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W&M announces plans for winter break, spring semester

  • People wearing masks sit in a large grassy area
    Preparing for spring:  The move-in process for the spring semester begins Jan. 22 with new students, international students and freshmen who studied remotely this fall. All on-campus students will be moved in by Feb. 7. COVID-19 testing will be required for all students returning to campus for the spring semester.  Photo by Jim Agnew
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As William & Mary prepares to complete the fall semester, the university informed its community about a series of policies and public health measures that will be in place over winter break and the spring semester.

“As we move into these last days of the semester, I am deeply grateful to and for you — for your resilience, your creativity and your fortitude,” Ginger Ambler, vice president for student affairs, said in a message to students Tuesday. “I have never felt more proud of our students than I do this year.”

Ambler informed students that undergraduate residence halls will close Nov. 25 at 10 a.m. Students must be moved out of campus by that deadline. Students living in the Graduate Complex or Tribe Square will be permitted to remain in their current apartment, but must verify they are staying over the winter break.

Exit testing and winter break

In a message to the entire campus community, Chair of W&M’s COVID-19 Response Team Sam Jones announced plans for employees who have been working on campus to transition to remote work over the winter break, adding that campus buildings will be closed to the public, but the university will remain operational.

He also provided information about COVID-19 exit testing, which was offered at-will to the entire campus community prior to the semester’s end, at no cost. For those who have not yet booked a COVID-19 exit test, the deadline to book an appointment has been extended to Nov. 13 and slots are available at a first-come first-served basis. As of Nov. 12, over 4,000 members of the W&M community had signed up for exit testing. 

Jones also thanked community for its hard work and dedication to keeping the campus safe during the pandemic. He encouraged students, faculty and staff to monitor their health over the break and take the seasonal flu shot. He explained that the symptoms of seasonal flu and COVID-19 can be hard to differentiate, and getting the shot will help health care facilities reserve capacity.

“To date, our number of positive cases has remained low and this reflects your commitment to stay Healthy Together,” Jones said. “It is important we remain vigilant and focused. Your care for each other during these unprecedented times is William & Mary's best defense against the virus.”

Spring semester move-in

Ambler provided students with an overview of the move-in process for undergraduates for the spring semester, which will follow the phased move-in process of the fall semester. The process begins Jan. 22 with new students, international students and freshmen who studied remotely this fall. All on-campus students will be moved in by Feb. 7. COVID-19 testing will be required for all students returning to campus for the spring semester.

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. Ambler added that more information about testing prior to and during the spring semester will be forthcoming. Ambler provided students with a link to FAQs with more detailed information about the transition from fall to spring semester.

Modes of instruction

Faculty will provide remote instruction in January and phase in all of their in-person classes starting Feb. 10, Ambler said. Students will be able to select courses based on their preferred mode of instruction, whether in-person, blended or fully remote. Course delivery methods will be in place in Banner by Nov. 13.

Ambler praised students for the dedication they have shown throughout this semester and said she has been encouraged by their resilience. 

“Thank you for consistently embodying the spirit of community,” Ambler said. “Whether you have been here in Williamsburg or are studying remotely, we would not be where we are this semester without you.”