William & Mary students disciplined, some removed from campus, after violating COVID-19 guidelines

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WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — Several William & Mary students face sanctions and some have been removed from campus after violating COVID-19 guidelines, school officials say.

Associate Director of University News Erin Zagursky didn’t go into detail about the incident in an email but said “a number of students on campus” over the weekend gathered in a group exceeding the university’s guidelines, without masks and without social distancing. There was also underage possession of alcohol.

“Unfortunately, a number of students on campus this weekend were found to be in violation of these guidelines, the Student Code of Conduct, the Residence Life contract and state law,” Zagursky said. “They gathered in a group exceeding our size guidelines, without the space to physically distance, were not wearing masks and possessed alcohol while underage. Their actions have resulted in sanctions, which in some instances include removal from campus housing and/or separation from the campus community.”

Zagursky said this wasn’t the first gathering that’s resulted in sanctions from the school since it reopened in late August with a phased-in approach, but is the first that led to the removal or separation of students from campus.

“Removal of any member of our university community is not a decision we take lightly,” Zagursky said. “We are guided by our conduct codes, which include due process rights for every individual. Many, many members of the William & Mary community have committed months of work and planning to be able to bring students back to campus – creating an environment that maximizes the in-person experience while keeping paramount the health and safety of the university community.”

William & Mary has been relatively successful in containing the virus since that reopening in August. As of Monday, the school’s COVID-19 dashboard was reporting less than 10 positive tests out of 7,248 conducted among students. There were less than 10 positives among 818 tests for employees.

Other schools across the country have faced major outbreaks, with some such as JMU and UNC-Chapel Hill closing for in-person learning. Some schools such as Northeastern University have expelled students for not following guidelines, while others such as Virginia Tech have suspended students.

William & Mary will continue with in-person learning, but the university says it will take everyone working together.

“A successful on-campus fall semester depends on intentional acts of caring and respect for each other and for the community as a whole. And even with full compliance, the health and safety of our community will remain vulnerable. We must do all in our power to protect one another.”

For more on William & Mary’s COVID-19 guidelines, click here.

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