Start of Winter Term - Undergraduate Students

To: W&L Undergraduate Students
From: COVID-19 Committee
Date: Thursday, January 7

Arrival Date Notification

As President Dudley announced to the community, students will be invited to return to campus in stages. Individual move-in dates will be determined by the timing of your arrival COVID-19 test. Arrival testing will take place in Evans Hall between 7am and 2pm daily. Testing days are planned as follows:

  • Jan. 11: International early arrivals, students who remained on campus during winter break, and approved winter sport athletes
  • Jan. 13-15: Law students, seniors, Resident Advisers, and Community Assistants
  • Jan. 16-18: All juniors, and sophomores/first-year students who are enrolled in designated classes
  • Jan. 20-22: Sophomores
  • Jan. 27-29: First-year students

You will receive an individual email in the next several days from with your assigned testing date and information on how to schedule your arrival test. You should plan to move in no earlier than 24 hours before your test time. If your travel plans prevent you from moving in during your assigned window of time, or if there are extenuating circumstances that require you to move back to campus before your assigned day, please contact your class dean.

Daily Attestation and Statements of Community Values

Students returning to campus this semester 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 appropriate statement and follow the prompts to read and acknowledge it.

The previous Statement of Community Expectations and Statement of Student Life Principles and Expectations have been revised and combined to create the new Statements of Community Values for this semester. We hope you will find this to be a simpler and clearer approach to outlining our shared responsibilities and values. More information detailing the Guidelines and Restrictions, as well as the student conduct process for COVID-related violations, will come in a separate email.

Enhanced Testing Plan

W&L will implement an enhanced testing plan for the Spring Semester. Key elements of the testing plan include the following:

Arrival Testing

All students will be tested twice as part of arrival testing: once prior to the start of in-person instruction, and a second time approximately seven days later.

Diagnostic/Symptomatic Testing

The Student Health Center will continue to test students who are exhibiting symptoms on site for the Coronavirus antigen with a rapid test that gives results in 15 minutes.

Asymptomatic Contact Testing and Screening Testing

We have partnered with a new lab, GenetWorx, to administer both daily testing of asymptomatic individuals who have been identified as close contacts of a positive case, and daily screening testing of students and employees. In addition, W&L is increasing the frequency and volume of screening tests for students and employees during Spring Semester. We will conduct approximately 1800 tests each week, throughout the term, using several strategies:

  • All students will be tested at least every other week.
  • Student athletes will be tested one to three times per week, depending on the contact level of their sport and whether or not they are competing.
  • If there are clusters of cases in particular areas of campus, individuals who have spent time in these areas may be tested.
  • Critical Infrastructure employees will be tested at least every other week. All other employees will have the option of testing on request, no more frequently than bi-weekly unless a known exposure has occurred.

Asymptomatic contact testing and screening testing will take place in a new modular unit that has been set up for on-campus testing clinics, located behind Baker and Davis halls.

Surveillance Testing

The university will continue to test wastewater from various campus buildings as a sentinel early indicator for presence of the virus in identified locations. These results help direct targeted screening testing and messaging to students who reside in those areas. We will also be testing HEPA filters from residential and dining HVAC systems and portable units in order to determine their effectiveness at removing the virus and to detect the presence of the virus in the air space, which will identify potential new sites/sources of viral spread.

You can read the full testing plan on the COVID-19 Resources website.

Environment Level

We will begin the term with the W&L COVID-19 Environment Level at yellow-high, due to the substantial increase in COVID-19 cases locally, regionally, and nationally since November; the current significant strain on local and regional hospital capacity; and the potential for the increased prevalence of positive cases in our area to hamper our ability to provide sufficient services and adequate levels of essential staff to run the university. Information about the Environment Level, including updated indicators being monitored by the COVID-19 Committee, can be found on the Environment Level page of the COVID-19 Resources website.

Looking Ahead

Please be on the lookout for additional communications in the coming days. We are currently updating the COVID-19 Resources website to reflect changes and information for the upcoming term, and you can continue to submit your questions to We look forward to having you back on campus!