For Fall 2021, the university will return to the largely in-person and residential experience that is at the core of a Shenandoah education. To ensure that we can return to pre-pandemic operations, vaccinations are encouraged for all members of the SU community; and vaccinations are required for certain populations of students, faculty, and staff with religious and medical exemptions permitted, in accordance with federal and state law.
The campus is open to all visitors with the stipulation that any visitor who has not been vaccinated must wear a mask or face covering and maintain appropriate physical distancing. We fully expect and are planning for clubs, organizations, performing arts, intercollegiate and intramural sports, and all other components of the student experience to return to pre-pandemic ways of gathering, recreating, and performing — in person and with minimal restrictions.
Executive Committee to Reopen Shenandoah University
The Executive Committee to Reopen Shenandoah University continues to work and serve as an advisory group to President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D. While most of the restrictions of the past academic year have been lifted, some remain for 2021-22. In addition, best practices will be updated and communicated as information and additional guidelines are made available and as the situation demands.
The Executive Committee to Reopen Shenandoah University meets regularly and follows the guidance of the CDC and the Virginia governor’s office. Contingencies are in place should we need to respond to an outbreak of the COVID-19 virus at an SU location. Committee members include:
- Mitchell Moore: Senior Vice President/Vice President for Advancement; Committee Chair
- Yolanda Barbier Gibson: Vice President for Student Affairs
- Cameron McCoy: Provost
- Robert Keasler: Vice President for Finance and Administration
- Scott Spriggs: Vice President for Recruitment and Marketing
- Bridget Lyons: Director of Athletics
- Rob DiCenzo: Dean and Professor, Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy
- Karen Abraham: Dean and Professor, School of Health Professions
- Lisa Levinson: Interim Dean and Assistant Professor, Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing
- Jeffrey Marlatt: Senior Associate Dean, Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Music, Shenandoah Conservatory
- Fritz Polite: Associate Vice President, Student Leadership and Development
- Amy Sarch: Associate Provost
- Sue O’Driscoll: Dean of Students
- Dahlia Ashford: Assistant Dean of Students for Diversity, Inclusion, and Residential Services
- Robbie Kidd: Professor and Chair, Biopharmaceutical Sciences
- Phil Evans: Assistant Vice President for Administration and University Counsel
- Rakene Lee: Director of Human Resources
- Barry Schnoor: Director of Physical Plant
- Courtney Jarrett: Assistant Vice President for Finance and Controller
- Susan Jenkins: Assistant Vice President for Marketing & Communications
- Hanan Kallash: Executive Director of the Wilkins Wellness Center (Student Health Services) and Counseling Center
- Howard Ballentine: Director of Institutional Research and Assessment
- Salli Hamilton: Director of University Advising
- Peter Labrecque: Director of Dining Services
- Jenna Steele: COVID-19 Testing Coordinator
Academic Calendar and Course Delivery Plan
The 2021-22 academic calendars can be found on the university’s website.
- Fall 2021 Academic Calendar for Conservatory, Arts & Sciences, School of Business, and School of Nursing students
- Fall 2021 Academic Calendar for School of Pharmacy and School of Health Professions students
The Fall 2021 course undergraduate and graduate delivery model is largely in-person instruction (87%) with a small number of flex, hybrid/blended and online options (13%). Hornet Hub lists the course delivery mode for all classes (see definitions of each mode of delivery). Students who need assistance exploring the possibility of incorporating flexible learning in their schedule should contact University Advising at email@example.com or call (540) 535-3524.
Public Health Plan, Community Mitigation Strategies
Regular communications from the president’s office, Division of Student Affairs, Office of Marketing & Communications (OMC), the Wilkins Wellness Center, student leaders, and Resident Assistants (RAs) will continue to keep the community informed. Information may take the form of peer-to-peer messaging, videos, social media posts, printed materials and signage, community forums, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) published to the COVID-19 website, and text and email updates to the community.
