Win $500 with Your COVID-19 Booster, Testing Availability, and Other Information - Faculty and Staff

To: W&L Faculty and Staff
From: COVID-19 Committee
Date: Friday, December 10

As the Fall Term/Semester draws to a close, we want to say thank you for your ongoing commitment to our entire community these past several months. The collective efforts of our faculty, staff and students with vaccinations, masking and other safety measures have helped keep our COVID-19 cases low and allowed typical campus activities - classes, athletics, student programming - to operate smoothly.

With the winter break on the horizon, we wanted to share some key information with you.

Record Your COVID-19 Booster - You Could Win $500!

According to the latest Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance, everyone 18 years and older should get a COVID-19 booster dose. This step is the most effective way to reduce the chance of new surges or widespread community transmission of COVID-19, along with continuing to wear masks indoors and in crowds. We continue to believe our campus community's high vaccination rate is the most effective measure to slow the spread of the virus, and strongly encourage all eligible students, faculty, and staff to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster.

By reporting your COVID-19 booster into the attestation app, you could win $500! W&L will do a daily drawing for $500 weekdays from Jan. 3 to Jan. 31 from all W&L non-student employees who have uploaded their booster card in the attestation app. Enter the drawing by reporting your COVID-19 booster in the attestation app.

Some guidance for those who are scheduling their booster:

  • If you received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you should get your booster dose six months after completing your initial series.
  • If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you should get your booster dose if it has been two months since your initial vaccine dose.

Vaccine boosters are available at Central Shenandoah Health District clinics, local pharmacies, and some medical providers' offices. Visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA for assistance in finding a clinic or scheduling boosters.

Note: A booster dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) has been shown to be more effective than a second dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine at increasing the immune response. The Food and Drug Administration and CDC have authorized mixing and matching different vaccines from the initial series, and it is recommended you get an mRNA booster rather than repeating the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

COVID-19 Testing Available

Screening PCR testing on campus is available before the winter break. You can self-schedule a PCR test through the Aura app, and results should be available the next day.

  • Sunday, Dec. 12 10 AM - 1 PM
  • Tuesday, Dec. 14 9 AM - 3 PM
  • Wednesday, Dec. 15 9 AM - 3 PM
  • Thursday, Dec. 16 9 AM - 3 PM (last day for testing before winter break)

In addition, W&L has partnered with VMI, DSLCC, SVU, and the Virginia Health Department on a free COVID testing event at VMI. This clinic, which is open to all students, faculty and staff, will be held in front of barracks at VMI on Dec. 15 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Walk-up and drive-up testing will both be available. Test results will be available within 24-48 hours. Anyone requiring a negative test result prior to travel may request the test results in writing. For questions about this event, please contact emergencymanager@vmi.edu.

If you develop possible COVID-19 symptoms over the winter break, please get tested as soon as possible through your doctor's office, an urgent care location, or through the health department in your community. If you test positive for COVID-19 during the winter break:

  • Isolate for 10 days from symptom onset and notify any close contacts of exposure.
  • Stay home and do not return to campus during your isolation period.
  • Communicate your positive test result in the attestation app.

Winter Term/Spring Semester Arrival and Ongoing Testing

All students will be required to have a COVID-19 arrival test approximately 5-7 days after returning to campus in January. Results of previous arrival testing indicate that 5-7 days following students' return is the most beneficial time to do this testing and may be more effective in identifying emergent positive cases than testing immediately on arrival.

During the Winter Term/Spring Semester, the university will continue to require unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff with exemptions to obtain an on-campus COVID-19 test weekly. In addition, we will continue to offer optional on-campus PCR testing weekly for all fully vaccinated faculty and staff who would like to be tested and are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

Omicron Variant

We continue to monitor spread and emerging data on the recently identified Omicron variant. At this time, we are not yet recommending any additional safety measures, but will continue to monitor the situation and act accordingly.

Annual Flu Vaccine Strongly Encouraged

Influenza is circulating early this year with several large campus outbreaks starting in November. An annual flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the chances of catching influenza, or if you do get sick, to reduce the severity and duration of symptoms. If you have not had a flu shot this year, it's not too late. Flu vaccines are still available at local pharmacies, healthcare providers' offices, and the Lexington-Rockbridge Health Department. It will take your body about two weeks to build immunity following your vaccination.

We hope you all have a safe, healthy and enjoyable winter break!