COVID-19 Resources

Washington and Lee will welcome students back to campus in Fall 2020. The coming term will be unlike any we have previously experienced. We are striving to deliver the best possible residential liberal arts and legal education in unprecedented circumstances. Our success depends upon our collective ability to act in the best interest of our community, both on campus and in Lexington.

Please scroll to the critical elements of our plan, and read our Statement of Community Expectations.

Daily Health Attestation

Everyone in the W&L community has a crucial role to play in complying with health and safety protocols to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. To facilitate this effort, W&L has developed a mobile website featuring a daily health attestation and contact log. Every employee and student in the Lexington area is required to use this site each day to attest to any possible COVID-19 symptoms or exposure history.

Learn More Visit Site

7-Day Rolling Test Results as of Nov. 24, 2020

369
Students and Employees Tested
12
Positive Results
3.3%
7-Day Positivity Rate

Cumulative Test Results – From Aug. 24 to Nov. 24, 2020

5198
Total Students and Employees Tested
152
Positive Results
2.9%
Cumulative Positivity Rate

Visit the COVID-19 Testing Dashboard page for more information, including W&L's Arrival Testing Data, testing plan summary, and Environment Level Indicator.

Latest Community Updates

Videos

Questions?

Please be sure to read our Frequently Asked Questions for the latest information on the university's response to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Committee will provide regular updates to the campus community throughout the summer, using the covid19@wlu.edu email address. Those updates will be posted to this website.

If you have questions, ideas or concerns not covered by our FAQs, please send them to covid19@wlu.edu.

Archived Messages

Additional messages to the community may be found on the following websites:

W&L's Plan for Reopening Approved by State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

On Friday, July 24, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia confirmed W&L's compliance with the state higher education repoening guidance. The full, certified plan is available on this website.

Undergraduate Academics

Undergraduate Academics

The University's academic plans have been developed with guidance and insight from our faculty and leadership, including the Academic Working Group of the Contingency Planning Task Force, which included members from the Faculty Affairs Committee, the Committee on Courses and Degrees, the Faculty Executive Committee and the President's Cabinet.

Our academic program for Fall 2020 is designed to provide the exceptional W&L experience no matter the mode of instruction. For undergraduates, all classes will be available to those returning to campus. For those remaining off campus, a varied selection of our course offerings will be available, providing students with the flexibility to make personal decisions about their place of residence and preferred mode of instruction.

Academic Calendar

  • We will invite all of our students back to campus in August.
  • Fall classes for undergraduates will begin on August 24.
  • There will be no Reading Days.
  • Students will complete their terms before Thanksgiving and will not return to campus until the new terms begin in January.

Course Delivery

  • In order to provide the best learning experience possible, our undergraduate faculty have the choice of teaching their courses in-person, in a hybrid format, or fully virtual. We expect that the majority of undergraduate courses will feature an in-person component. Recognizing the likely need of students to be away from the classroom due to illness or the need to self-quarantine as required by University policy, these courses will permit students to participate remotely for limited periods.
  • Undergraduate students will have the choice of whether to return to campus for instruction or participate in classes virtually. A limited selection of courses will be available for virtual instruction, and students should consult the course offerings to determine the format of their desired courses. This information should be available by the end of July. It is important to note that upper-division students who wish to participate in fully virtual instruction may experience limitations in course selection that could disrupt their major path.
  • First-year students who wish to apply for a one-year deferral should submit an application to the Office of Admissions by Monday, August 3.
  • Undergraduate students who elect to attend Fall Term virtually should complete the Fall 2020 Virtual Classes form by Wednesday, August 5.
  • Upper division students who wish to request academic leave should file their request with Dean Leonard by Monday, August 10.

Course Registration

  • Updated fall course offerings will reflect the delivery method for each course. Students will have access to the listings by the end of July to study their choices and may need to go through the add/drop process. First year students will register for classes after they return to campus.
  • The inclusion of 30-minute passing times between classes has moved many of the class times back, so for the undergraduates, while the registration is the same, the timing of most classes has shifted.
  • We will reopen the undergraduate add/drop period on August 5th to allow for returning students to adjust course schedules, if necessary. Otherwise, students may retain their original schedules created for this semester. We recommend students consult with their advisors if they have any questions.

