May 28, 2020

On campus activities suspended through June 30

To the campus community:

As noted earlier, guidance from the state and from public health officials – including the Governor’s stay-at-home order into June – has meant that summer school instruction will take place remotely, and we are now in the process of letting incoming students know that orientation will be virtual as well. In addition, all in-person campus-based or sponsored events and programs at Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Dahlgren are cancelled through June 30.

Paul Messplay
VP for Administration and Finance

Jeff McClurken
Chief of Staff, Office of the President

A call for volunteers for the Virginia Medical Reserve

Dear faculty, staff, and students:

On behalf of Governor Northam, I am writing today to encourage you to consider volunteering for one of the worthiest causes in our society at this time:  fighting the COVID-19 virus. The Governor is looking for an additional 30,000 medical and non-medical volunteers to provide support for the immediate surge in our hospitals, long term care facilities and alternate care sites. These volunteers would become a part of the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).

The MRC is a force of dedicated volunteers who stand ready to support Virginia communities in the event of a public health emergency. Signing up to help in this life-saving venture is a great opportunity for health care majors and other students interested in doing their part to assist fellow Virginians, and to fulfill UMW’s commitment to service. Medical experience is recommended but not required. There are many opportunities for everyone.

To sign up as a Virginia Medical Reserve Corps Volunteer, please visit Virginia Volunteer Health System( If you have any questions, please contact

As we approach the end of this challenging semester, I am reminded yet again of your resilience as we have been striving to provide you the best education possible during this unsettling time. I know it has not been easy, but our UMW family is strong. As is our Commonwealth. Let’s continue to work together to keep us moving forward.



Troy Paino

Retrieval of student belongings

The following message is from the Office of Student Affairs.

To all faculty and staff:

As was described in this April 6 message to students, starting tomorrow and continuing through May 1, individual residential students and their family members will be on campus picking up their belongings. Per state public health guidance and recommendations to colleges and universities about belongings retrieval, our process allows for a limited number of students on campus at a time.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Assistant Dean for Residence Life and Housing Dave Fleming.

April is National Financial Literacy Month

In an effort to keep some sense of normalcy, as well as some financial education for our employees, VRS is offering some online courses for employees during the month of April –  Also ICMA-RC at (you can check with your Provider for their webinar schedules) are offering online courses and pre-recorded webinars for your use. April is considered National Financial Literacy Month and what better time to take a financial check-up to see how we are all doing.


Campus notification regarding second UMW staff member to test positive for COVID-19

The following message is from the Office of Public Safety. 

We are writing to inform you that the University learned this morning of a second member of our Lee Hall staff with a confirmed case of  COVID-19. The source of the infection is unknown.

Appropriate public health protocols have been followed. The University has been in contact with the Virginia Department of Health, which has the responsibility of tracing potential exposures based on the timeline of this incident. VDH will be notifying and offering guidance to those who had been in direct contact with this individual.

We are proceeding with the plan of keeping Lee Hall closed, in an abundance of caution, for thorough cleaning by a licensed firm skilled in CDC guidelines.

We continue to emphasize the great importance of staying away from campus and teleworking if at all possible. The CDC- and state-issued health guidelines regarding COVID-19 are designed to ensure not only your own well-being, but the well-being of others as well:

·         Engage in physical distancing. Do not go to work or school. Keep at least 6 feet from other individuals.

·         Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

·         Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

·         Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands.

·         Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

·         Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

·         Watch for cough, troubled breathing, or other signs of respiratory infection.

·         Monitor temperature for a fever above 100.4 degrees F.

·         If you develop a cough, fever, and/or difficulty breathing, call a healthcare provider or dial 911. You may also call the Virginia Health Department at 877-ASK-VDH3.

·         If you test positive for COVID-19, please inform your supervisor and/or Human Resources. All such communications are strictly confidential.

These are unsettling times, and our thoughts are with each member of the community. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Emergency Management Director Mike Muckinhaupt at or 540-654-2108.

Zoom Security Recommendations

The following message is from the Office of Information Technologies.

Tips for Securing Zoom and IT  

In recent days, there has been a surge in the news regarding Zoom privacy and security. To maximize the security of all users and minimize the possibility for disruption, Zoom recently enabled some additional precautions to help prevent unwanted participants from joining meetings.

With more people using Zoom than ever before, the video-conferencing platform has become a target for unwanted attendees to try to interrupt meetings in a number of disruptive capacities. This gatecrashing, or “Zoom-bombing,” has been reported nationally, and has occurred at many other universities.

