To members of the UMW Community:
We hope this message finds you well as we begin this new year and that you have had a safe and healthy holiday season. We are excited about the start to the spring semester and students’ return to campus and have some important updates to share regarding the next few weeks.
Throughout the winter break, the COVID-19 Implementation Team has been in close contact with local public health and health care officials, as well as colleagues around the Commonwealth. We are carefully monitoring the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, a rising number of hospitalizations, an increase in the positivity rate and the overall strain this is placing on our regional health care providers. We have been informed that area hospitals, as well as those up and down the I-95 corridor, are either at or beyond capacity.
And while the longer-term news is quite good with the promise of multiple vaccines on the horizon, the situation on the ground at this time, and for the next few weeks, is very fluid. Current projections have identified a post-holiday peak in cases at the end of this month or early next month. It is simply too soon to tell where things will stand on January 25, our planned first day of on-campus instruction.
Consequently, and in an abundance of caution, we will delay our return to campus for the spring semester by one week.
- All spring-term classes will start remotely on January 25 as previously scheduled, however the first day of on-campus instruction will now be February 1.
- Where possible, employees – as determined by departmental needs in conversation with their supervisors – will continue telework through the end of January and campus buildings will remain locked until February 1.
- Move-in for residential students will be pushed back by one week until January 30-31. Further details for residential students will be provided by Residence Life. Students with extenuating circumstances should contact the Office of Residence Life.
We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust accordingly. If worst case projections materialize, we may need to revisit these plans in order to provide a bit more time to get past the current crest of cases. By January 20, we plan to announce any additional revisions or confirm the February 1 return to in-person instruction and prior move-in information.
Sign-up information for COVID-19 testing for both residential and off-campus students will be distributed at that time. While this delay is not something any of us wished for, we make these changes with the firm belief that the worst of the pandemic will soon be behind us and UMW’s return to some sense of normalcy is in sight.
Jeff McClurken and Tim O’Donnell