May 29, 2022

COVID update with results of entry testing

Dear fellow Eagles,

It is with a profound sense of relief and gratitude that we share results of our entry testing that took place on Sunday, January 9. As a community, we had relatively low numbers of positive cases, resulting in a positivity rate of about 6%. With the omicron variant still spreading quickly across the Commonwealth, we are grateful for your commitment to the various mitigation strategies you have used, both here and at home. Your commitment to getting vaccines and boosters if you are able, consistent masking, and thoughtfulness when interacting with others has set us up for what we hope will be another successful in-person semester at UMW. Keep up the great work and remain vigilant in your efforts!

Based on the outcome of our entry testing, we are moving forward with our stated plan of beginning in-person classes tomorrow. Our Public Health Advisory Working Group, which has been working tirelessly over the last few weeks to prepare for the semester, will continue to consult with our local healthcare and public health partners to monitor and assess conditions. Modeling indicates we have not reached the peak of this latest surge as a region, so we will continue to monitor our own cases carefully.

For now, classes will begin in-person tomorrow unless specific faculty have announced otherwise. Students: Please regularly check your email and Canvas for updates from your professors.

Here are a few additional updates:

Weekly testing. Next week, we will continue weekly testing of any person who is not up to date on their vaccines. This will include faculty, staff, and students who are not vaccinated or are eligible for the booster, but have not yet received it.

Randomized surveillance testing. As mentioned in our previous correspondence, we will begin randomized testing of individuals who are up to date on their vaccines. This process will be announced next week.

KN95 masks available. UMW has acquired a supply of KN95 masks for distribution. Students who need a higher quality mask may obtain one at no cost from the University Center’s Information desk, beginning tomorrow and during times when the desk is staffed. Academic and administrative departments may request masks for their employees through the Facilities work order system.  Remember that cloth masks alone are not very effective in the face of omicron; however, double masking is also a good solution to increase the quality of protection.

Dining. For the time being, dining will continue to only offer take-out/grab-and-go options. We will reassess on a weekly basis with hopes of returning to in-person dining as soon as it is feasible to do so.

In addition, please review our Spring 2022 FAQs for a more comprehensive look at our mitigation plans and important clarifications. The FAQs address the many questions you have posed over the last several days with regard to boosters, masking, entry and weekly testing (including the addition of random surveillance testing of vaccinated/boosted population), updated quarantine and isolation protocols, and additional efforts to maintain a healthy campus. More information regarding instruction, dining, and upcoming events is also outlined in the FAQs.

Thank you again for your ongoing commitment to the wellbeing of this community. If you haven’t done so, please respond to the booster survey as this will assist us in our testing and quarantine efforts. (A reminder went out this week to anyone who has not yet completed the survey). Continue to be thoughtful of your interactions and be sure to mask up when you are around others.

 

With gratitude,

Troy Paino, President

Juliette Landphair, Vice President for Student Affairs

Jeffrey McClurken, Chief of Staff and UMW COVID Director

Paul Messplay, Vice President for Administration and Finance

Tim O’Donnell, Interim Provost

Shavonne Shorter, Associate Provost for Equity and Inclusion & Chief Diversity Officer

Susan Worrell, Interim Vice President for Advancement