Changes to COVID-19 Contact Tracing Protocols – Faculty, Staff and Students

To: W&L Faculty, Staff and Students
From: COVID-19 Committee
Date: Friday, January 28

In light of recent actions by and communications from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the American College Health Association (AHCA), the university will change its COVID-19 contact tracing protocols to focus efforts on active case management. Effective immediately, our COVID Care teams in both Student Health and Human Resources will no longer collect the names of and attempt to contact the exposed close contacts of individuals who test positive for COVID-19. Individuals who test positive will now be responsible for notifying their close contacts.

Omicron is currently the most common variant and is spreading so rapidly it is no longer productive or possible to track contacts of positive cases. Fortunately, because the COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are highly effective, and our campus community is highly vaccinated and boosted, most of our students and employees who have been infected with Omicron are experiencing mild symptoms. However, we must continue to take care of the most vulnerable members of our community and will keep the current masking policy in place for the time being.

In addition, we will continue to notify students and faculty of possible classroom exposure. Below is detailed information about current isolation, quarantine, and close contact procedures, which can also be ffound on the I/Q and Close Contacts page on the COVID-19 website.

What to Do If You Test Positive Through On-Campus Testing

If you receive a positive result from a rapid antigen test at the Student Health Center, or through the Aura app from an on-campus PCR test you should stay home. You will be contacted by the COVID Care Team with instructions, including information about how to identify and notify your close contacts. This information can also be found on the COVID-19 Resources website.

What to Do If You Test Positive with a Home or Other Off-Campus Test

  • Students who receive a positive result from a home test, or any other test not administered on campus, should stay home and email or call the Student Health Center right away and await further instruction.
  • Employees who receive a positive result from a home test, or any other test not administered on campus, should stay home and record their positive test results in the Daily Attestation application and await further instruction.

What to Do If You Are Identified as a Close Contact

If someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 notifies you that you are a close contact, follow the procedures below.

If you are fully vaccinated AND boosted, then for the next 10 days:

  • Wear a mask whenever you are around other people.
  • Maintain at least a six-foot distance from others whenever possible to limit new close contacts.
  • Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms/take your temperature at least once daily.
  • Schedule a Covid-19 PCR Test 5-7 days after exposure via your Aura App. Click here to schedule now.
  • Students who are experiencing symptoms should stay home and call the Student Health Center (540-458-8401) to schedule an antigen test. Employees experiencing symptoms should schedule a test through their healthcare provider.

If you have a current or a recent COVID infection (within 90 days), then for the next 10 days:

  • Wear a mask whenever you are around other people.
  • Maintain at least a six-foot distance from others whenever possible to limit new close contacts.
  • Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms/take your temperature at least once daily.
  • Students who are experiencing symptoms should stay home and call the Student Health Center (540-458-8401) to schedule an antigen test. Employees experiencing symptoms should schedule a test through their healthcare provider. You should not get a PCR test unless your healthcare provider orders one for new symptoms to evaluate possible reinfection.

If you are not vaccinated, or vaccinated but not yet boosted, then for the next 10 days:

  • Stay home and quarantine for 5 days from your date of exposure. You should not attend in-person classes, practices, meetings, or any other events or activities away from your residence unless you can maintain strict mask and distance precautions. You may end quarantine after 5 days if you remain asymptomatic.
  • Wear a mask whenever you are around other people for 10 days.
  • Maintain at least a six-ft distance from others whenever possible to limit new close contacts.
  • Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms/take your temperature at least once daily.
  • Schedule a Covid-19 PCR Test 5-7 days after exposure via your Aura App. Click here to schedule now.
  • Students who are experiencing symptoms should stay home and call the Student Health Center (540-458-8401) to schedule an antigen test. Employees experiencing symptoms should schedule a test through their healthcare provider.