To prevent this and other privacy and security issues, please follow these recommendations and safety tips when using Zoom (whether a free, shared, or UMW-owned account):

  1. Avoid sharing your meeting link publicly (on social media or a public website). Share the link in a closed environment like Canvas or direct email.
  2. Change your screen sharing settings to “Host-Only.” Note: If you are using a UMW-owned Zoom account, we have edited the settings to make this the default. You will need to change the settings during your meeting if you want to allow other participants to share their screen.
  3. Consider turning on the Waiting Room feature. This will require the host to approve every participant before entry into the meeting. Keep in mind that if a participant is disconnected, you will need to re-approve them for entry, so this option requires keeping an eye on your Zoom notifications during the meeting.
  4. Alternatively, consider locking your meeting (via the “Manage Participants” button in your Zoom tool tray) once all attendees are present. Keep in mind that if a participant loses connection, they will not be able to reenter unless you unlock the meeting.
  5. Keep the camera on your computer covered, and the microphone turned off when not in use.
  6. Don’t use the same password for your Zoom account that you use for other systems.
  7. Zoom has recently released patches to address newly discovered security issues so please update your client as soon as possible. You can use the “Check for updates” feature in your Zoom client.
    1.     Sign in to Zoom desktop client.
    2.     Click your profile picture, then click “Check for Updates” If there is a newer version, Zoom will download and install it.
  1. For more information, we recommend these two articles:

From the Zoom blog: Best Practices for Securing Your Virtual Classroom
From the Electronic Frontier Foundation:  Harden Your Zoom Settings to Protect Your Privacy and Avoid Trolls


Collection of Protective Gear

Due to shortages from the COVID-19 outbreak, the Office of Emergency Management and Safety is collecting Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from buildings throughout campus. This is to assist in an accurate inventory of these items, as well as to store these items in a central location. We will be collecting the following items:

  • Gloves
  • N95 Masks or Surgical Masks
  • Procedure Gowns
  • Tyvek Suits
  • Face Shields
  • Any other PPE pertinent to Field Operations pertaining to COVID-19

Please contact Mike Muckinhaupt, Director of Emergency Management & Safety by e-mail at to schedule a pickup of these.

Employee Appreciation Day, May 11

A message from the Office of Human Resources.

The 2020 UMW holiday calendar designates May 11 as Employee Appreciation Day; this has not changed, we still have the day off!

Traditionally, this day is intended to give faculty and staff a break after Commencement. Although there’s no graduation ceremony this spring, UMW employees have been working tirelessly responding to COVID-19 and continuing to do great work under very challenging circumstances. We want to show our gratitude with this well-deserved break on Monday, May 11.

Thank you for all you do, and enjoy your time off to rest, relax and recharge.


Best wishes, and Be Well!

Beth Williams
Executive Director for Human Resources

2020 Open Enrollment for health benefits and flexible spending accounts (FSAs)

Starting Friday, May 1, it’s Open Enrollment!  This is your window each year to enroll in a health plan and/or a flexible reimbursement account (FSA), change your health plan, add or remove family members or waive state health coverage.

Changes to your premiums, health benefits and FSAs will take effect on July 1, 2020.

Plans Offered Administrator Available
COVA Care Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Statewide and elsewhere
COVA HealthAware Aetna Statewide and elsewhere
COVA HDHP Anthem Statewide and elsewhere
Kaiser Permanente HMO Kaiser Permanente Regional, primarily in Northern Virginia
Optima Health Vantage HMO Optima Health Regional, in Hampton Roads
TRICARE Supplement Selman & Company Statewide and elsewhere for employees or their spouses who are military retirees


Need help making decisions?  ALEX, your online benefits counselor, is on the job again!  ALEX can assist you in reviewing your health plan options, do the math based on your input, and recommend a plan for you.

See the Spotlight newsletter, which was mailed to your home address. Or you can visit the Open Enrollment page for more information.

Make your elections on EmployeeDirect or complete, sign and mail an enrollment form.

The deadline to enroll or make changes is Friday, May 15, 2020.

Questions?  Contact your Benefits Administrator or send an email


All good things must come to an end!

Clearly, with all good intentions, some folks at UMW started what was described as “a good, old-fashioned chain letter.” However, we have learned that chain letters are prohibited by the University’s Network and Computer Use Policy. Therefore, if you receive such a letter by email, please disregard it. We do encourage you to inspire your colleagues – just do so by emailing them individually.

For your enjoyment, however, here are a few things that were shared via the short-lived chain letter.