Widespread vaccinations within our community will allow for a return to in-person academic instruction without the strict limitations on spacing and capacity that we had to employ during this past academic year. Therefore, vaccinations are mandatory for students, faculty and staff who are members of any of the following groups:
- All students living in university housing
- President, vice presidents, and deans
- All students, coaches and staff involved in both university-sponsored (NCAA) athletics and intramural sports activities
- All students, faculty and staff involved in any music, theatre, dance or other group practice, rehearsal, ensemble or performance, whether for a class, a co-curricular activity, or a public event (this includes SCAA staff and teachers)
- All nursing/pharmacy/health professions/music therapy students, faculty and staff who a) are in-person for teaching, studying or clinical rotations or b) interact in person with individuals in (a)
- All students doing in-person student-teaching
- All Department of Public Safety (DPS) employees
- Anyone working/volunteering in SU’s Childcare Center
- Anyone working in/with student housing
- All employees working in person at the Wilkins Wellness Center and Counseling Center
- Any student, faculty or staff member traveling on university-sponsored or university-supported group or individual travel
- All students who are serving as Hornet Ambassadors, Orientation Leaders, Resident Assistants or FYS Mentors
- Anyone who regularly works with visitors, including Brandt Student Center (BSC) Info Desk employees, BSC staff, Student Financial Services staff, and all Admissions employees
- Food services employees
- All students participating in university-sponsored internships and select volunteer opportunities
How to Provide Proof of Vaccination
Students and employees must upload documentation of vaccination (a link to this form can also be found in the Shenandoah Go app or its successor).
How to Request an Exemption to the Vaccination Requirement
Students, faculty and staff may seek a medical or religious exemption to the vaccination requirement. Once the exemption process is completed, all of those who are not vaccinated will be required to wear a mask, and maintain an appropriate level of physical distance from others on campus; they may also be subject to mandatory asymptomatic surveillance testing (see below) and/or asked to leave campus for the duration of their quarantine or isolation should they become sick or exposed.
Shenandoah requires students, faculty, staff and visitors who are not fully vaccinated, and who are otherwise at risk (because of a medical condition), to wear “face coverings” or “surgical masks” while indoors, unless they require a respirator or other PPE. The face covering or surgical mask must cover the nose and mouth to contain the wearer’s respiratory droplets and help protect others and potentially themselves.
Students, faculty and staff who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear face coverings or surgical masks outdoors, which policy is consistent with new guidance from the CDC and governor’s office. See Shenandoah’s Personal Conduct and Social Distancing Policy.
From Aug. 18 through Oct. 1, 2021:
- Those who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear masks whenever they are in any public indoor spaces
- 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 all guests and family members — regardless of vaccination status — visiting the main campus during move-in days
- Masks are required for meetings/events of 50+ individuals in an indoor setting (therefore, masks will be required for New Student Convocation)
- 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.
“Face covering” refers to 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. Neck gaiters made of two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric, or folded to make two such layers are considered acceptable face coverings. Non-medical disposable masks for single use are permissible to use as face coverings. Face coverings shall not have exhalation valves or vents, which allow virus particles to escape.
“Surgical mask” refers to a mask that covers the nose and mouth and provides a physical barrier to fluids and particulate materials.
Asymptomatic Testing and Other Risk Mitigation Measures
Asymptomatic testing is critical for keeping the university and the local community safe. It is mandatory for all unvaccinated students, faculty and staff to test periodically as determined by the university based on community and campus case numbers. 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 Human Resources for appropriate disciplinary action. Those who test presumptively positive will be required to take a diagnostic COVID-19 test as soon as reasonably practicable.
- Visitors are welcome at all SU locations. Visitors who are not vaccinated must wear a mask and maintain an appropriate level of physical distance from others.
- Children are welcome to visit campus; those under the age of 12 who cannot currently be vaccinated must wear a face covering.
- Athletics and performances may have separate guidelines for visitors so please check before attending events on campus.
- Face coverings are required for all guests and family members visiting the main campus during move-in days.
- Masks are required for meetings/events of 50+ individuals in an indoor setting (therefore, masks will be required for New Student Convocation).
- The university will comply with any sanitation and disinfection obligations required under Virginia law, including the Final Permanent Standard, and as it may be amended. In addition, the university will follow the CDC Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection and use EPA-approved disinfectants to clean.
