Weekly COVID-19 Update - Faculty and Staff

To: W&L Faculty and Staff
From: COVID-19 Committee
Date: Thursday, April 1

Below is this week's update on the university's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please continue to check the COVID-19 Resources website for the latest campus messages and resources, and to submit your questions to covid19@wlu.edu.

Guidance for Employee Travel

With local school and university spring breaks coming up, we wanted to provide clarification around expectations for employee travel.

  • Travel guidance is the same for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, and there is no distinction between in-state and out-of-state travel.
  • A trip away from and back to the Lexington/Rockbridge area in the same day is not considered "travel" unless attending a large gathering or event such as a wedding or family reunion.
  • COVID-19 testing one to three days before departure is recommended for anyone who is traveling. We encourage employees who are planning to leave the area for Spring Break to get tested once during the last week of Winter Term, preferably April 13 or April 15.
  • After returning from travel, employees should stay home and self-quarantine for seven days, and get a COVID-19 test three to five days after returning. Employees may return to work on campus after seven days with a negative test result. Employees who choose not to get tested should stay home and self-quarantine for ten days after travel. If you are unable to work remotely during this self-quarantine period, you will be required to use CTO.
  • Throughout your trip, whether or not you have been vaccinated, protect yourself and others by wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing, washing your hands, and avoiding crowds, confined or poorly ventilated spaces, and eating in restaurants.
  • Self-monitor for symptoms daily, especially if you've been around someone who has COVID-19. If you display symptoms, get tested and stay home and stay away from others.

Additional guidance about traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the CDC website.

Tracking Vaccinations in our Campus Community

As of today, nearly 40% of our campus community has been at least partially vaccinated, with those numbers growing every day! W&L's COVID-19 Dashboard now includes the percentage of all active students, faculty and staff who have self-reported vaccinations through the Daily Attestation application. Please remember to record your vaccinations after each dose. Refer to your COVID-19 vaccination card and select the type of vaccine you received, and the date administered for each dose.

Vaccination Clinics and Eligibility

Governor Northam announced today that Virginia will expand vaccine eligibility to all individuals over the age of 16 by April 18! The university will be coordinating with the Central Shenandoah Health District (CSHD) and local providers on vaccination clinics that will most likely be held on multiple dates at the Peebles/Gordmans site in Lexington (College Square Shopping Center at 770 N. Lee Highway). W&L plans to provide transportation for students to the clinic sites as needed. We will communicate clinic and transportation details as they become available in the coming days.

CSHD, Carilion and the Rockbridge Area Health Center are currently vaccinating all groups in Phase 1b. As a reminder:

  • Invitations for local clinics will come by email or phone call and extra appointments will be posted on their website at 12:00 p.m. the day before a clinic.
  • If you do not meet eligibility requirements, your appointment may be cancelled.
  • Per VDH guidelines, for the purposes of qualifying for a vaccination under group 1b, congregate living does not apply to students living on college campuses.

Augusta Health is currently vaccinating all individuals in groups 1a and 1b, as well as all Essential Workers in group 1c. This includes Institutions of Higher Education Faculty/Staff and those with high-risk conditions (see expanded list below). Upcoming clinics and registration links can be found on Augusta Health's Vaccine Appointments website.

Expanded List of High-Risk Conditions, Vaccine Prioritization

On March 29, the CDC added several new medical conditions to its list of those that predispose adults to more severe COVID-19 illness. Individuals with any of these conditions can now be prioritized for vaccination in group 1c.

  • Conditions that had previously been categorized as "might be" placing individuals at increased risk - but now are listed as high risk - include type 1 diabetes (in addition to type 2), moderate-to-severe asthma, liver disease, dementia or other neurological conditions, stroke/cerebrovascular disease, HIV infection, cystic fibrosis, and overweight (in addition to obesity).
  • Substance use disorders, which hadn't been previously listed, are now also considered high-risk.
  • The new list groups together certain categories, such as chronic lung diseases (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, cystic fibrosis, etc.) and heart conditions (heart failure, coronary artery disease, hypertension, etc.).

Volunteers Needed to Help Staff Local COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics

Multiple COVID-19 vaccination clinics are being held each week at the former Peebles/Gordmans building, and organizers are in need of volunteers to staff stations throughout the process. Different positions include but are not limited to:

  • Parking attendants/wheelchair support to assist with parking in the designated area of the parking lot and assisting those who need help exiting their vehicle and getting into the building.
  • Greeters to welcome community members at the entrance, go through a series of questions, and direct them to the registration table.
  • Waiting Area attendants to assist individuals with registering for their second dose appointment and to answer questions during the 15-minute wait period following vaccination.
  • Volunteers should be prepared to assist the site manager with other tasks as needed.

Training will be provided on-site and volunteers may receive priority access to vaccines. If you are interested in volunteering, please email covid19@wlu.edu with the subject line "Clinic Volunteer" and your name will be added to the list to receive information on dates and times when volunteers are needed.