COVID-19 Messages

Latest University-wide Messaging

Visit the William & Mary COVID-19 website for the latest university-wide messages.

VIMS Dean & Director's Messages
SCHEV-Approved Reopening Plan: July 29, 2020

Dear VIMS Community,

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) has required that all higher education institutions in the Commonwealth submit a Reopening Plan for the fall semester, effective August 1 through December 31, 2020. Each plan was asked to address 26 specific areas for compliance ranging from physical distancing and face coverings to on-campus housing and dining services. Given that we are a non-residential campus, a number of the components were not applicable to VIMS. The VIMS reopening plan that we submitted to SCHEV was patterned after an earlier document titled Plans for Phased Expansion of Campus Operations that was released to the VIMS community on June 12. We have retained the same title and modified the date

I am pleased to report that our reopening plan has been found by SCHEV to be compliant and has been shared with the Virginia Department of Health by SCHEV. Also, we recently met with and shared our reopening plan with the Three Rivers Health District which encompasses a geographic area that includes VIMS. I have attached a copy of our plan which will also be posted on the VIMS website. Please take the time to read through the plan. Thank you for your continued cooperation and commitment to protecting yourself and family, protecting your colleagues and neighbors, and more generally protecting VIMS in all of your day-to-day activities.

John T. Wells

Important Document on Phased Expansion: June 12, 2020

Dear VIMS Community,

The VIMS Emergency Management Team under the able direction of Joe Martinez, together with the VIMS Leadership Team, have been working over the past several weeks on a "Phased Expansion" document to address expanding our on-campus operations in the coming weeks to months.

Governor Northam announced yesterday that reopening higher education in Virginia for the fall semester will require that each institution deliver a plan to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia by July 6. We anticipate that the attached document will serve as a basis for the formal plan from VIMS. However, because things remain fluid there could be modifications to the attached document. In the meantime, you should consider this plan to be in effect until further notice. Questions and comments can be sent to [[v|EMT]].

I end by communicating the importance of protecting yourself and family, protecting your colleagues and neighbors, and more generally protecting VIMS in all of your day-to-day activities. Thank you for your continued cooperation and commitment to return to VIMS safely in due course.

John T. Wells

Planning Ahead at VIMS: June 5, 2020

Dear VIMS Community,

The VIMS Leadership Team together with the VIMS Emergency Management Team (VIMSEMT) have been actively engaged in planning for a gradual and safe expansion of on-campus operations at VIMS in the coming weeks to months. The path forward will not be business as usual, and my reason for writing is to give you a brief outline of what you can expect to see in the plan when it is finalized in the next week or so. But first, I want to take this opportunity to review our current operating procedures and to provide you with a summary of actions that will be forthcoming from Richmond.

  • Effective today the majority of the Commonwealth will move into Phase Two of public health restrictions under Executive Order 65. Teleworking will continue whenever possible but there is an easing of certain restrictions, primarily as they relate to businesses but which will also have implications for VIMS. Discussions on this are underway.
  • Still in effect is the definition of critical research (see message to VIMS Business on April 5 from Dr. Mark Luckenbach), and required approval for student engagement in critical research and training (see message to VIMS Business on April 13 and resent on May 28 from Dr. Linda Schaffner). Special note: please ensure that the boat basin remains locked at all times to keep out unauthorized traffic.
  • The Governor has convened an Education Work Group that is developing a roadmap for Virginia schools, colleges, and universities for return to in-person learning in a safe, equitable, and responsible manner. The Work Group clearly recognizes the differences among institutions and campuses and that a one-size-fits-all approach is unreasonable.
  • William & Mary has convened “Plan Ahead Squads” to aid in planning, and from these efforts anticipates release of a “direction of travel” document in the next week. The squads are addressing important campus issues ranging from how to de-densify and maintain a resilient campus to designing and maintaining a quality curriculum under the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • The General Assembly tentatively plans to convene in late August to discuss the state budget. No additional word has been released on the potential for state budget cuts, and while we may not know more until late summer we continue to scrutinize expenditures of state funds and remind everyone that this is vitally important for our financial health should we face a significant budget reduction.

The forthcoming VIMS plan for phased expansion of on-campus operations will follow President Rowe’s principles for reopening the William & Mary campus. They are

  1. Prioritize the health and safety of the entire campus community,
  2. Focus on creativity and flexibility, and
  3. Collaborate across the university and with other state universities.

