of COVID-19.

To facilitate our testing program, William & Mary through its agreement with VCU Health System has partnered with Kallaco, a national lab network, for integrated testing. The Kallaco platform provides a quick, centralized way to check test results.

To prepare for the faculty and staff testing process, all faculty and staff members should visit the Kallaco portal and activate an account. Those who have already been tested will receive their test results through the portal. To activate your account, enter your William & Mary employee email address, click forgot password and follow the on-screen instructions to reset your password. Please note, Kallaco does not offer single sign-on at this time, so you must create a password unique to the Kallaco platform. Do not use your William & Mary password.

If you are identified as an employee who must complete a COVID-19 test either in conjunction with the return to campus or as part of the prevalence testing, you will be notified by your supervisor and advised to contact the VCU Health Center in Williamsburg. You will not be expected to quarantine based on your participation in the required testing, although you will be expected to isolate if you develop symptoms or test positive. Required tests will be conducted at the VCU Health System clinic at 332 N. Henry Street in Williamsburg and shared with the university. This allows the university to respond quickly to any positive test result. As a reminder, you must report to your supervisor if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through your health care provider or other testing programs.

In the coming weeks, we will update employees on the availability of optional testing that they can request for a low co-pay if they are concerned that they’ve contracted or been exposed to COVID-19.

Until then, wishing you continued health and a successful start to the fall, 

Sam Jones,
Chair, COVID-19 Response Team

About Kallaco and W&M

Kallaco is an information distribution portal facilitating COVID-19 testing at William & Mary and a number of other universities in Virginia. Kallaco’s founders have a long history in software development and the healthcare space. One of the many reasons William & Mary selected Kallaco as a partner is their relationship with a robust network of national labs. William & Mary conducts a formal security review process within Information Technology, against which all enterprise applications are evaluated. The university’s chief information security officer completed that privacy review of Kallaco and is in frequent communication with the vendor to ensure that student and employee data is securely stored and privacy is protected. W&M’s university counsel and procurement offices also ensured our contract reflected William & Mary's commitment to privacy and appropriate data use.

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COVID-19 Testing

Editor’s note: Phased planning has amended some information included in the July 22 message. While W&M is allowing student to upload rapid test results to satisfy requirements for move-in and on-campus activities, the university asks that students still complete the test process with Kallaco, which provides a different type of COVID-19 test.

July 22, 2020

Dear William & Mary Students, Faculty & Staff,

As William & Mary moves into the Fall 2020 semester, the COVID-19 Response Team provides the following summary of the university’s testing protocol for students and employees. We are establishing a testing program that goes above and beyond state health and CDC guidelines and is designed to be responsive to the most at-risk populations within our community.

Recognizing that the health landscape continues to evolve, a robust testing effort allows us to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 on campus among students and employees, and to track campus trends relative to those locally, within Virginia and nationally. Testing frequency and population percentage will evolve based on campus trends and available testing methods.

Who will do the testing?

William & Mary is partnering with the VCU Health System (VCUHS) for expanded physical and mental health services, including COVID-19 testing for students and employees.

If you are a student, how and when will testing occur?

All students are required to be tested before the fall semester. The timing of initial testing depends on when a student arrives on campus:

