Return to Workplace Plan - Faculty and Staff
To: W&L Faculty and Staff
From: Mary Main, Executive Director of Human Resources
Date: Friday, August 6
We are pleased to welcome our employees back to campus on Monday, and look forward to our students' return in the coming weeks. The return to campus is an important step for our community, and our priority will continue to be the safety and well-being of our campus community. Thank you to all of you who have reported your vaccination information. Because we anticipate achieving a campus community vaccination rate of approximately 95%, we are able to plan for a fall term that is much closer to a typical W&L experience.
While we are grateful to return to many aspects of our typical campus experience, we are also mindful of the contagious Delta variant that is increasing transmission of COVID-19 across the U.S. The university continues to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the COVID-19 Committee is closely monitoring that guidance as well as the campus environment. Information about COVID-19 continues to evolve and our policies and plans will be updated as appropriate.
As we operate during the ongoing and ever-changing pandemic, it's important that we continue to be guided by a common set of values: working collectively to help minimize the spread of COVID-19, understanding that our actions affect other members of the community, and agreeing that failure to take actions that consider the greater community puts all students, faculty, and staff at risk.
Below you will find W&L's Return to Work plan, which applies to all employees including faculty, staff, and administrators.
COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement
All employees are required to be fully vaccinated with the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson and Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine unless they have been approved for a medical or religious exemption.
Requirements for Unvaccinated Individuals
All unvaccinated individuals, including visitors and those with medical or religious exemptions to the vaccine requirement, are required to wear a mask at all times when indoors on campus except in their private office, stay six feet away from others they don't live with while inside campus buildings, comply with weekly screening testing, and avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
Decisions regarding masking are based on the CDC's Interim Public Health Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals, which recommends that:
- Fully vaccinated people wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.
- Fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19, or if they have someone in their household who is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated.
- Fully vaccinated people who have come into close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
As of today, Lexington and Rockbridge County are listed at the moderate transmission level on the CDC's Data Tracker COVID-19 Integrated County View. For that reason, the university does not require fully vaccinated employees to wear masks indoors on campus. We will continue to monitor the transmission levels in our area and act accordingly. Any employee who prefers to take the additional precaution of wearing a mask at any time is encouraged to do so.
Please keep in mind that many members of our community may choose to wear masks in all settings to protect themselves and their family members, many of whom may not eligible for vaccines, including children less than 12 years of age. No one should be discouraged from, or disparaged for, choosing to wear a mask and/or maintain a six-foot distance from others.
Attestation of Personal Health
Employees are no longer required to complete the attestation on a daily basis using the Attestation website, but must attest if they have had close contact with a confirmed COVID case or if they are experiencing any COVID symptoms. When an employee attests "yes," Human Resources staff will contact them to determine whether any contact tracing needs to be conducted. Return to work will depend on completion of recommended days of quarantine after exposure, negative COVID-19 testing at an appropriate point in time, clearance to return to work by a healthcare provider, and/or completion of an appropriate period of isolation for COVID-19 infection.
Sick or Exposed Employees
Any employee who is exposed to someone with COVID-19 should report their exposure through the Attestation web site and follow public health guidance for post-exposure precautions and testing. Fully vaccinated employees should wear a mask in indoor spaces after exposure to a known positive COVID case, and obtain a COVID test three to five days following exposure. If results are positive, the Human Resources staff will require you to isolate at home for 10 days.
Any employee diagnosed with COVID-19 should report their diagnosis through the Attestation website and directly to Mary Main in Human Resources within 24 hours of diagnosis.
Any employee experiencing COVID-19 symptoms is expected to report their symptoms through the Attestation website. Employees with symptoms will need to isolate at home and seek a COVID test from a local provider and report the result to Human Resources. Upon receipt of the test result, Human Resources will determine an appropriate return to work date. Employees will be required to use CTO or SLR while in quarantine if remote work is not available.
Screening testing will be held one day per week for unvaccinated employees and students who have been granted an exemption. More information will be provided to those employees in the coming weeks about dates and location of the testing center. There will be no arrival or ongoing screening testing for fully vaccinated employees, per current CDC guidance.
As information, between Aug. 11 and Sept. 7, the university will administer COVID tests to all undergraduate and law students, regardless of their vaccination status, upon arrival to campus. The Student Health Center will test symptomatic students on site throughout the term, and wastewater surveillance is planned during the first few weeks following our students' return. The full testing plan will be published on the COVID-19 Resources website next week.
Most University buildings will be unlocked effective August 16, 2021 during regular business hours.
New employees who are in the process of receiving vaccinations should maintain a distance of at least six feet from others indoors and outdoors, and wear masks at all times, unless working in an individual office or outdoors. All new employees are required to have received at least one dose of the vaccine prior to their start date. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or two weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen).
Meetings may be held in-person. Masks are required for unvaccinated people when attending indoor meetings.
Personal travel, both domestic and international, is allowed. Vaccinated employees may return to campus immediately upon return from traveling. Unvaccinated employees must quarantine away from campus for 7 days with a negative COVID test or 10 days if not tested. Unvaccinated employees will be required to use their CTO during the quarantine if they are unable to work remotely. In all cases, supervisors must approve CTO for travel in advance. Day trips do not constitute travel unless you are in crowds of 50 or more people.
Reporting Safety Concerns
Employees who have workplace safety concernsshould report them immediately to University Facilities Service Center 540-458-8490 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For return to workplace questions, department staffing, and employment-related COVID-19 questions, contact Mary Main, Executive Director of Human Resources, at email@example.com. Current information can be found on the COVID-19 Resources website, and other COVID-related questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.