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

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Students & Families

We are here for you.

Report Feeling Ill: If you're a student, faculty or staff member feeling sick and suspecting you've contracted COVID-19, please visit our resource page for instructions on seeking care during and after normal business hours.

Have a question? 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.

William & Mary will be different this fall. We are adapting so you can do your best work.
Learning & Curriculum

William & Mary is adapting the academic calendar, class delivery and curriculum choices to protect the health of our community, to minimize travel and to reduce campus presence in peak flu season. The university’s goal is to prioritize safety while offering as much in-person instruction as possible. Built-in flexibility also 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

William & Mary will shift to three semesters for academic year 2020-2021: an accelerated fall semester, plus spring and summer semesters. We will have no fall break. The university’s goal is to prioritize safety while offering as much in-person instruction as possible.

The fall semester for undergraduates, Graduate Arts & Sciences, VIMS and School of Education began one week early, on August 19, and will end before Thanksgiving. There will be no fall break. The last day of classes will be November 13, and final exams will take place November 16-24. Students will move out of residence halls November 25. Grades are due December 7.

Due to the compressed schedule, five extra instructional days will be added. Delivery options include Saturday, evening or online sessions. Each course syllabus noted how and when the extra sessions will be delivered.

Summer Semester

William & Mary will offer a summer semester as part of the 2020-2021 academic year so that both students and faculty may distribute their course loads in light of their individual circumstances and needs.

Summer semester 2021 will include courses not offered during fall or spring, complementing and expanding current programs and providing unique programs, such as the new Jump Start Data Science Program and the Summer Business Institute.

Each school will determine its summer courses, partnering with the provost to ensure that summer 2021 represents a comprehensive semester. More details will be announced in the spring.

In most cases, financial aid is intended to cover two semesters. For the 2020-2021 academic year, students may apply their aid to any two of the three available semesters (fall, spring and summer) as long as they maintain the enrollment level necessary to be eligible.

William & Mary intends to award financial aid for two full-time semesters of aid to qualifying undergraduates. William & Mary requires students to be enrolled full-time to receive grant aid, except in very limited underload situations approved by the Dean of Students Office, which would be prorated. Students considering the use of loans for anything less than a full-time semester should consult with their financial aid counselors.

To the extent that any student's cost of attendance changes as a result of electing a fully remote curriculum, eligibility for financial aid may be reduced accordingly.

Learning Spaces

To protect the health of the William & Mary community, classrooms and learning spaces have been modified for the fall. Students, faculty and staff are required to wear face coverings indoors and were provided masks in a kit provided by William & Mary. Students are responsible for cleaning class desk space before and after use.

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

Led by William & Mary’s deans, each school chose in-person and blended strategies to support a resilient curriculum and offer flexibility reflecting W&M’s equity imperative — we provide options for community members with different health situations and changing family and financial circumstances. Faculty were advised to prepare classes in a way that makes it possible to switch to full remote learning on short notice, in the event local or Virginia public health requires this.

Details of course delivery, including meeting times and remote aspects, were designated in Banner and outlined in course syllabi. Courses in Banner have been assigned attributes designating course delivery categories in the Open Course List. Not all courses are available online. Students may need to adjust their schedules if they wish to take all of their courses remotely. No special permission was needed to take courses online.

In order to empower faculty to create flexible, effective courses for the upcoming fall semester, the Studio for Teaching & Learning Innovation (STLI) has launched a new Blended Learning @ W&M course for faculty. Through this course, faculty explore blended teaching and learning strategies that can be adapted to the style of course delivery:

  • Blended course design provides flexibility for faculty and students as both face-to-face and online learning experiences are blended in course delivery. There are many variations of this model that include sections of varying length of synchronous and/or asynchronous remote instruction coupled with in-person experiences in the classroom. These courses ease switching to remote teaching for both 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 add class meetings to evenings and Saturdays, so that all cohorts of a class 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.
Banner Categories of Course Delivery

Faculty have assigned course delivery information to our fall classes in Banner. Visit the Registrar's Office for descriptions of high-level categories for course delivery:

  • FS: Predominantly face-to-face and predominantly synchronous
  • MIX: Blend of in-person instruction with expanded remote delivery of instructional material, content and activity
  • RA: Predominantly remote and asynchronous
  • RSOC: Predominantly remote and synchronous, on campus
  • RSOF: Predominantly remote and synchronous off-campus
Choosing Remote Instruction

By looking up course attributes in Banner, students can craft a fully remote schedule for the fall semester if that is their preference. Not all courses are available in a fully remote format, so students should seek academic guidance in advance to be sure selected courses support progress toward their degrees and majors.

