Community Values, Guidelines and Restrictions for Spring Semester - Law Students

To: W&L Law Students
From: COVID-19 Committee
Date: Friday, January 8

As we prepare for our students to return to campus, we want you to be informed about the guidelines and restrictions, and the COVID-related conduct process, for Spring Semester. We also feel it's important that you are aware of the current pandemic landscape in the Lexington and Rockbridge communities.

Prevalence of the COVID-19 virus is significantly higher in our region than it was when our students departed campus prior to Thanksgiving. We had 18 employees report positive COVID-19 test results during Winter Break, our local and regional hospitals are seeing increased occupancy rates and are near capacity, and Lexington's Stonewall Jackson Hospital is currently seeing the highest percent of positive COVID-19 test results in the Carilion system.

While we do believe we can have a successful return to campus, it is more important than ever that each and every member of the campus community take personal responsibility for adhering to the guidelines and restrictions, especially those around face coverings, physical distancing, and gathering size limits. This applies to all individuals, including those who have already had and recovered from the COVID-19 virus, and those who have been fortunate enough to have received a COVID-19 vaccination.

We revised and streamlined our community values, guidelines and recommendations, as well as the consequences for student noncompliance with those values and guidelines, in order to communicate them as simply, clearly, and transparently as possible.

Statement of Community Values

As we mentioned in yesterday's update, students returning to campus this term will need to complete the Daily Attestation beginning on Monday, Jan. 11. The first time you log in, you will be asked to review and acknowledge the Statement of Community Values. There are three different statements, so you will need to select the statement for law students and follow the prompts to read and acknowledge it. The statement is available now on the COVID-19 Resources website.

Current Guidelines and Restrictions

You will find all current guidelines and restrictions on main page of the COVID-19 Resources website, by clicking the tab for Law Students in the navigation bar. The guidelines and restrictions will be updated as needed throughout the semester. Some of the guidelines currently in place are listed below, but please be sure to read the full set of guidelines and restrictions posted to the website.

  • Maintain a distance of at least six feet from one another at all times, in all locations, indoors and out, except in your residence with your housemates.
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times, unless you are outdoors, stationary, and more than six feet apart.
  • Limit your number of close contacts as much as possible.
  • All university facilities are closed to the public. No one is allowed in campus buildings other than current W&L students, faculty, staff, and approved vendors.
  • Non-W&L student visitors, such as immediate family and significant others, are allowed in students' off-campus housing as long as the total number of individuals at the residence does not exceed gathering size limits at any time.
  • Students are expected to comply with the modified stay at home order issued by Governor Northam, currently in effect until Jan. 31. The order dictates that all individuals in Virginia should remain at their place of residence between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
  • Per Executive Order #72, Virginia currently limits all social gatherings to 10 people, indoors and outdoors.
  • 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 at least a 7-10 day self-quarantine after return to Lexington.

Consequences for Student Noncompliance with Community Values and COVID Guidelines

As was the case in the fall, the university will not tolerate deliberate, reckless, or repeated disregard for the university's policies and guidelines. The health and well-being of the entire W&L community is all of our responsibility. Students who engage in conduct in deliberate, reckless, or repeated disregard of these standards may be sanctioned by the university. Such sanctions include fines, conduct probation, and removal from on-campus classes (if this were to occur, these students would be required to complete their 2020-2021 academic coursework remotely). If it is not feasible to complete academic coursework remotely, the student may submit a Leave of Absence request or be subject to withdrawal for the remainder of the semester or academic year.

The conduct process for COVID-related offenses is designed to provide students with opportunities for dialogue and reflection. The conduct process is educational in nature and university administration views it as a learning experience to be used as an opportunity for students to grow and understand their personal responsibilities within the context of the university community.

Consistent with the parameters outlined above, the Office of Student Affairs will review all allegations of students' COVID-related violations to determine if a violation has occurred and will address it accordingly. Student Affairs will provide the faculty with access to reports on these disciplinary actions.

A list of COVID Conduct Sanctions can be found on the COVID-19 website.

We appreciate the enormous efforts and sacrifices our students, faculty and staff have made to date and wish that conditions going into the Spring Semester could be different. Unfortunately, this virus has proven to be a formidable foe, and without absolute vigilance around masking and distancing, it will continue to spread. We look forward to welcoming you back to campus and to successfully completing another semester.