Campus Operations and Business Continuity Update

Williams faculty, staff, students,

We are switching up the normal cadence for updates this week as we have a lot of items to share with you in advance of next week’s activities on campus. It’s a long message but filled with helpful operational and logistical information so please try to read through the entire email if you can. There’s a proverbial gold star for those who do! We know there are many questions surrounding vaccination approval, testing, return to campus, etc. and we hope this week’s update will provide some clarity on a number of these important items.

Monday, June 14th marks the beginning of our return to campus process as outlined by Provost Dukes Love and Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Fred Puddester in their email on April 30th. In addition, June 14th is the day when we begin to welcome students to campus for summer programming, research, employment, and internships. We’re anticipating more than 500 students will call campus home for roughly six weeks.

With that in mind, here’s a top-level summary of the major topics covered in this week’s update:

  • Return to Campus: Answers to Common Questions
  • Faculty & Staff Vaccination Record Submission, Approval, and Testing
  • Student Arrival: Testing, Quarantine, Dining, Etc.
  • Athletic Facility Access Update

Return to Campus Updates

We’re excited to begin the process of welcoming folks back to campus over the next couple of weeks. We know you have a lot of questions and we’ll attempt to answer many of the most common questions here. Please feel free to reach out to your supervisor or department head with follow-up questions or for clarification on items addressed here.

  • Access to most buildings will continue to be controlled and will require you to either swipe into the building or use your key to access the space. At this time, we are not allowing visitors or community members into campus spaces as we work to return faculty and staff to their individual work spaces. We do anticipate that this will change for the fall and you should feel free to plan for guest speakers, visitors, etc. as part of your planning for the 2021-2022 academic year.
  • Furniture is beginning to be returned to campus spaces by our facilities team. Please recognize there are several tractor trailer loads to return to campus and to organize in buildings. Your patience during the process is greatly appreciated! This work is now underway and there are other dates planned in early July for more furniture to be returned to campus. If you have specific questions about a space on campus, please contact Assistant Director for Custodial Services and Special Functions Dan Levering.
  • As you return to campus and settle into your individual spaces, we want to remind you that you may begin to meet in person if you so desire. Please be mindful of our current Covid guidelines with respect to masking and social distancing, if applicable. The building ventilation settings and our cleaning practices meet current guidelines and we’re excited to welcome colleagues back to campus. As a reminder, we ask for your kind patience with our custodial teams. They have a lot on their plate with furniture, student summer activities, etc. If you have any questions about a particular space, please reach out to your primary custodial staff member.
  • Last week, we mentioned assisting with sticker removal. After further consideration, we decided it’s best to leave this task to the experts–our custodial and facilities team. So, please hold on a bit longer to allow them to remove the stickers from your space. That way, we can ensure that floors, countertops and other surfaces aren’t damaged.
  • Mail, mail, mail, and more mail. For now, we’ll continue with our current process for the summer which has mail coming centrally to the Jessica Park Mailroom in Paresky and then distributed. With access to buildings still restricted, we’re working on a plan for managing mail and anticipate changes being implemented for the next academic year. For now, the Paresky Center is still the place to go to pick up your packages.
  • A few quick reminders from last week’s Ops email:
    • Facilities will continue to distribute hand sanitizer across campus. It’s available in central locations in each building. 
    • The custodial teams will no longer provide additional cleaning supplies to departments or individuals, since their cleaning and sanitation practices meet CDC standards. 
    • Kitchenettes are available. However, as you begin to use these spaces and machines such as coffee makers, please run them through a few cycles with just hot water. This will assist with the flushing of lines, much of which the custodial and facilities team have already been doing. All appliances are available for use, including those that may have a sticker still on them. Stickers will eventually be removed, but in the meantime, feel free to use appliances. Lastly, custodians no longer empty personal trash and recycling bins in campus offices. Instead, each individual is responsible for emptying them into the larger bins in nearby common areas.

Faculty & Staff Vaccination Updates

First, an important point of clarification from last week’s email: current faculty members, including emeriti faculty, who have uploaded their vaccination confirmation may access campus.