W&M’s on-campus residency requirements notwithstanding, any freshman or sophomore student electing a fully-remote curriculum could be released from their campus housing contracts without penalty in order to reside at their permanent home address for the fall semester. Additionally, once the housing contract is cancelled, students could remove their meal plans by visiting https://mealplan.wm.edu and selecting "Drop a Meal Plan." Student accounts could take up to three business days to be updated. Meal plan cancellation deadline for the fall was August 27.

To the extent that any student's cost of attendance changes as a result of electing a fully remote curriculum, eligibility for financial aid may be reduced accordingly.

The following people are available for consultation and referral as needed:

  • Undergraduates: Shelly Laurenzo, Office of Academic Advising
  • Graduate School of A&S: Chasity Roberts, Assistant to the Dean
  • Graduate School of Education: Jim Barber for returning students, Dot Osborne for new students
  • Other graduate schools: Contact the school registrar
Student Accommodations

William & Mary students who need accessibility accommodations to fully participate in the fall semester, in campus housing, curricular offerings, or other areas, should contact the Office of Student Accessibility Services. Staff members in that office are experienced in supporting students who have accessibility needs, including students who are immunocompromised. We will work with students. and their faculty members as appropriate, to promote their success this fall.

Wellness in the Classroom

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.

Living & Working

To reconvene on campus with safety as a priority in the fall, the Path Forward addresses the realities of living and working together during the COVID-19 pandemic, including shifts to move-in, residence life, dining, establishing community on and off campus, reflecting our service ethic and looking past graduation. These shifts mirror our commitment to the William & Mary community and to each other’s health and well-being.

W&M has developed a Healthy Together module within the W&M Mobile app or online allowing users to check for COVID-19 symptoms daily. 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, as an additional precaution for their home communities.

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COVID-19 Testing Before Arriving

All students were required to test for COVID-19 before returning to campus for the fall semester. Students received a self-administered, mail-in test kit prior to coming to campus.

Community members who tested positive for COVID-19 isolated at home or off campus and were mailed a retest approximately 10 days following the initial positive result.

Prevalence testing (initial sampling of 5% of the student body and 2% of the employee/contractor population) is occurring weekly. Testing frequency and population percentage will evolve based on campus trends and available testing methods.

Students who experience symptoms over the course of the semester should make an appointment with the Student Health Center for a clinical assessment and testing if necessary. The Student Health Center will provide instructions on necessary next steps.

Self-Quarantine Before Arriving

All domestic students were expected to self-quarantine for eight days before arriving on-campus; students coming from international destinations must self-quarantine per CDC guidelines (currently 14 days). Quarantine could occur anywhere the student feels most comfortable, e.g. at home with family, at an apartment, at a hotel, etc. When traveling to Williamsburg, all students should practice prevention to mitigate risks of contracting COVID-19, such as wearing a face covering, maintaining physical distance and washing hands often. 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.

Campus Living

William & Mary slowed the pace of students returning to campus from August, to Labor Day Weekend, to minimize density and reduce circulation on and off campus. T

Each student living on campus is required to sign an addendum to the housing contract that includes a Residence Life Health and Well-Being Pledge. Compliance with the expectations and commitments outlined in the contract addendum and pledge once students are on campus is critical for the ongoing operation of the residence halls.

