For the 2021-22 academic year, UMW plans to reactivate and preserve its time-honored experiences: interactions with classmates and professors, participation in unique traditions, and involvement in myriad activities, clubs and athletic events.
To do that, though, all members of the community must exercise common sense practices. Vaccination is the single most important tool we can utilize as we transition back to the in-person activities that define the UMW experience.
Please check out COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for 2021-2022 Academic Year.
All students physically accessing campus services and classes must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning to campus for the Fall 2021 semester.
Two permitted exemptions to the University’s vaccination requirement still allow a student to participate in person. Those with approved exemptions must undergo daily symptom attestation and weekly COVID testing as well as mask and socially distance.
- A medical exemption will be granted to students for whom receiving the COVID-19 vaccination is medically inadvisable. Documentation from the student’s health provider must be provided.
- A religious exemption will be granted in accordance with Certificate of Religious Exemption (Form CRE-1). This request must be notarized.
UMW expects all employees to be vaccinated. Employees who do not meet this expectation will participate in daily attestation and weekly COVID-19 prevalence testing. The Executive Directive from Governor Northam makes this vaccination expectation a requirement for state employees and most in-person state contractors.
Besides vaccines, the wearing of a well-fitting mask is highly effective at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, including its variants. Consequently, to start the semester, masks will be required indoors in public spaces, which include all classrooms, laboratories, meeting spaces, foyers and hallways, and auditoriums. Masks are not required in one’s own residence hall room, private offices, other spaces where you are alone, and when eating and drinking. We are also developing a process for limited exemptions to this indoor requirement for certain academic, co-curricular, and physical activities. We strongly recommend wearing a mask when outdoors in large groups.
One of the important changes to the CDC’s guidance in recent weeks is that everyone who has COVID symptoms, regardless of their vaccination status, should stay away from others and get tested. Students can contact the Student Health Center, while employees should consult their health care provider or get tested at a local pharmacy. In addition, vaccinated people who are exposed but are asymptomatic should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure.
As we’ve all learned since March of 2020, COVID-19 is a moving target. Thus, members of the UMW community need to be flexible and adjust as conditions change. The Public Health Advisory Working Group and the Cabinet will keep a close eye on many of the metrics we measure on our dashboard and the local COVID conditions. These include case counts, weekly testing numbers, quarantine/isolation space availability, local hospital capacity, local positivity rates and transmission numbers, among others. And as necessary we will take additional temporary steps to further protect the UMW community, including limiting gathering sizes, changing modality of courses, limiting visitors, etc. We also look forward to conditions that warrant lifting of restrictions.