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.

Masking Guideline Changes Effective April 15

April 13, 2022

Throughout the spring semester we continue to see low case counts on our campus and in our community. This, coupled with our high vaccination rate on campus, prompted the COVID Response Team to further relax the mask guidelines on campus. These updated guidelines are consistent with the CDC framework which indicates that masking indoors is not required. Effective at the end of the day on Friday, April 15, the College will move to a mask optional policy for all public indoor spaces including classrooms, the Clark Family Library and other academic spaces. If a physician has advised you to avoid mask optional spaces, please contact Academic Affairs (academicaffairs@washjeff.edu). We also support and respect any individual who wishes to continue to wear a mask in public settings for their personal health and safety. Please continue to carry a mask with you and be respectful of any individual who requests that masks be worn in their presence. In some instances, you may be asked to wear a mask when in individual meetings or in larger group settings. Please know that we are continuing to monitor both the CDC guidelines and the safety conditions in the City of Washington and Washington County. These guidelines may need to change quickly depending on that information. Additionally, we will still maintain our COVID-19 protocols throughout this process if someone tests positive for COVID-19. As a … Read more

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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.
  • 0

    # of active cases identifed through surveillance testing

  • 0

    # 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

  • 1

    # of active cases identified through off-campus testing

  • 0

    # of cases identified through contact tracing

Updated on May 19, 2022. Students returning for JayTerm and Spring 2022 were required to have a COVID-19 test before the start of classes 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 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.

As of April 12, 2022, students and employees who have an approved vaccination exemption are longer required to participate in weekly surveillance testing. Symptomatic students who live on campus can request a Covid-19 test from Student Health & Counseling. Symptomatic individuals who do not live on campus, including employees, should stay home and contact their health care provider for testing.

With the dramatic rise in COVID-19 and its Omicron 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 five-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 and employees 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.”

All current employees are required to be vaccinated, and all new hires are required to show proof of vaccination upon hire. Vaccination against Covid-19 is a condition of employment at W&J.

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 who have approved medical or religious exemptions will be required to take an antigen test (two 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.

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.

 

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

Effective at the end of the day on Friday, April 15, the College will move to a mask optional policy for all public indoor spaces including classrooms, the Clark Family Library and other academic spaces. If a physician has advised you to avoid mask optional spaces, please contact Academic Affairs (academicaffairs@washjeff.edu).

We also support and respect any individual who wishes to continue to wear a mask in public settings for their personal health and safety. Please continue to carry a mask with you and be respectful of any individual who requests that masks be worn in their presence. In some instances, you may be asked to wear a mask when in individual meetings or in larger group settings.

We are continuing to monitor both the CDC guidelines and the safety conditions in the City of Washington and Washington County. These guidelines may need to change quickly depending on information from these outlets.

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

The College required regular testing of unvaccinated individuals who have approved medical or religious exemptions for the Fall 2021 semester, Intersession, and much of the Spring 2022 semester. Vigilant surveillance testing helped the College mitigate and respond quickly to any positive COVID-19 cases.

As of April 12, 2022, students and employees who have an approved vaccination exemption are no longer required to participate in weekly surveillance testing. However, symptomatic students who live on campus can request a Covid-19 test from Student Health & Counseling. Symptomatic individuals who do not live on campus, including employees, should stay home and contact their health care provider for testing.

What is the spectator policy for athletic events?

The Washington & Jefferson College Department of Athletics has announced that all spectators, including external fans, are welcome at home athletic events.

 

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.