This plan has been reviewed by the State Council of Higher Education and has been found to be compliant in containing the required components of the ‘Higher Education Reopening Guidance,’ which was developed in consultation with the Virginia Department of Health.
Updated for Spring 2021
Shenandoah University, established in 1875, is a private, nationally recognized university that blends professional career experiences with a liberal arts and sciences education. There are nearly 4,000 students across more than 200 areas of study in seven different schools. The student population is made up of approximately half undergraduate students and half graduate students.
The university has had a Pandemic Outbreak plan as part of its Emergency Operations Plan (pg 34) for more than five years and was able to quickly adapt to the changes brought on by COVID-19. In the first half of March, Shenandoah was one of the first Virginia universities to announce it was moving to university-wide online instruction due to COVID-19. The transition was seamless due to the preparation of the university’s Incident Command System Committee(ICS), which began meeting in late January to discuss and monitor the developing situation, the dedication of the faculty (most of whom were already trained prior to this year to teach classes online), and the university’s iMLearning Program, which provides a MacBook, iPad and Apple pencil to every full-time student and all faculty.
In August 2020 Shenandoah University successfully reopened all sites for in-person instruction for fall with flexible options for delivering classes online as needed. We intend on opening for the spring 2021 semester using many of the same protocols from the fall including the continued use of the ShenFlex model.
While about 10% of Shenandoah students are already enrolled in programs designed to be delivered online only, the majority – 90% – of the university’s students will continue to use the ShenFlex model (adapted from the HyFlex model) for the ’20-21 academic year. ShenFlex courses are largely face-to-face, and ShenFlex, by its very nature, can immediately pivot to online learning. All classes will therefore have fully online options for students and faculty who are unable to participate face-to-face. Classroom capacities are being reduced to accommodate social distancing. In all classrooms, students will be required to wear masks and maintain a 6-foot distance.
Our reopening plan, presented in FAQ format, fully addresses the four themes outlined in Governor Ralph Northam’s reopening guidance for Virginia’s institutions of higher education provided that the governor allows the commonwealth to enter advanced stages of the Virginia Forward plan predicated on:
- positive trends in public health data
- surge health care capacity, specifically in the Lord Fairfax Health District
- climate of adherence to sound public health principles
- COVID-19 campus preparedness plans developed and consistent with guidance set forth by the commonwealth
In accordance with the reopening document, Shenandoah University offers this attestation certifying that our plan is in compliance with the governor’s reopening guidance.
We have consulted with the Lord Fairfax Health District, the Loudoun Health District and the Fairfax Health District about the specific measures needed to ensure, to the best of our ability, the health and safety of Shenandoah University’s students, faculty, staff, and the communities in which we operate.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) For Spring Reopening
What was the process for establishing a COVID-19 coordinator/campus team and who serves on this team?
President Tracy Fitzsimmons established an Executive Committee to Reopen Shenandoah University with representation from university leadership. Members include:
Mitchell Moore: Senior Vice President/Vice President for Advancement, Chair
Yolanda Barbier Gibson: Vice President for Student Affairs
Adrienne Bloss: Provost
Robert Keasler: Vice President for Finance and Administration
Scott Spriggs: Vice President for Recruitment and Marketing
Phil Evans: Assistant Vice President for Administration and University Counsel
Barry Schnoor: Director of Physical Plant
Hanan Kallash: Executive Director of the Wilkins Wellness Center (Student Health Services) and Counseling Center
Bridget Lyons: Athletic Director
Kim McDonald: Interim Human Resources Director
Amy Sarch: Associate Provost
Susan Jenkins: Assistant Vice President for Marketing & Communications
Peter Labrecque: Director of Dining Services
In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak after repopulating the campus, the university’s Incident Command System (ICS) Committee remains activated. The ICS Committee is chaired by Yolanda Barbier Gibson with an appropriate population of ICS functional units as needed.
What is the contact information and the procedures for reaching the local health department?
