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.
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 planned to be at full capacity for in-person teaching and learning beginning 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 these two years possible for our students. Over that time, 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
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
June 6-July 15: Phase II. Campus Open For Employees. Remote Learning. Phased Opening to Public
July 16-September 1: Phase III. Begin to Return to In-Person Work
Fall Semester 2021: Phase IV. Predominantly In-Person. Decisions on Functional Work Modes
Spring Semester 2022: Phase V. In-Person. Adaptations Determined by Cabinet
In the 2021-2022 school year, course delivery returns 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.
Full vaccination is in the best interests of the health of the W&M community. William & Mary encourages all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated and receive appropriate boosters.
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 and boosted people, William & Mary is exempting fully vaccinated and boosted faculty, staff and students from quarantine if identified as a close contact and asymptomatic.
The university has developed a robust COVID-19 testing protocol that includes pre-arrival testing; prevalence and census testing of students and wastewater testing as appropriate.
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 ReportCovid.wm.edu. COVID-19-positive faculty and staff members must remain off campus for five days and be asymptomatic before they return.
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.
As members of the university community, each faculty and staff member is expected to adhere to William & Mary’s safety guidelines and protocols:
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:
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 2021-2022 school year, William & Mary is 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.