2021-22 COVID-19 Communication Log:

January 11, 2022—regarding updated COVID mitigation plans

The following message was sent to the Hampden-Sydney community on January 11, 2022:

To the Members of the Hampden-Sydney College Campus Community,

Last week, our students received important information about the start of the spring semester from Dean of Students Richard Pantele, and faculty and staff members also received another important update from Mike McDermott, our Dean of Faculty and College COVID coordinator. Now, with less than a week before the start of the semester, I’m writing to share additional important details about our COVID mitigation strategy and to underscore information that has been previously shared with all. 

The highly transmissible Omicron variant is a new chapter in the COVID-19 saga. Even though it appears that the threat of serious illness, hospitalization, and death posed by Omicron is lower than the original or Delta variants—especially among the vaccinated—we can all understand how widespread infection could jeopardize our ability to offer an on-campus, in-person educational experience. Coming at a time when all of us want to put COVID behind us, Omicron is spreading rapidly and we share a collective responsibility to remain vigilant to protect the health and wellbeing of all members of our campus community.

Testing:  According to the CDC, individuals with an Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms. Colleges that have already had students return to campus are seeing high positivity rates, and we know of at least a couple of colleges in Virginia that have decided to hold virtual-only classes for the first couple of weeks. To give our community the best opportunity to continue offering in-person instruction, we need to do everything we can to minimize the presence of the Omicron variant on our campus. Accordingly, the College is requiring all students to submit a negative COVID-19 test before returning to campus. Tests must be administered within 24 hours of your return on Sunday, January 16 and results uploaded to this portal. Students with a positive test result should email the Hampden-Sydney Care Team at careteam@hsc.edu. A College staff member will respond offering support and next steps.

The College will accept a lab test, a rapid test from a provider such as a pharmacy, or an at-home test. A photo of the test results can be uploaded to the portal. If you are using an at-home test, please print your name and date on the test, take a photo of the negative result, and upload it through the portal. 

The only exception for a negative pre-return test is for students who have tested positive in the past 90 days. Students in this situation should contact the Student Health Center at (434) 223-6167.

(For students pre-approved for an early return, test results must be uploaded to the portal 24 hours before the approved return time. The College will not accept any additional early arrival requests. Unless approved to return early, no student may move back to campus until Sunday, January 16th. Contact Patty Townsend in the Office of Student Affairs at ptownsend@hsc.edu with any questions about an early return.)

Students who cannot obtain a test will be tested immediately upon their return to campus—prior to returning to their living unit or any other campus facility. If you cannot obtain a test, contact Kim Ball in the Student Health Center at (434) 223-6167 to schedule an on-campus test.

Students and faculty and staff members should not come to campus if you have a positive test result, are experiencing COVID-like symptoms, or if you have been a close contact to anyone who has recently received a positive COVID test result.

Wastewater Testing:  Wastewater testing will continue to be an essential element of the College’s COVID mitigation strategy. Wastewater testing will resume immediately after students return and provide a reliable indicator of the presence of the virus, which will also help to inform future testing.

Testing of Unvaccinated Students and Employees:  The previous testing protocol—weekly testing for non-vaccinated individuals—will continue for the duration of the semester or until the pandemic has abated.

Isolation/Quarantine:  The College will continue to follow CDC guidance on quarantine and isolation periods, as communicated last week by Richard Pantele, Dean of Students. For positive cases, this means isolating for five days, followed by masking for another five days (assuming that no symptoms remain). Any student who has been released from quarantine or isolation must mask when around other people (including roommates) for five days after his release. General masking policies apply after that period.

Temporary Restriction on Visitors and Group Gatherings:  As an additional precaution and to give ourselves the best opportunity to continue to offer in-person instruction, students may not host visitors or hold group gatherings where masking and social distancing cannot be ensured for the first two weeks of the semester. We will reevaluate these restrictions before the end of January.

Heightened Mask Protocols:  Until further notice, masks are required inside all campus buildings, TigeRec, and indoor athletic events (this includes basketball games). Masks should be, at a minimum, multi-layered (preferably surgical-grade or better), and must be worn correctly to cover the nose and mouth completely. The College will have a supply of masks for students who may need them. Individuals are exempt from wearing masks when actively eating or drinking in the Commons or Tiger Inn, or when in private spaces, such as a dorm room or personal office. (Note that individuals released from quarantine or isolation have additional masking requirements for five days after release.)

Mask Accountability:  The entire campus community should feel empowered to enforce masking where appropriate. We especially need students to hold their brothers accountable for the health and safety of every member of our campus community. Students who do not comply with masking protocol will be held accountable through the Code of Student Conduct for failure to comply with College policy. 

Flexibility/Hybrid Classes:  Faculty members are encouraged to be flexible and prepare for hybrid classes, especially at the beginning of the semester, given the possibility that many students could be in quarantine or isolation.

