Learning & Curriculum
William & Mary is adapting the academic calendar and course delivery 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.
In response to student and faculty concerns about the fall's compressed semester, William & Mary is not shortening Spring 2021 and has incorporated a modified spring break.
W&M continues to place first priority on the health of the community, including mental health. In order to provide restorative breaks while reducing travel, W&M offers individual spring break days in 2021, rather than a consecutive, five-day break. On these spring break days, classes will not meet and no due dates for assignments or exams will be scheduled.
For undergraduates, there will be six spring break days:
Graduate schools are in direct contact with students regarding spring break days and other academic calendar considerations.
William & Mary has shifted the academic year 2020-2021 to respond to the novel coronavirus. The fall semester was accelerated to de-densify campus before the onset of cold weather and flu season. Spring was not compressed, but spring break days throughout the semester have been approved instead of a contiguous spring break. An enhanced summer session will help ensure undergraduate student progress continues unimpeded by the pandemic. The university’s goal is to prioritize safety while offering as much in-person instruction as possible.
Courses will be fully remote with the exception of a small number of in-person graduate and professional programs that do not require on-campus housing. For more information, visit Summer 2021 Registration.
A robust summer has been programmed, including expanded academic offerings and jumpstart programs. In addition to the traditional two 5-week sessions, the university has added a 10-week option as well as non-standard “short courses.” For the first time, W&M is offering both COLL 100 and COLL 150 courses that allow freshmen who started in spring to complete their first-year courses and begin as sophomores in the fall. Additionally, financial aid packages, including Pell Grants, have been amended to provide for summer programs. Finally, the Jump-Start Data Science Summer Program will again be offered, and joined by the exciting new Esports Level Up program.
No Student Housing & Dining Services
On-campus housing will not be available for students this summer. Consistent with W&M’s standard fall move-in, we are working with a number of university units, including the Reves Center and Athletics, on fall pre-arrival requirements for groups of students who need to be on campus prior to standard move-in dates in late August. Dining Services will not operate this summer at William & Mary.
Undergraduate Summer Research
Undergraduate summer research opportunities will be structured primarily around remote initiatives, as on-campus summer housing will not be available. Limited undergraduate student research opportunities on campus may be available for students who live locally or plan to live off campus. Coordination of these activities may be arranged with advisors and faculty mentors in departments or programs. Other opportunities for off-campus residents may be available through the Charles Center.
Other Summer Activities
W&M remains focused on maintaining campus operations for university students, faculty and staff. Summer camps or other summer conferences and events typically offered prior to the COVID-19 pandemic will not be offered. The university is considering the potential to open some non-residential facilities to the general public later in the summer as public health conditions allow.
COVID-19 Protocols for Summer
W&M anticipates continuing to require face masks and physical distancing, along with other precautions intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19, during the summer months. With guidance from the Public Health Advisory Team, W&M policies and guidelines will be updated as more information becomes available from the CDC and VDH about mitigation strategies and the status of vaccinations. In addition, given that most summer activities will be remote, we will provide limited prevalence testing for those remaining on campus and case management for positive cases. We will not offer quarantine and isolation housing; those staff members will have the summer to focus on preparing for the fall.
Summer Financial Aid
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.
To protect the health of the William & Mary community, classrooms and learning spaces have been modified at W&M. 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.
Led by William & Mary’s deans, each school chooses in-person and blended strategies to support a resilient curriculum and to 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 fully 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, are designated in Banner's Open Course List and outlined in course syllabi. Not all courses are available online; students may need to adjust their schedules to take all of their courses remotely. No special permission is needed to take courses online. Visit the Registrar's Office website for descriptions of high-level categories for course delivery.
Choosing Remote Instruction
By looking up course attributes in Banner, students can craft a fully remote schedule, 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. Students who lived on campus in the fall but have a fully remote schedule for the spring semester may request a release from their housing contracts. The deadline to request a release is Friday, February 5. Requests can be submitted via the housing portal and will be reviewed within 7 business days. Find additional details on Student Affairs' spring FAQ.
Fall meal plan selections will automatically roll to the spring semester; students can make one change through the add/drop period at mealplan.wm.edu. Students with a meal plan this fall who plan to study remotely in the spring must log on to mealplan.wm.edu to drop their meal plan for the spring after receiving email notice that the fall meal plan has rolled to the spring and any campus housing cancellations have been processed. Any unused dining dollars will expire on November 25, 2020, for students not returning in the spring.