The Executive Committee to Reopen Shenandoah University and the Incident Command System (ICS) Committee work closely with representatives of various Virginia Department of Health districts and associated health departments:
LORD FAIRFAX HEALTH DISTRICT (SU Winchester locations)
Colin M. Greene, MD, MPH
Frederick/Winchester Health Department
10 Baker Street
Winchester, VA 22601
FAIRFAX HEALTH DISTRICT (SU Inova Center for Personalized Health location)
Gloria Addo-Ayensu, MD, MPH
Fairfax County Health Department
10777 Main Street
Fairfax, VA 22030
LOUDOUN HEALTH DISTRICT (SU Scholar Plaza, Loudoun location)
David Goodfriend, MD, MPH
Loudoun County Health Department
1 Harrison Street, SE
Leesburg, VA 20175
What precautions will be put in place for students’ initial return to campus?
- Prior to returning to campus, all students will participate in a 14-day temperature and symptom pre-screening (consisting of questions related to current health and possible exposure to COVID-19 via the university’s online symptom self-assessment form)
- Students living in university residence halls will be involved in a staggered move-in process over several days and will maintain social distancing protocols at all times.
- All faculty, staff and students will be tested upon arrival on campus.
- All spaces will continue to be sanitized frequently and proper hand-washing procedures outlined and emphasized for all members of the university community.
- The move-in process will adhere to the CDC’s social distance guidelines with well-defined check-in processes, signage at entrances, temperature checks, and mask or face-covering requirements.
- Students will be communicated with prior to arrival on campus about safety measures, including the expectation that they will participate in testing, socially distance and wear masks or face coverings.
- Required actions, such as wearing face coverings, to keep the Shenandoah community safe are outlined in a pledge that appears on the university’s website and app.
- Plexiglass and hand sanitizers remain in place in high-traffic student areas, including administrative areas frequented by students.
What COVID-19 prevention education or training will students receive during orientation?
- Spring 2021 orientation will reinforce, through a required session, student expectations regarding social distancing, mask wearing, and other actions/behaviors necessary to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- Residence Life will train resident assistants to support community expectations with risk reduction and refer students with symptoms to the Wilkins Wellness Center.
- Public health media will be displayed to support social distancing, hygiene, mask-wearing and risk reduction.
- Video/media training will be required prior to students’ arrival. This will include information on social distancing and what to expect on campus while following social distancing, appropriate hygiene, and risk-reduction practices.
- Student-athletes will receive training about required guidelines for preseason practices.
Is there COVID-19 orientation and education/training, including anti-stigma training?
There will be an informational “Buzz Session” required for students during spring 2021 orientation. There will also be required training for residence life staff and a video/media training for the university community prior to students’ arrival on campus.
Each of these sessions will include special anti-stigma training; our goal is to always be a community of care and affirmation.
What are the university’s physical distancing requirements and protocols?
While about 10% of Shenandoah students are enrolled in programs designed to be delivered online only, the majority – 90% – of the university’s students will use the ShenFlex model (adapted from the HyFlex model) for the ’20-21 academic year. ShenFlex courses are largely face-to face, and ShenFlex, by its very nature, can immediately pivot to online learning. All classes will have fully online options for students and faculty who are unable to participate face to face. Classroom capacities are being reduced to accommodate social distancing. In classes, students will be required to wear masks and maintain a 6-foot distance. Faculty are trained in online learning and students have a ready platform to learn online because of the university’s iMLearning program.
What are social distancing considerations outside the classroom?
Visitors to Shenandoah University will not be allowed in the residence halls after initial move-in days. Dining services has removed some of the tables and chairs to ensure CDC and Virginia Department of Health physical distancing guidelines. Complete dining protocols have been established by the university’s food service provider, Sodexo (Additional information is also available below).
Extracurricular activities will follow the university’s approaches: hygienic (washing hands/sanitizer), screening (temperature and symptom checks), distancing, masking (masks/face coverings required indoors, required if distancing cannot be maintained outdoors), and cultural (reminding all that our population cares for others).
How will the university restrict occupancy/stagger use of communal, shared spaces (such as lounges, exercise rooms, dining halls, etc) to ensure physical distancing?