Employee Sick Leave/COVID Leave:  Current leave and quarantine policies are provided under the “For Employees” section on the College’s COVID-19 web page.

Vaccination Clinic:  The College is working with the Virginia Department of Health to schedule an on-campus vaccination clinic and details will be shared as soon as they are available. Vaccinations and booster shots are also readily available in most pharmacies.

According to the CDC, vaccines may not keep you from getting the Omicron variant but they are proving “highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.” For this reason, we urge all eligible community members to consult with their medical provider about the benefits of the vaccine and booster shots.

I understand that the Omicron variant has emerged at a time when most of us are more than ready to put COVID behind us, but its easy transmission means that we must approach the start of the spring semester with caution. My hope is that starting the semester with vigilance will pay off for our community by allowing us to offer, as we have for 18 months now, an on-campus, in-person educational experience. Thank you for your cooperation and willingness to put the interests of our campus community ahead of your personal convenience and preferences.

Larry Stimpert
President

January 6, 2022—regarding updated COVID protocols

The following message was shared with Hampden-Sydney students on January 6, 2022:

Dear Students,

It is my sincere hope that you have all had a wonderful and restful holiday break. Your hard work and dedication last semester are deserving of tremendous praise, and we are all so proud of each of you.

As your return to campus grows nearer, I want to share several important updates with you regarding COVID policies, procedures, and guidelines, so that each of you has plenty of time to prepare for the spring semester. Given that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is highly contagious — and our region has continued to see a substantial increase in the spread of the virus — we must approach the spring semester with heightened precautions.

Our protocol, which is derived from CDC and VDH guidance and regional COVID-19 data, is designed to minimize the spread of the virus so that the College can continue to host an in-person, on-campus academic experience. We know that the general preference among students, faculty, and staff is to remain on campus and have in-person classes, so we must continue to do what is necessary to make this possible.

This situation is rapidly evolving, and I ask that you please read the information below very carefully and in its entirety so that you are well informed and prepared for the spring semester.

Vaccinations and Boosters

First, it is clear that the combination of vaccine and booster shots continues to be the best measure for preventing infection and reducing the impact and severity of the COVID-19 virus. This is reflected in the CDC’s updated recommendations for quarantine and isolation periods, which the College will be following and are described below.

Vaccinated Students

Booster Shots- Students who have been fully vaccinated (more than sixth months ago for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and more than two months ago for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) should consult with their healthcare provider about receiving a booster shot prior to the start of spring semester classes. Booster shots are readily available at most pharmacies and vaccination clinics. We urge eligible students to receive their booster vaccination prior to their return to campus.

If you do receive your booster shot prior to your return to campus, please upload a copy of your updated vaccination card, which will be added to your health record, at the link below-

Upload your updated vaccine card here

Quarantine- Students who have received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last six months or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the last two months, and students who have received their booster vaccination will not need to quarantine if they are a close contact to a positive COVID case unless they develop symptoms. If a vaccinated/boosted student is considered a close contact, they will need to wear a well-fitting mask for ten days when around other people and must undergo testing five days after their exposure to the positive COVID case.

Un-boosted students who received their Pfizer or Moderna vaccine more than six months ago or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two months ago will be required to quarantine for five days if they are a close contact to a positive case. These students may be released from quarantine as long as they receive a negative test result on their fifth day of quarantine. Students will need to wear a well-fitting mask when around others for five days after their release from quarantine.

Isolation- If a vaccinated student tests positive for COVID, isolation is still required but has been reduced to a period of five days as long as that student tests negative for the virus on his fifth day of isolation. Students will need to wear a well-fitting mask when around others for five days after their release from isolation. Special considerations do exist for sports and other activities where students cannot wear an appropriate mask consistently for 6-10 days after release. Students needing to isolate will be encouraged to isolate at home.

Unvaccinated Students

The College continues to urge students who aren’t prevented by a medical condition or religious beliefs to receive a COVID vaccination. Students should consult with their health care provider about the benefits of vaccination if they haven’t already.

If you do receive your vaccination prior to your return to campus, please upload a copy of your vaccination card to be added to your health record at the link below-

Upload your vaccine card here

Quarantine- Any unvaccinated student who is a close contact to a positive COVID case will need to quarantine for five days. In order to be released from quarantine, unvaccinated students must receive a negative test result on their fifth day. Unvaccinated students should wear a well-fitting mask when around others for five days after their release from quarantine.

Isolation- Any unvaccinated student who tests positive for COVID will need to isolate for five days. In order to be released from isolation, unvaccinated students must test negative for the virus on their fifth day of isolation. Special considerations do exist for sports and other activities where students cannot wear an appropriate mask consistently for 6-10 days after release. Unvaccinated students should wear a well-fitting mask when around others for five days after their release from isolation. Students needing to isolate will be encouraged to isolate at home.

