W&J’s COVID-19 Response

Updates, news, and resources concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

fall 2020 reopening

Your Safety Is Our Priority

Throughout this challenging and unprecedented time, the safety of our community has remained top-of-mind. We’ve implemented a number of new protocols designed to keep our campus safe, and our faculty, staff and students healthy. Please check this page regularly for updates about our safety plans and protocols, including information about visiting campus, our cleaning procedures, and health monitoring. The Helpful Links section includes quick access to information from the federal CDC, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Health, and local healthcare partners, whose guidance we closely followed to formulate our Fall 2021 plans. We’ve also provided a COVID-19 case tracker to keep you informed about cases on our campus.

W&J announces updated spectator policy through January

January 11, 2022

The Washington & Jefferson College Department of Athletics has announced that spectators at home indoor athletic events through January 30 will be limited to W&J students only.  No external fans will be permitted to attend the following athletic events:   Jan. 15 – Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving vs. Franciscan and Hiram, 1:00 pm Jan. 17 – Women’s Basketball vs. Thiel, 6:00 pm Jan. 19 – Men’s and Women’s Basketball vs. Chatham, 6:00/8:00 pm Jan. 22 – Men’s and Women’s Basketball vs. Westminster (1:00/3:00 pm) and Wrestling Hosting Jim White Duals (10:00 am) Jan. 25 – Wrestling vs. Thiel, 7:00 pm Jan. 29 – Men’s and Women’s Basketball vs. Saint Vincent, 1:00/3:00 pm   Our goal is to ensure that our student-athletes can safely continue to participate through the recent Covid-19 surge caused by the Omicron variant.  All students who returned for the 2022 JayTerm have been tested and another large group of students will return January 25 for the start of spring semester classes. Given our campus policy of required making indoors, W&J students attending these athletic events must wear masks. The policy will be re-evaluated during the final week of January, as we examine updated data on Covid-19 transmission rates. We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding, and we look forward to welcoming all fans back very soon.

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COVID-19 Tracker Reporting

Percentage of Students Vaccinated
%
Percentage of Faculty/Staff Vaccinated*
(percentage includes SEIU Facilities Union as of 11/1/2021.)
%

As of January 13, 2022. These metrics will be updated monthly as some vaccinations require 21-28 days between vaccinations. The percentages account for fully vaccinated (two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or J&J) and/or in the process of becoming fully vaccinated. *Please note that the faculty/staff vaccination percentage includes the Facilities Services employees under the SEIU Union as of October 30, 2021.

As of January 13, 2021. These metrics will be updated monthly as some vaccinations require 21-28 days between vaccinations. The percentages account for fully vaccinated (two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or J&J) and/or in the process of becoming fully vaccinated. *Please note that the faculty/staff vaccination percentage includes the Facilities Services employees under the SEIU Union as of October 30, 2021.

Active Cases in Student Population
(active cases are placed in isolation*)
Please note: numbers in this column may span two reporting periods as isolation is 5 days.
  • 5

    # of active cases identifed through surveillance testing

  • 1

    # of active cases identified through off-campus testing

  • 0

    # of cases identified through contact tracing

Active Cases in Faculty/Staff Population
(active cases are directed to remain
at their home location)

  • 0

    # of active cases identifed through surveillance testing

  • 2

    # of active cases identified through off-campus testing

  • 0

    # of cases identified through contact tracing

Updated on January 20, 2022. Students returning for JayTerm were required to have a COVID-19 test before the start of classes (Sunday, January 9) to help isolate and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The active cases will be updated on a weekly basis (Thursdays) based on positive cases identified through testing of unvaccinated individuals and self-reporting of positive cases to Student Health & Counseling Services and W&J College Human Resources. As a reminder, any student that tests positive will be provided with daily assistance while in isolation for 5 days per new CDC guidelines. Any employee testing positive will notify W&J Human Resources and remain at their home locations.

Faculty/staff surveillance testing for those employees not vaccinated (non-union) will continue through JayTerm and the Spring 2022 semester. Non-vaccinated employees will be scheduled for surveillance testing.

With the dramatic rise in COVID-19 and its Delta Variant, W&J College will continue its reporting of new active COVID-19 cases on campus through May 2022. The reporting of new active cases will be based in weekly testing of unvaccinated students and employees (average of 8% of our population), and the self reporting of positive test results from vaccinated individuals with a breakthrough case of COVID-19. Vaccinated students who are experiencing symptoms will work with the Student Health & Counseling Services for testing. Any residential student who tests positive are provided with daily assistance while in isolation. Any employee testing positive will notify W&J College Human Resources and remain at their home locations for a 10-day time period as recommended by the CDC.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 is a disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. As stated on its website, “On July 27, 2021, CDC released updated guidance on the need for urgently increasing COVID-19 vaccination coverage and a recommendation for everyone in areas of substantial or high transmission to wear a mask in public indoor places, even if they are fully vaccinated. CDC issued this new guidance due to several concerning developments and newly emerging data signals. First is a reversal in the downward trajectory of cases. In the days leading up to our guidance update, CDC saw a rapid and alarming rise in the COVID case and hospitalization rates around the country. Second, new data began to emerge that the Delta variant was more infectious and was leading to increased transmissibility when compared to other variants, even in vaccinated individuals. This includes recently published data from CDC and our public health partners, unpublished surveillance data that will be publicly available in the coming weeks, information included in CDC’s updated Science Brief on COVID-19 Vaccines and Vaccination, and ongoing outbreak investigations linked to the Delta variant. Delta is currently the predominant strain of the virus in the United States. Below is a high-level summary of what CDC scientists have recently learned about the Delta variant. More information will be made available when more data are published or released in other formats. Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/delta-variant.html"

The W&J College COVID-19 Response Team, in coordination with the W&J Clinical Advisory Panel and its review of recommendations for college/university testing protocols, has determined that the regular testing of unvaccinated individuals for the Fall 2021 semester is necessary with the significant increases in COVID-19 cases and variants that are being discovered to keep our community healthy and safe.

