Health and Wellness FAQs

Will I be required to wear a face covering on campus?

Current University Community Standards require that all students, faculty, and staff wear face coverings whenever they are in public building spaces. In outdoor settings, face coverings are required in any location where six feet of physical distancing cannot be met. Employees working alone in a private office could do so without a face covering. As the public health outlook evolves throughout the year, campus guidelines will be updated as appropriate.

As a student, will I be required to wear a face covering on campus?

Current University Community Standards require that all students, faculty and staff wear face coverings whenever they are in public building spaces. In outdoor settings, face coverings are required in any location where six feet of physical distancing cannot be met. Employees working alone in a private office could do so without a face covering. As the public health outlook evolves throughout the year, campus guidelines will be updated as appropriate.

As a student, what PPE supplies does the University recommend I have?

While personal needs will vary, campus medical staff recommend the following list of supplies for all students, at minimum:

  • Five (5) washable face coverings (the CDC recommends laundering these after each use)
  • A small supply of disposable face coverings
  • Portable hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to carry with you in a handbag, briefcase, or backpack
  • A jug of hand sanitizer for your personal room
  • Thermometer for daily temperature monitoring
  • Paper lunch bags to hold individual face coverings when not in use
  • Tissues (larger size for room, portable size to carry)
  • A small supply of gloves to be worn if cleaning, disinfecting, or handling soiled items
  • Tote for bathroom supplies, as these should not be stored in shared bathrooms
  • A wipeable cover for your electronic devices
  • Hand soap (for those students living in on-campus apartments or off campus)

Will face coverings/masks and PPE supplies be provided to all employees?

All faculty and benefit-eligible staff will receive two (2) washable fabric face masks by filling out the online starter kit order form. Hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes will be provided in classrooms, shared departmental areas and other common spaces throughout campus.

Employees in certain departments only, due to the nature of their work, will be provided with disposable masks. These departments are the Student Health Center, Athletics Trainers, Public Safety, Facilities, Dining Services and Mail Services.

For faculty members teaching in-person classes, one face shield will be provided upon request.

What physical distancing measures are anticipated for office spaces and meetings?

As employees return to campus, the need to encourage physical distancing will remain a priority. Office spaces may need to be rearranged, meeting spaces closed off and clear circulation patterns for high-traffic areas considered and identified. Hugh Latimer, the campus architect, is available to consult with department directors on arrangement of office space and the need for alterations.

  • Offices and Work Stations - Departments should assess work environments and meeting rooms to institute measures to physically separate and increase distance between employees. If an employee works in an office, no more than one person should be in the same room unless the required 6 feet of distancing can be consistently maintained. Open work areas require the use of face coverings. Plexiglass shields will be provided by Facilities upon request from the department and installed in areas where needed.
  • Using Restrooms - Use of restrooms should be limited based on size to ensure at least 6 feet distance between individuals. Wash hands thoroughly afterward to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.
  • Using Elevators - Use of elevators should be limited where possible to avoid close proximity. Wash your hands or use sanitizers upon departing the elevator.

Convening in groups increases the risk of virus transmission. Where possible, meetings should be held using either Zoom or Microsoft Teams. In-person meetings are limited based upon the posted physical distancing capacity of the room. Departments should rearrange chairs and tables to support physical distancing practices. All attendees must wear a face covering while sharing space in a common room.

For more information on physical distancing:

What actions should I take to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus?

These actions, taken by everyone, will help reduce the risk of contact and spread in our community:

  • Physical distancing (staying at least 6 feet from other people) will reduce the risk that you will come in contact with infectious droplets in the air.
  • Universal use of cloth face coverings protects the whole community by reducing the spread of the virus through respiratory droplets that are generated when we speak, sing, laugh, cough or sneeze. Cloth face coverings will be required inside university buildings whenever you may come within 6 feet of other people.
  • All employees will be required to monitor and attest on a daily basis to fever/illness symptoms, as well as close contact with anyone who has symptoms/is being tested for COVID-19 or is confirmed positive for COVID-19. A list of symptoms can be found here.
  • Frequent handwashing, frequent cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces, and not touching your face protects the whole community by reducing the chances that you will come in contact with the virus on surfaces and transfer it to yourself or others that way.
  • Reducing the number of people you have close contact with every day to the smallest number possible will reduce the chances that you will be exposed to someone who is shedding the virus and the risk you might spread the virus to multiple people before you are aware you have it. All employees will be required to keep a log of close contacts every day. This will make it easier for public health authorities to identify and notify people who may have been exposed if you do become ill.