Gatherings and Group Events

In accordance with CDC and VDH guidance, until further notice, all club, organization, fraternity, and general social gatherings (public, private, indoor, and outdoor) where more than 25 people could be present and masking and social distancing cannot be ensured will be put on hold. Students living in on-campus housing should not host indoor gatherings until further notice. The College will continue to evaluate this policy as the current situation with COVID develops, though no exceptions will be made at this time.

The College has not yet put restrictions on the visitation of guests. However, this may become necessary if the situation worsens.

Masking

All masking protocol and policies from last semester will remain in effect next semester. Proper masking includes wearing a proper fitting mask, covering your mouth and nose.

Any changes to masking protocol will be communicated with you prior to your return to campus.

Testing Prior to Your Return

The College is currently evaluating options for potentially requiring students to receive a negative test result 24-hours before returning to campus or mandatory onboard testing for all students on the day of their arrival to campus.

At this time, students are not required to submit a negative test result prior to their return to campus. However, any student experiencing symptoms of the COVID virus should not return to campus until they have received a negative test result. 

If you are symptomatic and/or receive a positive test result and cannot return to campus during move-in on Sunday, January 16th, please send an email to the Hampden-Sydney CARE Team at careteam@hsc.edu. A member of the CARE Team and/or Student Affairs staff will reach out to you to provide support and next steps.

Moving Forward…

We must all continue to do our part in mitigating the risks of COVID to our community. Doing so allows the College to continue to provide as meaningful of an in-person, on campus experience for you as we possibly can, despite the circumstances. We will continue to revise and adjust our policies as the situation with COVID evolves in our community.

We know that the work that you are putting forth, as good men and good citizens, to ensure our continued face-to-face presence on campus is not easy. But we appreciate the sacrifices that you and members of the faculty and staff are making for the continued longevity and health of the College and our community.

In the meantime, we hope that you continue to enjoy your time at home with your loved ones.

Best,
Richard M. Pantele ‘13, Ed.D.
Dean of Students

September 10, 2021—regarding updates to vaccination policy

The following message was shared with Hampden-Sydney faculty, and staff on September 10, 2021:

To the Hampden-Sydney College Campus Community:

Following President Biden’s address to the nation yesterday on fighting the COVID pandemic, we will begin to require that all faculty and staff members either be fully vaccinated or show a negative test result at least once a week. This will mirror the policy we currently have in place for our students, and is in accordance with the new federal requirement for businesses with more than 100 employees. Implementation details will follow next week for employees for whom we do not have a vaccination record on file.

To reiterate messages that I have shared previously, the Pfizer COVID vaccine has now received full FDA approval, and overwhelming evidence shows that vaccination is very effective at protecting against serious illness, hospitalization, and death—even in the low number of breakthrough cases. The vaccines are safe, and for those who have previously had COVID, they provide additional protection beyond one’s natural immunity.

Consult with your personal physician or other trained medical professional about getting vaccinated. The College will provide additional sick time if needed for employees to visit and consult with a doctor about getting vaccinated, and we will provide additional sick time if needed for employees to get vaccinated. Employees may access a doctor through LiveHealth Online, 24 hours a day/7 days a week, at livehealthonline.com. If you need assistance identifying a primary health care provider, please contact Human Resources or call the number on your insurance card.

If you are not feeling well, do not come to work, and get tested as soon as possible.

We will continue to take steps to protect our community members—whether unvaccinated, living with unvaccinated family members, or fully vaccinated—including:

  • Requiring masking for all individuals in our academic buildings and the Pannill Commons while our region is deemed an area of substantial or high transmission.
  • Maintaining social distancing of unvaccinated individuals in our classrooms.
  • Requiring weekly testing of unvaccinated students and additional testing of unvaccinated student-athletes, and taking the precaution of administering PCR tests to any symptomatic students even after they receive a negative rapid test result.
  • Conducting frequent wastewater testing of our campus residences, which has proven effective at providing early detection of COVID outbreaks both here and at other colleges and universities.

Thank you, again, for doing your part to protect one another and to limit the spread of COVID.

August 17, 2021—regarding community masking policy

The following message was shared with Hampden-Sydney students, faculty, and staff on August 17, 2021:

Members of the Hampden-Sydney Campus Community,

Given high transmission levels in Prince Edward County, all individuals – both vaccinated and unvaccinated – are currently required to wear masks inside campus buildings when others are nearby (within 6 feet). This is in accordance with the CDC’s July 28 recommendation regarding masking in areas with substantial or high levels of community transmission. This policy is subject to change as conditions evolve, and the College will notify the community of any updates.

The TigeRec Fitness Center is currently following NCAA guidance regarding masking for those exercising inside the facility and Kirby Gymnasium: Masks are required for unvaccinated individuals, and strongly recommended for those who are vaccinated. Students, we expect you to be on your honor in following this policy.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. Mask up, Tigers!