  • Students will receive a self-administered, mail-in test kit prior to coming to campus. Test kits will arrive in time for students to self-administer the test, mail it back along with the required consent form, and get test results before they are due to arrive on campus.
  • International Students will receive specific testing instructions in the next week to 10 days.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, you must self-isolate at home or off campus until you have a confirmed negative test. Students who test positive will be mailed a retest approximately 10-14 days following the initial positive result.
  • Prevalence testing (initial sampling of 5% of the student body) will occur at least every two weeks. Testing frequency and population percentage will evolve based on campus trends and available testing methods.
  • Students who experience symptoms over the course of the semester should make an appointment with the Student Health Center for a clinical assessment and testing if necessary. The Student Health Center will provide instructions on necessary next steps.
If you are an employee, how and when will testing occur?
  • William & Mary employees are preparing for students to return to campus in early August. Supervisors on the main campus and VIMS’ campus will be communicating with employees this week, confirming that they will be working on campus, remotely or in a blended fashion as students begin returning to campus, as well as schedules for those modes of work.
  • All employees will have access to voluntary at-will testing through the VCUHS for a $15 out-of-pocket copayment, with the university covering the balance. The schedule and location for voluntary testing will be provided shortly.
  • Prevalence testing (initial sample of 2% of the employee/contractor population) will occur at least every two weeks. Testing frequency and population percentage may vary based on campus trends and available testing methods.
  • Employees or contract workers with positions that cannot maintain physical distancing, or where other work modifications to reduce virus spread are infeasible and impractical, will be tested prior to working with students. These employees will be contacted over the next two weeks with instructions for testing before students return to campus. Employees who test positive for COVID-19 will be expected to isolate and retest with a negative result before returning to work.
Will there be testing at the end of the Fall 2020 semester?

William & Mary will cover the cost of a voluntary test for students and employees who wish to be tested prior to returning home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Testing schedules will be released later.

Thank you for your support of our testing effort.

Sam Jones
Chair, COVID-19 Response Team

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Face Covering Requirements July 15-Dec. 31, 2020

Editor’s note: Phased planning and increased understanding of COVID-19 has amended some information included in the July 14 message. Faculty members may not opt for face shields or plexiglass in lieu of masks. Face shields and plexiglass are additional and valuable aids, but do not replace the need to wear masks. Exceptions to this requirement are only approved by the W&M COVID-19 Response Team at [[COVIDResponse]].

July 14, 2020

As we move through this summer and into the fall semester, the COVID-19 Response Team is providing guidance regarding the required use of face coverings on campus from now through the end of the calendar year (July 15-Dec. 31, 2020).

Compliance with these requirements is mandatory for this period.

General Requirements:
  • University requirements for face coverings apply to all faculty, staff, students, contract workers, vendors and others who are on William & Mary’s various campuses or enter university owned or leased buildings.
  • Indoor public spaces: when in a facility, everyone should wear a face covering over the nose and mouth including building entry areas, classrooms and labs, libraries, conference rooms, hallways, elevators, restrooms, lounges and other shared spaces that allow for public interaction or gathering. The ability to physically distance within a space does not eliminate the above requirements.
  • Outdoor spaces: face coverings may be removed only when an uninterrupted 6’ distance can be maintained between you and other individuals for the continuous duration of an activity.
  • Face coverings include cloth or disposable masks or face shields. [Note: W&M policy has changed since this message was released: Faculty are required to wear masks at all times in the classroom. Faculty members may not opt for face shields or plexiglass in lieu of masks. Face shields and plexiglass are additional and valuable aids, but do not replace the need to wear masks. Exceptions to this requirement are only approved by the W&M COVID-19 Response Team at [[COVIDResponse]]. -- Ed.]
If you are a student:
  • All general requirements stated above apply.
  • You are required to wear a face covering when in a classroom, lab or other instructional space. The exact type of face covering may vary depending on the instructional environment (e.g., a university-provided face shield may be required in a lab).
  • All requirements apply to both indoor and outdoor co-curricular activities and spaces.
  • You are not required to wear a face covering when in your room or suite in your residence hall.
  • You are required to wear a face covering when in university housing hallways, other shared spaces and hall baths (except when actively washing, brushing teeth, etc.).
If you are faculty, staff, contract worker, vendor or other:
  • All general requirements stated above apply.
  • Faculty and instructional support staff are required to wear a face covering in indoor or outdoor classrooms, labs and other instructional spaces.
  • Teachers have the option to wear a face shield during instruction as an alternative to a cloth face covering, to enable learners to better understand their speech. A cloth face covering will be used immediately before and after instruction and when interacting with others and unable to maintain 6’ physical distancing. Other options shall be submitted to the COVID Response Team for approval. [Note: W&M policy has changed since this message was released: Faculty are required to wear masks at all times in the classroom. Faculty members may not opt for face shields or plexiglass in lieu of masks. Face shields and plexiglass are additional and valuable aids, but do not replace the need to wear masks. Exceptions to this requirement are only approved by the W&M COVID-19 Response Team at [[COVIDResponse]]. -- Ed.]
  • Faculty and staff are not required to wear a face covering while in their private offices or work spaces where a physical distance of at least 6’ can be maintained. Open-floor plans can be enhanced through the reconfiguration of space, installation of plexiglass barriers, etc.
  • Face coverings must be used when interaction with others precludes physical distancing, such as conferring with colleagues, advising students, etc.
  • Employees who move throughout buildings, including private office spaces, to perform their work (e.g. IT, maintenance, dining, library staff, etc.) must wear face coverings at all times.
  • Employees working in outdoor spaces are not required to wear face coverings as long as a 6’ physical distance from others can be maintained continuously during their activity.
Exceptions:

