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Spring Semester at William & Mary

Frequently Asked Questions

When do classes begin in the spring semester?
  • Classes will begin in spring 2021, according to the following schedule:
    • January 4: Executive MBA Program
    • January 11: Online Graduate Programs (Business and Education)
    • January 19: Law School
    • January 25: F/T MBA, Flex MBA, MAcc, MSBA
    • January 27: Undergraduates, Grad A&S, Marine Science, Education (residential programs)
    • In order to phase our return to campus, all undergraduate classes will take place via remote instruction from Jan. 27 – Feb. 9
    • In person and blended instruction for undergraduates begins on Feb. 10
When can students move back on campus for the spring semester?
The university is planning a phased move-in for students living in on-campus housing:
  • Jan. 22: new spring students (transfer and freshmen), fall semester remote freshmen, international students
  • Jan. 23-24: freshmen who lived on-campus in the fall, international students
  • Jan. 30: seniors
  • Feb. 6-7: sophomores/juniors
My student is not returning to campus in the spring. What is the university’s policy on housing contracts? 
  • Students scheduled to move in on January 30 will receive a $100 rebate and those arriving February 6-7 will receive $200.
  • Students who lived on campus in the fall but have a fully remote schedule for the spring semester may request a release from their housing contracts. The deadline to request a release is February 5. Requests can be submitted via the housing portal and will be reviewed within seven business days.
My student is not returning to campus in the spring and will not be utilizing our dining plan. Can we get our money refunded?
  • Students with a meal plan this fall who are not returning to W&M must log on to mealplan.wm.edu to drop their meal plan for the spring after receiving an email notice that the fall meal plan has rolled to the spring. Any unused dining dollars will expire on Nov. 25, 2020, for students not returning in the spring. 
  • W&M automatically will default returning students to the Block 175 meal plan if they are in campus housing in the spring and do not self-select a meal plan. Students may make one allowable change to their meal plan in the spring semester through the add/drop period at mealplan.wm.edu. Visit wm.edu/dining for more information.
Please explain some of the decision-making process behind spring break. How did you pick the days off and why are they scattered throughout the semester? 
  • Several groups — including student affairs, curriculum squads, academic deans, staff and others — participated in the selection and review of the spring break dates. 
  • It is important to note that the law school and business school graduate students will have an alternate spring break schedule.
  • Among the reasons the dates were chosen were:
    • Ensuring the health and well-being of all students, faculty and staff through the Healthy Together commitment;
      • To that end, everyone agreed it was important to avoid a four-day weekend;
    • Choosing one each of MTWRF so that students don’t miss more classes on one day than another;
    • Adding a sixth “bonus” day as a way of acknowledging that losing a week was not the same as gaining five individual days;
    • Avoiding breaks when midterm grading and academic advising were scheduled.
How can we be sure faculty will honor days off for spring break? Will students still have to do work?
  • On Oct. 22, 2020, Provost Peggy Agouris notified faculty of the six scheduled “spring break” days that will be distributed across the spring 2021 semester. Our expectation is that faculty will honor the restorative intent of those break days — both for themselves and for students in the courses they will be teaching. Students will be encouraged to contact the department chair or program director to address any specific concerns.
When will we know about the academic offerings and which classes will be in person or remote? 
  • Course delivery methods will be in place in Banner by November 13.
What impact will the cold weather have on activities offered to students? How will the university be enhancing social life for students?
  • While large gatherings have not been possible in the fall semester, the university has been committed to building community in small groups in residence halls and student organizations, in wellness activities and in career development. From pumpkin carvings to weekly live music performances at the Sadler Terrace and yoga by Lake Matoaka, students have had a plethora of opportunities to connect with one another online and in person.
  • Programming and support services come from the First Year Experience, AMP, Center for Student Diversity, Cohen Career Center, Wellness Ambassadors, Campus Recreation, Office of Community Engagement, Office of Student Leadership Development, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Student Unions and Engagement, Student Veteran Engagement and more. Four hundred of the university’s 475 recognized student organizations were active in the fall semester and 11 new student organizations were established. 
