WINCHESTER, Va. (WDVM) — Shenandoah University has updated its COVID-19 protocols as students return to campus for the fall semester.
The new COVID-19 protocols will last from August 18th through September 15th. SU says that these guidelines were updated because they expect a high volume of new students and parents coming to campus in the coming weeks for events like move-in day and convocation.
“For those first several weeks, we’re gonna have a lot of people on the campus that we are not aware of what their vaccination status is,” said Mitch Moore, senior vice president of Shenandoah University.
Almost all of SU’s students and staff are vaccinated — 96% of all benefited employees have received COVID-19 shots, and 87% of full-time graduate and undergraduate students are vaccinated.
“Our exemption numbers are extremely low,” stated Moore.
The protocols mostly focus on unvaccinated people in the college’s community. Those who are not vaccinated have to get weekly COVID-19 testing and wear masks in all public indoor spaces.
“The University, we think, took a very prudent middle-of-the-road approach in our vaccine mandates and certainly believe the vaccines work, but also understand there’s an element of individual freedom that needs to be recognized,” Moore mentioned.
Masks will also be required for all students going to in-person classes held indoors regardless of vaccination status.
“Masking in the classroom or in class allows us to make sure that we are protecting those individuals that are both fully vaccinated and those that have chosen not to be vaccinated,” Moore said.
Masks are mandatory for all guests and family members and for meetings and events of 50 people or more in an indoor setting (where social distancing is not possible). The Wilkins Wellness Center and campus transportation will also require a mask to be worn.
SU says they will reevaluate the COVID-19 protocols come September 15th.