All common spaces will feature signage regarding occupancy limits and timing restrictions, where applicable (for exercise facilities, etc.). For larger spaces, such as dining areas and the student center, there will be a monitor who will ensure the space from going over capacity.
The fitness centers (Brandt Student Center, Scholar Plaza, and Health Professions Building) will abide by the following guidelines:
- Mats will no longer be available for general use in fitness centers.
- Signage will be in place stating that each piece of exercise equipment in the fitness center must be sanitized before and after use.
- Each fitness space will have maximum occupancies based on spacing of equipment. These occupancies will be no more than 30% capacity.
- Signage about safety and operations will be posted throughout facilities, and time limits will be enforced if patrons are waiting to use equipment.
What are the limitations on the size of gatherings and/or what is the strict physical distancing to be in place during gatherings?
Shenandoah University follows Virginia executive orders about the size of gatherings and physical distancing.
What is the university doing for food and dining services?
Plans regarding dining services include requirements for face coverings for everyone (staff and patrons) and policies encouraging staff to stay home if ill, ensuring adequate hand hygiene, engaging in routine cleaning and disinfection, and administering health screenings for staff. The university’s food service provider, Sodexo, has outlined additional guidelines.
- 2-hour deep cleaning each day between meals while dining hall is closed
- Employees will wear masks and gloves. Using a timer, the gloves will be changed every 15 minutes.
- No self-serve or buffets
- Label tables “green” or “red” so students know where to sit and be safe
- Going mostly no cash
- One-way entrance — one-way exit
- Limited number of diners in the dining room at one time
- Multiple dining options this year will keep fewer people from crowding the dining hall.
- To-Go options:
- Sodexo will provide a disposable container for food from the dining hall that can be taken out. (We no longer have the recyclable containers and a student can no longer bring in their own cup or water bottle to fill in the dining room.)
- Using an app, individuals can pre-order 24 hours before picking up an order from the dining hall.
- “Simply to-go” can be picked up from the back door of the dining hall (prepared food just like in the Grill).
- Sandella’s will be closed to walk-ups but will be used as a delivery service (the Grill and Jazzman’s will still be open). Using the app, anyone can order food from Sandella’s or the Grill and have it delivered. For residential students, the student will be met at the outside door of the residence hall. (They will also deliver to employee offices.)
- To-Go options:
- All patrons must wear masks in the dining hall when not eating.
- Students cannot serve themselves.
- A control point for maximum guest capacity will be managed at each main entrance.
- The process to enter the dining hall is to enter; sanitize hands; pay (pay/swipe/touchless pay); and follow directional signage to maintain a safe distance and flow.
- Cashless payment options will be provided.
- Condiments will be individually packaged, and disposable service will be used for all menu items.
- Beverage cups are not refillable.
- We will be able to feed those students in self-quarantine and self-isolation.
- We’ve secured a second dining hall in a building adjoining the SU campus to ensure adequate space for social distancing while eating.
What hygiene practices and cleaning/disinfecting protocols are in place?
Shenandoah follows all CDC and VDH guidelines for cleaning protocols. Our communications emphasize the importance of hand washing throughout the day and we have made arrangements for numerous hand sanitizer dispensers to be placed in high-traffic areas at all of our locations.
Hygiene practices and protocols in place are:
- Cleaning and disinfection protocols include frequently touched surfaces; transport vehicles; schedules for increased cleaning, routine cleaning, and disinfection; ensuring adequate cleaning supplies and correct usage/storage
- Provisions for hand sanitizer and handwashing stations
- Minimizing shared objects and ensuring adequate supplies to minimize sharing to the extent possible (e.g., dedicated student supplies, lab equipment, computers, etc.)
- Every space on campus has been cleaned and disinfected prior to the campus repopulation
- Shenandoah has installed plexiglass in those areas where there is high-traffic volume.
- Constructing a number of “outdoor” classroom spaces
What are Shenandoah’s plans to keep students safe in campus housing?