The VIMS plan will address the following:

  • Overarching Considerations – meeting or exceeding all state and university guidelines for reducing risk, including developing specific work plans that fulfill all requirements for operations, research, and teaching.
  • Business Operations – minimizing face-to-face meetings, protocols for masks, cleaning offices and labs, and VIMS-sponsored travel.
  • Research Activities – offering specificity on indoor and outdoor research to address distancing challenges and innovative solutions, and also encompassing research vessel operations, and scientific diving.
  • Teaching Activities – focusing on various scenarios for teaching during the fall semester that prioritize safety and high-quality learning, and take into consideration the importance of continuity of research as a critical component of educating and training of graduate students.
  • Facilities Considerations – emphasizing signage, allowable occupancy of various spaces, cleaning high-traffic areas, and related topics.
  • Training and Operational Protocol for Potential COVID-19 Contamination – offering resources for training videos and protocols for faculty, staff, and students to continue to self-monitor their symptoms with procedures for notifying VIMSEMT of suspected, presumed, or positive cases based on varying general ground rules.

Finally, I end by communicating the importance of protecting yourself and family, protecting your colleagues and neighbors, and more generally protecting VIMS in all of your day-to-day activities. You have adapted to the immense challenges with distinction and creativity. Thank you for your individual and collective efforts.

John T. Wells

State-Level Updates: May 1, 2020

Dear VIMS Community,

We continue to carefully track developments at the state level resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and I write to share two relatively new pieces of news. The first is that the General Assembly reconvened last week for a one-day “veto session,” during which the Governor’s amendments to bills and his veto of any bills that passed during the regular session were voted on by the state House and Senate. Without going into detail, yet as expected, virtually all new funding from state general funds was unallocated by the General Assembly in response to a potential revenue shortfall. This includes higher education funding for faculty and staff salary actions, graduate financial aid, undergraduate student financial assistance as well as support for undergraduate enrollment growth.

Institution-specific funding for a wide range of new initiatives in areas of education and research was also unallocated, including VIMS new funding for our fish surveys and aquatic diseases. The General Assembly is expected to reconvene in mid-to-late August when more information is available on the state’s economy and from updated revenue forecasts. It is not clear if there is a possibility that any of the unallocated general funds can be restored, nor is it clear whether or not anticipated budget reductions will be significant. Therefore, it is vitally important to be conservative in spending. The Leadership Team at VIMS receives weekly spending reports and scrutinizes them carefully.

The second piece of news is that the Governor has put forward a blueprint for easing public health restrictions. The next phase, Phase I, has specific requirements for moving forward, and includes a glimpse of what Phase I will look like:  While higher education is not specifically referenced in Phase I we anticipate that, when implemented, there could be a gradual easing of some of the requirements in the Governor’s Executive Order 55, issued on March 30. In anticipation of this, the VIMS Leadership Team, in collaboration with the VIMS Emergency Management Team, have begun discussions on how we plan to move into the summer months, probably still largely in a telework mode, but in preparation for the time when there will be more on-campus presence of faculty, staff and students. I caution that while some states are moving to return to “normal” as quickly as possible, it is likely that Virginia will take a much more conservative approach to reopening implementation

I thank you for continuing to keep VIMS viable and as vibrant as possible in this unprecedented period in our 80-year history. As always, the VIMS Leadership Team welcomes your suggestions and expressions of concern (please send directly to Libby MacDonald at <>) as we work toward remaining resilient, productive, supportive, and one of the best marine science institutions in the world.

John T. Wells

Important Message re Temporary Closure of CBH: April 3, 2020

Dear VIMS Community,

I write this morning to clarify that at this time there have not been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 among VIMS faculty, staff or students. The temporary closure of part of CBH was implemented following best practices and out of an abundance of caution. This action is the same as that taken at W&M under similar circumstances.

VIMS is closed to the public but is open for conducting critical research, and employees are allowed on campus to pick up computers or other materials. Some staff who cannot readily or effectively telework may also be on campus. We have been working with W&M to develop guidelines defining critical research and are optimistic that they will agree to our recommendations. We do not yet have a timeline for that decision. In the meantime, we are limiting research activities, and faculty were notified of this on Tuesday by Mark Luckenbach. I have pasted below the relevant part of that message so that staff and students will also be informed of where we stand now.

If you have any of the following that must get done within the next couple of days, and can do so while strictly adhering to the distancing requirement, you may do so.

