Chief Operating Officer Amy Sebring sent the following message to faculty and staff on July 28, 2022. See the latest COVID-19 announcements on the W&M News website. – Ed.
Dear William & Mary Community,
Although the coronavirus remains unpredictable, the threat of COVID-19 to the campus community has shifted. COVID-19 is now considered to be one illness among many that university employees and students manage on a daily basis. While William & Mary will continue to make decisions about how to respond in a phased way, day-to-day emergency management of COVID-19 is not necessary at this time. Moving forward, the Public Health Advisory Team has partnered with W&M’s emergency management to respond if conditions require university operations to adapt.
As you look forward to the upcoming semester, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with these updates, effective Aug. 5, and the guidelines and resources available at the university. Whether you are planning for your own potential COVID-19 diagnosis or the impact of a student or colleague illness, wm.edu/coronavirus has policy information and guidance.
Managing COVID-19 as an Employee
- You are no longer required to visit ReportCOVID if you have tested positive or believe you have been a close contact of someone who has tested positive. W&M will no longer offer case management services for employees or students. This also means that W&M will no longer publish its COVID-19 Dashboard.
- The CDC calls for any COVID-19-positive person to isolate for at least five days and notify close contacts. Visit Quarantine & Isolation Guide and Calculator for more.
- Do not attend work or events at William & Mary for at least five days or as long as you are sick. Follow the university’s sick-time policies.
- Virginia no longer offers Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL). If you are out because of a COVID-19 diagnosis, please use sick or other appropriate leave.
- If you feel able to work and your position allows you to work remotely, please coordinate with your supervisor, dean or chair as appropriate.
Mitigating the Risk of COVID-19
- The university strongly encourages COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters. Visit Vaccinate Virginia for sites in the Commonwealth.
- Masking is always welcome anywhere at William & Mary, and the last few years have clearly shown that masks dramatically reduce the spread of airborne infections, including COVID-19. Masks are required in the Student Health Center.
- Do not attend work or gatherings if you are sick. Test if you suspect COVID-19.
- Free COVID-19 testing kits may be obtained through the U.S. federal government as well as the Williamsburg Regional Library.
- The university will also have rapid tests available for purchase via the vending machine in the Sadler Center.
- If you are advised that you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, the next steps depend on your vaccination status. Visit the CDC’s Quarantine & Isolation Guide and Calculator for information. Current vaccinated and boosted employees do not need to quarantine if they remain asymptomatic.
Guidelines for Faculty Responding to Student Illness
- W&M students who test positive for COVID-19 need to isolate and not attend in-person classes for at least five days. Unvaccinated or unboosted students also quarantine if they are identified as close contacts. Visit the CDC’s Quarantine & Isolation Guide and Calculator for information.
- Please accommodate students who need to miss class for a short period of time, as with any other illness. If you have a group of students who are out, you might consider recording lectures and/or using other means to provide instructional content. All public classrooms are equipped with lecture-recording technology, and the Studio for Teaching & Learning Innovation and W&M Information Technology can help optimize Blackboard.
- It is essential that faculty respect the medical privacy of students who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been identified as a close contact. Please do not share with the class that a student is in quarantine or isolation, nor make testing or other recommendations based on that information.
- More options for facilitating student access to academic activities when ill are available at wm.edu/coronavirus.
During the course of the past two years, we have all become more knowledgeable about public health as well as the tools available to help us manage our response to COVID-19 with flexibility. I am confident that this semester will reflect our community’s continued adaptability and resilience.