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Faculty & Staff

Learning & Curriculum

William & Mary is adapting class delivery and curriculum choices to protect the health of our community and minimize travel. Built-in flexibility reflects W&M’s equity imperative — we provide options for community members with different health situations and changing family and financial circumstances. Our goals are to focus on what matters most in the Path Forward: excellence, mitigating stress and strengthening our community.

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Academic Calendar

In response to student and faculty challenges during the fall's compressed semester, William & Mary is not shortening Spring 2021 and has incorporated a modified spring break.

  • Undergraduate, graduate Arts & Sciences, and Marine Science classes begin January 27 and end May 7.
  • Start and end dates for the Raymond A. Mason School of Business, the School of Education and the Law School vary by program and can be found on the University Registrar's website.

W&M continues to place first priority on the health of the community, including mental health. In order to provide restorative breaks while reducing travel, W&M offers individual spring break days in 2021, rather than a consecutive, five-day break. On these spring break days, classes will not meet and no due dates for assignments or exams will be scheduled.

For undergraduates, there will be six spring break days:

  • Friday, February 12
  • Thursday, March 4
  • Wednesday, March 17
  • Tuesday, April 6
  • Wednesday, April 7
  • Monday, April 26

Graduate schools are in direct contact with students regarding spring break days and other academic calendar considerations.

William & Mary shifted scheduling for academic year 2020-2021, in response to the pandemic. The fall semester was accelerated to de-densify campus before the onset of cold weather and flu season. Spring was not condensed, but spring break days were adopted rather than a contiguous break. An enhanced summer session is designed to ensure student progress continues unimpeded. The university’s goal is to prioritize safety while offering as much in-person instruction as possible.

Summer Session

An enhanced summer experience will be offered for undergraduate students. Summer 2021 will include courses that complement and expand our current programs and offerings, unique programs that can be completed during the summer, such as the new Jump Start Data Science Program and Mason's Summer Business Institute, and broader co-curricular activities.

Learning Spaces

To protect the health of the William & Mary community, classrooms and learning spaces have been modified at W&M. Students, faculty and staff are required to wear face coverings indoors and are provided masks in a kit provided by William & Mary. Students are responsible for cleaning class desk space before and after use with disinfectant wipes provided, while professors are responsible for teaching space.

Many classes have moved to provide sufficient physical distancing. The deans’ offices work with faculty to decide classroom accommodations, after William & Mary inventoried large spaces available for instruction. Classes with fewer people are held in larger spaces to maintain at least six feet between participants, while those with large numbers of students are held remotely or in smaller groups. Hand sanitation stations have been placed across campus and new signage displayed. Classrooms and public spaces have been cleaned on an accelerated schedule, consistent with CDC and VDH guidelines.

William & Mary is using non-traditional space for classes, including outdoor canopies, available conference rooms and the like. The university has designated traffic patterns for spaces, including entrances and exits, and is using real-time technology to track density in high-traffic areas of campus.

Course Delivery

Courses are delivered in a format that maximizes meaningful interaction between faculty and students and reflects William & Mary’s high quality of teaching and learning. Almost all courses are “blended” to some degree, with students learning in real time and instruction delivered both directly and via technology throughout the semester. Faculty are advised to prepare classes in a way that makes it possible to switch to fully remote learning on short notice if public health conditions require it. Instructional design support is available for technology-enhanced instruction; contact the Studio for Teaching & Learning Innovation for details.

Led by the deans, each school chooses in-person and blended strategies, including but not limited to these options:

  • Blended course design provides flexibility for faculty and students with both face-to-face and online learning experiences. Designing a course in this modality makes shifting to remote teaching more seamless for faculty and students, if necessary.
  • Modular design allows faculty to prepare syllabus blocks of varying length for in-person and remote delivery. Under this model, only one block would be delivered at a time, but the class would have the option to switch modes if conditions rapidly require it.
  • Split attendance allows only one cohort of a course’s students to attend in-person, with the remaining students participating online. Cohorts rotate throughout the semester, allowing all students the opportunity to have in-person instruction.
  • Date and time adjustments, allowing all cohorts of a class to meet in-person each time.
  • Partner teaching has faculty members supporting each other in courses with traditionally larger enrollments. In addition to mixing in-person and remote delivery as appropriate, partner teaching provides further flexibility to faculty members’ changing personal or health circumstances.
Wellness in the Classroom

