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Students & Families

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.

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Academic Calendar

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.

  • Undergraduate, Graduate Arts & Sciences and Marine Science classes began January 27 and end May 7.
  • Start and end dates for the Mason School of Business, the School of Education and the Law School vary by program and can be found on the University Registrar's website.

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:

  • Friday, February 12
  • Thursday, March 4
  • Wednesday, March 17
  • Tuesday, April 6
  • Wednesday, April 7
  • Monday, April 26

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.

Summer Session

Academic Offerings

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.

Learning Spaces

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.

Course Delivery

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:

  • 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 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.

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COVID-19 Testing

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.

Learn more about COVID-19 Testing at W&M

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. 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.

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.

Dining

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

Parking restrictions on campus have been in eased for the spring semester in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • A W&M decal or temporary pass is required to park on campus. However, parking restrictions have been suspended. Any decal type – faculty & staff, resident, commuter and restricted – may park in any lot, with some exceptions. Lots marked “reserved at all times” or are exclusive to faculty and staff are still restricted. Spaces reserved for service or state vehicles, or for special use, remain enforceable as posted.
  • New 2020-2021 daily and hourly options remain in effect.
  • Temporary passes are available in bundles of five, 10 and 20. Order online at Parking Services and allow time for distribution ahead of the first intended use. Parking Services remains closed to walk-in traffic, so same-day passes have been discontinued. 
  •  Visitors, guests and affiliated members who opt not to purchase a decal must park in visitor-designated areas and use the Passport pay-by-phone app to cover their time.
  • The Dillard Complex, while a short distance from the main campus, remains a part of the university parking inventory. All standard campus parking rules apply and decals or temporary passes are required to park during all hours of enforcement. To facilitate the needs of the Theatre, Speech and Dance department as well as student-athletes practicing at the Dillard Complex fields, Parking Services can provide custom temporary passes for students who otherwise do not need to park on the main campus. Passes can be tailored and purchased for specific periods of time during the spring. The monthly rate is $14. Contact Parking Services at [[Parked]] for details on how to request and purchase a Dillard-Only pass. Hourly parking with the Passport pay-by-phone app includes the Dillard Complex.
  • Freshmen and sophomores who need to bring a vehicle to facilitate return to campus in the spring may request an exception to policy from Parking Services. An application is necessary to obtain approval to purchase a decal through the T2 Online Parking Portal. For additional details and the appropriate forms review the section under "Restricted Use Decals" on the Parking Services website. An approved exception is required prior to return to campus, please email your application to [[Parked]].
  • The cost of a student decal in the spring is $188. Faculty & staff decals purchased online can be set up for payroll deduction and are prorated based on Tier rate from date of purchase. All decal purchases are in effect from date of purchase through end of the decal term (Aug. 31).
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.

  • Blow Hall (third floor): Rooms 331-334
  • Integrated Science Center (except third floor): Rooms 0248, 1111, 1127, 1280, 2280, 3248 
  • Jones Hall: Rooms 301, 302, 306
  • McGlothlin-Street Hall: Room 20 
  • Morton Hall: Rooms 1, 20, 37-40, 102, 201-203, 220, 238, 239, 302, 341, 342
  • Tucker Hall: Rooms 110, 111, 123, 127A, 220- 222, 310, 325
  • Tyler Hall: Rooms 113, 114, 123, 132-134

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.

Travel

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

  • Within United States: Domestic undergraduate academic student travel continues to be suspended during the spring semester. Exceptions for student-athletes must be approved by the athletics director.
  • Study-Abroad: All spring 2021 study abroad or other essential undergraduate international travel requires approval by the Travel Review Committee. As in fall, limited exceptions will be considered to accommodate international students with no way of returning to Williamsburg at this time, and other students with exceptional reasons for undertaking study-abroad this spring and considerable in-country support.