Classroom Spaces

  • Each classroom will be modified to realize social distancing, and furniture will be adjusted to achieve that goal.
  • The University will be using a number of spaces this fall that have typically not functioned as classrooms. These include spaces such as the Johnson Theater, Stackhouse Theater, and Northen Auditorium.
  • Air handling systems have been adjusted in classrooms to bring in additional outside air using guidelines issued by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
  • The University has also identified four outdoor spaces to use as classrooms. These spaces will have limited technology, but they will have access to wifi. We will mark classes being taught in these spaces for the information of those students who have allergies.
  • The University has extended its class schedules into the evening to provide a thirty-minute break between classes. This change will allow time to wipe down spaces between classes. In addition, the staff will also provide twice daily electrostatic cleaning of each teaching space.
  • Each faculty member in the sciences and performing arts is being consulted to ensure that each of their labs or performance/practice spaces is equipped with the appropriate protective equipment to minimize the potential spread of the virus where social distancing may not be entirely possible.

Undergraduate Library Operations

The University Library, the undergraduate library composed of Leyburn and Telford Libraries, continues to support faculty, staff, student, and local patron needs. The library created a guide to answer commonly asked questions: Fall 2020: Library Access, Services, and Instruction. The library will keep this guide updated with changes as they happen. Within the guide, the following information is particularly relevant to library users:

  • During Fall 2020, Leyburn and Telford libraries will ONLY be accessible to W&L students, faculty, staff, and retired faculty-this includes Special Collections & Archives. A W&L swipe card will be required for Telford and Leyburn building entry at all times.
  • Leyburn and Telford Libraries will open August 17, 2020, with abbreviated schedules.
  • While in Leyburn or Telford, face coverings must be worn at all times, ​except for quick snacks ​or sips of beverages.
  • The library will offer a variety of contactless/low contact services for students, faculty, staff, and retired faculty, including: pre-pulled book pick-up, self-checkout terminals, and online chat support.
  • Although local residents will not have access to Leyburn or Telford during Fall 2020, the library will pull physical materials for local cardholders to pick up outside of Leyburn. Pick-up requests can be placed by emailing library@wlu.edu.

For questions not addressed in the guide or for further clarification, email library@wlu.edu.

Grading

  • Grading policies are determined by the W&L faculty. The interim grading policies enacted in spring 2020 were for Winter and Spring 2020 only, and the Fall Term grading policy will be our standard policy as outlined in the 2020-2021 Course Catalog.

Guest Speakers

  • All guest speakers and lecturers will visit the University virtually utilizing online technologies.

Social Distancing and Face Coverings for Faculty

  • Face coverings are required in all indoor spaces on campus. The only exception is when a faculty member is working alone in a private office or classroom. In outdoor learning spaces, face coverings are not required in cases where all students and instructors can consistently maintain six feet of physical distance. 
    1. A cloth face covering or disposable face mask is the optimal choice to minimize sharing of and exposure to viral particles.
    2. In lecture settings where the instructor will consistently be at least six feet away from all students, a clear face shield can substitute for a face mask.
    3. If the instructor plans to move around the classroom among students, a face shield will not be considered an acceptable substitute for a face mask. 
  • In academic settings where social distancing is not possible or optimal, additional PPE will be provided for the instructor and the students. These courses have been identified by academic deans and include science labs, studio art courses, and music performance courses. 
  • In certain settings when interacting with a hearing-impaired student, faculty members may be provided with a special clear face mask or face shield.  If the course is a discussion-based course, all students can likewise be provided with clear masks or face shields.
  • For all world language classes, where pedagogy demands, instructors may wear a face shield only, and students may briefly remove their face coverings while responding in the target language. 
  • When meeting with students in person (in a faculty office or elsewhere), face coverings must be worn by all parties, and the meeting should be set up so that at least six feet of distance can be maintained.  Meeting length should be limited, as duration of exposure is a key factor for potential infection.

Additional information will be provided throughout the Fall Term as circumstances change and adjustments are made.