Classrooms have been reconfigured to allow for at least 6 feet of physical distance between participants. Masks are required and disinfectant wipes are available for students and faculty members. Students, faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for 10 days, while those determined to be close contacts of a positive individual quarantine for 14 days. Positive community members, after 10 days of isolation, must be asymptomatic and cleared by a physician before they return to work or class. Following CDC guidance, W&M does not require a negative COVID-19 test to return.

William & Mary is also exploring ways to mitigate the stresses of teaching and learning during a global pandemic. These initiatives include limits on course overloads with a process for approving exceptions, curriculum changes, empowering units to partner with students to develop guidelines for reducing stress, developing new ways to strengthen community through academic programs and promoting increased accountability for one another’s health.

Living & Working

While W&M continues to emphasize remote work to the maximum extent possible, the university has increased essential, in-person work. Consistent with CDC and VDH guidelines for workplaces, William & Mary has systematically rearranged the physical environment to provide physical distance, installed plexiglass barriers and signage, required appropriate personal protective equipment of employees — and provided ample opportunities for manager training and employee feedback.

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COVID-19 Testing for Students and Employees

William & Mary has developed solutions for symptom-tracking, testing and contact-tracing for COVID-19 among members of our community. These efforts, including symptomatic and prevalence testing, along with case management, are helping William & Mary identify and control outbreaks.

William & Mary has developed a COVID-19 testing protocol in partnership with the VCU Health System that includes pre-arrival testing; prevalence and census testing of students; wastewater testing; voluntary, at-will testing for faculty and staff; and exit testing at the end of the semester. Visit COVID-19 Testing for more information. Additionally, the W&M Mobile app allows users to check for COVID-19 symptoms daily.

Facilities & Work Spaces

To promote health and help prevent the spread of infection, employees are responsible for maintaining their personal offices and work spaces. William & Mary provides cleaning materials. Masks are required in all public or communal spaces, including classrooms. Students and faculty members are responsible for cleaning class desk and lecture space before and after use.

Faculty and staff members need to take their personal trash to a public space for disposal, which prevents custodial staff from needing to enter individual offices and facilitates more frequent cleaning of public, high-touch areas. Faculty and staff members are advised to partner with Facilities Management for physical adjustments to public-facing areas and areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

William & Mary has designed signs for use around campus to promote safe practices. Please contact Kristen Fagan, risk manager for university operations, to arrange for consistent signage.

The need for physical distancing in classrooms requires that instruction expand into spaces ordinarily available for student or administrative use. William & Mary has worked on a system of centralized scheduling of spaces to support instruction.

Individual Responsibilities

As members of the university community, each faculty and staff member is expected to adhere to William & Mary’s safety guidelines and protocols:

  • Mandatory participation in COVID-19 training
  • Participation in W&M's prevalence testing program
  • Maintaining proper hygiene
  • Self-monitoring of symptoms
  • Reporting if experiencing symptoms or directed to quarantine
  • Wearing a mask in classrooms, in public and other designated spaces
  • Maintaining appropriate distance from students and colleagues
  • Cleaning personal work spaces routinely to reduce transmission and to allow housekeeping staff to focus on more intensive cleaning of public spaces
  • Complying with additional guidelines as stipulated by the university, state or federal government

The university is providing each employee with a wellness kit that includes face masks, hand sanitizer and wipes, plus additional cleaning supplies for individual work spaces.

Remote work agreements for staff that were used in the fall will automatically extend beyond December 31, 2020, for the spring semester, unless modified by a member of Cabinet.

Travel

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread widely throughout the United States and in countries around the world. William & Mary’s overarching guidance remains to work from home wherever that is possible, and to obey strict university guidelines in the conduct of any other assigned duty. Strict limitations on university travel, both domestic and international, continue to be warranted. In order to protect the health of the university and greater Williamsburg community, non-essential William & Mary travel has been suspended until conditions change.

