William & Mary announced Wednesday several measures to safeguard the campus community against the coronavirus (COVID-19) and take part in the national effort to slow its spread.
As part of those efforts, the college is implementing several interim policies beginning March 12 through at least April 3, W&M President Katherine A. Rowe announced in a message to students, faculty and staff.
All in-person classes are suspended with classes beginning again online or remotely on March 23. Courses that are already online will continue as scheduled. Students are encouraged to return home or stay home. Additionally, W&M is canceling all university-sponsored travel and events.
More information may be found on the W&M COVID-19 website, and additional details are expected to be released later this week. The university will decide by April 1 whether the interim policies will be extended.
Rowe said the administration has focused its efforts around four goals: safeguarding the health of students, faculty and staff; ensuring students complete their classes; maintaining the university’s research and other operations; and joining in the national effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 to protect communities.
“These decisions will have consequences for each of us professionally and personally,” said Rowe. “Changing near-term plans and longstanding habits requires time, effort and patience.”
“For many of us as individuals, there will be disappointments and frustrations. For some, there may be real sacrifices, unexpected challenges or burdens that are hard to see. So I ask that you hold close our core values of belonging and respect.”
The university has been monitoring the spread of the virus since January, and the W&M Emergency Management Team issued regular updates over the past several weeks. The President’s Cabinet and EMT have been meeting throughout spring break and consulting with the Virginia Department of Health and other agencies and institutions of higher education.
Departments and offices across campus have also been working to support the prevention and response efforts. For instance, Information Technology and the Studio for Teaching and Learning Innovation have been collaborating to support the move to remote learning. A website was launched this week to provide online instruction, remote learning and technology resources and support for faculty and staff.
Facilities Management has continued its deep cleaning of high-touch areas throughout campus, and the Reves Center continues providing guidance to students and travelers on travel restrictions and other international issues related to the spread of the virus.
The university will continue to monitor the ever-evolving situation and update the campus community with additional details by the beginning of April. In the meantime, the latest information may be found on W&M’s COVID-19 website.
“William & Mary is a resilient community,” said Rowe. “I have seen this firsthand, particularly in recent weeks. We take care of each other. I am confident that will be the case in the coming days and weeks. Thanks to each of you for your creativity, understanding and commitment to this shared effort.”