Procedures to Protect High-Risk Groups
- Those seeking accommodations may do so by contacting the Wilkins Wellness Center (students) or Human Resources (employees) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Access to Testing for Those with COVID-19 Symptoms
- Testing for symptomatic students will be offered through the Wilkins Wellness Center. Employees who are symptomatic should consult with Human Resources or their primary care physician for testing options.
Isolation and Quarantine
- Any student or employee who tests positive for COVID-19 must isolate and any unvaccinated residential student who tests positive for COVID-19 may be asked to leave campus to isolate until they complete the isolation period. There are limited isolation rooms available for residential students.
- Students who live off campus and test positive must isolate, and notify the Wilkins Wellness Center promptly. If the wellness center is not open, they should notify DPS at (540) 678-4444.
- Employees who test positive for COVID-19 may not physically return to work on campus until permitted under Virginia law, including the Final Permanent Standard, as it may be amended. Employees who test positive must also notify their immediate supervisor and Human Resources promptly.
- Students or employees who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 should take the following actions depending on their situation:
- Close contacts who are unvaccinated should quarantine for 14 days based on CDC guidance.
- Close contacts who are vaccinated and asymptomatic: People who are fully vaccinated do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. Fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.
- Close contacts who are vaccinated and symptomatic should get tested and may have to quarantine and/or isolate based on severity of symptoms and specific living situations. Students may contact the Wilkins Wellness Center and faculty and staff may contact HR with any questions or concerns.
- Any unvaccinated residential student (with an approved exemption) who has been in close contact, may be asked to leave campus until they complete the quarantine period.
University Travel Policy
Students, faculty and staff at Shenandoah University who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, or who have an approved medical or religious exemption, are permitted to participate in university-sponsored or university-supported group or individual travel and must follow guidelines posted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
- CDC Guidelines for Domestic Travel During COVID-19
- CDC Guidelines for International Travel During COVID-19
Plan to Manage a Campus Outbreak
Factors considered in a decision to move to hybrid or online classes, or to close residential facilities, would include community and campus case numbers, as well as:
- The university’s ability to meet or provide essential functions such as safety, shelter, food service, and cleaning/sanitation.
- The university’s ability to deliver courses safely.
- The number of positive cases in the greater Winchester community grows to a sufficient level so as to endanger the university community.
- The university is actively servicing, quarantining/isolating students at a level that cannot be adequately maintained by the university’s staff.
In the event of a campus dismissal and/or shutdown, this decision and all subsequent necessary steps will be communicated to faculty, staff and students by the president of the university in consultation with the Executive Committee to Reopen Shenandoah University.
Residential and Extracurricular Activities
The university will adhere to the higher education guidelines outlined by the CDC and ACHA with respect to residential and extracurricular activities. As we return to pre-pandemic operations, restrictions have eased, but we still urge students to be vigilant in monitoring their own health and wellness moving forward. Students must adhere to policies outlined in the Personal Conduct and Social Distancing Policy.
The safety of students residing on campus is of vital importance. Modifying previous norms and promoting behaviors that reduce the spread of the virus are critical to our residential population.
Quarantine and Isolation Spaces
Quarantine and isolation spaces are critical in the event of an outbreak on campus. Several areas have been designated as locations for students who have contracted the virus.
- South Campus Commons (SCC) has 20 rooms designated for isolation.
- With guidance from the Wilkins Wellness Center and VDH, students may also be able to quarantine in their assigned campus residence if they have an exterior entrance.
Shenandoah’s extracurricular activities provide opportunities for students to develop outside of the classroom. These experiences are vital to student growth and our plans call for a return to pre-pandemic operations and practices in all areas.
Encouraging Student Compliance
All students are expected to adhere consistently to policies and pandemic-prevention expectations detailed in university communications.
The opening plan for the Fall 2021 semester shall comply with Virginia law, including the Final Permanent Standard (and as it may be amended), as well as guidelines from both the CDC and governor’s office, and is subject to change at any time should the situation require updates or adjustments.