W&M leadership recognizes that in a limited number of cases, university travel may be essential. Accordingly, the following details the exceptions for faculty and staff that will be considered and the processes for review of requests for such exceptions. In all cases, overnight travelers will be required to self-quarantine for at least 5 days and/or to obtain two negative tests for COVID-19 upon return to Williamsburg as a condition of approval for travel and for re-entering the W&M campus prior to or during spring 2021.

There will be no approval for faculty or staff attending professional meetings in person; the guidance below only relates to faculty or staff performing research or essential university work that requires in-person presence.

Faculty and Graduate Student Travel

  • Domestic Grant- and Contract-funded Travel: Some travel may be required for the timely completion of deliverables set out in formal W&M grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts. Requests to authorize domestic travel related to ongoing grants and contracts will be considered by the Office of Sponsored Programs (Williamsburg/Gloucester campuses) in collaboration with members of the Emergency Management Team, wherever that is necessary, and approved on a case-by-case basis. Requests to authorize international travel related to ongoing grants and contracts will be considered by both the Office of Sponsored Programs and the International Travel Review Committee (ITRC).
  • Other Domestic Academic Travel: Some travel may be vital to the research and teaching of faculty members and graduate students working on domestic themes. Wherever possible, faculty and graduate students should explore alternative ways to carry out domestic research and teaching projects using distance technology or locally-available sources and data. In exceptional cases, requests to authorize domestic travel by faculty and graduate students should be submitted to the dean for review. In Arts & Sciences, such requests should be made to the Travel Review Committee, which will review them according to clear criteria from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as factors such as the academic necessity of travel at this time, the public health environment in the destination, and the preparation of the traveler for limiting the health and safety risks of such travel. All decisions by the TRC will be made in conjunction with relevant faculty experts.
  • International Academic Travel: Some travel abroad may be vital to the research and teaching of faculty members and graduate students working on global themes. Wherever possible, faculty and graduate students should explore alternative ways to carry out global research and teaching projects using distance technology or locally-available sources and data. In exceptional cases, requests to authorize international travel by Arts & Sciences faculty and graduate students should be submitted to the Travel Review Committee, which will review them according to clear criteria from the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of State, as well as factors such as the academic necessity of travel at this time, the public health environment in the destination country or countries, and the preparation of the traveler for limiting the health and safety risks of such travel. As is always the case under the university’s international travel policy, TRC decisions about international travel will be made in conjunction with relevant faculty experts. For international travel by faculty and graduate students outside of A&S, requests should be submitted to the ITRC.

Staff Travel

Recognizing the need to travel in delivering essential academic, research and business services – and that such travel can be done safely – authorization for W&M staff travel may be requested through the relevant dean for faculty and staff working in one of the five schools, and for all others through the appropriate Cabinet members, under the following conditions:

  • The travel is determined to be essential and cannot be completed effectively through Zoom or some other remote method.
  • Proposed international staff travel will be vetted by the International Travel Review Committee (ITRC).
  • Domestic staff travel is only for day trips, unless necessary for the completion of grants, contracts or cooperative agreements, in which case requests for staff travel will be considered by the Office of Sponsored Programs (Williamsburg/Gloucester campuses). Exceptions for overnight staff travel require explicit approval of the relevant Cabinet member.
  • Local day trips are by personal or W&M vehicle only. No airline, train, bus, taxi, shuttle or rideshare travel is permitted.
  • Meals and interactions with others should be limited on day trips to light meals and refreshments (coffee, etc.), preferably outdoors, and while upholding public health behaviors appropriate to the setting.
  • The traveler will work remotely for a period of five days after the travel to mitigate the potential for virus spread. The five-day period will provide the employee time to assess whether they are experiencing any COVID-related symptoms prior to returning to campus.

Staff travelers must submit a pre-approval request through Chrome River for all travel, including day trips and meals. Pre-approval will be routed to the appropriate dean or other Cabinet member. Delegates may not approve on behalf of the Cabinet member.