- Lowering campus population density by removing requirements for students to live on campus
- Increasing the number of single rooms (converting existing rooms to singles and adding additional rooms)
- Giving single-room priority to students with high-risk or immunocompromised health conditions and proactively contacting them regarding housing needs
- Establishing designated residence halls all having private baths for isolation and quarantine spaces for COVID-19 students
- Allowing no more than 10 people to gather in one place, at one time — this is inside all residential facilities, including common spaces, yards, porches and decks and applies to the use of recreational spaces/equipment like volleyball courts, picnic tables and grills
- Requiring masks or face coverings outside of residence hall rooms or outside of a university-owned house, apartment, or townhouse (hallways and corridors included)
- Practicing social distancing outside of residence hall rooms or outside of a university-owned house, apartment, or townhouse (common spaces, hallways and corridors included)
- Training all resident assistants on techniques for social distancing
- Reducing the number of students who will be assigned to each group bathroom in residence halls
Can students still use common kitchens?
Shenandoah’s new safety protocols include limiting occupancy to two students at a time in the space and implementing “closed” periods from midnight until 9 a.m. Students must adhere to strict cleaning of utensils, dishes, pots, pans and storage containers, and will be responsible for cleaning all counter spaces and amenities. If cleaning becomes an issue, the kitchen may be shut down.
What is the guest policy for residential students?
Outside guests are considered to be non-Shenandoah students.
- Residents will be limited to one guest who is a current Shenandoah student in their residence at one time — a maximum of four students in a private room.
- Residents are not permitted to bring outside guests into a residence hall room; outside guests are able to gather in common areas adhering to the rules of the common areas.
- Students and guests are not to exceed more than 10 people in any public location at a time.
Will there be rooms on campus for students who need to be quarantined?
Yes, Shenandoah has established adequate quarantine spaces on campus.
- Space in several residence halls are reserved where students can self-isolate or quarantine. These spaces have exterior entrances and private bathrooms, which will limit the student’s interaction with others and will allow items to be delivered (meals, necessities, etc.) without any contact being necessary. If a student is confirmed or suspected positive on campus, they will be required to relocate to a designated single room.
- We have arrangements with a hotel adjacent to main campus to provide additional quarantine spaces at Shenandoah’s expense if the need arises.
Will access to residence halls be restricted?
Only residential students will have electronic ID access to their assigned residence hall or residential facility.
What training or meetings will take place related to residential student living?
- All Shenandoah resident assistants (RAs) will be trained before arriving on campus. Residence Life will work with Physical Plant to provide a robust training on proper cleaning procedures related to COVID-19.
- Incoming and returning students will receive communications and will be required to complete mandatory training and sign a pledge about COVID-19 guidelines, procedures, and protocols for living on campus.
- Once students are on campus, information will be provided via building or hall meetings.
What is Shenandoah doing to assist students with special health concerns?
Students with high-risk or immunocompromised health conditions will be given priority status for a single room if they choose to live on campus. Students may also participate in remote learning via ShenFlex.
What is Shenandoah doing to accommodate at-risk employees from COVID-19?
Employees with one or more conditions that increase their vulnerability to COVID-19 and/or who have someone in their household with such conditions can submit a work accommodation request to reduce possible exposure, including working remotely or working a hybrid schedule that involves splitting work time between the office and home.
What happens if a Shenandoah employee tests positive for COVID-19? (What happens when a faculty/staff member gets tested for COVID-19?)
This section is subject to change in accordance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Virginia Department of Health (VDH) guidelines. In all cases, employees who are suspected to have COVID-19, or who have been confirmed as having COVID-19, should follow the express directions of a medical professional (in most cases their primary care physician) with regard to when it is safe to return to work or other activities. Medical documentation may be required.
In cases of a suspected COVID-19, with illness: employees may return to in-person work only if all of the following conditions are met:
- At least 3 days have passed since recovery, with no fever for a minimum of 24 hours;
- Employees must have no abnormal temperature for 24 hours without the use of any fever-reducing medicines (aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen);
- Respiratory symptoms have improved;
- At least 10 days have passed since the beginning of any symptoms.
In cases of confirmed COVID-19 with no symptoms: employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 but have not become ill may return to in-person work only if all of the following conditions are met:
- At least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 test;
- They have not experienced any COVID-19 symptoms.
