October 24, 2021

Update on campus COVID conditions and vaccinations

Hello all,

We know that many of you have been following developments lately with news of variants and vaccinations as we look to the arrival of students back on campus shortly. Throughout the summer, Dave has been leading the Public Health Advisory Working Group in conversations about vaccinations, testing, masking, tracing, and preparing for the fall. Jeff has been working with the other Public Higher Education COVID Directors and statewide officials at the VDH, Departments of Education, Labor, and Commerce and Trade to clarify expectations, options, and directions for the fall. This message is part of an effort to update faculty and staff as we get closer to the start of the semester.

First, we want to acknowledge the fluidity of the current situation and note that we are working with state and local officials to make sure we have the most up-to-date information. That fluidity will mean that some of our fall plans will continue to be in flux, even once the semester starts. We will endeavor to provide regular updates along the way.

Second, we wanted to share the progress we’ve made so far with our vaccination rates for students and employees.

  • We have heard from nearly 91% of our students so far, and we know now that nearly 85% of all students are confirmed vaccinated or in the process of being vaccinated. We are working to learn the status of the remaining 9% and we will be asking some of you to help with that process.
  • We have heard from over 94% of our employees so far, and we know now that 87% of all our employees are confirmed vaccinated or will be fully vaccinated soon. If you are part of the less than 6% who have not submitted the survey letting us know your vaccine status, please fill out the Employee Vaccination Survey. If you are still looking to get vaccinated, check out Vaccines.gov, your health care provider, or take advantage of Giant’s visit on August 18 where they will be offering free Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson’s COVID Vaccines to students and employees.

Third, a reminder that given local COVID conditions and the CDC’s recommendations, we are strongly recommending that vaccinated people wear masks indoors when social distancing isn’t possible. This is in addition to our ongoing requirement that unvaccinated people mask indoors. We are keeping a close eye on those conditions, and we are in conversations with the state and with other schools about potential modifications to those recommendations.

We hope to provide a full plan next week as we keep working on finalizing the vaccination status of our employees and students, continuing our partnership with the local health department and Mary Washington Healthcare, and watching closely the national and local situation.

There will be more of these updates as we move closer to the fall semester.

Best,

Jeff McClurken, Chief of Staff and COVID Director

Dave Fleming, Asst. Dean of Residence Life and COVID Monitoring and Tracing Coordinator