Undergraduate Student Academic Travel

  • Undergraduate Student Academic Travel within U.S.: Domestic undergraduate student travel continues to be suspended during spring semester. Exceptions for student-athletes must be approved by the athletics director.
  • Study Abroad Travel: In line with the W&M International Travel Policy, given the current CDC and Department of State Travel Alerts, all spring 2021 study abroad or other essential undergraduate international travel requires approval by the Travel Review Committee. As in fall 2020, limited exceptions will be considered by the 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.
Events

Campus gatherings, including university, school, department or student events and meetings, are subject to public health guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Virginia Department of Health and the governor. William & Mary's requirements limit gatherings to 10 or fewer people. External events and those with visitors should be converted to virtual gatherings. Exceptions include a small set of university traditions, approved by the President’s Executive Leadership Team. Campus buildings remain closed to the public.

Gatherings
Campus gatherings, including university, school, department and student events and meetings are subject to safety guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Virginia Department of Health and the governor of Virginia. In the spring, W&M continues to adapt in-person and virtual gatherings in order to convene safely and provide flexibility that promotes participation. Virtual gatherings, a blended model and multiple sessions expand options for gathering safely. Additionally, public access and programming is limited and seating assigned or ticketed.

Traditions
We love our William & Mary traditions. We will continue to take a "joyful and different" approach to them, no matter what COVID-19 conditions require. Students at William & Mary in the spring will co-create new approaches to our traditions, adaptations which may carry forward for "all time coming."

Yule Log
Virtual Yule Log will be held Saturday, December 12, and will encompass many of its classic holiday traditions, along with a few new traditions that can be done from home.

Winter Graduation
A virtual winter graduate recognition event will take place on January 22, 2021, after all winter graduates have had their degrees conferred. The program will include brief remarks from the president of the senior class, the president of the Graduate Council, W&M President Katherine A. Rowe and W&M Alumni Association CEO Marilyn W. Midyette ’75.

Charter Day
The university will celebrate Charter Day on the evening of February 11, 2021, with a virtual ceremony. This year will mark the 328th anniversary of the granting of William & Mary's charter by the British Crown. The virtual ceremony will include many of the ceremony’s traditional elements: the conferral of honorary degrees, a student reflection on the charter and an a cappella “Happy Birthday” mash-up. The university is also planning a day of festivities on campus for February 12.

Commencement
William & Mary plans to host two grand celebrations in May 2021 for the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021, with all the joy and the cherished traditions that make W&M Commencements special. Public health conditions permitting, the Class of 2020 will celebrate May 14-16, 2021, with the main ceremony on Saturday, May 15. The Class of 2021 will be the following weekend, May 21-23, with the main ceremony on Saturday, May 22. More details are available on the Commencement website.

Invited Speakers
To minimize travel and further limit the spread of COVID-19, speakers invited to William & Mary in the spring will appear in a virtual format. This policy extends to speakers invited university-wide as well as those invited by a school, department, specific course or student group.

Co-curricular Activities
W&M is committed to supporting student activities and co-curricular life as best we can under pandemic conditions. Student Affairs staff, together with student leaders, are developing safe gatherings and meetings. There are health and safety modifications to co-curricular life, just as to life in residence halls and in classroom and laboratory experiences.

Athletics
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. At this time, W&M Athletics competitions will not be open to the public.

The health and well-being of W&M student-athletes, coaches and staff, as well as the full campus community that supports them, remains top priority. W&M Athletics is part of the overall educational mission of the university, and providing an environment that ensures the greatest opportunity for academic instruction to occur for all students is paramount. Find the latest information on the W&M Athletics website.

Employee Support & Wellness

Residential universities uniquely intertwine service work and knowledge work. To the extent that W&M can adapt to sustain this unique model, we can also sustain our economy and workforce through the shocks of a pandemic. As much as possible, W&M has an obligation to ensure the prosperity of our employees and region. W&M Human Resources offers multiple resources to support employees, both on and off campus. Wellness resources may also be found on the Health & Wellness website.

Questions?

We encourage you to review our most frequently asked questions or Submit a Question or Comment.