Campus responds to coronavirus: All your questions answered

The Ring-tum Phi staff is keeping Washington and Lee University informed with the latest coronavirus updates and answers to reader questions.


An aerial view of Washington and Lee University. Photo by Coleman Martinson.

Ring-tum Phi Staff

This is a breaking news story that will be updated with new information. Have a question? Email [email protected], or contact us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

As Washington and Lee University responds to COVID-19, the new coronavirus, and continues to evaluate campus policy, here’s what we know about what it means for students, professors, employees and local residents. 

What is the likelihood that W&L will cancel school and what is the time frame for them considering this as an option? 

The university has discontinued all in-person classes and asked students in on-campus housing to vacate by Wednesday, March 18, unless they have special permission to stay. Classes will take a two-week recess, and then resume online starting on March 30 through April 22 for winter term. Provost Marc Conner announced on Saturday, March 14 that spring term classes for undergraduate students will also be taught online. Sidney Evans, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said that Washington and Lee University is working with regional and national health experts on a day to day basis to decide what is best for the student body, the W&L community, and Rockbridge County. Administrators will keep the campus community updated with new information.

How is the university making its decisions to respond to the coronavirus? Is it safe for us to be on campus?

According to Evans, the administration was in contact with experts at the Center for Disease Control as well as other regional experts to decide the latest university policies in response to COVID-19. Given the particular situation of W&L — its small size, isolated location, the fact that the university had Washington Break nearly two weeks ago — national and state officials have advised that keeping students on campus is the safest option.

What are the hours for campus facilities for faculty, staff and students with swipe card access?

Student Health Center:

  • Monday – Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Elrod Commons:

  • March 19-20: 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Starting March 21: Saturday – Sunday, 10:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

The Marketplace (D-Hall):

  • March 19-20: breakfast, 8:00 a.m. – 10 a.m.; lunch, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.; dinner, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Starting March 21: Saturday – Sunday: brunch: 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., dinner, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Monday – Friday: breakfast, 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m., lunch: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., dinner: 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Leyburn Library:

  • Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Mail Room:

  • Monday – Friday: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

All athletic facilities, including the Fitness Center are closed.

How can I continue to receive university counseling services?

The University Counseling office is closed for in-person services for the foreseeable future, according to a press release emailed to senior students by Associate Dean of Students and Dean of Seniors Tammi Simpson. Counselors will be available to provide the following services to enrolled undergraduate and law students:

  • Enrolled students who are staying on campus or within Virginia can receive services through teletherapy. Counselors will contact existing scheduled clients to arrange these appointments.
  • Students who have had a treatment relationship with one of the university counselors but do not currently have an appointment scheduled should let their class dean know and they will contact the counselor, who will be in touch to schedule an appointment.
  • Students who have not had past treatment with university counseling and are currently residing in Virginia can do an intake assessment and discuss treatment options with a university counselor, either through via teletherapy with university counseling or with another provider.
  • Students who are living in Lexington and have a mental health emergency after hours should go to the Emergency Department at Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital.
  • Students who are currently residing outside Virginia should reach out to the counseling center to connect with local treatment resources. State licensing statutes do not allow clinicians licensed in Virginia to provide treatment services to patients outside the state.
  • Current patients of Kirk Luder who need a medication refill should email him directly ([email protected]) with the medication and which pharmacy, with an address, that they want to use.
  • Students who are currently living in the Lexington/Rockbridge area that have a mental health emergency should call the regional Behavioral Health Crisis Hotline 1-855-222-2046, or call 911, or go to the nearest hospital emergency department. Another resource if students are having suicidal thoughts is to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.
  • Students who are currently living outside Lexington that have a mental health emergency should call 911 immediately or go to the nearest hospital emergency department. All emergency rooms in the U.S. are required to provide emergency mental health assessment and treatment.

Contact the Counseling Center by phone at 540-458-8590 or by e-mail at [email protected].

Where can people donate food and clothes?

The campus food pantry is accepting non-perishable food donations in bins on the third floor of Elrod Commons. Clothing donations can be left in bins in the Elrod Commons atrium outside the university store. Campus Kitchen and Rockbridge Area Relief Association are accepting unopened food and toiletries. Washington and Lee University community members can drop off their donations to the Campus Kitchen tables between 9am and 7pm through Wednesday, March 18.

What events have been canceled? 

All university events have been canceled, and different organizations are working to reschedule. The Bryce Vine concert presented by the General Activities Board has been canceled. Lauren Hassel, ‘20, said that the organization is working to reschedule the concert. Bryce Vine said on Twitter that he is currently being quarantined in Colombia. 

Now that Fancy Dress is canceled, will students be refunded for tickets?

According to an email sent by Kelsey Goodwin Friday morning, Fancy Dress will be fully refunding students for purchased tickets. Students will not receive refunds for purchased memorabilia but will still receive those items at a later date. Students who bought half packages will receive a $50 refund and full packages will receive a $90 refund, according to the email. 

Is Traveller going to keep running?

Traveller has said it will continue offering rides through the bus and dispatch services through Saturday, March 14.