2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Since January, officials at W&L have been monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and preparing for potential impacts on the university. The health and safety of the W&L community is our highest priority.

This website provides the latest information about Washington and Lee's actions to respond to the spread of COVID-19, including information about travel, safety and prevention, as well as frequently asked questions and resources for the W&L community.

Updates will continue to be provided on this website and via email updates to students, faculty, staff and parents, as needed.

Coronavirus Self-Checker

Worried that you might have COVID-19? 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.

Campus Updates

Last Updated: May 3, 2020

  • The Virginia Department of Health reports 24 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the greater Rockbridge County area, including five in the city of Lexington and eight in Buena Vista.
  • The university has postponed Commencement exercises until it is once again safe to gather in Lexington. On-campus commencement ceremonies for the Law Class of 2020 will take place on April 3, 2021, and for the undergraduate Class of 2020 on May 23, 2021. We will hold a virtual event conferring degrees on the originally scheduled dates: May 8 at 10:00 a.m. (law) and May 28 at 1:00 p.m. (undergraduate).
  • The following policies are in effect until further notice:
    • All university facilities will be closed to the public. No visitors or guests will be permitted in academic buildings, libraries, museums, student residences or dining facilities.
    • All athletic facilities, including the Fitness Center, are closed.
    • Campus facilities are only accessible via university card access to faculty and staff, as well as students registered with Student Affairs.
    • All events for prospective students and families, including admission visits, tours, information sessions and admitted student days, are canceled.

Advice for Those Traveling or Returning to Lexington

Anyone traveling or returning to Lexington from areas in the U.S. with widespread, ongoing community spread of COVID-19 should follow the guidance that The Centers for Disease Control has issued for travelers returning from Level 3 countries:

  • Stay home for 14 days from the time you left an area with widespread, ongoing community spread (Level 3 Travel Health Notice countries), monitor your health and practice social distancing.
    • Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
    • Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. Discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work.
    • Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the time you are practicing social distancing.
    • Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.
    • Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).


All university travel must be approved by the appropriate dean or vice president, who will determine whether it is essential.

Safety and Prevention

The safety of our community, and our ability to continue to offer classes on campus, is a collective endeavor. We cannot stress enough the importance of the community effort to safeguard against the spread of this disease.

COVID-19 prevention measures include working remotely when possible, practicing social distancing, avoiding close contact with others who are sick, frequent hand washing, avoiding touching your face, and regularly cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Read our FAQs about Safety and Prevention, including what to do if you come in contact with someone who may have COVID-19.