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W&M provides details on interim actions around COVID-19

  • A microscopic view of COVID-19
    COVID-19:  The W&M administration has focused its efforts around four goals: safeguarding the health of students, faculty and staff; ensuring students complete their classes; maintaining the university’s research and other operations; and joining in the national effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 to protect communities.  CDC image
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Editor's note: This story was originally published March 11 and updated March 13.

William & Mary continues to take steps to safeguard the campus community against COVID-19 and participate in the national effort to slow its spread.

Sam Jones and Ginger Ambler, co-chairs of W&M’s Emergency Management Team, sent an email to the campus community Friday, March 13, to provide faculty, staff and students details on interim policies implemented by the university earlier this week.

The email provided updates on teleworking, emergency leave, residence hall access, grading, online instruction and COVID-19 exposure. Additional information has been added to the W&M COVID-19 website.

“We recognize that this is a challenging and potentially anxious time,” the email said. “As we work through this together, remember our shared goals and the strength of our community spirit.”

President Katherine A. Rowe announced those goals in a message to the campus community Wednesday in which she also outlined the university’s interim policies on instruction, travel and events through April 3.

All in-person classes were suspended with classes beginning again online or remotely on March 23. Additionally, W&M canceled all university-sponsored travel and events.

On Thursday, the Emergency Management Team informed the campus community that a staff member in Miller Hall reported potentially being exposed to a possible case of COVID-19. The person has not exhibited symptoms, but is self-quarantining and monitoring. Employees who had close contact with the individual were asked to also self-quarantine, and – out of an abundance of caution – all employees in Miller Hall were asked to work remotely until Monday while the building was thoroughly cleaned.

“As always, the health and wellness of our community remains our top priority,” the EMT email said. “We care about each other and we take care of each other. That will continue as we respond to a rapidly evolving situation.”

According to Rowe, the administration has focused its efforts around four goals: safeguarding the health of students, faculty and staff; ensuring students complete their classes; maintaining the university’s research and other operations; and joining in the national effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 to protect communities.

“These decisions will have consequences for each of us professionally and personally,” said Rowe. “Changing near-term plans and longstanding habits requires time, effort and patience.”

“For many of us as individuals, there will be disappointments and frustrations. For some, there may be real sacrifices, unexpected challenges or burdens that are hard to see. So I ask that you hold close our core values of belonging and respect.”

The university has been monitoring the spread of the virus since January, and the W&M Emergency Management Team issued regular updates over the past several weeks. The President’s Cabinet and EMT have been meeting throughout spring break and consulting with the Virginia Department of Health and other agencies and institutions of higher education.

Departments and offices across campus have also been working to support the prevention and response efforts. For instance, Information Technology and the Studio for Teaching & Learning Innovation have been collaborating to support the move to remote learning. A website was launched this week to provide online instruction, remote learning and technology resources and support for faculty and staff.

Facilities Management has continued its deep cleaning of high-touch areas throughout campus, and the Reves Center continues providing guidance to students and travelers on travel restrictions and other international issues related to the spread of the virus.

The university will continue to monitor the ever-evolving situation and update the campus community with additional details by the beginning of April. In the meantime, the latest information may be found on W&M’s COVID-19 website.

“William & Mary is a resilient community,” said Rowe. “I have seen this firsthand, particularly in recent weeks. We take care of each other. I am confident that will be the case in the coming days and weeks. Thanks to each of you for your creativity, understanding and commitment to this shared effort.”