The University of Lynchburg’s COVID-19 Task Force today finalized plans for the opening of classes in August. Those plans include mandatory vaccinations and a lifting of most COVID-19 restrictions.
President Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar announced the changes for Fall 2021 in a campuswide email. The University, she said, will “return to the residential experience that is at the core of the Lynchburg experience.” To ensure that this happens safely, vaccinations will be required for all students, faculty, and staff. Only religious and medical exemptions will be permitted.
Before returning to campus for the fall term, all students must submit proof of vaccination via the student portal. Faculty and staff will be required to verify proof of vaccination with human resources. Those details are forthcoming.
“For the past several weeks, I have been encouraging all in our community to be vaccinated before the start of classes in August,” Morrison-Shetlar said. “The COVID-19 Task Force determined that the change in course — to mandatory vaccinations for all — is in the best interest of the University and will best allow us to return to normal operations. I heartily concur with this decision and am certain that it will serve us well as we come out from under the cloud of the pandemic.”
She went on to remind the community of the benefits of vaccination, including not having to quarantine after coming into contact with an infected individual. The vaccine, she added, is now “readily available” throughout the state and the country, and key things to know about the COVID vaccine are on the CDC website.
But the greatest benefit to the University of Lynchburg community is a near-normal fall semester.
“We fully expect and are planning for clubs, organizations, performing arts, intercollegiate and intramural sports, and all other components of the student experience to return to more normal ways of gathering, competing, and performing, in person and without restrictions,” Morrison-Shetlar said.
Detailed opening plans for Fall 2021 may be found here. Protocols for summer are as follows:
Those who have been fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks when on campus — either indoors or outside. However, any person who has not been vaccinated must wear a mask while inside any University building and outdoors when less than six feet from others. We support any member of our community who wishes to continue wearing a mask or face covering.
We will no longer require physical distancing of six feet on campus. Current restrictions are lifted in all facilities including the dining hall, classrooms, and meeting spaces. A return to normal occupancy and seating will be gradually implemented over the next several weeks. However, we require masks of all who are not vaccinated and require they also maintain physical distancing.
Exceptions to the above physical distancing are in place for summer classes, where we will continue to maintain physical distancing of six feet.
The University has no limits on the size of gatherings on campus. However, as we transition back to full-time occupancy of offices and classrooms over the summer, we encourage continued vigilance. We continue to encourage virtual meetings, when appropriate, and suggest outdoor gatherings, when possible. Any person not fully vaccinated must wear a mask or face covering and physically distance themselves. Residential students will be required to follow the guest policy as stated in the Hornet Handbook.
Symptom Monitoring and Temperature Checks
We encourage all to be mindful of their symptoms but no longer require the use of the LiveSafe App or the temperature check kiosks at the entrances of campus facilities.
All visitors are required to follow the above protocols. Any visitor to campus who has not been fully vaccinated must wear a mask and maintain safe physical distancing.
The COVID-19 Task Force will continue to meet throughout the summer and is following the guidance of the CDC and the governor’s office. Contingencies are in place should the University need to respond to a return or spike of the virus on campus.
“I am excited about our plans for the fall and a safe return of all,” Morrison-Shetlar said. “Please be safe as you enjoy your summer.”