In cases of confirmed COVID-19 with illness: employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 with illness may return to in-person work only if all of the following conditions are met:
- At least 3 days have passed since their recovery, with no abnormal fever for a minimum of 24 hours. Employees must have no significant temperature for 24 hours without the use of any fever-reducing medicines (aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen);
- Respiratory symptoms have improved;
- At least 10 days have passed since the beginning of any symptoms.
What special considerations does Shenandoah have for international students or travelers related to COVID-19?
Shenandoah will adhere to the state’s guidance for quarantining travelers — and will provide space on campus for any student who has spent time outside of the country to quarantine for 14 days. Students may participate in class remotely via ShenFlex.
What partnerships exist for communication/information sharing with the local community, health systems and other stakeholders?
To stay abreast of local conditions, Shenandoah University participates in a weekly briefing about COVID-19 with community leaders hosted by Valley Health. Shenandoah’s Wellness Center director participates in the Virginia Medical Director’s Association (VAMDA), which collaborates and shares ideas with colleges and universities across the state. The university president has also reviewed the preparedness plan with the leaders of Valley Health.
Shenandoah University also has a robust health professions program with students participating in a variety of health care settings along with clinical team leaders who are continually monitoring local conditions to maintain the safety of students entering clinical rotations in local primary care offices, urgent care settings and long-term care settings as well as inpatient settings. This includes creating a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) task force, which has met to coordinate efforts to provide PPE for students entering clinical rotations. This has also included providing PPE to partner stakeholders.
Does the university require face coverings and masks for students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus?
Shenandoah requires face coverings/masks for everyone within indoor public spaces. Face coverings and masks are also required outdoors when a 6-foot-distance between people cannot be observed.
How is Shenandoah reinforcing the use of face coverings/masks within the university community?
- SU Pledge: Required actions, such as wearing face coverings, to keep the Shenandoah community safe are outlined in a pledge on the university’s website and app. Students, faculty and staff will be required to sign the pledge to do their part to keep themselves and others safe while on campus.
- Daily Log Reminder/App: An app called Shenandoah Go will help students, staff, faculty and any visitors to campus to log their daily symptoms. This will help guide health personnel on who might be ill.
- Signage: The university has created a variety of instructional signage to help enforce the wearing of face coverings, social distancing, proper hand washing and other personal behaviors that contribute to the overall safety of the community.
- Website Blogs and Updates: The university continues to share information about the importance of face coverings and social distancing through website blogs and regular online and email updates.
- Masks/Face Coverings: SU has designed and ordered masks featuring a variety of university logos.
What student health services and personal protective equipment related to COVID-19 are being provided at the Wilkins Wellness Center?
- The university has medical-grade PPE for health services staff, including a sufficient number of isolation gowns, N95 masks, and face shields.
- The university will maintain typical (non-COVID-19) health services. Wilkins Wellness Center staff has developed a protocol of offering services by appointment only, and separating ill visits from well visits for the protection of staff.
- Mental health services will continue to be provided. Counselors have completed COVID-19 professional development and have increased services to students. There will be a continuation of services through secure video rooms. Same-day appointments are being offered. The center has also created an electronic release form for counseling sessions.
- The Wilkins Wellness Center provides both rapid antigen testing and PCR diagnostic testing for both symptomatic students and for asymptomatic students referred for diagnostic testing from pooled surveillance testing.
What safety considerations will there be at the Wilkins Wellness Center, including waiting areas, signage, environmental, management/cleaning, IT, etc.?
- Only one person will be allowed in the clinic at a time in the waiting area/space for students or the staff/faculty waiting area. Signage on the door has been updated to reflect this policy, and the website has been updated as well to indicate a new process. All of these new processes have been incorporated in the orientation sessions for new students.
- Staff disinfects all high-touch areas after each appointment. This is done with specific health-care-facility germicidal wipes. Staff members complete a daily attestation and symptom checker, which includes daily contactless temperature checks. Students will be required to complete a daily symptom log. An app is also in development that will check for daily symptoms of COVID-19 for all members of the university community. Staff is not allowed in the clinic if displaying symptoms and will follow the CDC protocols for health care professionals.