August 2, 2021—regarding CDC masking policy updates

The following message was shared with Hampden-Sydney faculty and staff on August 2, 2021:

Dear Colleagues,

As you may know, the CDC recently updated its interim public health recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals. As of July 28, the CDC recommends mask wearing for all individuals in indoor public settings in areas experiencing a substantial or high level of community transmission. Given that Prince Edward County moved from the moderate to the substantial and now to the high transmission category in the last 48 hours, the College is requiring all individuals – regardless of vaccination status – to wear masks inside campus buildings when others are nearby, in accordance with the CDC’s July 28 recommendation. Updated guidance will be provided as the situation evolves. Thank you.

CDC Guidance as of July 28: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html
CDC COVID Tracker (Integrated County View): https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view

July 30, 2021—regarding campus protocols and the academic year

President Stimpert shared the following message with Hampden-Sydney students and parents on July 30, 2021:

To the Men of Hampden-Sydney College and Your Parents:

I look forward to welcoming you back to campus in less than a month, and I’m writing to you today to let you know where we stand as COVID continues. So far, we have learned that 70 percent of you have received at least one dose of a vaccine, but we have not heard from all of you. If you haven’t already, please either upload your vaccination card using this secure portal or contact our Student Health Services staff at (434) 223-6167. We need to know whether you have been vaccinated. Many thanks to those of you who have submitted your vaccination record.

The vaccines are proving effective at preventing infection, including infection from the more contagious Delta variant. Even so, we have heard from some of you that you don’t believe you need to be vaccinated because young people rarely risk serious illness from COVID. We are increasingly concerned about the risks new variants pose to unvaccinated students and the risks you pose to others if you become infected—particularly to your peers and faculty and staff members who have compromised immune systems. Some of you believe the natural immunity from having had COVID will protect you and others. We also understand that some of you are concerned about the safety of the vaccines. If, for any reason, you have not yet been vaccinated, please consult with your family physician about whether you should get vaccinated before returning to the College.

We want to have as typical a year as possible and, at the same time, continue to comply with guidance from the CDC and the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of today, this means:

  • If you do not submit a vaccination record, we will expect you to wear a mask indoors and when you are in close proximity to others. You must also be tested weekly. This testing won’t be optional and if you do not get tested, you will not be able to attend classes. Please note that faculty members may, at their discretion, require all students in their classes to wear a mask.
  • According to NCAA guidelines, any student-athlete for whom we don’t have a vaccination record must mask during indoor athletic activities and travel, remain socially distanced, avoid locker rooms, and be tested regularly. Due to limited staffing, only students who have provided a vaccination record may participate in intramural or club sports.
  • If you contract COVID or if you are unvaccinated and come into close contact with someone who has COVID, you will need to isolate or quarantine at home. (We will work to identify alternatives for students who live further from campus or who would create a health risk for others by traveling home.) As they did last year, faculty members will work with students who are ill or in isolation or quarantine to help keep you on track.
  • The College will be open to visitors and we expect those who are not vaccinated to wear a mask and maintain social distance when they are indoors or in close proximity to others.

We will continue to monitor federal, state, and local guidelines, make adjustments accordingly, and remain vigilant in protecting those who are unvaccinated and those who are most susceptible to serious illness from COVID-19.

I wish you all the best as you prepare for the intellectual adventures the coming academic year will offer.

President Larry Stimpert

June 21, 2021—regarding vaccines and the academic year 2021-22

President Stimpert shared the following message with Hampden-Sydney students and parents on June 21, 2021:

To the Men of Hampden-Sydney College and Your Parents:

Thanks to the commitment of so many members of the Hampden-Sydney community, we lived and learned together on campus this past academic year, realizing the many benefits of the highly personal teaching, mentoring, coaching, and peer relationships that define the transformational Hampden-Sydney experience. We are grateful to you who are upperclassmen for doing your part, and we welcome you who are entering freshmen to our very special brotherhood and to an extraordinary educational adventure.

We are heartened by the dramatic decline in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in our country, which are at the lowest levels since the onset of the pandemic, and we are planning for the 2021-22 academic year to be as normal as possible. As the summer continues, we hope for a further decline in the incidence of COVID-19, FDA approval of one or more of the vaccines, and new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and other regulatory agencies that will continue to guide our planning.

While the pandemic continues, we expect you and all members of our campus community to do what is necessary to protect yourselves, your fellow students, our faculty and staff members, and your families, friends, and others from the virus as we are living and learning together on campus. The most effective action you can take is to get vaccinated, which we encourage you to do. If you choose not to or are prevented from doing so, you must continue to follow the CDC’s and Virginia’s mask wearing and social distancing guidance. We are not yet mandating that you be vaccinated before the start of the 2021-22 academic year, but we may do so if one or more of the vaccines receive formal FDA approval or the course of the disease takes a turn for the worse. As with other vaccines we require, we understand some community members are prevented from being vaccinated for a medical or religious reason.