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:
William & Mary students who need accessibility accommodations to fully participate in the spring 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.
Living & Working
To reconvene on campus with safety as a priority, 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.
Similar to the fall, W&M will conduct mandatory prevalence testing (sampling at least 5% of the student body) weekly and census testing of the full student body based on guidance from the Public Health Advisory Team and our healthcare partners.
Students who experience COVID-19 symptoms during the semester should make an appointment with the Student Health Center or a private healthcare provider for a clinical assessment and testing if necessary. Students who test positive must complete the form at Report COVID to initiate case management that will assist with isolation requirements and help you navigate classes and study.
W&M’s housing plan reduces residential density and establishes a number of community expectations targeting our shared responsibility of maintaining health and safety:
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. Asymptomatic students await test results wherever they live. Symptomatic students awaiting test results 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.
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.
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. Learn more about Case Management & Housing at William & Mary.
Students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for 10 days. COVID-19-positive community members, after 10 days of isolation, must be asymptomatic and cleared by a physician before they return to work or class. Following CDC guidance, W&M does not require a negative COVID-19 test to return.
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.
William & Mary Dining works 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. For information on meal plans, visit Dining Services.
At the launch of the spring semester, all dining options will be to-go only. William & Mary’s Public Health Advisory team has advised strict adherence to the university’s Healthy Together Commitment and, for at least the early part of the spring semester, has recommended limiting indoor dining. That team regularly monitors national, state and local health data and advises decision-makers across campus regarding any decisions related to the health of the campus community.
We encourage students, faculty and staff to eat outdoors as weather permits. If positivity rates remain reasonable, W&M plans to transition to limited indoor seating.
Daily menus are available for review in the BiteU app that can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play. For quick selection and reduced wait times, students can review before arriving. Students may also use the BiteU app for mobile-ordering at Marketplace, Cosi, Qdoba and Sadler Express.
Generally, self-service has been reduced in the dining halls, take-away options expanded and touchless payment adopted. 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.
Fall meal plan selections automatically rolled to the spring semester; students were able to make one allowable change through the add/drop period at mealplan.wm.edu.
Any unused Dining Dollars from fall rolled forward to the spring meal plan; for students who did not maintain a spring meal plan, unused Dining Dollars expired on November 25, 2020.
W&M automatically defaulted students to the Block 175 meal plan if they were newly registered for campus housing in the spring and didn't select a meal plan by the start of the semester. Visit Dining Services for more information.
Parking restrictions on campus have been in eased for the spring semester in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
After-Hours Building Access
Some academic buildings supporting Arts & Sciences are accessible to all students, with swipe access, for evening study hours. Monday through Friday, the buildings are accessible from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Students may remain in the facilities until midnight, but will not be able to swipe in past 10 p.m. The W&M Police Department periodically patrol the facilities.
Not all spaces within a building are available and all university health and safety guidelines apply for after-hours use of these facilities. No food is to be brought in, ordered or consumed in these spaces. Masks that cover both nose and mouth are required, as is maintaining at least six feet of distance. Access to these spaces brings with it an obligation to sanitize the space when you come in and as you leave.
To protect the health of the university and greater Williamsburg community, non-essential William & Mary travel has been suspended until conditions change. In a limited number of cases, university travel may be essential. Overnight travelers are required to self-quarantine for at least five days and/or obtain two negative tests for COVID-19 upon return to Williamsburg as a condition of approval for travel and for re-entering the W&M campus prior to or during spring 2021. See Travel Policies for Spring 2021 for details.
Undergraduate Student Academic Travel
Graduate Student and Faculty 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.
In the spring, W&M continues to adapt in-person and virtual gatherings in order to convene safely and provide flexibility that promotes participation. Virtual gatherings, a blended model and multiple sessions expand options for gathering safely. Additionally, public access and programming is limited and seating assigned or ticketed.
Guidelines for Recognized Student Organizations
RSOs will abide by specific limitations affecting meetings, activities and events
The health and well-being of W&M student-athletes, coaches and staff, as well as the full campus community that supports them, remain top priority. W&M Athletics is part of the overall educational mission of the university, and providing an environment that ensures the greatest opportunity for academic instruction to occur for all students is paramount. 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 a commitment to caring for others and our community is 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.
Immediate Service Opportunities
Opportunities in Development
Supporting Our City
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. 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.