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WMWU - COVID Response to William & Mary
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William & Mary Workers’ Union: Response to William & Mary COVID-19 Response Protocol

On March 11th, we received notice from President Katherine Rowe that William & Mary “will remain open with modified academic operations” in response to the spread of COVID-19. While students are encouraged to remain at home, campus will remain open to house students with compelling reasons to remain, and employees are expected to continue working. As President Rowe has noted, “these decisions will have consequences for each of us professionally and personally.” We call on the University to ensure these consequences are not exacerbated by inadequate pay and health benefits, or unsafe working conditions. It must ensure that no employees or students are placed under serious economic strain by these changes. It must also ensure that all workers and students at William & Mary have the ability to take the required steps to mitigate COVID-19—social distancing, self-isolation, and treatment—without serious economic repercussions.[1]

As a result, the William & Mary Workers’ Union calls on the University include the following in their COVID-19 response protocol:

As workers across campus adapt to evolving conditions, it is the University’s responsibility to minimize financial uncertainty and create conditions in which all workers can confidently follow the current CDC health recommendations. As a global leader in education, William & Mary should set an example by supporting its workers during this challenging time. We call on the University to adopt the above commonsense policies to protect its employees, students, and the public.


[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Steps to Prevent Illness” (March 10th, 2020). Available at:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fabout%2Fprevention-treatment.html (last accessed March 11th, 2020).

[2] Natalie Escobar, “Code Switch: When Xenophobia Spreads Like A Virus, NPR (March 4th, 2020). Available at: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/02/811363404/when-xenophobia-spreads-like-a-virus (last accessed March 11th, 2020); Stacey Torres and Xuemei Cao, “Coronavirus on College Campuses: Fight Fear and Racism Along with the Outbreak,” USA Today (March 20th, 2020). Available at: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/03/01/coronavirus-fight-fear-racism-anti-chinese-sentiment-campus-column/4913481002/ (last accessed March 11th, 2020).