  • Maintenance of research animals and cultures (algae, microbial, or tissue) of special significance
  • Critical maintenance of experiments currently underway
  • Maintenance of lab equipment
  • Urgent maintenance of field equipment or experiments
  • Processing of highly valuable samples that would otherwise be lost

I also take this opportunity to reiterate that technical staff and students are not required to work in labs or in the field if they do not feel safe doing so. Many accommodations can, and have been, implemented to create safe working conditions but, even so, there may be those who remain concerned.

Students who are not comfortable with working arrangements should communicate directly with Linda Schaffner, research staff should communicate with Mark Luckenbach, and operations staff with Joe Martinez. They will speak with supervisors to obtain their input. I am in direct communication with Linda, Mark and Joe many times each day and will ensure that we update our policies and protocols as needed during this difficult and uncertain time. I end by saying that our operations staff have done a truly superb job of maintaining our facilities and keeping VIMS functional, so please thank them for a job well done if you happen to cross paths at VIMS.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding. We will make every attempt to deliver consistent and timely messages to the VIMS community.

John T. Wells

VIMS COVID-19 Update 4: March 25, 2020

Dear VIMS community,

As you are well aware, we continue to be threatened by the rapid spread of the coronavirus. The directive from the Governor on Monday regarding public schools and businesses was a poignant reminder of how serious the situation has become. The challenge and our response to it is very fluid, and our goal is to continue to bring you the most up-to-date information with as much clarity as we can and as soon as we have it.

There are several new developments that I want to share. First, W&M will announce an online Town Hall for staff, probably to be held early next week. They are exploring how best to ensure that it is readily accessible to all who wish to join in. Likewise, we will plan an online VIMS Town Hall meeting in the near future for all faculty, staff, and students. Please stay tuned.

Second, we are asking that all employees who can telework do so. W&M and VIMS recognize that not everyone can telework and that unless or until there is a full shutdown there will be people on campus. Keeping as many people off campus will help to ensure that the people who must work on campus can adhere to distancing and other safety guidelines. There is concern that employees who can telework may run out of work to do in an off-campus setting. I encourage you to provide considerable flexibility in teleworking by allowing your employees to engage in training, learning, and other appropriate activities whenever possible.

Third, it is very likely that the pace of research will be further curtailed by the end of the week based on directives from the Governor or President Rowe. Dennis Manos, Vice Provost for Research and Graduate/Professional Studies at W&M, has been charged by the Provost with ensuring that only essential research is being done on campus and that it is being done strictly following CDC and VDH guidelines. Mark Luckenbach and I have been in direct communication with Dennis, and he is fully aware of our challenges in conducting research.

Principal investigators should consider postponing research that is not time-sensitive and, as many of you are already doing, to work when possible in shifts to avoid close contact. I realize that postponing some of your research could have financial implications. We are in the process of exploring policies by various funding agencies and believe that there will be flexibility. We will communicate directly with investigators once we know more. Also, please ensure that members of your research team are comfortable with your respective work situations. You should direct specific research-related questions and concerns to Mark Luckenbach or me.

Fourth, some of us are becoming overwhelmed with email. We encourage everyone to turn to our COVID-19 webpage for official updates and archived information concerning the disease and the responses recommended by health experts at VDH, CDC, and WHO as opposed to posting large volumes of information on vims-business or vims-misc.

Finally, in an email from President Rowe last Thursday, she called on us to check in on each other; to give encouragement, advice, and support; and to work together to see our way through this extraordinary challenge. Thank you for your cooperation as we tighten restrictions on building access, and for your dedication and spirit as we move forward together as a true community. I call your attention to W&M’s new virtual Wellness Center which has videos online for yoga, meditation, art therapy, and generally managing wellness during this stressful time. It’s a great resource.

Together we will get through this, and in the meantime will remain a strong institution with great employees and students, and with a great future. I hope you stay safe and well. More will follow.

John T. Wells

VIMS COVID-19 Update 3: March 16, 2020

Dear VIMS community,

This brief message is to let you know that the VIMS Leadership Team and VIMS Emergency Management Team are in continuous communication with W&M regarding COVID-19. If you have not read the message from Sam Jones and Ginger Ambler at approximately 9:30 this morning, please read it. The situation is very fluid and our current plans for continuity of operations could change quickly. Two important updates that I want to pass along to you are:

  • As per Sam and Ginger’s email, based on a directive from Governor Northam, offices at W&M and VIMS closed at noon today to the general public. At VIMS, for example, visitors will not be allowed in the Watermen’s Hall lobby or Gift Shop, nor can we accommodate any public meetings on campus. However, VIMS and W&M are still open, and we will be maintaining normal operations within the health and safety recommendations identified by the CDC, VDH, and posted on the W&M website for information on COVID-19. That said, faculty should be considering how to wind-down research should we face a broader shutdown.
  • Telework is very strongly encouraged. If you are able to telework you should contact your supervisor. I am hereby delegating approval authority with regard to telework to my direct reports: Academic Studies (Linda Schaffner); Research and Advisory Services, including most Centers (Mark Luckenbach), Operations (Joe Martinez); Finance (DaNika Robinson); Advancement (Amy Fisher); Academic Departments (Department Chairs); Virginia Sea Grant (Troy Hartley), News and Media (Dave Malmquist); and CBNERR (Willy Reay). If you are unable to telework because of the nature of your job, please respect the need to ensure social distancing.

Thank you for your understanding and flexibility during this difficult time. I will update you if things change and in the meantime I wish you all well.

John T. Wells

VIMS COVID-19 Update 2: March 12, 2020

Dear VIMS Community,

I trust that you read the message yesterday at approximately 5:00 p.m. from President Rowe and the message from Sam Jones at 11:00 a.m. today. If not, please read them. As the President mentioned we are in wholly new territory and should expect real sacrifices and unexpected challenges. The VIMS administration has received many questions and I respond below to this fluid situation as it applies to VIMS.

A key goal in the President’s message is to maintain the university’s research and other operations. VIMS remains open and we intend to continue normal operations insofar as possible. I took part in email conversations yesterday prior to the President’s message that made it clear W&M understands the operations and structural differences between VIMS and main campus. In a meeting this morning with Provost Agouris, she confirmed that VIMS has delegated authority to use judgment in handling our research and advisory work. Having said that, there are still a number of modifications that need to be implemented.

Events and Gatherings: Events and gatherings in VIMS facilities as well as off campus are suspended at least through April 3. Events include activities such as conferences, workshops, and participation on panels. Gatherings include social get-togethers, town-hall meetings, and other activities that include a large number of participants in a confined area. Small groups of individuals, for example lab meetings or ad-hoc gatherings, are acceptable provided they are essential to maintaining normal operations and there is an opportunity to join by Zoom. Social distancing is an important strategy and this is a good time to ensure that you are fluent in using Zoom. If you have any questions regarding events or gatherings, contact me for a decision.

Students: Virtually all M.S. and Ph.D. students at VIMS are supported financially, most from grants and contracts. As such, our students are considered employees who will continue to be engaged in research and, in some cases, advisory services. I am currently involved in discussions at the university-level about graduate assistants, and things in this area are still evolving. For now, faculty who supervise students will still be able to meet with them in small groups (see above section).

Travel: The President’s message indicates that both domestic and international travel is suspended. This is a gray area for us. Travel to events is obviously not permissible. However, travel associated with research and advisory services is permissible provided it is essential to maintaining normal operations, does not involve public transportation, and can be considered within commuting distance (e.g. Richmond, Norfolk, and potentially beyond if, again, it is essential to operations of your lab or more broadly to VIMS). Travel within commuting distance is not permissible if it is for the purpose of joining a large meeting of, say, agency personnel in Richmond. If you have previously scheduled travel, see the W&M policy on travel reimbursements. At this time there is no directive on self-isolation for those who have been traveling recently on university-sponsored work or personal leave. You should use discretion and follow CDC guidelines. If there are any questions regarding travel, please contact me for clarification and a decision.

Vessels: VIMS will continue to operate its fleet of research vessels. This includes large vessels, the R/V Virginia, and vessels that may need to be trailered to off-campus locations for launching. If vessel crew members are unable to report for work, then vessel operations will cease.

Telework: W&M is in active discussions about telework policies with regard to COVID-19. I do not have a timeframe for this to be communicated but once we know more we will pass the information along.

We are all trying to navigate this difficult situation as best as we can. Things will go wrong; there will be bumps and uncertainty; and, I ask that you assume positive intent in how we are moving forward. More will be forthcoming, probably early next week, after a joint VIMS Emergency Management Team/VIMS Leadership Team meeting late tomorrow afternoon. Finally, if you are sick, please do not come to work.

John T. Wells

VIMS COVID-19 Update 1: March 10, 2020

Dear VIMS community,

I indicated in yesterday’s VIMS Digest that I would follow up today with more information regarding our plans for continuity of operations since the coronavirus has now made its way to Virginia (currently in northern Virginia only).