Living Spaces

W&M’s housing plan reduces residential density and establishes a number of community expectations targeting our shared responsibility of maintaining health and safety:

  • W&M considers roommates, suitemates and apartment-mates to be Flexible Family Units.
  • W&M set clear guidelines regarding sharing of bedrooms, bathrooms and other common living spaces.
  • W&M is increasing the distance from 30 miles to 60 miles for students who live locally and wish to commute from home.
  • W&M is holding Richmond Hall for quarantine or isolation housing. Active cases within the student population are monitored through the Student Health Center under guidance from the medical director.
  • W&M is increasing cleaning in high-touch locations, such as bathrooms and doors.
Residential Quarantine or Isolation

Widespread and periodic testing of symptomatic and asymptomatic students will mean that at any given point in time, a number of William & Mary community members will be awaiting test results. Isolation of asymptomatic individuals awaiting test results is not recommended by public health authorities; they should continue the universal precautions and protocols that are expected of W&M’s community, remaining in their residences. In other words, asymptomatic students will await test results wherever they live.

Symptomatic individuals awaiting test results will need to self-quarantine, rather than remain in their assigned residence halls. Those students may choose temporary housing in Richmond Hall, which has been identified as suitable for isolation (with separate, exterior room doors, individual bathrooms, etc.) Students may also opt to return to their permanent homes or families as they await results.

Richmond Hall is also identified for housing any on-campus students with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Active cases within the student population are monitored through the Student Health Center under guidance from the center's medical director. Faculty work with students isolating in Richmond Hall to ensure flexibility for completing course work. Meals are delivered to students in isolation in Richmond Hall.

Student Accommodations

William & Mary students who need accessibility accommodations to fully participate in the fall semester, in campus housing, curricular offerings, or other areas, should contact the Office of Student Accessibility Services. Staff members in that office are experienced in supporting students who have accessibility needs, including students who are immunocompromised. We will work with students. and their faculty members as appropriate, to promote their success this fall.

New Student Orientation

William & Mary welcomed new students to campus in August. On July 15, Student Affairs emailed detailed plans for check-in and new student orientation. This year's student orientation emphasized a community-wide commitment to promoting health and mitigating the risk of spreading COVID-19. In accordance with public health guidelines, William & Mary adapted the orientation program and schedules. Undergraduate freshman and transfer students should visit First Year Experience. New graduate students received communication from their schools and programs. We stand ready to help new students and families prepare for this exciting transition.

Dining

William & Mary Dining is working closely with the university’s dining partner to follow restaurant guidelines administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health in the fall. For information on meal plans, visit www.wm.edu/dining.

The deadline for residential undergraduate students to select a meal plan was July 8. Those who did not make a selection by that date were automatically enrolled in the Gold 19 plan. Dining options include take-away, with a reduction of self-service in the dining hall and adoption of touchless payment. Seating is reduced or re-arranged in some dining areas, hours adjusted and food truck use increased but relocated to reduce gathering large numbers of community members at one time. Hand sanitation stations are placed across campus and new signage displayed.

Students electing a fully-remote curriculum who are released from their campus housing contracts could remove their meal plan by visiting https://mealplan.wm.edu and selecting "Drop a Meal Plan." Student accounts may take up to three business days to be updated. The deadline to cancel meal plans was August 27.

Athletics

William & Mary stands fully in support of the Colonial Athletic Association Football Board of Directors' decision to postpone conference competition for the fall 2020 football season. The university also made the difficult decision to postpone competition in all Division I Fall sports including football, soccer, field hockey, volleyball and cross-country.

The health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff – and the full campus community that supports them – must be our top priority. W&M Athletics is part of the overall educational mission of the university. Providing an environment that ensures the greatest opportunity for academic instruction to occur for all students is paramount. Thus, the university's philosophy for the fall is to radically limit visitors to campus – and that includes visiting athletic teams.

While we are heartbroken for the student-athletes and their families impacted, we have been thoughtful and deliberate in our discussions and decision. It is our hope and intention that if conditions safely permit, sports could be played in the winter and spring and we will evaluate the options in the months ahead.

Find the latest information on the W&M Athletics website.

Club Sports & Intramurals

The health and well-being of the full campus community is our top priority this fall. In light of pandemic-related health risks as well as restrictions on university-sponsored travel and on visitors to campus, including athletic teams, we have made the difficult decision not to have our sport club teams compete this fall. The staff in Campus Recreation is working with club team leaders to develop plans for practices and training within public health guidelines for physical distancing and mask wearing. Knowing that students want to be active and to enjoy the social interactions that come with intramurals, we are adapting our offerings this fall. Our focus will be on activities and tournaments that can occur within the public health guidelines -- examples include tennis tournaments, pickleball, e-sports, 3-point shooting competitions and fitness challenges.