The vaccines are highly effective in protecting against COVID-19 and its variants. Given the technologies that were employed to create the vaccines, and with nearly 150 million people in the United States now vaccinated, we can have a great deal of confidence in their safety. Our own Dr. Kristian Hargadon ’01, Elliott Associate Professor of Biology, produced this video in which he addresses frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines and explains why they are both effective and safe. Further assurance I can offer of the vaccines’ safety is to remind you that Hampden-Sydney alumnus Scott Nickerson ’95 is the Senior Vice President of U.S. Manufacturing for Moderna.

If you have already been vaccinated, please upload your vaccination card using this secure portal by Friday, July 9. We are requesting this information to provide us with a more complete understanding of our student body’s vaccination status to guide our planning for the fall semester.

At this point, our planning for the coming academic year is based on current guidance from the CDC and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Accordingly, students who do not provide proof of vaccination to the College will be required to follow precautions including wearing a mask in class and while in close proximity to others. Faculty members who are concerned about the risk that unvaccinated students pose to themselves or to others in their classrooms, laboratories, and studios may ask all of their students to wear masks.

We will expect unvaccinated students to isolate or quarantine at home if they contract or are exposed to COVID-19. And while our faculty and staff members are always willing to assist students who are ill or quarantining, we do not plan to offer remote learning options.

At this time, NCAA guidelines for unvaccinated student-athletes remain the same as this past spring: Unvaccinated student-athletes must mask during indoor activities and travel, remain socially distanced, avoid locker rooms, and participate in regular testing. Vaccinated student-athletes no longer face these restrictions. Due to staffing limitations, students will need to be fully vaccinated in order to participate in intramural or club sports.

To be fully vaccinated by August 20—the Friday before the start of classes—you will need to receive the first dose in a two-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) by July 9 and the second dose by August 6, or receive a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen) by August 6. To find a vaccine center near you, please see https://www.vaccines.gov/. Again, when you are vaccinated, please upload your vaccination card to this portal if you have not already done so.

We will send a follow-up message or messages as we receive additional guidance or if circumstances change. We wish you a productive and enjoyable summer and look forward to seeing you on campus soon.

President Larry Stimpert

June 21, 2021—regarding vaccines and the academic year 2021-22

President Stimpert shared the following message with Hampden-Sydney faculty and staff on June 21, 2021:

To the Faculty and Staff of Hampden-Sydney College:

Thanks to the commitment of so many members of this special Hampden-Sydney community, we lived and learned together on campus this past academic year, realizing the many benefits of the highly personal teaching, mentoring, coaching, and peer relationships that define the transformational Hampden-Sydney experience. We are deeply grateful to you for doing your part.

We are heartened by the dramatic decline in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in our country, which are at the lowest levels since the onset of the pandemic, and we are planning for the 2021-22 academic year to be as normal as possible. As the summer continues, we hope for a further decline in the incidence of COVID-19, FDA approval of one or more of the vaccines, and new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and other regulatory agencies that will continue to guide our planning.

While the pandemic continues, we expect you and all members of our campus community to do what is necessary to protect yourselves, your fellow faculty and staff members, our students, and your families, friends, and others from the virus as we are living and learning together on campus. The most effective action you can take is to get vaccinated, which we encourage you to do. If you choose not to or are prevented from doing so, you must continue to follow the CDC’s and Virginia’s mask wearing and social distancing guidance. Like other institutions including William & Mary, Richmond, and Longwood, we are reluctant to require vaccinations prior to one of the vaccines receiving full biologics license approval from the FDA, but we may do so if one or more of the vaccines receive formal FDA approval or the course of the disease takes a turn for the worse. We understand some community members are prevented from being vaccinated for a medical or religious reason.

The vaccines are highly effective in protecting against COVID-19 and its variants. Given the technologies that were employed to create the vaccines, and with nearly 150 million people in the United States now vaccinated, we can have a great deal of confidence in their safety. Our own Dr. Kristian Hargadon ’01, Elliott Associate Professor of Biology, produced a video in which he addresses frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines and explains why they are both effective and safe. Further assurance I can offer of the vaccines’ safety is to remind you that Hampden-Sydney alumnus Scott Nickerson ’95 is the Senior Vice President of U.S. Manufacturing for Moderna. To find a vaccine center near you, please see https://www.vaccines.gov/.

Our planning for the coming academic year is based on current guidance from the CDC and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Accordingly, employees who do not provide proof of vaccination to the College will be required to follow precautions including wearing a mask indoors and while in the presence of others. To make sure we’re complying with relevant guidance, we will require that all employees complete a brief survey regarding their vaccination status by June 30. You may access the survey and upload your vaccination card to this portal. Contact Human Resources for assistance if needed. As with other employment policies, Human Resources will coordinate with supervisors to enforce these COVID-19-related requirements.

Please note that federally mandated COVID-19-related employee accommodations available in 2020-21, including Emergency Sick Leave for employees directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19 and Expanded FMLA leave, no longer apply, and primary work from campus will be the expectation effective July 1. Faculty and staff members seeking COVID-related accommodations should contact the Dean of the Faculty and Human Resources, respectively, to discuss options.