As noted above, these requirements apply to all faculty, staff, students, contract workers, vendors and other visitors to campus. Students who require an exception to these requirements due to health concerns should request an exception from the Office of Student Accessibility Services. Employees should request an exception for health reasons through Human Resources.

Other measures being taken to mitigate risks as students and employees return to campus this fall will be discussed at a community Town Hall scheduled for July 20.

Compliance with these requirements keeps our campuses safer through the summer and into the fall. Thank you for your cooperation.

Sam Jones
Chair, COVID-19 Response Team

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W&M work guidelines through July 31 and fall public health protocols

June 26, 2020

Dear William & Mary Community:

On June 12, 2020 William & Mary released its planning process for the coming semester – the Path Forward: Fall 2020. That plan reflected the work of five Plan Ahead squads composed of campus experts – faculty, staff, students, administrators. It is based on collaborations with Commonwealth public higher education (including peer university public health and medical centers), CDC and VDH guidelines, and the Governor’s guidelines.

I write to share updates on telework (below) as well as additional details now on our website about fall planning, including: 

  • Fall schedule/key dates
  • Protocols for mitigating risk to health: PPE, physical distancing in classrooms and workspaces, cleaning/hygiene, testing, symptom monitoring, case management, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation.

W&M is part of an active effort to partner with the Commonwealth on a testing network anchored in our three VA university medical centers: VCU, UVA, and VT. Our testing and other public health protocols are based on ongoing epidemiological modeling with those centers.

We continue to move forward in a phased way: focusing on adaptations and flexibility, to mitigate risk to health, while ensuring we can sustain W&M’s mission of teaching, learning, and research. We ask the community to be aware that the public health context and VA directives will continue to change in the coming weeks. W&M leadership will continually evaluate our path forward in light of those changes.

Telework through July 31: current restrictions and/or guidelines for telework, campus events and on-campus building access continue. Virginia’s Phase 3 reopening does not change W&M’s campus-specific guidelines.

After July 31: information will be provided next week by the Chief Operating Officer and the Chief Human Resources Officer on the specifics of how we will assess return to work timelines based on the university's mission and areas of work.

Going forward, we will continue to update the community on a weekly basis, to add clarity as frequently as we may. Coordinated through the COVID-19 Response Team, updates to the Path Forward: Fall 2020 have been added to the university’s COVID-19 website. Further messages will be coming early next week from the provost, vice president for students affairs, the chief operating officer and the chief human resources officer.

Thank you for your patience as we work through the details that will allow us to navigate the extraordinary challenges wrought by pandemic.