For Students 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 fall.

Newly admitted undergraduates, both first-year and transfer, are advised to contact Undergraduate Admission. Returning undergraduate students seeking a leave of absence for the fall 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.

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; they will continue to be, albeit shifted in light of ongoing health needs in the community. Our campus has the ability to embrace and sustain the kinds of changes that learning together under pandemic will require. 

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.

For the fall, events at William & Mary that can be postponed until the spring are advised to do so, as departments and groups focus on programs and activities supporting the teaching and research mission. Virtual gatherings, a blended model and multiple sessions expand options for gathering safely. Additionally, public access and programming is expected to be 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 restrictions may require. Students at William & Mary in the fall will co-create new approaches to our traditions, adaptations which may carry forward for "all time coming."

Family Weekend was re-imagined as a fully virtual event over September 25-27, 2020. Homecoming & Reunion Weekend was extended to two full weeks of virtual events from October 12-23, 2020. The Alumni House dedication will move to 2021.

Our goal is 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 fall 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 guidelines for 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 stands fully in support of the Colonial Athletic Association Football Board of Directors' decision to postpone conference competition for the fall 2020 football season. The university also made the difficult decision to postpone competition in all Division I Fall sports including football, soccer, field hockey, volleyball and cross-country. The CAA has announced conference schedules for men's and women's basketball for the 2020-21 season.

The health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff – and the full campus community that supports them – must be our top priority. W&M Athletics is part of the overall educational mission of the university. Providing an environment that ensures the greatest opportunity for academic instruction to occur for all students is paramount. Thus, the university's philosophy for the fall is to radically limit visitors to campus – and that includes visiting athletic teams.

Find the latest information on the W&M Athletics website.

Calls to Service

A team at William & Mary dedicated to facilitating service projects for the Path Forward generated more than 130 ideas in a short time, reflecting how deeply rooted is a commitment to caring for others and our community at the university. The team identified projects that would have wide appeal to the entire W&M community, addressed needs of vulnerable populations, built on the university’s strengths and would have immediate, measurable impact. 

Community Commitment
All members of this community are expected to commit to specific safeguards for one another’s health. We will call each other in: to these shared commitments and to awareness of vulnerabilities that may be hard to see. Because we respect and value one another's different contributions to W&M’s mission, when we lapse, we will immediately correct our course with goodwill and renewed dedication.

Experiential Learning
William & Mary is pursuing experiential learning and service opportunities for every student. The university is developing an integrated program to address questions of inequity under pandemic. This includes a new credit-bearing (up to 3 credits), omnibus course, open to all schools, that will enable each student to engage in creative, pragmatic problem-solving for our community and region.

Immediate Service Opportunities

Opportunities in Development

  • An online platform to facilitate connections to service and experiential learning opportunities
  • Internships with local community organizations 
  • Pandemic adaptation service opportunities for our campus community and beyond, for example students training to be contact-tracers through the Virginia Department of Health and virtually by Johns Hopkins
  • Connecting W&M talent and resources to local community needs through expanded partnerships

Supporting Our City

  • Limit attendance to athletics and other campus events while adding virtual participation
  • Adjust visiting hours, suspending or converting programming at cultural and arts venues to virtual delivery
  • Aligning with city planning and guidelines
Career Pathways

William & Mary is acutely aware of the economic, social and health challenges facing students graduating into a landscape deeply affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. In response, a planning team has been formed to accelerate success for our graduates. The team is working to elevate experiential learning for all students and promote design thinking over the course of a student’s life. Other ideas being pursued include a W&M professional development bootcamp and promoting a “One W&M” initiative that features the university’s talents, cultivates research opportunities and embraces lifelong learning.

International Students & Scholars

William & Mary and the Reves Center for International Studies are committed to supporting international students and scholars during this pandemic. Detailed information and answers to common questions are available on the Reves Center website.