- Staff has completed Safe Colleges training on COVID-19, along with continuing education on personal protective equipment through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- All staff currently have separate work areas. This includes the office manager, medical receptionist, nurse and the nurse practitioner. There are no shared stations in the Wilkins Wellness Center.
- When campus reopens and students return, signage will indicate the university will complete a phone triage for illnesses, completed by the nurse. The center will be able to test for strep and flu if indicated.
- If there is indication an illness might be COVID-19-related, the student will be set up with an appointment and evaluation at the ill-visit waiting room, which has a separate entrance from the Wilkins Wellness Center and Counseling Center.
What is the protocol for a student who has COVID-19 symptoms?
We will adhere to the current CDC and VDH recommendations on self isolation and when to end isolation.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases should be followed by Sara Alert at that time for case management, and depending on testing capacity at the time, a negative test may or may not be required to end isolation.
The Wilkins Wellness Center has identified at least three testing locations near its Winchester campus (main campus) for symptomatic students/faculty:
Valley Health Rutherford Crossing Urgent Care
160 Merchant St.
Winchester, VA 22603
Phone: (540) 536-0380
MedExpress Winchester Gateway, Urgent Care Center
207 Gateway Drive
Winchester, VA 22603
Phone: (540) 535-1029
*CVS Pharmacy COVID-19 Testing Site – Valley Avenue
2207 Valley Avenue
Winchester, VA 22601
Phone: (540) 667-0330
*Second site on Berryville Avenue in Winchester.
Members of the university community attending classes in Loudoun and Fairfax can find nearby testing sites on the VDH website.
What is the plan for large events, including athletic events, and others, such as ceremonies or performances?
Face masks/coverings will still be required to be worn indoors as social distancing continues to be observed. Events involving over 50 individuals will need administrative approval before moving forward.
All attendees of large gatherings must complete a symptom checker and have their temperature checked prior to participating in any event. Upon arrival at the event, attendees will check in electronically and utilize touchless pay options if needed. Additional safety measures include adding distance between tables and seats, requiring masks during all indoor events and at outdoor events where physical distancing cannot be maintained, redirecting traffic flow to ensure single-flow exits and entrances, strategic placement of hand sanitizing stations and increasing cleaning schedules before and after the event. Food will not be permitted unless it is in pre-packaged boxes or bags for each attendee with disposable utensils. Appropriate attention will also be given to the safety of individuals with food allergies if food is provided.
Prior to hosting events on campus, student club organizations and their advisors must participate in a virtual training to learn about safety guidelines and protocols for events and programs for the academic year. Clubs and organizations will be encouraged to use our ShenFlex model by hosting a combination of virtual and face-to-face meetings and events. Students hosting an in-person event will be required to submit a safety plan, which must be approved by the office of the assistant dean of student development and leadership.. Shenandoah University may alter or cancel any large gathering that cannot adhere to state guidelines and university policy.
Intramural and club sports will not be in session at the outset of the spring semester. Reassessment of student safety and the ability to support intramural and club sports will be re-evaluated at 4-week intervals during the spring term.
Shenandoah University, in conjunction with the Old Dominion Athletic Conference and the NCAA, is planning on hosting intercollegiate events this spring. In order to host these contests in the safest manner possible, the university has enacted increased health and safety measures for events, which include but are not limited to: reduced-capacity seating/tailgating to take advantage of social distancing, a requirement to wear face coverings, and mobile ticketing for admission. Updates to these health and safety measures will be posted to www.suhornets.com and to our social media channels @SUHornets.
The Old Dominion Athletic Conference athletic directors, with the approval of the conference presidents, are setting competition parameters. The ODAC will establish an agreed-upon date to start all competition.
What is the communications strategy for the university?
The Office of Marketing and Communications will continue to update the Shenandoah University website homepage and social media accounts with any updates on ongoing repopulation measures, COVID-19 news, and actions the university is taking to make its campus and community safe. Emails, along with text alert messages (as needed), will also be sent to the university community to include faculty, staff and students/parents. These emails will include the above updates and all other important announcements and will be sent to the appropriate audience(s) depending on the message. Other communication efforts will include:
- App: Shenandoah Go will allow students, staff, faculty and any visitor to campus to record their daily symptoms as well as receive notifications about other important university information.