Sam Jones
Director, COVID-19 Response Team

Fall Schedule

A reminder, to reduce the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus the university will operate with a compressed schedule with an extended break between Thanksgiving and the start of the spring 2021 semester. Recognizing that the schedules for graduate and professional schools may vary, some key dates for undergraduates are as follows:

  • August 12-14: Phased move-in of new students
  • August 15-18: Phased move-in of returning students
  • August 19: Classes begin
  • November 13: Last day of classes
  • November 24: Last day of exams
Telework

The current restrictions on campus operations with most employees working remotely will continue through July 31. With the return of students to campus, there will be a need for core functions to return as well. Information will be provided next week by the Chief Operating Officer and the Chief Human Resources Officer on the specifics of how we will assess timelines for resuming campus operations based on the university's mission and areas of work.

Mitigating risk under pandemic

The university is taking a systematic approach to mitigate risks of transmission in face-to-face situations, via education, prevention, testing/tracing and treatment including quarantine and isolation.

NOTE: the following protocols are based on epidemiological modeling and analysis pursued in partnership with the major medical centers in the Virginia public university system. Guidelines will continue to be adjusted based on research and analysis arising from that partnership.

Specific measures:

Specific measures to minimize risk under the pandemic
PPE
  • Wearing of face coverings is required in all public or communal spaces including classrooms.
  • All students will receive a wellness kit consisting of washable masks, hand sanitizer, wipes and an educational pamphlet.
  • Faculty and staff will receive similar wellness kits. Additional masks or face shields will be available for employees as appropriate to their roles and work environment.
Students returning to campus
  • Domestic students will be expected to self-quarantine for 8 days prior to return. The return to campus will be phased to allow for implementation of the following.
  • Students arriving to campus from international locations may have additional guidelines as specified by the CDC.
  • Traveling to Williamsburg does not require a student to “reset” the quarantine clock upon arrival, as long as they quarantined for the appropriate time and practiced transmission prevention during travel.
  • A testing program is under development that will likely require all students to be tested for COVID-19 on arrival, in order to allow for immediate isolation of those who test positive for infection. This testing program is intended for all students, on-campus, off-campus, undergraduates and graduates. Details to come.
  • COVID-19 prevention will be included as part of new student orientation emphasizing a community-wide commitment to engaging in behaviors that promote health and mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19.
  • University-wide signage protocols will be in place, allowing for consistent messaging across campus.
Symptom tracking and additional testing

A symptom-tracking app will be provided to all students, faculty and staff, allowing for a daily prompt for symptom assessment. More information on the app will be shared by mid-July. W&M is part of an active effort to partner with the Commonwealth on a testing network anchored in our three VA university medical centers: VCU, UVA, and VT. Our testing and other public health protocols are based on ongoing epidemiological modeling with those centers.

  • A testing program is under development that will likely require all students to be tested for COVID-19 on arrival and will allow employees to take advantage of optional (at the employee's choice) testing services partially subsidized by the university.
  • Touchless temperature stations placed strategically around campus will support self-assessment.
  • As noted above, a testing program is in development that will likely require all students to be tested on arrival and to participate in prevalence testing throughout the semester.
  • Symptomatic students may be tested and treated through the Student Health Center.
  • W&M will be significantly increasing its capacity to provide access to healthcare on campus.
  • At-will testing will be offered to students as they leave for the semester, as an additional precaution for their home communities.
Hygiene practices and cleaning/disinfectant protocols

W&M practices will continue to be based on CDC/VDH guidelines with oversight by the university's Environmental, Health & Safety Office.

