Latest about COVID-19 and W&M's Path Forward.

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Faculty & Staff

To reconvene on campus with safety as a priority, the Path Forward addresses the realities of learning, living and working together during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Phasing To In-Person Work

Intellectual community, learning in the company of others – these are the core components of W&M’s mission calling remote employees back. The key verb is convene: “William & Mary convenes great minds and hearts to meet the most pressing needs of our time.”

Students have made clear that the experience of college they seek is in-person, on W&M’s beautiful campuses in Williamsburg, at VIMS and in Washington, D.C. The benefits of in-person learning for many have been thrown into stark relief by pandemic. For all of these reasons, William & Mary plans to be at full capacity for in-person teaching and learning in Fall 2021. Our public health expectations reflect that goal.

Read: W&M President Katherine A. Rowe’s Full Message to Employees on Returning In-Person

Gains To Carry Forward

Whether working in person on campus, remote or some combination of the two, W&M’s dedicated employees made this year possible for our students. Over the past year, we learned so much and want to carry those gains forward. The ways W&M employees work and interact changed – with improvements in collaboration, efficiency and flexibility that are important for staff, faculty and the university as a whole. The university adopted new tools and gained new fluencies; formed new teams across disciplines and units; expanded capabilities for remote and hybrid education, which will serve W&M well in addressing the specific needs of those who cannot return to campus, such as international students still awaiting visas.

W&M’s Phased Return: Through June 30, 2022

Over the next 14 months, in the five phases outlined below, W&M will determine the appropriate modes of work to accomplish the mission of each office and academic function. As employees return, safety and well-being will continue to be top priority.

Cabinet members will assess the optimal work modes for different functions and disciplines, to carry forward gains in efficiency and flexibility. Their goal is to identify appropriate kinds of flexibility that benefit the university and employees, while advancing W&M’s mission of teaching, learning and research in a predominantly in-person context.

The provost and deans will share academic plans as the summer unfolds, and the chief operating officer will communicate regularly with staff. As always, W&M will continue to adjust university policies to align with state and federal guidance.

Phases of Return

May 24-June 5: Phase I. Campus Slow-Down

  • Many employees will take their earned vacation during these slower weeks for the university. W&M has asked all supervisors to plan for such leave, assuming minimum staffing levels to maintain continuity of operations.
  • For those unable to use these weeks, supervisors should identify alternate weeks when employees can take much-needed vacation.
  • W&M asks all faculty and staff to avoid sending evening and weekend emails unless the matter is truly urgent. (Find tutorials on “send delay” for Outlook and Gmail.)
  • W&M asks employees to support and respect this needed slow-down – and to model it for each other. Taking vacation now will be essential for employee well-being and success throughout the coming year.

June 6-July 15: Phase II. Campus Open For Employees. Remote Learning. Phased Opening to Public

  • Campus will be open for employees as needed and as appropriate for work. Employees are welcome to use their offices.
  • Learning for the summer term will be predominantly remote. This allows employees who were directly involved in W&M’s public health response to return to pre-pandemic work responsibilities. It also creates the time needed for cleaning and facility renovations deferred for two years.
  • W&M asks supervisors to ensure that employees schedule time each week, without meetings or interruptions, for administrative tasks and catch-up.
  • W&M will begin reopening campus to the public in a phased way June 1 and will provide routine updates on the Path Forward website.

July 16-September 1: Phase III. Begin to Return to In-Person Work

  • Functional units that have been working fully or predominantly in a remote format will begin to return in person.
  • July 16: Employee Convocation celebrating staff and faculty, on campus in Williamsburg.
  • Employees who have been working remotely generally should expect to shift their primary work location back to campus by September 1, 2021.

Fall Semester 2021: Phase IV. Predominantly In-Person. Decisions on Functional Work Modes

  • W&M expects faculty to be on campus during the academic year and most courses will be offered in person or in a hybrid format.
  • W&M programs that are exclusively remote will remain so. W&M will continue to provide online opportunities for our international students and others as we expand online reach.
  • Cabinet members will oversee this period of flexible transition.
  • The need for exceptions to these standards and expectations will continue to be recognized over the next 14-month transition period until June 30, 2022.

Spring Semester 2022: Phase V. In-Person. Adaptations Determined by Cabinet

  • Recognizing that W&M’s understanding of how different modes of work best meet the institutional mission, the university has asked Cabinet members to develop and communicate their longer-term understanding to the president and their units or schools by January 15, 2022.
Course Delivery

In Fall 2021, course delivery will return primarily to in-person instruction. Details of course delivery, including meeting times and remote aspects, are designated in Banner's Open Course List and outlined in course syllabi.

COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

Full vaccination is in the best interests of the health of the W&M community. William & Mary is requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all students, faculty and staff, unless an express medical or religious exemption applies. 

  • All students, faculty and staff were required to record the first vaccination dose in the Kallaco portal on or before Tuesday, August 10.
  • The second or final dose is due on or before Friday, September 17.
  • William & Mary will observe appropriate disability and religious exemptions and deferrals. Visit Exemptions and Deferrals for instructions.
  • We recognize that international students may not have access to vaccines in their home countries. W&M will help international students receive vaccination appointments upon arrival. International students should contact International Students, Scholars & Programs or email the [[covidresponse, COVID-19 Response Team]].
  • Routine testing of those who are in the process of vaccination or exempted will continue as a condition of their participation in in-person activities.
  • Accepted vaccines include those approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization under emergency approval programs.
COVID-19 Testing

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.

Exemptions: Consistent with the CDC’s guidelines for fully vaccinated people, William & Mary is exempting fully vaccinated faculty, staff and students from participation in prevalence and census testing and quarantine if identified as a close contact and asymptomatic. Visit the W&M COVID-19 vaccination page for more information.

The university has developed a robust COVID-19 testing protocol in partnership that includes pre-arrival testing; prevalence and census testing of students and wastewater testing. Additionally, the W&M Mobile app allows users to check for COVID-19 symptoms daily.

Employees who experience COVID-19 symptoms should make an appointment with their health care provider for a clinical assessment. Employees who test positive or have been identified as a close contact are required to complete the form at Report COVID. They must remain off campus until cleared to return by their assigned case manager, who may ask for documentation from a physician or health care provider.

Learn more about COVID-19 Testing at W&M

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. Students and faculty members are responsible for cleaning class desks and lecture spaces 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.

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
  • Following W&M's current mask requirements
  • Maintaining proper hygiene
  • Self-monitoring of symptoms
  • Reporting if experiencing symptoms or directed to quarantine
  • 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
Travel

Recognizing the improving public health data and increasing vaccination rates within our community, William & Mary will return to its pre-pandemic travel policy for official university travel with key caveats effective June 21, 2021.

Consistent with CDC guidelines, employees traveling overnight on official business who are not yet fully vaccinated must meet some requirements:   

  • Test negative for coronavirus 1-3 days prior to travel, 
  • Maintain appropriate public health protocols, including masking, distancing and handwashing, 
  • Test 3-5 days after travel, and 
  • Self-quarantine for at least 7 days before returning to work in-person. 

Employees who are not yet fully vaccinated, traveling internationally, will also be required to follow the same protocols plus those traveling internationally via air will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result no more than three days prior to arriving back in the U.S, along with following all national travel requirements of the foreign country or countries visited. 

For university-authorized travel, William & Mary will provide for testing at the university’s expense. Employees can refer to the Travel Office site to request the required testing kits and are advised to submit testing requests at least five days ahead of scheduled travel. Employees will be responsible for adhering to this return-to-work policy. 

Fully vaccinated employees are permitted to return to work immediately after travel.

Events & Campus Gatherings

The intentional work of creating community and cultivating deep human connections is front of mind for William & Mary. Campus events are a traditional building block of community, albeit adapted in light of ongoing health needs in the community. For the Fall 2021 semester, William & Mary anticipates resuming campus gatherings and traditions in person and inviting visitors and outside speakers. The events may require additional health measures, such as wearing masks or being held in a new venue.

  • Visitors and invited speakers or performers are welcome. 
  • If you are organizing a visit as a unit, department or organization, please ask the visitor(s) to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 in the days leading up to the visit and decline in-person events if they experience symptoms.
  • Masks are required throughout September in indoor shared spaces on all William & Mary properties. Masks are required outdoors unless eating, drinking or able to maintain at least six feet of physical distance from others.
  • Invited speakers and other guests must wear a mask if speaking indoors.
  • Please consider carefully whether you can hold an event outdoors and if food and drink is critical to the event. Being outdoors is safer than holding an event indoors; not offering food or drinks is safer than offering them. If you offer food, favor single-service and takeaway or portable options that allow people time and space to move outdoors.
  • We recommend planning a back-up method of delivery in case plans are unexpectedly affected by COVID-19 conditions.
  • Event organizers should consider mitigation strategies:
    • Hold events outdoors if possible, especially if food or drinks are planned.
    • For indoor events with food or drink, limit the length of time the food or drink are available, select venues that promote physical distancing and provide food options that are individually wrapped or served.
  • Event attendees should also consider some precautions:
    • Forego attending events if you’re feeling sick.
    • Maintain proper use of masks, replacing your mask promptly after eating and drinking.
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