Rising COVID Cases and Conduct Sanctions – Undergraduate Students

To: W&L Undergraduate Students
From: Sidney Evans, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Date: Friday, September 18

In the event some of our students might not check the COVID-19 Testing Dashboard daily, I wanted to make you all aware of the recent rise in cases among our student body. In the last nine days, 22 undergraduate students have tested positive for COVID-19, and 11 of those positive cases are from yesterday alone.

This sharp rise in cases is primarily a result of symptomatic individuals who were determined to be close contacts of previously identified cases, which shows how quickly and easily this virus can spread. It also underscores the importance of keeping track of close contacts, and being forthcoming and honest during the contact tracing process. Contact tracing is one of the primary ways in which the university is working to contain and manage cases on campus. You can use the Daily Attestation to keep a record of your close contacts.

Students with possible symptoms of COVID-19 are advised to stay home, contact Student Health at 540-458-8401 for assessment/indicated testing, and to self-isolate while the test result is pending. The Student Health Center can test students with symptoms on-site for the Coronavirus antigen with a rapid test that gives results in 15 minutes.

In addition to rising cases, we have also had a number of reports of students failing to comply with the community standards and COVID-19 restrictions. Eight students were asked to leave campus today as a result of a single gathering on Wednesday night during which they violated community standards, including exceeding the size limit for an inside gathering, failing to wear face coverings, and failing to physically distance.

The current campus Environment Level as set by the COVID-19 Committee is just one level below red; a change to red would necessitate a move to all-virtual instruction. As we head into what looks to be a beautiful weekend in Lexington, I just want to reiterate how important it is that you continue to be vigilant in following all guidance around face coverings, physical distancing, hygiene, and limiting of close contacts. That means finding ways to spend time with your friends while continuing to comply with the current restrictions, including:

  • No indoor gatherings, on or off campus, of more than 6 people (including housemates)
  • No outdoor gatherings, on or off campus, of more than 10 people
  • Physical distancing of at least six feet is required at all times, in all locations, indoors and out
  • Face coverings required at all gatherings, at all times, unless you are outdoors and more than six feet apart
  • No visitors other than current W&L students in residences, including residential halls, townhouses, apartments, Greek houses, and off-campus housing

The health environment and our ability to remain on campus for the full term is tenuous and subject to change at a moment's notice. Your decisions and actions can and will make a difference.