Law School Academics

Law School Academics

The Law School's academic plans have been developed with guidance and insight from our faculty and leadership, including a law school-specific Academic Working Group that made recommendations to the University Contingency Planning Task Force. Our academic program is designed to provide the student-centered W&L Law experience no matter the mode of instruction.

Course Delivery

  • The majority of the courses in the Law School are structured to be offered in a traditional, in-person format. Recognizing the likely need of students to be away from the classroom due to illness or the need to self-quarantine as required by University policy, these courses will permit students to participate remotely for limited periods.
  • Courses that are structured to be delivered in person may contain elements of virtual education, not to exceed one third of the course.
  • Certain courses will be offered in an all-virtual or hybrid format and will be listed as such on the class schedule.
  • Students seeking to participate virtually in a class that is structured to be offered in person may file a request with Dean Mason setting forth the medical or other justification for such request.

Classroom Spaces

  • To accommodate the emphasis on in-person education, the Law School has altered its class schedule to provide for 30-minute intervals between classes to allow additional time to wipe down spaces and provide twice daily electrostatic cleaning of each teaching space.
  • Classes are starting and ending on a staggered schedule to minimize the prospect of congestion between classes in Lewis Hall.
  • The extended transition time and the need to employ our largest teaching spaces to accommodate physical-distancing requirements necessitates extending the class schedule into the early evening. In limited cases, in-person courses will include a session to be held on Saturday.
  • Air handling systems have been adjusted in classrooms to bring in additional outside air using guidelines issued by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Academic Calendar

  • The Fall 2020 Semester will commence on Monday, August 17, and with classes ending on Friday, November 13.
  • The exam period will begin on Tuesday, November 17, and will conclude on Tuesday, November 24.
  • The Fall 2020 semester therefore will conclude before Thanksgiving, and students will not return until the Spring 2021 semester begins in January.
  • In order to minimize the prospect of travel during the Fall 2020 semester and to conclude the exam period prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, the traditional 2-day Fall Break in the middle of the semester has been eliminated.

Grading

  • Grading policies are determined by the W&L Law faculty. The interim grading policies enacted for the Spring 2020 semester applied to that term only. We will return to our standard grading policy for the Fall 2020 semester.

Guest Speakers

  • All guest speakers and lecturers will be conducted virtually utilizing online technologies.

Physical Distancing and Face Coverings for Faculty

  • Face coverings are required in all indoor spaces on campus. The only exception is when a faculty member is working alone in a private office or classroom. In outdoor learning spaces, face coverings are not required in cases where all students and instructors can consistently maintain six feet of physical distance.
    1. A cloth face covering or disposable face mask is the optimal choice to minimize sharing of and exposure to viral particles.
    2. In lecture settings where the instructor will consistently be at least six feet away from all students, a clear face shield can substitute for a face covering.
    3. If the instructor plans to move around the classroom among students, a face shield will not be considered an acceptable substitute for a face covering.
  • In academic settings where physical distancing is not possible or optimal, additional PPE will be provided for the instructor and the students. These courses have been identified by academic deans and include science labs, studio art courses, and music performance courses. 
  • In certain settings when interacting with a hearing-impaired student, faculty members may be provided with a special clear face mask or face shield.  If the course is a discussion-based course, all students can likewise be provided with clear masks or face shields.
  • When meeting with students in person (in a faculty office or elsewhere), face coverings must be worn by all parties, and the meeting should be set up so that at least six feet of distance can be maintained.  Meeting length should be limited, as duration of exposure is a key factor for potential infection.

Additional information will be provided throughout the Fall Term as circumstances change and adjustments are made.

Student Life

Student Life

Our plan to return to on-campus instruction in the fall hinges upon a shared community commitment, outlined in W&L's Statement of Community Expectations. All students, faculty and staff will be asked to read and sign this statement, which outlines the specific expectations we all agree to uphold in order to be on campus this fall.

Students with high risk medical conditions should discuss their health with their healthcare provider and work closely with the Dean of Students Office when considering whether being on campus environment is right for them this term and what adjustments are appropriate to support their decision.

