Published: July 2020
Updated: November 2020; May 18, 2021; May 28, 2021
Policy Rationale and Scope
At Shenandoah University we are committed to being a community of care. We do our best to care for our neighbor and make our community one of compassion, responsibility, advocacy and justice. Furthermore, in response to the COVID-19 public health pandemic, Shenandoah University has become legally obligated to implement health and safety measures required by Virginia law. For example, in Executive Order 67 (Phase 3), Governor Northam states that “Institutions of higher education shall comply with all applicable requirements under the Phased Guidance of Virginia Forward and the guidelines for all Business Sectors.” Those guidelines require all Virginia businesses, among other things, to establish policies and practices for maintaining appropriate physical distance between persons not living in the same household. In January 2021, Virginia also adopted a “Permanent Standard,” which requires Virginia employers, including private universities like Shenandoah, to take certain steps to control, prevent and mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 to and among employees and employers.
Shenandoah University is so much more than a Virginia employer; it is a vibrant community composed of students, guests/visitors, and volunteers and employees (collectively, “community members”). Therefore, Shenandoah University has adopted the following policy on Personal Conduct and Social Distancing, which is consistent with Virginia law, but also imposes additional obligations on its community members.
The policy is applicable to, and enforceable against, all SU community members who are physically present on a university owned or operated campus or property (“campus” or “campuses”), or who participate (including spectate) in a university program or activity (“programs”) on campus. This policy, as may be amended from time to time, shall remain in effect until retracted by the University President. In the event Virginia law is or becomes more restrictive with respect to any component of this policy, Virginia law shall control.
Policy on Personal Conduct and Social Distancing
Shenandoah University requires all community members:
- To evaluate their health honestly and for students and employees to report any COVID-19 signs or symptoms to the university on the Shenandoah Go app or using the appropriate symptom checker Google Form on the website, to stay home if experiencing COVID-19 signs or symptoms or otherwise feeling ill, and to notify their relevant faculty member(s) (students) or work supervisor (employees, volunteers and contractors). Beginning May 20, 2021, students and employees need not submit a report on the Shenandoah Go app on a daily basis; they only need to submit on days when they are experiencing signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
- If not fully vaccinated, to wear a non-valved surgical, two-ply cloth, or other SU-approved face covering (“Mask”) over their nose and mouth in any enclosed campus building or structure, including academic and administrative buildings (“buildings”).
If you have been fully vaccinated, you need not wear a Mask indoors or outdoors on a SU campus or when attending SU-sponsored activities. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Masks may still be required for all persons in a SU class or activity (e.g., Conservatory dance classes) where the class or activity leader has requested to maintain that measure, and the Provost or Vice President for Student Affairs has approved the request in writing.
Mask Implementation Procedures
Students, staff, and faculty who require others to use a clear Mask for communication purposes should make the request to the appropriate office. For students, the request should be made to Student Support Services and for employees to the Office of Human Resources (“OHR”).
An SU community member who is not fully vaccinated is not required to wear a Mask in the few limited situations described below. In each of these situations, members should maintain as much physical difference from others as possible.
- During outdoor physical activities, athletic practices and athletic events; however, individuals must abide by the requirements of the specific facility in which the activity is occurring, and to follow, if applicable, NCAA/ODAC Standard Operating Procedures for masking and social distancing.
- When eating and drinking.
- When alone in an enclosed individual office, or when alone, or with your roommate(s), in an on-campus residence hall room or apartment/suite.
- When communicating with someone who is hearing impaired or otherwise disabled and where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication.
- When exercising or using exercise equipment
- When playing a musical instrument when using a mask would prohibit the playing of the instrument, so long as 10 feet of physical distance can be maintained, either indoors or outdoors
- When partaking in a religious ritual
- When giving a speech for broadcast or an audience, as long as the speaker is more than ten feet from the audience. The exception does not apply to regular classroom lectures.
- When a SU community member suffers from a medical condition that makes wearing a Mask a health and/or safety risk to the member, or belongs to a religious organization with a sincerely held religious belief that prohibits its members from wearing a Mask. Students seeking a medical or religious exemption should notify the Wilkins Wellness Center in writing that they have a medical exemption. All other SU community members (including employees) should notify in writing the OHR. The medical condition itself does not need to be disclosed, nor does the notification require input from a medical provider.
Per Virginia Governor’s Executive Order No. 79, Virginians are no longer required to socially distance, however the CDC continues to encourage social distancing for unvaccinated individuals.
In addition to complying with the policy’s requirements (including those related to wearing masks and social distancing), the university encourages community members to follow public health guidelines to preserve community health and slow the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. These guidelines include the following:
- Avoid shaking hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
If you were exposed to an individual with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, but you have been fully vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine or isolate (or get tested) unless you begin experiencing signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
Any individual who experiences symptoms consistent with COVID-19, whether fully vaccinated or not, should isolate themselves from others, be clinically evaluated for COVID-19, and tested for SARS-CoV-2 if indicated. The symptomatic fully vaccinated person should inform their healthcare provider of their vaccination status at the time of presentation to care.
Sick students or employees who have been informed by a qualified medical provider that they have COVID-19 (either as the result of a diagnosis or a positive test) shall:
- Report a positive result to the university using the Shenandoah Go app or Google Form on the website.
- Follow their medical provider’s advice and cooperate with any contact tracer who contacts you.
- If you are a residential student, stay in the new residence hall room you will be assigned by the university, and if you are a student who does not live on campus, or an employee, stay in your home, for no fewer than 10 days from the start of your symptoms. Stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19. During your period of isolation,
- Do not come to campus for classes, work, or any activities
- Do not engage in events or activities where other people are present
- Do not interact with others in person
- If you are a student, follow any directive imposed by a Wilkins Wellness Center (“WWC”) health care professional and/or residence life staff member, and end isolation only if you have been cleared by a WWC health care professional or the Virginia Department of Health.
- If you are an employee, end isolation only when permitted in accordance with the SU Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan (Effective September 25, 2020).
Students who fail to comply with this policy, and/or any associated procedures or protocols, may be removed from a classroom and/or subject to further discipline under the Student Code of Conduct, including for instances in which a student violates this policy.
University employees who fail to comply with this policy, and any associated procedures or protocols, may be subject to disciplinary action, including reassignment, probation and up to and including dismissal from employment by the university, consistent with applicable procedures.
The university reserves the right to alter and/or change this policy, procedures, guidelines and protocols in response to changing circumstances. Shenandoah University will make reasonable efforts to notify community members of changes through university email, newsletters, and/or where appropriate, signage. However, it is up to each community member to review this policy for the most recent updates.