Graduate Student and Faculty Travel

  • Grant- and Contract-funded Travel: Some travel may be required for the timely completion of deliverables set out in formal W&M grants, cooperative agreements and contracts. Requests to authorize domestic travel related to ongoing grants and contracts will be considered by the Office of Sponsored Programs in collaboration with members of the Emergency Management Team, wherever that is necessary, and approved on a case-by-case basis. Requests to authorize international travel related to ongoing grants and contracts will be considered by both the Office of Sponsored Programs and the International Travel Review Committee.
  • Other Domestic Academic Travel: Some travel may be vital to the research and teaching of faculty members and graduate students working on domestic themes. Wherever possible, faculty and graduate students should explore other ways to carry out domestic research and teaching projects using distance technology or locally-available sources and data. In exceptional cases, requests to authorize domestic travel by faculty and graduate students should be submitted to the dean for review. In Arts & Sciences, such requests should be made to the Travel Review Committee, which will review them according to clear criteria from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as factors such as the academic necessity of travel at this time, the public health environment in the destination U.S. location and the preparation of the traveler for limiting the health and safety risks of such travel. All decisions by the TRC will be made in conjunction with relevant faculty experts.
  • International Academic Travel: Some travel abroad may be vital to the research and teaching of faculty members and graduate students working on global themes. Wherever possible, faculty and graduate students should explore alternative ways to carry out global research and teaching projects using distance technology or locally-available sources and data. In exceptional cases, requests to authorize international travel by Arts & Sciences faculty and graduate students should be submitted to the Travel Review Committee, which will review them according to clear criteria from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of State, as well as factors such as the academic necessity of travel at this time, the public health environment in the destination country or countries and the preparation of the traveler for limiting the health and safety risks of such travel. As is always the case under the university’s international travel policy, TRC decisions about international travel will be made in conjunction with relevant faculty experts. For international travel by faculty and graduate students outside of A&S, requests should be submitted to the International Travel Review Committee.
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.

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.

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.

Traditions
We love our William & Mary traditions. We will continue to take a "joyful and different" approach to them, no matter what COVID-19 conditions require. Students at William & Mary in the spring will co-create new approaches to our traditions, adaptations which may carry forward for "all time coming."

Commencement
Commencement is an exciting time to celebrate the achievements of our graduating students. We celebrated the Class of 2020 virtually last May, and are inviting them back as alumni at a future date to take part in the cherished William & Mary graduation traditions. For this year's Class of 2021, we will see a combination of virtual and in-person celebrations. 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 spring 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 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.

Guidelines for Recognized Student Organizations
To ensure the health and safety of individuals and the collective W&M community, Recognized Student Organization (RSO) activities will continue to operate with a limited scope that promotes the Healthy Together Community Commitment. The established guidelines and expectations from the fall will continue as we begin the Spring 2021 semester. These are subject to review and change throughout the semester. We hope to be able to expand the scope of activity as pandemic conditions improve. More detailed information can be found on the Student Leadership Development website. The following are general guidelines:

  • A moratorium on all in-person RSO events and activities will be in effect between the time residence halls open and the start of in-person classes. 
  • In-person RSO events and activities must have an event/activity plan in place that ensures safety for members and participants.
  • RSOs will be responsible for tracking attendance at all in-person events and activities (TribeLink and Mobile Check In are the recommended tools). Tracking through TribeLink will be required for space reserved through SUE Events.
  • A physical distance of 6 feet between participants must be maintained.
  • Facial coverings must be worn at all times.
  • No food or alcohol may be served, provided or consumed by RSO’s at organization events or activities.

RSOs will abide by specific limitations affecting meetings, activities and events

Athletics
William & Mary Athletics is committed to providing all student-athletes with the best competitive experience possible. Athletics is working closely with the NCAA and the CAA as we make plans for all of our programs to compete during their adjusted seasons, beginning with men's and women’s basketball at the end of November and early December. At this time, W&M Athletics competitions will not be open to the public.

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.

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, which enables 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. 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.

Questions?