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William & Mary announces adjusted phased return to campus guidelines

William & Mary sign
Posted at 4:07 PM, Aug 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-02 16:07:54-04

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - Governor Northam ordered new COVID-19 restrictions for the Hampton Roads and Peninsula area, which began Friday. Due to the new restrictions, William & Mary University have adjusted their phased return to campus plan.

William & Mary’s campus will officially open on August 5, which was originally scheduled for August 1. University officials say the delay reflects potential impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias, and allows to adjust operations in the early part of next week in a way that minimizes disruption.

The university says undergraduate courses will begin on August 19 as planned and graduate courses will begin as planned by the respective schools.

The return of students to campus will happen at a slower pace, through August to Labor Day weekend. In-person undergraduate instruction will not begin until after Labor Day to ensure consistent experiences for all students (on and off campus) during a more extended return to campus.

According to university officials, deans will communicate details to each school.

"I know how disappointing the shift in arrival on campus will be for many students – who are so looking forward to returning – also how disruptive to families as they plan travel. It is equally disruptive for faculty and staff. An enormous amount of work has taken place to prepare our campus community for a successful fall and that work continues in earnest," William & Mary President Katherine Rowe said.

Specifics for students:

  • The August on-campus move-in dates for the following groups of students are not affected by this adjustment. All testing and distancing protocols will remain in effect. These students should closely track EMT messages regarding Isaias:
    • New students (freshmen and transfers)
    • Graduate students residing in university housing
    • International students
    • RAs and Head Residents
    • Orientation Aides and Assistants
  • All other students should delay their return. The university anticipates bringing sophomores, juniors and seniors back to campus in early September
    • Room and board costs will be adjusted accordingly
    • Self-quarantine and testing schedules will be updated to reflect new return dates
  • Student Affairs is finalizing a process to consider exceptions for students who have compelling personal circumstances for returning to campus as part of the initial group in August
    • Contact care@wm.edu for assistance with any extenuating or special circumstances
  • Deans and faculty will ensure personal engagement for all students, including those who live on and off campus, through the start of in-person classes

Specifics for employees:

  • While many employees will return to work on campus on August 5 (pending further EMT guidance on Hurricane Isaias), the university will remain closed to the general public. Third-party use of university-owned or leased facilities is prohibited, regardless of there being a university sponsor for an outside group or activity
  • COVID-19 testing for those employees required to show negative tests before return to campus will continue as scheduled
  • Offices that have face-to-face interaction should arrange meetings by appointment and observe W&M’s requirements for the use of face coverings, physical distancing, etc.
  • Full or partial remote work at William & Mary will require a telework agreement. Employees were advised of their unit’s in-person or remote requirements the week of July 20. The pace at which employees return to work on campus is outlined in those plans
  • No university-sponsored travel (domestic or international) will take place, unless required to meet obligations of externally sponsored research or state scientific advisory services. The CRT also recommends that community members limit personal travel
  • All invited speakers must present in a virtual format, whether invited for university-wide presentations or at invitation of professional and graduate schools, departments, professors or student groups
  • Volunteers at William & Mary must provide this critical support remotely. Volunteer boards must hold their meetings remotely, including their executive and committee meetings