  • For the spring semester, our university-wide student life planning team, which includes undergraduate and graduate students, is advancing the following goal: to explore and execute additional ways to create gathering areas with events so that small groups can safely meet and build community. There’s been a lot of success this semester, and the university is committed to developing new and creative ways for students to gather both online and in person during the colder months.
What are the campus visitation policies for alumni and friends?
  • Alumni and friends are permitted on campus but are not allowed to enter campus buildings, which continue to be closed to the public.
  • Campus gatherings are subject to public health guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Virginia Department of Health and the governor. Face coverings are required in all public or communal spaces. William & Mary has adopted other protocols to help protect community health, including limits on gatherings.
  • Programs that traditionally have included alumni or members of the external community may be adjusted, suspended or moved online.
Will any sports compete next semester? 
  • William & Mary Athletics is committed to providing all student-athletes with the best competitive experience possible. Athletics is working closely with the NCAA and the CAA as we make plans for all of our programs to compete during their adjusted seasons, beginning with men's and women’s basketball at the end of November and early December.
  • Will fans be able to attend?
    • More information is forthcoming about the university's fan attendance policy and procedures.
When are you testing students before and during the spring semester? 
  • Information about testing in the spring semester will be forthcoming. 
What will be the testing and quarantine protocols for returning international students and out-of-state students? 
  • In addition to testing, all domestic students are expected to self-quarantine for eight days before arriving on campus; students coming from international destinations are required to self-quarantine until they receive a negative COVID-19 test result.
  • More information about testing prior to and during the spring semester is forthcoming.
What about protocols and requirements for exchange students?
  • Exchange students are expected to follow the same protocols as other students arriving from international destinations.
Will there be study abroad in the spring?
  • In line with the William & Mary International Travel Policy, given the current CDC and Department of State Travel Alerts, all spring 2021 study abroad requires approval by the International Travel Review Committee. As in fall 2020, limited exceptions will be considered by the International Travel Review Committee to accommodate international students with no way of returning to Williamsburg at this time, and other students with exceptional reasons for undertaking study abroad this spring and considerable in-country support.
What is the housing policy for those students who got a remote housing release for fall and want to come back to live on campus in the spring? 
  • Classes of 2021, 2022 and graduate students: 
    • You are welcome to choose to return to on campus housing and can do so by signing a housing contract for the spring semester. We have plenty of available space for upper-level and graduate students. Contracts are available via the housing portal. We would love to have you back for spring! 
    • If you are planning to continue your remote schedule, or live off campus, you do not need to take further action. 
  • Classes of 2023 and 2024:
    • You were released from your housing contract for fall 2020 only.
    • You are required to live on campus if you have in person or blended classes on campus for spring 2021.
    • If you plan to live on campus for the spring 2021 semester you must renew your housing contract under the 2020-2021 Housing Application in the Housing Portal. The application opened on Nov. 1, 2020, and is now available. 
    • If you have a specific roommate request, you will need to create a roommate group within the 2020-2021 Housing Application. While we cannot guarantee you will be placed together, we will do our very best. Assignments are of course based upon space availability.
    • If you plan to request another Remote Learning Contract Release for the spring 2021 semester you will need to resubmit a new request in the Housing Portal under the 2020-2021 Housing Application. 
    • Reminder that students in class of 2023 and 2024 must meet the criteria below to be granted a housing contract release for spring 2021:
      • Your course schedule must be all remote classes (RSOF, RA). If you have all on-campus classes (FS, MIX, RSOC) or blended – mix of campus and remote your housing contract will be reinstated including a meal plan and you will be financially responsible for both.
      • You must be residing at your permanent home address. You must be living at the address listed in our system for an approval to stay active. The mother/father or legal guardian must live at this residence five out of the seven days in a week.
      • The student may NOT live with another current W&M student, unless the current student is a sibling, and both are living at the legal residence of mother/father or guardian.
      • Living in an off-campus location locally in Williamsburg is not an option for freshmen or sophomore students unless it is their permanent address and they are commuting from their family home and residing with legal guardians whom live in with them in the residence five out of seven days a week.
      • You will not be released from your spring 2021 Housing Contract until we confirm you are enrolled in a fully remote class schedule for spring 2021.
      • If your schedule changes to fully remote before the add/drop deadline of Feb. 5 you may request a release via the housing portal.