Additional Information

Campus Health & Safety

The College is following the guidelines of the federal CDC, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Health, and local healthcare partners to implement the appropriate measures to mitigate the spread of the disease as we reopen campus. We are continually monitoring the situation as it develops and will continue to update our procedures to continue to follow guidelines.

No institution can eliminate all risk while the COVID-19 pandemic continues. In addition to the measures the College is instituting, the students, faculty and staff are expected to take the necessary precautions, and to be mindful and respectful of each other to help mitigate the spread of the virus.

Mask Policy
Cleaning
Commitment to Community
Health Monitoring
Visiting Campus

Frequently Asked Questions

Are W&J College students required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 the 2021/2022 Academic Year?

Yes. The COVID-19 vaccination requirement has been added to our immunization requirements outlined on page 35 in the W&J Student Handbook. The inclusion of the COVID-19 vaccination was recommended by both the COVID-19 Response team as well as the W&J Clinical Advisory Council.  The current W&J health policy states that “All incoming freshmen and transfer students are required to provide a medical history, a physical examination, and proof of required immunizations. A physical exam is performed for students planning to participate in intercollegiate athletics during the team physicals as scheduled by the Athletic Department. The team physical examination does not replace the required college entrance physical.”

What if I need an exemption from the vaccination requirement?

Consistent with federal and state laws, as well as W&J policy, students may request an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement and other immunization requirements listed in the student handbook. The exemption form can be found here: Exemption to Immunization Form and submitted to the Office of Student Life. This exemption form can also be found at MyW&J on the Student Life page under the Student Life File Finder sidebar. First year students should email the completed form to gateway@washjeff.edu, and upperclass students should email the completed form to studentlife@washjeff.edu.

Unvaccinated students will be required to take an antigen test (three times a week), with the goal of mitigating potential spread of COVID on campus. This aligns with the NCAA requirements for testing unvaccinated student-athletes. The frequency of the antigen test provides a comparable reliability to 1 PCR test/week but with a faster test result.

Faculty and staff may request an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement by utilizing the Employee Exemption to Immunization Form and submitting to Human Resources via the Employee COVID-19 Vaccination Submission and Exemption page on My W&J. Any individuals who are not vaccinated will be required to take an antigen test.

 

Will I be required to show that I’m fully vaccinated?

Proof of vaccination, or exemption, will be required for all students enrolled at W&J for the 2021-2022 academic year.  If you need to update your vaccination status please contact Student Life.

Employees are required to share proof of vaccination by uploading their vaccination card and submitting to Human Resources via the Employee COVID-19 Vaccination Submission and Exemption page on My W&J. If you need to update your vaccination status please do so with this process.

What is the masking policy for Jay Term and Spring 2022?

To help mitigate the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, we are reminding the W&J Community that masking is required in all campus buildings. This includes but is not limited to common areas in academic buildings, administrative buildings and the Clark Family Library, the Ross Recreation Center (including the Salvitti Gym and the Eaton Fitness Center) in classrooms, and in all designated dining areas unless seated and eating. At this time we also strongly recommend that everyone wear multi-ply surgical masks, KN95 masks, or N95 masks. Some studies have demonstrated these types of masks are more effective at controlling the transmission of the Omicron variant.

Masking is not required outdoors, private student rooms or private offices. In masking exempt areas, people are encouraged to make decisions about masking to protect the safety of themselves and others.

What is the testing protocol for Jay Term and Spring 2022?

The College will continue to require regular testing of unvaccinated individuals who have approved medical or religious exemptions. Three antigen tests per week (which is the equivalent of one PCR test) will be required of unvaccinated individuals. Vigilant surveillance testing has helped the College to mitigate and respond quickly to any positive COVID-19 cases. Students who are vaccinated but experiencing symptoms should contact W&J Health Services to schedule testing and determine next steps for quarantine/isolation.

What is the spectator policy for athletic events?

The Washington & Jefferson College Department of Athletics has announced that spectators at home indoor athletic events through January 30 will be limited to W&J students only.   No external fans will be permitted to attend athletic events at this time.

Given our campus policy of required masking indoors, W&J students attending these athletic events must wear masks.  The policy will be re-evaluated during the final week of January, as we examine updated data on Covid-19 transmission rates.

 

Helpful Links

Health Care Tips from the Centers for Disease Control

  1. Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for 20 seconds, and make sure you wash your thumbs, wrists, and in-between your fingers. This is the best defense against the spread of all viruses.
  2. Stay home when you are ill. This will help you to recover more quickly and decrease the spread of illness when on campus.
  3. Use a tissue or the crook of your arm when you cough or sneeze. Promptly wash your hands or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  4. Get plenty of rest/sleep.
  5. If you have not had the flu vaccine, please consider getting one. While this will not protect against the coronavirus, the vaccine may prevent against the flu.