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 January 2021, Virginia adopted a “Final 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, however; 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 COVID-19 Preventative Measures, 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 Shenandoah 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 COVID-19 Preventative Measures
Reporting Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19
- All Shenandoah University students and employees must monitor their health daily, and 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.
- If a student or employee is experiencing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 (and no alternative diagnosis has been made), they must stay in their residence to avoid or minimize the possible spread of the virus to others, and notify their relevant faculty member(s) (students) or work supervisor (employees, volunteers and contractors).
- Students and employees do not need to 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.
Asymptomatic testing is critical for keeping the university and the local community safe. Students, faculty and staff who fail to comply with mandatory asymptomatic testing may be referred either to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs or the Office of Human Resources (OHR) for appropriate disciplinary action. The university will conduct:
- Entry testing at the start of the 2021-22 academic year for all students, faculty, and staff who are not fully vaccinated and are studying/working in-person.
- Weekly surveillance testing for all in-person students, faculty and staff who are not fully vaccinated.
Employees who are not fully vaccinated (and otherwise at-risk employees) shall observe physical distancing when working at any SU location.
Those who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear Masks whenever they are in any public indoor spaces.
From August 18, 2021 through Nov. 1, 2021:
- Everyone will be required to wear Masks when attending in-person classes held indoors — regardless of vaccination status
- Masks will be required for anyone using campus transportation and anyone in the Wilkins Wellness Center — regardless of vaccination status
- Masks are required for meetings/events of 50+ individuals in an indoor setting
- Masks are required for any non-university sponsored off-campus event/gathering/party of 30+ individuals
- Faculty or staff meeting with students, colleagues or visitors in private offices or conference rooms may ask the attendees to wear Masks
Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, is welcome and encouraged to wear a Mask whenever indoors and in close proximity to others.
For purposes of this policy, “Mask” means an item made of two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric that fits snugly against the sides of the face without any gaps, completely covering the nose and mouth and fitting securely under the chin or any other SU-approved face covering.
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 OHR.
An SU community member who is not fully vaccinated, and is permitted to be on campus, 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 partaking in a religious ritual.
- When giving a speech for broadcast or an audience, as long as the speaker is more than 10 feet from the audience. The exception does not apply to regular classroom lectures.
- When SU grants in writing to a SU community member a medical or religious exemption to the Mask wearing requirements in this policy. Students seeking such an exemption should contact the Wilkins Wellness Center (“WWC”). All other SU community members (including employees) should contact the OHR.
General Public Health Guidelines
In addition to complying with the policy’s requirements, 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.
Isolation Protocols – Positive for COVID-19
All individuals who test positive for COVID-19 — regardless of vaccination status — must isolate for the amount of time recommended by the CDC, which is currently 10 days.
Students or employees who have been informed by a licensed 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.
- If you are a fully vaccinated 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 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 cleared in writing to return to work by the OHR
Quarantine Protocols – Close Contact/Exposure
If you come into close contact with an individual with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and have therefore been exposed (or believe that may be the case),
- Report the exposure/possible exposure to the university using the Shenandoah Go app or Google Form on the website.
- If you are unvaccinated, you must quarantine for 14 days, unless WWC authorizes you to end quarantine early (if you are a student) or your primary health care provider or OHR authorizes you to end quarantine early (if you are an employee).
- If you are vaccinated and asymptomatic, you do NOT need to quarantine unless you begin experiencing symptoms. You must wear a Mask on campus and get tested 3-5 days after exposure. You must continue to wear the Mask on campus for 14 days following exposure or until you receive a negative test result.
- If you are vaccinated and symptomatic, you should contact WWC (if you are a student) and your primary health care provider (if you are an employee). You may need to quarantine and/or isolate based on severity of symptoms and specific living situations, and you may also need to get tested.
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.
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.
Published: July 2020
Updated: November 2020; May 18, 2021; May 28, 2021; August 18, 2021; Sept. 1, 2021; Sept. 9, 2021; Sept. 29, 2021; Oct. 11. 2021