- Signage on campus: Signage will appear on campus regarding the use of face masks/coverings, social distancing, hand washing, and other important instructions.
- Videos: A video explaining social distancing is already online (along with other videos about face coverings and ways to stay healthy).
- COVID-19 Dashboard: The university’s website features a dashboard that shows active, confirmed positive cases in the Shenandoah community for the specified time period. The dashboard also tracks individuals who are cleared to return to normal activity according to CDC guidelines.
What is the university doing to monitor health conditions to detect COVID-19?
The Wilkins Wellness Center will work with the Office of Human Resources to monitor faculty and staff absenteeism and illness through a daily symptom checker. The wellness center will also work with the Office of Marketing and Communications through the app Shenandoah Go, which will collect daily symptom information, to monitor the university community for symptoms and encourage testing as appropriate.
Is the university implementing campus-level syndromic (disease) surveillance using electronic health record data or other disease surveillance methods, as feasible?
The Wilkins Wellness Center will enter all students into the electronic health records (PyraMED) system and indicate whether these individuals are symptomatic. The wellness center will complete daily reports to assess for flu-like illness and will determine increases in symptomatic individuals weekly.
What is the testing strategy for the university?
Shenandoah University has developed a pool salvia PCR surveillance test for asymptomatic community members and randomly selects students, faculty and staff to participate on a weekly basis. Individuals who are identified as presumptive positive are referred for diagnostic testing.
Anyone with symptoms linked to COVID-19, even mild ones, should be tested and self-isolate in their house or room until results are returned. Students are tested in the university’s Wellness Center. Employees are referred to their primary care providers. Nearby testing sites can be located on the VDH website.
Positive results for students are reported to the university’s Wellness Center and positive results for employees are reported to Human Resources. A positive result can be reported to a faculty/staff faculty member who will then submit a Student of Concern report (or a student may fill that out themselves). Any positive results will be reported to the Virginia Department of Health.
If COVID-19 cases are detected on campus, how will they be contained?
Faculty and staff are expected to complete a daily symptom checker utilizing our Shenandoah Go app prior to arriving on campus. In the event a faculty or staff member has a symptom of COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, then they are expected to notify their immediate supervisor and the Office of Human Resources of exposure and not come to a Shenandoah campus location. Faculty and staff members will quarantine or isolate as needed and may need to be cleared by a medical provider prior to returning to campus. A dedicated employee nurse will monitor faculty and staff illness and track positive COVID-19 cases.
Both residential and commuter students are expected to complete a daily symptom checker using our Shenandoah Go app prior to leaving their residence. The Wellness Center staff will monitor symptoms and follow up with students who are ill. Students are expected to participate in classes virtually and use our delivery food services if they are feeling ill. We will identify symptomatic students early through contact tracing and will consider surveillance testing of an athletic team, residence hall, or academic building, to identify the number of infections and the infection’s spread.
Residential students who have COVID-19-like symptoms will be directed to relocate to a self-isolation room unless they already live in a single occupancy room. If applicable, their roommate will be relocated to a quarantine room separate from their room. We have lowered the density of residence halls by 50% in the University Inn to include single occupancy only, 30% in community-style residential spaces, and increased the number of single-occupancy rooms, therefore a student might have been in a single room. We will notify the Virginia Department of Health to initiate a team for testing among other residential rooms, if VDH deems it appropriate.
What is Shenandoah’s partnership with the Virginia Department of Health for contact tracing?
Shenandoah will follow guidance for contact tracing provided by the Virginia Department of Health. Contact tracing will be performed through the Lord Fairfax Health District, which comprises five separate health departments in the region: Frederick/Winchester Health Department, Clarke County Health Department, Page County Health Department, Shenandoah County Health Department and Warren County Health Department.
