Sunday, May 22, 2022

W&M Provides Update on COVID-19 Protocols to Students, Faculty, and Staff

(Courtesy of William & Mary)

WILLIAMSBURG — The College of William & Mary COVID[-19] Response Team announced on Jan. 18, 2022 that over 96 percent of students who will be on campus this semester are fully vaccinated and almost 82 percent have already reported receiving a COVID-19 booster.

In an open letter signed by Chief Operating Officer and COVID-19 Director Amy Sebring, the College announced that it will be updating its COVID-19 dashboard as the semester gets underway.

“Given the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, we can expect case numbers to be higher this semester,” writes Sebring in the letter. “As we’ve seen every semester, we typically experience a spike in the first few weeks. So, once again, we will be watching the data and adapting as needed.”

The College has been receiving pre-arrival tests from its students who are planning to be on campus this semester. To date, the school says that it has received over 2,000 pre-arrival tests.

“The results so far have been encouraging, with fewer than 8 percent of students testing positive,” Sebring writes.

As the school preps for in-person classes, it says that all students are required to provide proof of a booster if they are eligible to receive one or they must have an approved disability or religious exemption.

While this is the policy for W&M students, faculty and staff are not required to be vaccinated as a condition of employment but are highly encouraged and strongly recommended by W&M COVID-19 policy to get vaccinated.

This change in policy reflects changes W&M has made to fit Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Executive Directive 2, which is a change in public policy for state employees and prohibits vaccine requirements as a condition of employment.

According to Governor Youngkin’s Executive Directive 2, “We will continue to ensure that every Virginian has access to the information necessary to make an informed decision about the COVID-19 vaccination and ensure all who desire a vaccination can obtain one. However, the requirement of state employees to receive COVID-19 vaccination and disclose their vaccination status or engage in mandatory testing is harmful to their individual freedoms and personal privacy. My Administration will not require that these interests be sacrificed as a condition of employment in the Executive Branch of our government.”

The school says that although they will not require it, they strongly encourage employees to share whether they are vaccinated. Currently, around 95 percent of W&M’s employee population has been vaccinated and over 75 percent is reporting that they have been boosted.

W&M will continue to require masks in shared indoor spaces at all times unless an individual is eating or drinking. As part of their mask efforts, W&M has ordered 40,000 KN95 masks for students, faculty, and staff.

Please check out W&M’s COVID-19 response webpage for more updates on its COVID-19 protocols and for other information such as the W&M COVID-19 tracker.

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