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Latest about COVID-19 and the Path Forward for fall.

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Frequently Asked Questions

William & Mary is taking a phased approach to decision-making, and will continue to update the community as more information and details become available. For the latest information, review the Health & SafetyStudents & Families, Faculty & Staff and Alumni & Friends pages.

Your Top Questions:
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I'm a student on campus. I don't feel well and suspect COVID-19. What do I do?

During normal business hours, please contact the Student Health Center online or by phone at (757) 221-4386 for guidance. After-hours, please review our resources for healthcare options outside of normal business hours.

I have additional questions. Who should I contact?

W&M's call center at (757) 221-7420 answers questions or reports concerns related to the fall semester. Staffed by W&M employees, the call center is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. After-hours, W&M students, faculty and staff email questions to [[COVIDResponse]] or report unsafe behavior at COVIDConcerns.wm.edu.

Why did W&M make a late change in plans to return to campus? 

The decision to further de-densify campus was made to help safeguard the health of students, employees and our broader community. In late July, case numbers of COVID-19 in Virginia were at levels observed during the state’s peak in April and May. As a region, Eastern Virginia case numbers hit peak levels in late July. 

On July 28, Gov. Ralph Northam announced new restrictions on private and public gatherings in Hampton Roads, which includes Williamsburg, to slow the spread of COVID-19. In light of this evolving public health context, we adjusted our phased return. We recognize sudden change and uncertainty is challenging, but flexibility is vital to protecting the health of our community.

What factors were used to determine which students can return in-person first?

Freshmen, international, graduate and transfer students living in university housing were asked to return on schedule. We anticipate bringing sophomores, juniors and seniors back to campus during and after Labor Day weekend. 

The goal for phasing in some students first is to allow them to establish connections and develop social norms. It will also slow the mixing of populations across campus so the university can continue to monitor public health data and trends. The start of in-person instruction for undergraduates was delayed until after Labor Day. Courses will begin remotely for all undergraduates on August 19. 

As our upperclass students can attest, we support the successful transition of new students to W&M by providing them with a firm foundation of information and relationships – this includes a thoughtfully planned and executed orientation to the W&M environment, to the university’s resources and to their classmates. By bringing freshman (and transfer students) back first, William & Mary can provide that crucial orientation experience. Additionally, freshmen are most likely to focus their activities on campus because they cannot bring cars to W&M and they have yet to establish relationships with people living in the Williamsburg community. Finally, in a summer survey of students, our incoming freshmen reported the greatest willingness to comply with the public health expectations outlined by the university (wearing of face masks, maintaining social distance, frequent hand washing, limiting residence hall access to only residents of that building, etc.) Our ability to successfully complete an in-person, on-campus Fall semester depends on our continuing to understand and apply epidemiological data, to make phased decisions accordingly, and to act in a phased way.  The fall move-in schedule will help us ensure success for all students coming to campus this semester.

When do fall classes actually start?

For undergraduates, classes began Wednesday, August 19. The delivery of nearly all undergraduate classes will be remote until September 8. Some COLL courses may begin and proceed in person. Once all other undergraduate instruction can begin on campus, those undergraduate sections with FS, MIX and RSOC delivery categories will continue in person; those with RA and RSOF delivery categories will continue remotely.

For graduate students, classes will began on the dates communicated by the program or school. Some graduate programs will have in-person instruction before Labor Day; please refer to communication from your program or school for specific details.

Can a student still create a fully remote schedule and cancel their housing contract?

Yes, students can still choose fully remote courses for the fall semester. The deadline for canceling the housing contract is September 3.

When will William & Mary employees return to campus? 

For employees, William & Mary’s campus will be officially open on August 5. Most W&M employees working remotely will continue to do so through December 31. As students return to campus, W&M will need some employees to return for core functions. Such core functions may require direct contact with students and employees.

Are there COVID-19 testing requirements before returning to campus?