The health department less than five minutes from Shenandoah main campus is:
Frederick/Winchester Health Department
10 Baker St., Winchester, VA 22601
Phone: (540) 722-3470
Fax: (540) 722-3475
The current contact for the Lord Fairfax Health District is epidemiologist Clarissa Bonneford.
Phone: (540) 771-3725
Fax: (540) 722-3475
How will Shenandoah quarantine and isolate students while providing housing, basic needs and medical case management?
The university has established adequate quarantine spaces.
- We have reserved rooms where students can self-isolate or quarantine. These spaces have exterior entrances and private bathrooms, which will limit the student’s interaction with others and will allow items to be delivered (meals, necessities, etc.) without any contact being necessary. If a student is confirmed or suspected positive on campus, they will be required to relocate to a designated single room.
- We have arrangements with a hotel adjacent to main campus to provide additional quarantine spaces at Shenandoah’s expense.
- During this time, the Wilkins Wellness Center will assist students with medical case management.
What is the management plan in case of a campus outbreak?
Campus outbreak management will be managed in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health, the Incident Command System Committee and senior leadership at the university. Decisions regarding action levels will be based on multiple factors including monitoring of local 7-day “trajectories” of positive cases, availability of PPE, percentage of the occupancy of isolation and quarantine rooms, and availability of essential staff to provide services to students. Students will have the ability to participate in courses online utilizing our ShenFlex model. Campus instructions will be given primarily through Shenandoah Go — an app that students, faculty and staff will be required to use to facilitate important communications.
Action Level 1: Baseline Pandemic Response
Standard mitigation strategies remain in place as detailed above with continued surveillance and ongoing planning in the campus community through daily symptom checker via Shenandoah Go app for faculty, staff and students. The campus will continue its operational schedule as defined within each realm of campus operations to optimize safety (for housing, dining, academics, campus life and employees).
Action Level 2: Enhanced Pandemic Response
Enhanced mitigation strategies may include closing all dining facilities (delivery/pickup only), suspending athletic practice/student organization activities, converting to all-online delivery of classes, and retraining of community on mitigation standards as well as heightened enforcement of mitigation standards. More employees will telework. As necessary, we will work with the local health department to test and monitor students and employees in a particular location.
Action Level 3: Maximum Pandemic Response
A coordinated response with the Virginia Department of Health, Incident Command System Committee and senior leadership will occur to ensure the closure of all residence halls and transition of all courses to online instruction. In addition, all non-essential operations (activities, public facilities, and academic buildings) will be suspended. All non-essential employees will telework. As necessary, we will work with the local health department to test and monitor students and employees in particular locations.
What is the university’s partnership with local health systems to assure care for symptomatic individuals?
The university’s Executive Committee to Reopen Shenandoah University, the Incident Command System Committee, and Wilkins Wellness Center staff have established contacts with local health systems, including the Frederick/Winchester Health Department in Winchester, Virginia, and Valley Health, with which the university has a long relationship. The university also has a contact within the Lord Fairfax Health District, of which the Frederick/Winchester Health Department is a member. This person is the district epidemiologist, Clarissa Bonneford.
Additionally, Dr. Elizabeth Bennett, the university’s medical director is working with Shenandoah’s Executive Director of Wellness Hanan Kallash, FNP-BC, to review practices and guidance.
What are Shenandoah’s Shutdown Considerations If Necessitated by Severe Conditions and/or Public Health Guidance?
Shenandoah has defined a three-level pandemic action response system, as described above in answer to “What is the management plan in case of a campus outbreak?”. In the event of Action Level 2, all campus dining options will be converted to takeout/delivery only, most classes will be delivered online, and athletics and student organization programming will be suspended.
Should the campus reach Action Level 3, the campus community will be reduced with the suspension of all non-essential operations. This decision will be made with the guidance of local health officials, chief among which will be the Virginia Department of Health. While most students will return home in the event of a campus shutdown, in cases where students’ health and safety are better protected on-campus or where travel home is not feasible, the university will accommodate those students.
All above status levels will be communicated to the community via the Shenandoah Go app, as well as updates to the university’s outward-facing website with assignment of action levels consistent with current conditions. In the event of a campus pause, 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.