We have informed students of the following:

  • Students who have not provided proof of vaccination will be required to wear a mask in class and indoors when in close proximity to others;
  • Faculty members who are concerned about the risk that unvaccinated students pose to themselves or to others in their classrooms, laboratories, and studios may ask all of their students to wear masks;
  • We will expect unvaccinated students to isolate or quarantine at home if they contract or are exposed to COVID-19, and we do not plan to offer remote learning options;
  • NCAA guidelines remain the same as last year for unvaccinated student-athletes; and
  • Students must be fully vaccinated to participate in intramural or club sports.

We will send a follow-up message or messages as we receive additional guidance or if circumstances change. We wish you a productive and enjoyable summer and look forward to seeing you on campus soon.

Larry Stimpert

May 17, 2021—regarding new mask wearing protocols

The following message was sent to the Hampden-Sydney community on May 17, 2021:

To the Hampden-Sydney Campus Community,

The College remains grateful for your individual and collective efforts to follow COVID-19 precautions and help minimize the spread of COVID-19 on campus over the past year. 

Given the updated guidance on mask wearing from the CDC and Governor Northam, the College is adjusting its mask policies on campus, effective immediately. 

  • Students and employees who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks indoors or outdoors. 
  • Those who are not yet fully vaccinated are still required to wear masks when around others, both indoors and outdoors. 
  • Masks are no longer required in TigeRec facilities for fully vaccinated individuals. 
  • Masks continue to be required in the Student Health Center for all visitors. 

As a reminder, one is considered "fully vaccinated” two weeks after receiving a second shot of a two-dose vaccine, or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. After more than a year of mask-wearing on campus, these much-welcomed adjustments to our mask policy offer a very clear example of the advantages of getting vaccinated. If you haven’t yet gotten vaccinated, we encourage you to schedule an appointment as soon as possible at vaccinate.virginia.gov

Please be mindful that many community members will continue wearing masks in a variety of situations and for a variety of reasons. Let’s continue to demonstrate the kindness and respect that are the hallmark of the Hampden-Sydney community. 

Throughout the pandemic, the College has followed guidance from federal and state health authorities regarding COVID-related precautions, and we will continue to do so as vaccination rates increase and public health guidance evolves. We will also be providing additional information on plans and policies for the 2021-22 academic year.  

Thank you again for all you do. 

April 9, 2021—regarding COVID-19 vaccinations

The following message was sent to Hampden-Sydney students and parents on April 9, 2021:

To the Men of Hampden-Sydney College and Your Parents:

Consistent with the goal of the Virginia Department of Health to vaccinate college and university students before they leave their campuses and return home for the summer, Hampden-Sydney will be hosting COVID-19 vaccination clinics next Tuesday and Wednesday, April 13 and 14, at the Kirby Field House. The Virginia Department of Health will contact you with registration information for these clinics.

The Department of Health will be administering the Pfizer vaccine, which requires a second dose. The tentative plan is to hold another clinic at the Kirby Field House to administer that second dose on or around Friday, April 30.

If you have questions or concerns about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines or whether you should get vaccinated, there are helpful resources provided by the Centers for Disease Control, and our own Professor Kristian Hargadon, who has provided this very useful video presentation on the safety and importance of COVID-19 vaccines. You may also consult your doctor.

Again, please anticipate contact from the Virginia Department of Health regarding registration for the vaccination clinics on campus next week.

April 9, 2021—regarding visitation

The following message was sent to Hampden-Sydney students on April 9, 2021:

Students,

Thank you for your cooperation throughout our post-spring break testing this week. Given that 100 percent of the onboard test results were negative, the College is adjusting the current visitor policy on campus. Effective immediately, each student will be permitted to host one (1) guest at a time on campus.

Whether this adjusted policy remains in place through the end of the academic year depends on each of you adhering to the one-guest limit and continuing to mask up, social distance, and follow all COVID-19 precautions. We are grateful for the resilience this brotherhood has shown throughout the pandemic, and this is an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to finishing the semester together on campus.

Thank you. Mask up, Tigers!

April 1, 2021—regarding Spring Break return testing

The following message was sent to Hampden-Sydney students on April 1, 2021:

Students,

This email serves as a reminder of the required COVID-19 testing that will occur on Sunday, April 4. This testing will be available from 1-5 p.m. in Gammon Gymnasium on Sunday. Additional testing will be available on Monday morning, and the College will share the time and location as soon as it is available. 

As a reminder, you may not attend class until you have been tested. And, as with past breaks, we ask that you not return to campus after spring break if you are feeling sick or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.  

Student-athletes who have received tests from the Athletic Department over spring break are not required to be tested on Sunday/Monday.

Thank you, and mask up!