I am traveling this summer for a vacation. When I return to Lexington, will I be required to self-isolate for fourteen days?

You will be required to self-isolate for fourteen days if you have traveled internationally. For domestic travel, you will be asked to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, but you can generally report to work on campus. As hot spots emerge around the country, VDH is constantly updating its guidance. In the event that you return from a domestic region that is experiencing high occurrence of virus, you may be required to self-isolate upon your return to Lexington.

What do I do if I am in a high-risk category for severe illness due to COVID-19 and my doctor does not feel I should return to work?

Contact Mary Main in Human Resources to complete a Medical Certification and Request for Modified Work Arrangement form. Upon completion of this form by your doctor, and if you are able to work remotely, you will continue to do so. If you do not have remote work, you may be approved for unpaid Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) if your circumstances qualify for FMLA and if you have FMLA available, in which case accrued CTO/SLR may be used.

Will gloves be provided to employees?

For employees performing hazardous cleaning or food handling, or employees working in a medical setting, gloves will be provided by W&L. In general, CDC guidance dictates that daily tasks should not require the use of gloves for the vast majority of employees. Frequent hand washing provides better personal protection.

How can I procure other PPE supplies, request more masks, etc.?

Washington and Lee has worked with numerous suppliers to procure items in bulk and will be offering these to members of the university community at cost. Employees can request and customize their starter kit of personal supplies at https://go.wlu.edu/covid-supplies-staff. A variety of reusable and disposable face mask options are available, as well as face shields, other PPE, hand sanitizers, wipes and miscellaneous supplies. If you request your kit on or before July 10, it will be delivered to your workspace the week of July 13 in conjunction with Phase II of W&L's return to the workplace.

After ordering your initial kit, further supplies will be available in the University Store throughout the year. Members of the W&L community will receive COVID-related supplies at cost by showing W&L ID.

What supplies does the University recommend I have?

While personal needs will vary, a good starter list for all employees includes the following:

  • Five (5) washable face coverings (the CDC recommends laundering these after each use)
  • A small supply of disposable face coverings
  • Portable hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to carry with you in a handbag, briefcase, or backpack
  • A jug of hand sanitizer for your personal office (and potentially for your vehicle and/or home)
  • A thermometer for daily temperature monitoring

All of these supplies are available through the online starter kit order form.

Will masks and PPE supplies be provided to all students?

All students returning to campus will receive a starter kit containing two (2) washable fabric face masks, one personal-size hand sanitizer, and one digital thermometer. Additionally, hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes will be provided in classrooms, most residence halls and other common spaces throughout campus.

Further, students in certain academic disciplines may be provided additional PPE as needed. Traditional classrooms will be laid out in ways that allow adequate distancing, and therefore make standard cloth face coverings sufficient. In lab settings or certain fine arts studios, where physical distancing is more challenging, added supplies will be provided to students as necessary.

Will gloves be provided to students?

In general, CDC guidance dictates that daily tasks should not require the use of gloves. Frequent hand washing provides better personal protection.

If I recently traveled and got sick, what should I do?

  • STAY HOME until you have received advice from a healthcare professional about what you should do during the 14 days after possible exposure to someone with COVID-19.
  • Please notify a university official (see below) and the Student Health Center BEFORE returning to campus if you may have been exposed to COVID-19 during your travels, so appropriate measures can be discussed to monitor for illness and reduce the risk of transmission in our community:
    • Faculty and staff should contact Mary Main, executive director of human resources.
    • Undergraduate students should contact Sidney Evans, vice president for student affairs and dean of students.
    • Law students should contact Trenya Mason, assistant dean for law student affairs.
  • Take your temperature twice a day and remain alert for fever, coughs, or difficulty breathing.
  • If you develop a fever, cough, or have difficulty breathing:
    • Students: Contact the Student Health Center right away: 540-458-8401. Please call the center for advice about coming in for evaluation.
    • Faculty and Staff: Contact your primary care physician via telephone or email.
    • If employees have questions about leave, they may contact Human Resources at 540-458-8920 or humanresources@wlu.edu.
  • For further guidance, see the CDC's Interim US Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Persons with Potential COVID-19 Exposure in Travel-associated or Community Settings.

Other resources for questions related to COVID-19

I work at W&L. Will I have to attest to any symptoms of possible COVID-19 or exposure history?

Everyone in the university community must follow public health recommendations consistently to minimize the risk of exposure to and transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 illness.

There will be a system in place for every employee (faculty and staff) to attest to any symptoms of possible COVID-19 or exposure history on a daily basis. Employees will be required to maintain a daily workplace contact log in the event the university needs to trace employee contacts for public health infection exposure investigation. Information about contact tracing will be provided to department directors.