In line with the recommendations of medical and public health experts, W&L will take significant steps to limit student contact in residence, dining and common spaces. These include:

Residential Life

  • On-campus residence halls will be open at their usual capacities.
  • Students will be asked to maintain a 6-foot distance from others whenever possible, and to wear a mask or face covering indoors at all times other than when they are in their room or apartment. Outdoors, a face covering will be required while in transit (walking) but can be removed if one is 6 feet distanced from others and stationary outdoors.
  • First year students will be grouped in "home groups" of 8 to 12 students that will reside in proximity and will participate in pre- and orientation activities as a group to help minimize excessive contact among students prior to classes beginning.
  • Communal and shared spaces will be marked outlining maximum capacities under social distancing guidelines. In lounges and communal seating spaces, seats will be marked to reflect which ones cannot be used to ensure that social distancing is practiced.
  • Public multi-stall restrooms will be marked with reduced capacity, and areas where queues may form (dining facilities, University Store, etc.) will be marked so that distancing is managed while in the queue.

Campus Dining

  • Campus dining venues will be open, with queues and seating arranged to ensure social distancing.
  • All venues will shift to served food, with no self-service options.
  • Only two of our venues, the Marketplace and Evans Dining Hall, will allow for seating, with capacity limited to fall within or below the established capacities allowable under current Virginia Department of Health and Governor's guidelines for eating establishments. All others will offer takeout service only.

Student Services

  • Offices that support student well-being and success, including Student Affairs, the Office of Inclusion and Engagement and Career and Professional Development, will continue to serve students through both in-person and virtual capabilities.
  • We will establish an auxiliary clinic area adjacent to the Student Health Center for evaluation of ill students, leaving the current Student Health Center available for outpatient and infirmary care as usual. We will also continue to provide telehealth visits when appropriate, if allowed, to reduce close patient contacts.
  • The University Counseling Center will continue to provide both teletherapy (as allowed) and safe in-person visits for students.

Activities and Programming

  • Public health guidelines constrain the size, duration and location of programming. All of our student organizations, activities and programming will need to re-envision social gatherings and activities in which social distancing is not possible.
  • The University will limit the number of outside visitors to campus for the fall term. Campus buildings will only be accessible to faculty, staff, and students along with pre-approved vendors and contractors.
  • Plays, musical performances and other large events will be live-streamed or broadcast online.
  • There will be no on-campus parties or large events until such time as guidance would allow and the University conclude that they do not put the community at significantly greater risk.
  • Sorority and fraternity life will be guided through principles and practices being developed by the Inter-Fraternity Council and Panhellenic in consultation with our Student Affairs Office and public health recommendations.

Student Travel

  • All non-essential personal travel outside of the Lexington/Rockbridge area is strongly discouraged at this time. Students are expected to log all travel in the Daily Attestation application and complete a 14-day self-quarantine after return to Lexington. There is not a person or committee assessing individual level of risk for each travel inquiry; however, to review COVID-19 case rates in the specific area you are traveling through or to, see https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/us-map for county-level data.  
  • Self-quarantine is defined as staying 6 feet away from others at all times (including a roommate); not attending classes in person; leaving your room only for essential activities (e.g., to collect a meal to go, use the bathroom, or to go outside for a short walk alone); and careful attention to use of face coverings, hand hygiene and frequent cleaning/disinfection of shared spaces such as a bedroom and bathroom. If you develop a fever or other possible COVID-19 symptoms during the self-quarantine, call the Student Health Center immediately to schedule a visit for assessment and possible COVID testing.  
  • Students should not travel if they cannot adequately self-quarantine upon return to Lexington since the university's quarantine rooms are reserved solely for students with known COVID-19 case exposures/contacts. If you have a roommate, you should discuss your possible travel plans with them to ensure you both feel comfortable about the self-quarantine expectations upon your return, or you can work with your class dean regarding a temporary housing reassignment. 
  • Students are responsible for any academic implications resulting from discretionary travel. If a student has in-person classes, they will need to communicate with their faculty to inquire about options for completing coursework during the 14 days of self-quarantine after returning to Lexington. Faculty have discretion and are not required to offer virtual instruction for a self-quarantine situation resulting from a student electing to travel.
  • W&L is not able to schedule students for COVID-19 testing with our vendor (Bode Technology) before or after travel unless they have a known/identified case exposure during their trip, at which point the Student Health Center (SHC) would facilitate testing and the student would cover the cost of the test. If a student wants to arrange a PCR test through the Student Health Center, they may inquire about testing availability with SHC and would need to pay for the test directly or explore what their insurance coverage would include. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) also holds open COVID-19 testing events with scheduled appointments in the Lexington/Rockbridge region every few weeks, and a 7-10 day wait time for test results. Regardless of your test results through SHC or VDH, a 14-day self-quarantine is still expected.