March 26, 2021—regarding The Game and Spring Break

The following message was sent to Hampden-Sydney students on March 26, 2021:

To the Men of Hampden-Sydney College:

Even as you complete this week’s classes and any midterm assignments and exams, we are all now focusing on the 125th edition of The Game—the longest rivalry in college football in the South—that we will host here on Fulton Field at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.  The game program will begin at 12:30 with a recognition of the seniors on our football team, and we encourage all of you to show your support for Hampden-Sydney and our extraordinary brotherhood from behind the roped-off areas. Current guidelines restrict gatherings outside the stadium area to no more than 25, so we encourage you and your friends to socially distance your groups accordingly. 

I remind you that our Code of Conduct, which requires you to act as gentlemen at all times and in all places, will not be taking a holiday on Saturday. Gentlemen are as magnanimous and gracious as they are enthusiastic in victory. Much of the world will be watching The Game via our online live-streaming, so we will have an opportunity to show them the best of Hampden-Sydney College.

We are moving through an incredible year in which we have been able to be on-campus and have an in-person learning experience. We’ve now had a nearly two-week period without a single positive case of COVID on our campus, and you are to be commended for this accomplishment. Following the weekend’s athletic events, we wish you a terrific spring break. As has been the case following past extended breaks, all students will be required to be tested for COVID-19 upon returning to campus following spring break. This testing will be available on Sunday, April 4 in Gammon Gymnasium. Additional testing will be available on Monday morning, also in Gammon. You may not attend class until you have been tested. The College will share the specific timing of the onboard testing availability with you next week.

The College will review the results of our onboard testing and consider adjusting the no-visitor policy to allow each student to host one visitor at a time on campus. This possibility depends on your taking special care over spring break to limit your exposure to others and continue following basic precautions like mask wearing, even while you are off-campus. 

As with past breaks, we ask that you not return to campus after spring break if you are feeling sick or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.  

Tomorrow will be a great day in the storied history of Hampden-Sydney athletics as we defeat our archrival. Let’s make it a day that we will all long remember and celebrate! 

 Larry Stimpert

March 12, 2021—regarding VDH vaccine eligibility

The following message was sent to Hampden-Sydney employees on March 12, 2021:

Dear Colleagues,

The Virginia Department of Health will be providing Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations to eligible participants by appointment only on Friday, March 19, 2021, at the Hampden-Sydney Volunteer Fire Department, from 9am – 3pm.   Walk-ins are not allowed.  To be eligible for 1B phase of vaccinations in Virginia, you must fall into one of the following categories:  

  1. Be aged 65 or older OR
  2. Have a high risk medical condition or disability that increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19 OR
  3. Be a member of the Hampden-Sydney College Buildings and Grounds.

Click here to sign up and make sure you fill out our questionnaire AND click on the link within it to register with The Virginia Department of Health (VDH). If you are selected to receive your vaccine on this date, VDH will contact you directly with the time of your appointment. If you are not contacted by VDH, Human Resources Office will place you on a waiting list. Be sure to be available and list your cell phone or the number that we can best contact you. If you do not answer, we will contact the next person on the list.

Finally, if you do not meet the above mentioned criteria but would like to get vaccinated, please sign up anyway to be placed on a waitlist.

Don’t wait!!  The list of participants will be submitted to The Virginia Department of Health on Monday, March 15, 2021.

Attention B&G Staff:  DO NOT click on the link above to register.  Your supervisor will have a sign-up sheet available.

March 12, 2021—reminding students to stay vigilant

The following message was sent to Hampden-Sydney students on March 12, 2021:

Students, 

As you may be aware, several other college campuses in Virginia are seeing rising COVID-19 case numbers and heightened restrictions as a result. Our current case numbers are low, which reinforces the effectiveness of the precautions we have in place, such as mask wearing and social distancing. But as the situations at these other institutions are showing, this is not a time for complacency. Rather, now is the time to further lean into the important role you play in our ability to remain together on campus this spring.

Please remain vigilant about following all COVID-19 precautions — especially avoiding large gatherings — and encourage your brothers to do the same. 

Mask up, Tigers! 

January 14, 2021—regarding spring athletics spectators

The following message was sent to the Hampden-Sydney Community on January 14, 2021:

Dear Hampden-Sydney Community, 

With the start of athletic competitions just over a week away, I am writing to update the Hampden-Sydney community on plans for spectators. Last week, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Board of Directors and Presidents Council voted to not allow any spectators at indoor ODAC events. You can read the conference release here.  

We know this is disappointing news for our Tiger basketball and swimming family and friends. To give you the opportunity to tune in from home and cheer on our student-athletes, we will be live streaming our home indoor athletic events.  

No decisions have been made at this point regarding spectators at outdoor events. The College will make those decisions in accordance with state and local guidelines. While I am hopeful that we will be allowed to have limited, socially distanced attendance at outdoor athletic events, I must caution that the atmosphere is unlikely to look like a typical Tiger athletic event. Traditions like tailgating, large gatherings, packed stadiums, and team meals after games all risk undermining our community’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, but we certainly look forward to resuming those activities when conditions allow—hopefully this fall. We do plan to live stream home outdoor athletic events at venues that are capable as well, and we hope many Tiger fans will cheer on the Garnet and Grey from the safety of home.  