We have had over 880 faculty and staff members upload their vaccination information. This is awesome! If you haven’t done so already, please try to take care of that as soon as possible. For detailed instructions about the process, including information about requesting an exemption from the vaccination submission process, please refer to last week’s email from Fred Puddester and Dean of Faculty Safa Zaki.

Students, as a reminder, you’ll still submit your vaccination info through Medicat as always.

This process is brand new for us and we recognize that the CoVerified technology has some shortcomings. Here are some brief answers to some of the questions we have received to date:

  • What date should I enter for my vaccination in the “Date Performed” field?
    • Enter the date on which you received your second shot if you received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or your only shot if you received Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  • After I submit my information, why is approval not instantaneous?
    • Believe it or not, every submission is reviewed by an actual human. The information you submit, including the photo of your vaccination confirmation, is reviewed to ensure the image is visible and appropriate. Once reviewed, the reviewer (i.e. human) then approves the submission in the CoVerified system.
  • How will I know if my submission has been approved?
    • On the CoVerified app your confirmation will appear in the form of a COVID-19 vaccination badge on your app home screen like so:
  • On the CoVerified website you’ll see an “Approved” note under View Records > Vaccination Records.
  • Please note, this (CoVerified) image represents your approval. You won’t get a confirmation email after your submission.
  • My status has been remote in CoVerified and I don’t see an option for uploading my vaccination information?
    • If your status is currently set to “Remote” in CoVerified, choose “Return to Campus” as your status so that you’ll see the options for uploading your vaccination information. Even if you do not intend on returning to campus until later this summer, please leave your status as “return to campus” so you can see your approval.
  • If my vaccination record has been approved, why does my status still indicate  “restricted”?
    • In the app, click “Why am I restricted” or view the explanation on the website. It’s most often due to the daily symptom check process.
    • Once your vaccination status is approved, you can ignore the symptom check function, as it doesn’t restrict you access to campus in any way.
    • As always, if you’re not feeling well, please stay home and recover safely.
  • If my vaccination record has been approved, should I continue testing? 
    • It is not recommended. The CDC guidelines state that fully vaccinated individuals should only test if they are symptomatic. The Williams testing program is for regular asymptomatic testing. If you have symptoms you should test at a local test site, not on campus. However, if you test positive, you will be asked to isolate for 10 days per CDC guidelines and must use leave for that time.

Faculty & Staff Vaccination Exemption Requests

To request an exemption, please complete the exemption request form.Your request will be confidentially reviewed by the Office for Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The status of your request will be confirmed by Toya Camacho or Ngoni Munemo in OIDEI. If approved, you’ll then be exempt from having to submit proof of vaccination, but you will be required to continue with weekly Covid testing and wearing a mask indoors on campus.

Summer Student Arrival, Testing Requirements, Dining, Etc.

Students who are arriving back on campus on June 14th and who are fully vaccinated (two weeks following the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or two weeks after one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) do not need to test as long as you have uploaded your information to the health portal. Anyone who is not vaccinated or partially vaccinated will still need to test weekly on Tuesdays until fully vaccinated. Questions about vaccination? Send an email to [email protected].

Driscoll Dining Hall is the only dining facility open during the summer. Starting Monday, June 14th, Driscoll will extend dinner hours from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Please visit the Dining Services website for more information.

Music Department practice rooms and other spaces in the Bernhard Music Center will be available, but swipe access will be required.

Athletic Facility Access

Campus athletic facilities are open to students who have been approved to be on campus this summer, as well as faculty (including emeriti) and staff. We’re excited to welcome you back to fitness spaces! Please visit the athletics website for information on facility usage, including session sign-up, which is required for most venues. 

Access for other groups including spouses, faculty associates, etc. will be addressed at a later date this summer. Your patience is appreciated as we work through the logistics of the Covid-off ramp. In the meantime, you’re welcome to use outdoor amenities such as the track and tennis courts. 

That’s all for this week’s installment. Congratulations and thank you for reading this all the way through!

Enjoy the weekend,

Greg