  • Cleaning of personal office spaces will be the responsibility of the individual faculty or staff member using materials provided by the university. This will reduce occupancy to protect the health of employees and allow custodial staff to focus on more frequent cleaning of public spaces.
  • Students will be responsible for cleaning class desk space before and after use.
  • 200 hand sanitizer stations will be placed across campus in high traffic areas to facilitate proper hygiene.
Physical distancing and adaptations to workplace environments
  • Each member of the President's Cabinet, in consultation with direct supervisors, will determine units' appropriate mode of work to perform the core functions of the university while limiting risk.
  • Flexibility for units to continue to telework will be prioritized where possible. In areas where telework does not meet the university's mission requirements, work schedules may be modified to reduce staff interaction.
  • Staff will be provided with PPE: face masks or shields as appropriate, hand sanitizer and wipes.
  • Where possible, work spaces will be reconfigured to support physical distancing among employees. If it is not possible to reconfigure a space, plexiglass shields will be installed to provide additional protection for employees.
Physical distancing and adaptations to classroom environments
  • All classrooms, seminar rooms and lecture halls will be reconfigured to allow at least six feet between each student and at least six feet from the instructor.
  • Non-instructional spaces including outdoor space are being converted to support instruction with adequate physical distancing.
  • In cases where physical distancing cannot be maintained (i.e., some lab activities), masks will be required and face shields provided.
  • Plexiglass shields may also be installed as added protection for both students and employees.

All of these efforts will be supported by an increased cleaning regiment focused on individual responsibility for personal space and more extensive and frequent cleaning of public spaces by the university.

Physical distancing outside the classroom
  • For fall 2020, William & Mary is limiting the number of invited visitors to campus.
  • All visiting speakers will be virtual.
  • Where possible, events and other traditional campus gatherings are being canceled or shifted to the spring semester. If held, events will have limited in-person attendance and/or a virtual engagement. CDC, VDH or Governor's guidance will set the upper limit for any in-person gatherings so long as physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Campus facilities (buildings, spaces, etc.) will be available for students and employees for non-class gatherings such as associations, clubs, organizations but safety precautions (physical distancing, masks, cleaning protocols) will be required. Details to follow.
  • Outdoor venues will play a prominent role in supporting activities outside the classroom. Outdoor gatherings will still require appropriate social distancing and mask wearing.
  • Communal spaces (including lounges, kitchens, exercise or training rooms and dining halls) will be posted with strictly limited capacities to support social distancing. Furniture will be removed or repositioned.
Dining halls

For campus dining William & Mary, in partnership with Sodexo, will maintain compliance with CDC guidelines for restaurants. Physical distancing will be implemented. Other actions being taken include:

  • Installation of touchless payment stations. Touchless readers in all W&M dining locations will be available for accepting meal plan swipes and dining dollars. Credit and debit cards will be accepted and customers can either insert the card at the credit card terminal themselves to pay or use the chip in their credit card for touchless payment.
  • W&M Dining is strongly encouraging contactless transactions (debit, credit, W&M ID card for meal plans and W&M Express) this fall but will take care of customers who only have cash. PPE will be available for cashiers to accept cash.
  • Relocation of food trucks to reduce density.
  • Expanded "grab and go" menus.
  • Class schedule adjustments to reduce pressure on facilities and adjustment of dining hall hours to allow for more frequent cleaning.
  • W&M dining employees will meet CDC and State requirements for face masks and personal hygiene with daily health monitoring.
Student housing

The university is using multiple strategies to decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission within residence halls. These include:

  • Phased move-in of new and returning students to reduce crowding, provide for education, and ensure compliance with health guidelines.
  • Restrictions on residence hall access by non-residents.
  • Restrictions on events/social activities in housing facilities.
  • Training for residential advisors and live-in staff.
  • Signage to promote proper hygiene and social distancing in common areas.
  • Limited room options (overwhelmingly singles and doubles; triples and quads only where physical distancing can be maintained).
  • Students will be responsible for cleaning and ensuring physical distancing in their dorm rooms and suites.
Student quarantining and isolation

The university has set aside Richmond Hall to be used only as residence hall space for student quarantine (potential exposure) and student isolation (positive case). Active cases within the student population will be monitored through the Student Health Center under guidance from the Center's Medical Director.

Coordination with local health authorities

The President and other university leaders meet monthly with City of Williamsburg leadership to coordinate COVID-19 response. William & Mary also participates in weekly calls with a Greater Williamsburg COVID-19 Partnership which includes membership from localities, school divisions, major employers and local health service providers. Through this group, the university remains current on regional testing volume, positive cases, hospitalizations and hospital capacity.

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