What is being done to prepare the facilities for the return of employees and students?

Cleaning for health has always been the underlying approach to University Facilities custodial services, but additional preventive enhancements will be implemented to meet the health and safety challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and to provide faculty, staff and students with a sanitary and clean environment.

Routine custodial services will be augmented with enhanced cleaning protocols in accordance with the CDC's Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces that includes the following daily activities:

  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces
  • Clean and disinfect plexiglass dividers
  • Clean and disinfect desk tops, table tops and podium tops
  • Empty waste containers of used/discarded personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Electrostatic spraying of all touch surfaces with an EPA-approved one-step disinfectant
  • Electrostatic spraying of custodial equipment to avoid risk of cross contamination

Key enhancements to campus facilities include:

  1. Hand sanitizer dispenser stations will be installed at building entrances and other high-traffic areas. Although hand sanitizer can help prevent the spread of the virus, practicing the CDC's proper hand-washing technique is considered to be more effective.
  2. Protective dividers/barriers have been installed at high personal interaction areas.
  3. Signage will be installed to help communicate important health and safety messages.
  4. Classroom and learning spaces occupancies and furniture have been adjusted to meet physical spacing requirements.
  5. Central HVAC systems will be operated using guidelines issued by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
  6. Provide hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes within facilities for use by faculty, staff and students to keep their classrooms, personal spaces and work surfaces clean. Faculty, staff and students should not bring their own cleaning and disinfecting products to campus as these may present additional safety concerns.

What if I have an immediate family member with an underlying medical condition that makes them more susceptible to serious illness from COVID-19? Will I be required to return to work on campus?

Where possible, the University encourages employees to work with their supervisor to enable working from home. For work that cannot be performed from home, the University has implemented protocols and policies to reduce the risk of transmission on campus. Employees with family members at high risk should be hyper-vigilant, practice rigorous hygiene, and take every precaution to protect at-risk family members at home.

If you are unable to work remotely and choose not to come to work due to an immediate family member with an underlying medical condition, you may use your CTO.

What will the university do if there is a possible case identified among students, faculty and staff on campus?

Should a case be positively identified, appropriate communications as guided by the Virginia Department of Health will occur. The Student Health Center has made plans for isolating sick students if needed. Protocols are in place for cleaning on-campus residences of affected students and workspaces of affected faculty and staff. Administrators will work with faculty, staff and students to make accommodations for extended absences.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Learn about COVID-19 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

How does coronavirus spread?

COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person interaction. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus. We are still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of illness it causes. For more information, see the CDC page, How COVID-19 Spreads.

What are the symptoms and complications that COVID-19 can cause?

Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Read about COVID-19 symptoms on the CDC website.

What I should I do if I have a COVID-19 health issue?

Employees who have a concern regarding a possible COVID-19 health or safety issue should report the concern immediately to Paul Burns in the Office of Environmental Health and Safety at 540-458-8175 / pburns@wlu.edu. Paul will try to respond to all concerns within 72 hours.

What should I do if I am sick?

If you are not feeling well, please DO NOT come to work, especially if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, which include: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or a new loss of taste or smell.

You should contact your supervisor as soon as possible if you suspect COVID-19 sustained exposure or symptoms. Supervisors must report your illness to Human Resources. You may use SLR/CTO during the time you are ill. Employees who have been ill with COVID-19 will be required to provide a medical release from their doctor to assure a safe return to work.

If sick with something other than the COVID-19 virus, you must contact your supervisor in keeping with the normal attendance policy. SLR/CTO must be used, whether working at home or on campus.

What should I do if I think I’m sick with COVID-19?

If you have a fever, cough or other symptoms, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider immediately and follow this guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The CDC offers a Coronavirus Self-Checker that will walk a sick person through a series of questions related to symptoms, exposures and risk factors for COVID-19 and advise on next steps for home isolation and medical care.

In addition, the Virginia Department of Health offers a Feeling Sick? chart to help compare the symptoms of allergies, cold, strep throat, flu and COVID-19.

How can I protect myself and others?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

The CDC recommends this specific guidance to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people outside of your home; stay at least 6 feet from other people.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe at least daily.

In addition, the Virginia Department of Health offers these prevention tips.

Are there any cases in Lexington?

For the most up to date information regarding COVID-19 cases in our area, visit the Virginia Department of Health's COVID-19 Cases in Virginia Dashboard. Click on the Locality tab to view cases by county and city. Should a case on campus be positively identified, appropriate communications as guided by the Virginia Department of Health will occur.