Transportation Services

  • The W&L Traveller program resumes shuttle service for the 2020-21 academic year to/from the Roanoke Airport and the East Falls Church Transit Center in Arlington, VA., with easy connections to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore-area airports. Shuttles are available for W&L students only.
  • Students must complete a reservation form to utilize the airport shuttle service. For information about airport shuttle service reservations and other shuttle programs, visit W&L’s Transportation Services website. If you have questions, please contact Laura Campbell.
  • The Traveller safe-ride service will be modified during Fall Term to comply with public health guidance. More specific information about shuttle rider capacity, safety protocols for participants, and other pertinent details about this service will be communicated in the near future.

Campus Buildings & Facilities

  • The new Richard L. Duchossois Athletic and Recreation Center is open for the 2020 Fall Term. Starting August 31, all current W&L faculty, staff and students will be permitted entrance during designated hours. A University ID card is required for building access. No visitors or family members of employees will be allowed access to the facility per university guidelines.
  • Information regarding the building's hours of operation, capacity limitations, and specific regulations that must be followed for each area in the facility are available W&L Athletics website.
  • Workout time slots at the Fitness Center must be reserved in advance. To reserve a time, visit https://calendly.com/wlufitnesscenter. Users must show proof of their daily health attestation at the front desk upon check-in.
  • Along with specific rules listed for each area of the building, the core COVID-19 guidelines still apply when in a W&L athletic facility:
    • Masks/facial coverings must be worn at all times.
    • Individuals must be at least six feet apart at all times.
    • Equipment cannot be touched by multiple people's hands or heads without being disinfected between each person's use.
    • Individuals may train in groups of three or fewer if they are following physical distancing, mask/facial coverings and shared equipment guidelines.
  • No locker rooms or showers are available for use in the building at this time.
  • The W&L Natatorium and the Duchossois Tennis Center will open September 7.
    Questions about facility use can be directed to Associate Director of Athletics Bethany Dannelly, and questions regarding the fitness center should be addressed to Assistant Manager of the Fitness Center Patti Colliton.

Restrictions on Use of Rooms and Meeting Space

  • The following restrictions are currently in place when reserving rooms through 25 Live:
    • Individual Students will not be allowed to reserve rooms through 25 Live
    • Student Organizations will not be allowed to reserve rooms through 25 Live
    • Student Organizations will not be allowed to "table" in any communal spaces
    • Faculty/Staff will be allowed to reserve rooms through 25 Live, if university business is being conducted, though they are encouraged to meet virtually as often as possible
  • Exemptions to above restrictions include the Executive Committee, Student Judicial Council, Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, and the Student Bar Association, which will be allowed to reserve rooms through 25 Live. These five organizations are handling university business and will be permitted to meet in person for investigations, hearings or meetings with administration. Current university protocols require that all students, faculty, and staff wear face coverings whenever they are in public building spaces. Six feet of physical distancing is required.

Athletics and Recreation

  • There will be no varsity or club athletic competition this fall. The Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) is developing plans for fall, winter, and spring sports which will identify ways for coaches to engage with their teams, and we anticipate providing opportunities for our all of our coaches to work with their student-athletes in the fall. We are hopeful that there will be an opportunity for athletes to participate and compete in some form in 2021.
  • Extracurricular activities including intramurals will be evaluated by appropriate offices to determine a list of which can occur safely under the CDC and VDH guidance and which ones cannot. Those that cannot will not be allowed.

