Frequently Asked Questions
Academic Year 2021-2022
(updated Aug. 25)
What are the vaccination guidelines for the WMA Community?
Vaccination against COVID-19 is required for everyone on campus, unless they have a school-approved exemption from vaccination and closely follow their prescribed safety accommodations. These accommodations for unvaccinated individuals will include increased testing, mask wearing and eating at tables with plexiglass. More details for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students and employees are covered in the following sections.
Do I have to wear a mask?
Masks must be worn indoors by everyone unless in a room alone or sitting at a table in the dining room. They must be worn correctly covering the nose and mouth. Masks will not be required outdoors, except for unvaccinated people who cannot remain socially distanced. We will start the school year like this, to safely reestablish the community ‘bubble’, and then we will reevaluate and communicate any changes once we have more information. It is important for everyone to remember that there may be many reasons why individuals may be wearing masks on campus. We expect everyone to be treated with respect, whether they choose to wear a mask or whether they need to wear a mask. Under no circumstances should anyone ever ask another person why they are wearing a mask. Any discrimination of a person based on their decision to wear a mask will be dealt with in accordance with our disciplinary policies.
Will there be COVID-19 testing?
Testing will continue this year, but with some important changes. The entire school will participate in a PCR test once each week, rather than twice a week as we did last year, and we will all test on one single day - Monday. Testing will be conducted in the Campus Center Conference Room, and will be administered by a team from CIC (the company we coordinated with last year). The tests will still be analyzed by the Broad Institute, and results will still be returned to the school within roughly 24 hours. Unvaccinated people will test one additional day each week with the BinaxNOW rapid antigen test. Those additional tests will be administered by our Health Services staff. Additionally, quarantine for nonsymptomatic close contacts will no longer be necessary. Instead, those individuals will report to Health Services for a BinaxNOW rapid antigen test each morning for five mornings. If the results are negative each day, they may stay in school. After five days of negative tests, they are clear.
What are the dining protocols?
Dining will happen in Lak Dining Hall this year. In the Dining Hall, unvaccinated individuals must eat at one of the plexiglass equipped tables. Vaccinated individuals may also eat at the plexiglass tables if they are more comfortable doing so or if they wish to sit with an unvaccinated friend. People may remove their masks once they are seated at a table, but masks must be put back on before standing up for any reason. In order to offer comfort and freedom, we have also installed a tent over Levy Patio, outside the Campus Center. Since it is outdoors, anyone, vaccinated or not, may eat under the tent at any table. There will not be a grab-and-go option in the Chapel.
Will we have school meetings?
School meetings will not occur in the Chapel, and will not happen at all for the first couple of weeks to accommodate advisor meetings and to settle into our new testing regimen. Once conditions are more conducive to putting 400 people in close quarters, we will resume meeting in the Chapel.
How will Athletics and Afternoon Programming be impacted?
Athletics and Afternoon Programming for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students will follow the general masking guidelines with one important distinction: when outdoors, unvaccinated students and coaches will need to wear a mask if unable to remain socially distanced (e.g., huddles).
Will I need to wear a mask during WMA Bus travel?
WMA Bus travel will require all passengers and the driver to wear a mask for the duration of the trip.
What is the dress code for the first day of classes and beyond?
Attire for the first day of school will be business casual dress code. We will remain in business casual until we get through the warmer opening weeks of school. Consult the Student/Parent Handbook (page 11) for guidance on business casual attire.
Can Day Students leave campus?
Day students may not leave campus during the academic day when they have free periods or when their day ends early, unless they have express permission from the Deans Office and with parent permission for an appointment, etc. Day students are allowed to come to breakfast, dinner and to participate in evening and weekend activities on campus, but they are not allowed in the dorms.
Can Boarding Students leave campus?
Boarding students will be allowed to leave campus on school-sponsored trips and with their families/guardians. No individual trips off campus or to day student homes will be allowed at this time.
Can I walk to the Village Store and Mini Mart?
The Village Store and Mini Mart are available for boarding and day students and are considered “on campus.” The Village Store is available for grab-and-go only - you may not eat inside the store.
Will all programs and activities be in person?
In-person attendance is required for all programs and activities - Zoom will not be an option unless a student is in Health Services-approved quarantine or has Deans Office approval.
Will the Campus Store be open?
The Campus Store will be open on a limited basis each week, beginning at the opening of school. As we move through the year, hours and access will increase.
What is the policy for campus visitors and parents?
Campus visitors and parents will be allowed on campus this year, but they are still not allowed in the dormitories. Visitors and parents should carry with them proof of vaccination (vaccine card, photocopy or photo on your phone) and should be prepared to produce it if necessary. Additionally, all visitors and parents must follow our current community masking policy; we will notify you of changes. Under some circumstances, visitors and parents should also expect to participate in a BinaxNOW rapid antigen test.