Changes to COVID-19 Environment Level and Restrictions

To: W&L Students, Faculty and Staff
From: The COVID-19 Committee
Date: September 14, 2020

In August, the COVID-19 Committee established the COVID-19 Environment Levels in order to provide the university with a structured approach to responding to the pandemic. The environmental level indicator provides an at-a-glance view of the COVID-19 environment on campus based on 13 key indicators. The environment level and key indicators can be found on the W&L COVID-19 Dashboard.

On Aug. 24, the committee changed the environment level from yellow-low to yellow-middle based on a lack of compliance with social distancing, face coverings, and expectations for social gatherings, and a lack of compliance with the Daily Attestation requirement.

Today, the committee changed the environment level from yellow-middle to yellow-high — one step away from red — based on the following factors:

  • A significant increase in positive COVID-19 cases, with six new cases identified within the past week. Three of these cases were identified today and do not appear to be part of the previously identified cluster.
  • Continued lack of compliance with social distancing, face coverings, and expectations for social gatherings.
  • Increased pressure on the university's Isolation/Quarantine (I/Q) capacity, contact tracing capacity, and dining services capacity.

Due to this change in environment level, the following are effective immediately:

  • In-person dining in the Marketplace and Evans is temporarily suspended. All meals will be takeout only until further notice. Although the confirmed cases have not been linked to in-person dining, we are moving to takeout to mitigate future risk, to ease the burden on contact tracing, and to free up dining staff to handle the growing number of I/Q meal deliveries.
  • All formal and informal Greek recruitment is to be halted until further notice.
  • In order to minimize potential contacts and alleviate pressure on contact tracing, the capacity limits for gatherings have been reduced to no more than 6 people indoors (including housemates) and 10 people outdoors.

As a reminder, physical distancing of at least six feet is required at all times, in all locations, indoors and out. Face coverings are required at all gatherings, at all times, unless you are outdoors and more than six feet apart, and no visitors other than current W&L students are allowed in residences.

To reiterate, all members of the W&L community are being asked to please continue to be vigilant in following all guidance around face coverings, physical distancing, hygiene, and limiting of close contacts. We cannot stress enough that you should continue to treat everyone around you as if they have COVID-19 — whether or not they have symptoms — and act accordingly.