As we get closer to outdoor events, I will update the community on spectator guidelines.  

ROLL TIGERS!
Chad Eisele
Director of Athletics

January 9, 2021—preparing employees for return of students

The following message was sent to Hampden-Sydney faculty and staff on January 9, 2021:

Dear Colleagues,

The College is testing all students as they return to campus today, Sunday, and Monday. Students may not attend class until they have been tested. Consistent with the post-Thanksgiving testing approach, all students will be required to quarantine-in-place and take heightened precautions from Sunday until test results are received, which we anticipate will be no later than Wednesday, January 13. These precautions include:

  • Close contact (less than six feet, unmasked) with anyone who is not one’s roommate is prohibited. Dorm mates, house mates, and suite mates do not count as roommates.
  • Pannill Commons and the Tiger Inn will be open for take-out meals only until Thursday morning, and no dine-in services will be offered until then.  
  • Beginning Sunday, the TigeRec fitness center will be closed.
  • Classes will continue to meet. We are confident that the precautions in place for in-person classes – including mask wearing, social distancing, frequent hand washing, and daily symptom monitoring – will continue to be effective at limiting viral spread in classroom settings.

The College continues to be in constant contact with local health authorities and leadership at Centra Southside Community Hospital. We are aware that the capacity at Centra has been constrained in recent weeks, which underscores the importance of quickly testing students as they return in order to identify and isolate positive cases and quarantine any close contacts. The administrator leading Centra’s COVID response has informed us that he is not concerned about our students returning, provided that they behave by following basic precautions like mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing. We will continue to maintain dialogue with Centra and other health authorities and to monitor the situation on campus as students return. As with the fall, we must all be prepared to pivot if the full scope of factors necessitates a shift to virtual learning.

We were, of course, pleased to be able to complete the fall semester together on-campus – an effort that required no small amount of work from each and every one of you. And while we learned a great deal through our experiences this fall, we also know that we cannot be complacent—that we must be, if anything, even more diligent this spring in following and enforcing the precautions necessary for limiting viral spread.

Likewise, we are encouraged by the promise of access to a vaccine in the not-too-distant future, but we cannot rely on that hope to get us through the spring. As was this case this fall, each of you is empowered to remind students of our COVID-19 precautions, especially mask wearing and social distancing. It will take the collective effort of our entire community to ensure we can remain together on-campus.

Thank you for your support, cooperation, and commitment. 

January 7, 2021—preparing students for return

The following message was sent to Hampden-Sydney students on January 7, 2021:

Students of Hampden-Sydney College,

Happy New Year, Tigers! This message is to inform you of the logistical details for this Sunday’s post-holiday break testing that is required for all students. As a reminder, you may not attend class until you have been tested.

COVID-19 testing will occur on Sunday, January 10 from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Snyder Hall. Please report for testing as you return to campus. However, if you are not feeling well or are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, please do not return to campus, and contact your medical provider about receiving a test at home.

In addition, you may have received an email today from Kallaco, the College’s testing partner. This is simply a confirmation that your test has been shipped to the College, and no action is required on your part other than to report for testing on Sunday.  

The College will again be administering the PCR test that we have been using since August. Consistent with the post-Thanksgiving testing approach, all students will be required to quarantine-in-place and take the following precautions from Sunday until test results are received, which we anticipate will be no later than Wednesday, January 13:

  • Close contact (less than six feet, unmasked) with anyone who is not your roommate is prohibited. Dorm mates, house mates, and suite mates do not count as roommates.
  • Pannill Commons and the Tiger Inn will be open for take-out meals only until Thursday morning, and no dine-in services will be offered until then.  
  • Beginning Sunday, the TigeRec fitness center will be closed.
  • Classes will continue to meet. We are confident that the precautions in place for in-person classes – including mask wearing, social distancing, frequent hand washing, and daily symptom monitoring – will continue to be effective at limiting viral spread in classroom settings.

The College will notify the community when the quarantine-in-place status is lifted. We understand that these precautions may feel inconvenient and frustrating, but we believe that this extra diligence is necessary as students return from holiday travel.

We are grateful for your cooperation and support throughout the fall semester. Remaining together on campus this spring will require vigilance from each of you in following all COVID-19 precautions. We are confident that your commitment to your fellow students and our devoted faculty and staff members – and your desire to live and learn together here on campus – will drive you to make the right decisions this spring.

Best wishes to you and your families as you enjoy the last few days of break. We look forward to seeing you on Sunday.

2020 COVID Communications

For all Hampden-Sydney College COVID-19 communications sent to  faculty, staff, students, and families during 2020

COVID Communications, 2020