William & Mary has developed a testing protocol in partnership with the VCU Health System that requires students to test for COVID-19 before arriving on campus, and provides employees optional testing services partially subsidized by the university. All students are required to test for COVID-19 before the fall semester. Students received a self-administered, mail-in test kit prior to coming to campus. Test kits will arrive in time for students to self-administer the test, mail it back along with the required consent form and get test results before they are due to arrive on campus. International Students received specific testing instructions by early August.

W&M has also developed a daily health monitoring module within the W&M Mobile app. Symptomatic students may be tested and treated through the Student Health Center. At-will COVID-19 testing will be offered to students and employees as they leave at semester's end.

What can William & Mary tell me about concerns raised about tests issued through Kallaco, the vendor issuing at-home tests?

Our testing partner, Kallaco Health & Technology, assures us that their labs are CLIA approved and have the authority to run this test under current FDA EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) guidelines. We remain in constant contact with the company CEO and Kallaco is committed to providing concrete answers to any concern raised.

A resource page has been prepared if you have additional questions.

How does the change to move-in schedules affect COVID-19 testing?

Self-quarantine and testing schedules for those planning for August on-campus move-in dates (freshmen, international, graduate and transfer students) were not affected. Self-quarantine and testing schedules for other students will be updated to reflect new return dates.

What should students do with their test kits if their return is delayed?

Your kit may sit after being received, but needs to be returned 5 days prior to returning to campus.

How is W&M planning to deal with COVID-19 cases among students?
William & Mary has set aside Richmond Hall as a residence hall for student quarantine and isolation. Active cases will be monitored through the Student Health Center under guidance of its medical director.
What health and safety precautions are you implementing? 

William & Mary is systematically adapting the physical campus, operations and curriculum. Every community member is responsible to one another, committing fully to honor these safeguards out of respect for our close community of learning and work. Please visit Health & Safety for more information.

Is W&M going to reduce tuition in 2020-2021, because this year is so different?

The W&M Board of Visitors unanimously voted May 12, 2020, to roll back a previously adopted tuition increase for incoming in-state undergraduates and keep tuition and mandatory fees flat for all students, including in-state and out-of-state undergraduates, graduate and professional students. This is the second year in a row that W&M has had a 0% tuition increase for entering in-state undergraduates.

W&M takes very seriously the financial challenges many are experiencing under pandemic. For academic year 2020-2021, we have increased student financial aid by $3 million. We will be distributing available CARES Act funding to eligible students. We have also instituted flexible policies for students for whom it is best to defer enrollment to January or next year.

At the same time, W&M has invested in transformation of the campus, including testing, masks and protective equipment, remote learning and more – in order to provide flexibility for families, and to meet student learning needs, as we operate under pandemic conditions.

We are committed to excellence, even under these difficult circumstances. We are transparent about the fact that the experience of Fall 2020 at W&M will be profoundly different from other semesters due to the conditions of COVID-19.

Should faculty and staff prepare for any changes to work spaces?

To allow our staff to focus on public spaces, employees will be responsible for maintaining their personal offices and work spaces. William & Mary will provide cleaning materials for employees to wipe down desks, keyboards, etc. Employees will take their personal trash to a public space for disposal. This approach will protect our custodial staff, who will not need to enter individual offices, while allowing more frequent cleaning of public, high-touch areas. Employees should work with Facilities Management for physical adjustments to public-facing areas or areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained. An inventory of classroom and other instructional space was conducted to determine room capacity while maintaining appropriate physical distancing. More frequent cleaning of classrooms will also be required.

Signage is also an important aspect of our COVID-19 response. Signage outlining health protocols has been installed throughout campus. To support consistency, additional signage needs should be directed to [[kdfaga,Kristen Fagan]].

Will the university provide members of the community with additional supplies such as masks?

William & Mary will provide wellness kits to students and employees as they return to campus. These kits will include reusable cloth masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes. William & Mary will also provide face shields, sneeze guards and plexiglass barriers as necessary.