Fall 2023 Frequently Asked Questions


What is the latest guidance on vaccines and boosters?

Vaccines and boosters continue to be the most effective way to protect individuals from serious illness or hospitalization. UMW continues to strongly encourage students and employees to get vaccinated/boosted as soon as they are eligible and we strongly encourage students to upload their information when they do so on the Student Health Portal. Awareness of your status allows the UMW public health team to provide the best and proper ongoing advice for our Isolation practices.

How do I know if I am eligible for a booster?

Check the CDC website for more information.


Are masks required on UMW property?

Masks are no longer required anywhere on UMW property, except healthcare settings when you are sick (Student Health Center, Talley Center for Counseling Services, Athletic Training room). However, the wearing of a well-fitting mask is highly effective at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, including its variants. We especially recommend KN95 masks, double masking, or equivalent masks.

Does the lifting of the mandate mean I can’t wear a mask now?

Absolutely not. There still are people within our community who are vulnerable and will continue to take additional measures to keep themselves safe. Others will simply feel more comfortable wearing their masks and practicing physical distancing. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 would also wear masks. We should all continue to treat each other with kindness and respect, particularly as people make individual decisions about if or when to wear a mask. We also encourage members of our campus community to put on their mask if another individual requests they do so, particularly in smaller, indoor settings.

Where can I get a high-quality mask?

Masks will be available at the Student Health Center upon request.

Will you change these policies again?

As we have throughout the pandemic, we will continue to adjust to public health conditions on campus and in the surrounding community, considering and reconsidering any health mitigation options as needed.


I don’t feel well. What should I do?

If you aren’t feeling well, whether or not you think it’s COVID, please wear a mask and take precautions. Get rest, drink plenty of fluids and seek testing (OTC testing kit is available at most pharmacies).  Please seek medical attention at the Student Health Center or local urgent care as needed. Let your professors or supervisors know why you are missing class or work.

If I am isolating by avoiding contact with others, how can I get food?

There is online ordering (Grubhub) and take-out options. You may utilize these options while doing your best to avoid contact with others. Wear a mask around others.

What are things I can do to prevent the spread of infectious diseases on campus?

They include simple everyday preventive measures, such as staying away from other people when you are sick, covering your coughs and sneezes, and washing your hands before you eat. Remember to wear a surgical mask, KN95 mask or equivalent if you are around others.

Where can I find a COVID test if I am feeling sick?

Self-tests are available at local pharmacies like Giant and CVS.  For students, the Student Health Center is open during the week for appointments. Please call them at 540-654-1040 to schedule an appointment. For after-hours and weekend support, you may call the Student Health number and be connected with a nurse hotline. If you need medical attention or testing after-hours or on the weekend, local urgent care centers are available.

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

If you test positive for COVID-19 using a self-test or at an off-campus medical provider, we encourage you to notify your healthcare provider or the Student Health Center right away if you are at high risk for more severe disease with COVID in order to get Paxlovid or Molnupiravir.

What do I do If I’m a close contact or have been exposed to COVID-19?

Please check the CDC guidelines for current recommendations about being exposed to COVID-19.  Please self-monitor for any symptoms and test.  Re-test again every 48 hours or sooner if symptoms change.  Even if you test negative, take precautions and wear a mask with others.  The CDC recommends getting tested at least 5 full days after your last exposure.

If your test result is positive, follow isolation recommendations.

Entry Testing

Is there entry testing prior to the start of the semester?

There is no in-person entry testing planned for the fall semester. We encourage all members of the community to monitor their health in the weeks leading up to the start of the semester and get tested prior to arriving to campus if experiencing symptoms, have a known exposure, or were in areas of high transmission.

What if I test positive on a self-test prior to school starting?

We ask that you do not return to campus until you complete your isolation period, consistent with CDC guidelines. Please be sure to notify your professors, employers, and the Residence Life and Housing office (residential students) of your anticipated arrival to campus.


Can I go home to isolate?

Yes, we encourage you to go home for isolation as long as you can travel home without the risk of spreading the virus to others (i.e. able to avoid public transportation). UMW has discontinued isolation spaces that were available at the height of the pandemic, so individuals who can and want to go home are encouraged to do so. On-campus students would need to coordinate any requests with Residence Life and Housing. Off-campus students, faculty, and staff need to make arrangements to isolate in their homes.

If I test positive, how long will I need to isolate?

The isolation period can range from five to ten days from the onset of symptoms (or positive test if asymptomatic) based on a number of factors. If you are asymptomatic or your symptoms have resolved (including no fever for 24 hours or more with without use of medication) AND you have the ability to mask anytime you are around others, then you may leave isolation after day five. The CDC recommends that immunocompromised individuals remain in isolation for the full ten days as they tend to be infectious longer. If you are still exhibiting symptoms, cannot mask around others, or are immunocompromised, you will need to continue to isolate for the full ten days. Even if you are able to leave isolation after day 5, you will need to wear a KN95 mask or the equivalent around others at all times until you complete day 10.

When does the isolation period start?

For individuals with no symptoms, day 0 is the day your positive test was administered. If you are exhibiting symptoms, day 0 is the day those symptoms began.

Under what circumstances will I need to quarantine if identified as a close contact?

CDC’s new guidance removes the recommendation that individuals who are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations should quarantine. All individuals with known exposures should mask for ten day from the date of exposure when around others.

CDC guidance says I can leave isolation after five days as long as I am symptom-free or my symptoms are resolving (no fever), but I need to mask around others for an additional five days. What if I have a roommate? Do I have to wear a mask around them?

The congregate nature of college settings presents additional challenges with the isolation guidance. If you have a roommate, it is not practical to expect you to be able to mask at all times, particularly during sleep. If you are an on-campus student with a roommate, please coordinate the details of your isolation with your roommate.  Have this conversation early so you know what to expect.  If there is any difficulty, please contact your RA or Residence Life.