The health and safety of our community remain top priorities at William & Mary. The university has developed guidelines and resources to facilitate a safe return to campus.
Basic Safety Precautions
William & Mary is encouraging community members to follow physical distancing and health safety guidelines recommended by the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on campus:
The COVID-19 Response Team has provided guidance regarding the required use of face coverings on campus. Compliance with these requirements is mandatory.
If you are a student:
If you are faculty, staff, contract worker, vendor or other:
William & Mary provides wellness kits to students and employees as they return to campus. These kits include two reusable cloth masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes. William & Mary also provides face shields and sneeze guards as necessary.
Tracking, Testing, Tracing
In partnership with peers in the commonwealth, William & Mary is developing 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, help William & Mary identify and control outbreaks.
William & Mary developed a multi-faceted COVID-19 testing protocol in Fall 2020 in partnership with the VCU Health System that includes pre-arrival, census, prevalence, wastewater and exit testings. Spring testing protocols are being developed in consultation with the Public Health Advisory Team.
The Healthy Together module within the William & Mary Mobile App allows students, faculty and staff to check whether they have developed symptoms of COVID-19 and to evaluate whether their daily behaviors reflect their commitment to the community’s health. The module also features real-time information about current occupancy of campus spaces, including dining halls and Swem Library; a connection to check COVID-19 test results; the ability to implement individual evacuation plans; a link to COVIDWISE, Virginia’s anonymous COVID-19 exposure notification app and additional health and safety information.
William & Mary has a team of Virginia Department of Health contact tracers dedicated to the university. W&M is part of an active effort to partner with the Commonwealth on a testing network anchored in our three Virginia university medical centers: Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Virginia and Virginia Tech. Our testing and other public health protocols are based on ongoing epidemiological modeling with those centers. Specifically, William & Mary has partnered with the VCU Health System for expanded physical and mental health services, including COVID-19 testing for students and employees.
Enhanced Cleaning & Disinfection
William & Mary is implementing enhanced cleaning and disinfection to reduce the likelihood of widespread infection:
Wellness in the Classroom
William & Mary has configured classrooms, seminar rooms and lecture halls, as well as some traditionally non-instructional or outdoor areas, to place at least 6 feet between each student and from the instructor. Face coverings are required in all public or communal spaces, including classrooms. In cases where physical distancing cannot be maintained (e.g., some lab activities), face shields or plexiglass barriers may be required as added protection for both students and faculty.
All of these efforts are supported by an increased cleaning protocol focused on individual responsibility for personal space and more extensive and frequent cleaning of public spaces by the university.
William & Mary is exploring a number of 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.
COVID-19 Case Management
William & Mary has established a network of case managers to help members of the community navigate living, study and work following a positive COVID-19 test result or notification that you're a close contact, while protecting the individual’s privacy.
The first step is to complete the positive case form at ReportCOVID.wm.edu.
The form asks basic questions about whether you are a student, faculty or staff member or contractor as well as whether you are currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. It also asks the dates of your COVID-19 test and when you received results; or when you were informed you are a close contact of an infected individual. In addition, the form asks for basic information about any areas of campus you frequent, in order to rapidly deploy cleaning and disinfecting crews.
Shortly after you complete the Report COVID-19 form, a case manager will contact you. For students, case managers serve as the main point of contact throughout the isolation period, helping with the transition to isolation or quarantine housing as needed, and arranging for cleaning and disinfecting of campus spaces, among other assistance.
For employees, case managers help transition to remote work or leave, coordinate notification to departments and arrange cleaning and disinfecting, among other help.
The COVID-19 management form generates a case number (unrelated to student/employee 930 numbers) that will be used as an identifier internally to protect the privacy of the COVID-19-positive community member. William & Mary will not identify the names of people who have contracted COVID-19 publicly or to the greater campus community.
Quarantine and Isolation
For more information about quarantine and isolation housing at William & Mary, please visit the Case Management & Housing page.
William & Mary has developed plans to appropriately respond to COVID-19 infections within the community and to prevent widespread infection, including increasing the university's capacity to provide healthcare on campus.
Before arriving on campus, domestic students are expected to self-quarantine for eight days and are required to be tested for COVID-19. Students arriving from international locations may have additional CDC requirements. Traveling to Williamsburg does not require a student to “reset” the quarantine clock upon arrival, as long as they quarantined for the appropriate time and practiced transmission prevention during travel.
Symptomatic students are tested and treated through the Student Health Center; visit the resource page if you feel ill and suspect COVID-19. For residential students who test positive for COVID-19, separate housing for quarantine and isolation is available. William & Mary has provided course flexibility that will allow students to continue classwork remotely, as feasible and appropriate. Active cases within the student population will be monitored through the Student Health Center under guidance from the medical director.
Employees who test positive for COVID-19 are expected to isolate at home until they are symptom-free and are cleared by a physician to return. W&M’s Office of Human Resources can advise employees about leave options, including public health leave, sick leave or annual leave.
For Those Unable to Return
William & Mary is committed to flexibility in accommodating students who are either unable to return to campus or have compelling reasons not to be on campus for the spring.
Newly admitted undergraduates, both first-year and transfer, are advised to contact Undergraduate Admission. Returning undergraduate students seeking a leave of absence should contact the Dean of Students Office. International students — especially those in countries affected by travel limitations — should explore immigration and possible local in-country study options through the Reves Center for International Studies. Graduate and professional students are encouraged to work directly with their schools or programs.
William & Mary understands that some faculty and staff members are more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. Employees who belong to a more vulnerable group and have concerns about returning to work should first talk with their supervisors. Return-to-work plans were approved during summer 2020 and will automatically extend through spring 2021 unless amended by a Cabinet member.
One of William & Mary’s greatest strengths is our sense of community. As we face the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic and plan ahead to mitigate risks, a commitment to community-wide actions is absolutely essential. Our ability to advance our mission during this pandemic will require each member of the community, without exception — faculty, staff and students — to comply with all COVID-19 related health and safety rules as articulated by university leadership generally and the COVID-19 Response Team in particular.
By signing onto this Healthy Together Community Commitment, you affirm that you understand what is required in order to be physically present in our community this year and that you will fully comply. You also acknowledge that an inability or failure to comply with our Healthy Together Community Commitment may impact your ability to remain on campus and/or participate as a member of the William & Mary community. Accordingly, there will be consequences for non-compliance, for both employees and students.
Having affirmed Flourishing as a core institutional value, “we create conditions that ensure William & Mary will thrive for all time coming, and we empower those who live, learn, and work here to make choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.” This value takes on even more meaning as we consider what it means for W&M and its people to flourish in the midst of a pandemic. We must each commit to doing our part to mitigate risk, in order to actively demonstrate our care for the physical and emotional well-being of others and to complete a successful year — together.
William & Mary is also collaborating with Virginia's health and education departments, and aligning plans with the governor's and City of Williamsburg's phased reopening plans. Increasingly detailed health and safety measures for students, faculty and staff, and alumni and friends have been published.
The Healthy Together Community Commitment
As a member of the W&M community I affirm that I will comply with all stated expectations for living, learning, gathering and working on campus and in the Williamsburg community.
Students have an opportunity to review and affirm the Healthy Together Community Commitment through the Personal Information Questionnaire. Employees received a copy of the Healthy Together Community Commitment along with their PPE kits, and they have been asked to affirm the commitment as part of the required online COVID-19 training made available by Human Resources via Cornerstone.
The wellness and safety of our community are part of the governing themes guiding the university's return to campus. These themes also include flexibility, equity, collaboration, innovation and service.