Additional information will be provided throughout the Fall Term as circumstances change and adjustments are made.

Employment

Employment

Our plan to return to on-campus instruction in the fall hinges upon a shared community commitment, outlined in W&L's Statement of Community Expectations. All faculty, staff and students will be asked to read and sign this statement, which outlines the specific expectations we all agree to uphold in order to be on campus this fall.

In line with the recommendations of medical and public health experts, W&L will take significant steps to limit employee contact in residence, dining and common spaces. These include:

Flexible Work Arrangements

  • Employees who are in a high-risk category for severe illness from COVID-19 (see high-risk categories) may request a temporary modified work arrangement, which could involve special personal protective equipment, modifications to work stations or spaces, partial or full remote work, or other temporary modifications. See our Returning to the Workplace guide for more information.
  • In order to provide the best learning experience possible, our undergraduate faculty will have the choice of teaching their courses in-person, in a hybrid format, or fully online classes.
  • Given the uncertainty of local schools returning to full day classes, we are hopeful to meet the needs of working parents through a variety of options. These options may include shift change, class schedule adjustment, and alternative work arrangements. Faculty and staff with children entering Kindergarten through Grade 8, and those with children with special needs, should begin discussions about possible options with their department directors (staff) and Deans (faculty). When we learn from local schools how classes will be scheduled, we can finalize plans. If you or your manager have questions about possible options, please contact Mary Main in Human Resources.

Workspaces and Meetings

  • As employees return to campus, the need to encourage social distancing will remain a priority. Office spaces may need to be rearranged, meeting spaces closed off and clear circulation patterns for high-traffic areas considered and identified. See our Returning to the Workplace guide for more information.
  • Convening in groups increases the risk of virus transmission. Where possible, meetings should be held using either Zoom or Microsoft Teams. In-person meetings are limited based upon the posted social distancing capacity of the room. Departments should rearrange chairs and tables to support social distancing practices. All attendees must wear a face covering while sharing space in a common room.
  • Public multi-stall restrooms will be marked with reduced capacity, and areas where queues may form (dining facilities, University Store, etc.) will be marked so that distancing is managed while in the queue.

Campus Dining

  • The Marketplace and Evans Dining Hall will be closed to employee dining.
  • Other campus dining venues will be open for takeout service only, with queues arranged to ensure social distancing.
  • All venues will shift to served food, with no self-service options.

Campus Buildings & Facilities

  • The new Richard L. Duchossois Athletic and Recreation Center will open for the 2020 Fall Term. No specific date is currently set for when the Washington and Lee community will be able to use the building, but it will be announced in the near future. In order to ensure the health and safety of the community once the building is open, all users of the facility will be expected to adhere to university and public health and safety guidelines, including the use of PPE and physical distancing at all times.
  • The hours of operation for the facility and the fitness center will likely be reduced during this time, and the capacity for different areas of the building will be limited. Until announced otherwise, the facility will be restricted to current faculty, staff and students. No visitors or family members of employees will be allowed access to the building per university guidelines. An announcement regarding first date of use, specific hours of operation and capacity limitations will be made in August as we get closer to the start of the fall term.

Operating Hours

  • Departments operating on altered schedules will be asked to post their hours on Campus Notices and departmental websites.

Travel

  • All non-essential university business travel is restricted. Meetings and conferences are considered non-essential unless presenting scholarship or recruiting and must pre-approved by the appropriate dean or vice president. For all other travel, deans and vice presidents will determine if travel is essential to meeting the business needs of the university. For essential business travel, public health guidelines for travel should be followed. Use of air, train and public transportation (including ride-sharing companies such as Uber, Lyft and taxis) should be limited to circumstances where there is not a reasonable alternative.
  • All non-essential personal travel is strongly discouraged at this time. Inform your supervisor or department head of all travel plans, regardless of location. To learn more about current COVID-19 hotspots within and outside of the state of Virginia, see https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/us-map. Given the current spread of COVID-19, you should expect a 14-day self-quarantine requirement upon your return. If you are unable to work remotely during this self-quarantine period, you will be required to use CTO.

Additional information will be provided throughout the Fall Term as circumstances change and adjustments are made.