November 26, 2021

Updated testing strategy for Thanksgiving

Dear Eagles,

As we near Thanksgiving break, we wanted to thank you for your commitment to keeping the campus population healthy. Our COVID case numbers have remained low and transmission of the virus within the UMW community has been isolated. We believe that our high vaccination rates coupled with your efforts to comply with the indoor mask mandate and other mitigation strategies has made a true difference in our fight against COVID.

In an effort to continue safeguarding our community, we are adjusting our testing strategy for the week prior to and the week after Thanksgiving. This will include updated testing requirements for all unvaccinated members of the UMW community and will provide additional testing opportunities for those of you who are vaccinated.

Exit Testing (Week of November 15):

  • Required weekly testing will take place as scheduled for all unvaccinated UMW community members.  Please plan to attend during your regular weekly time. If you need to change your day/time, please email us at COVIDtesting@umw.edu.
  • At-will testing will also be available for vaccinated individuals. We expect to be able to accommodate 625 over the course of the week with an average of 156 tests available each day. You may sign up here.
  • There is no at-will or surveillance testing available during the week of Thanksgiving. Individuals who are symptomatic can still be seen and tested at the Student Health Center on Monday or Tuesday (11/22-11/23). Please call 540-654-1040 for an appointment.

Return Testing (Week of November 29):

  • Anyone with approved medical/religious exemptions and/or who are not fully vaccinated must test twice the week of Nov. 29 with at least 48 hours between their first and second test. The first test should take place before your first in-person class or group activity. The sign up for return testing will be sent next week.
  • Fully vaccinated students, staff, and faculty are invited to sign up for at-will testing, based on availability. Due to the congregate nature of our on-campus housing facilities, residential students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of testing. We expect to be able to accommodate 450 for testing over the course of the week with an average of 115 tests available each day. The sign up for at-will return testing will be sent next week.

A Note about CDC Guidance on Travel

It is important for our campus community to be aware that the CDC currently discourages travel for unvaccinated individuals unless absolutely necessary. If travel is unavoidable, the guidance calls for a seven-day quarantine upon return from travel in the case of a negative test and ten days without a negative test. UMW recognizes the challenges of this guidance as it relates to completing coursework and preparations for exams one week later. It is for this reason we have adjusted our testing expectations and will monitor compliance closely. We do ask that if you find yourself in situations that have a high risk for transmission, that you do everything you can to limit your contact with other individuals upon your return to campus. This may include avoiding non-essential gatherings, utilizing the dining to-go options, and practicing social distancing and correct mask use where in-person engagement is unavoidable.

Again, we want to thank you for your partnership in what has been a successful semester so far. This academic year began with an unexpected setback in the pandemic with the emergence of the Delta variant, and your patience, adaptability, and cooperation has been commendable.

We wish you a very happy Thanksgiving!

Sincerely,
Public Health Advisory Working Group