First, let me assure you that we are working to maximize wellness on our campus, and paying close attention to CDC recommendations. Our precautionary actions include (1) increased attention to high traffic public areas by disinfecting hard surfaces such as door hardware, handrails, switches and other controls, and watercoolers; (2) installation of stands that provide hand sanitizers in high traffic building entrances that include Watermen’s Hall Lobby, Davis Hall lobby, CBH lobby, Andrews second floor hallway, Fisheries Science Laboratory at the Fort parking lot entrance, Facilities Management lobby, and other locations to be determined as we are able to obtain more sanitizer stands; and, (3) availability of disinfectant wipes in classroom and meeting rooms for wiping down frequently used surfaces.

Second, ITNS is taking steps to ensure that faculty, staff and students are able to connect remotely to office computers via Remote Desktop should the need to work remotely arise. You can visit for instructions. ITNS staff are always expected to be able to work remotely so the best way to get help is by opening a service ticket at Shortly, you will receive a survey from ITNS related to equipment and infrastructure services needed to work from home. We ask that you complete this survey in a timely manner.

Third, Linda Schaffner is working with our department chairs, ITNS and faculty in planning how to continue to meet the instructional needs of our students should there be a disruption in workforce. There is a range of options for alternate methods of course delivery that include (1) self-study contingency plans, (2) use of recorded lectures from a previous year, (3) back up instructors, and (4) remote delivery through Zoom or Panopto. These plans will be finalized in the next day or two.

Fourth, should there be a campus closure we will need to maintain research animals and live cultures. We are thus developing a database for this kind of critical research activity and ask that all investigators complete the attached form and send to Mark Luckenbach by March 16. This must be done even if you do not have critical research that must be maintained should there be a closure.

Finally, we will make timely decisions should events need to be canceled. The VIMS Leadership Team and Emergency Management Team will continue to meet at least weekly, and you can expect further updates from Sam Jones, W&M Emergency Management Team chair. You can also obtain the most up-to-date information at Later this week or early next week I plan to send a template to all academic and administrative units at VIMS that will outline unit-specific information that we will ask you to provide to help us make management decisions.

John T. Wells

VIMS-Specific Messaging
ITNS COVID Update: August 20, 2020


As we start the new semester this is a reminder that ITNS continues to operate remotely as much as possible during the pandemic and until further notice.   Here are highlights of how these changes affect providing support for you:

  • ITNS suite is closed to non-ITNS personnel.
  • ITNS Staff are working remotely as much as possible.
  • Contact with ITNS is by appointment only for pick-up/drop-off.
  • Use to make an appointment.
  • Drop off/pickup table is outside the ITNS suite doors.
  • Please clean keyboards, mice, etc. before and after dropping off.

The best way to get help is to submit all incidents and requests through the ITNS ServiceDesk portal, We will prioritize and respond accordingly. If you are unable to submit through the portal, contact us through the temporary ITNS remote support number at 804-684-7999. Keep in mind our teleworking hours are 8-5, M-F.

This modified support model will require some additional patience and planning on your part.  As we have advised previously, prepare ahead of time and don't wait until the last minute to request our help. Should you call the above number and we determine it is not an emergency you may be asked to wait or submit a ticket. The link to the ITNS Connect Remotely page that includes instructions for using VPN, Zoom, Remote Desktop, etc. is

We wish you all well and look forward to seeing everyone again when things get back to normal.

Best, Gary

ITNS Onsite Support Coverage - COVID-19: April 3, 2020


In response to the Governor's COVID-19 stay at home order, ITNS is reducing our onsite support. Effective Monday, April 6, ITNS staff will no longer keep regular hours in Davis Hall. We intend to handle trouble calls and other support requests remotely by teleworking. For requests that require contact, we will schedule a time to meet with you in order to pick-up or drop off items onsite on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between 8 a.m. and noon.

The best way to get help is to submit all incidents and requests through the ITNS ServiceDesk portal, We will prioritize and respond accordingly. If you are unable to submit through the portal, contact us through the temporary ITNS remote support number at 804-684-7999. Keep in mind our teleworking hours are 8-5, M-F.

This modified support model will require some additional patience and planning on your part. As we have advised previously, prepare ahead of time and don't wait until the last minute to request our help. Should you call the above number and we determine it is not an emergency you may be asked to wait or submit a ticket. Here is the link to the ITNS Connect Remotely page that includes instructions for using VPN, Zoom, Remote Desktop, etc.:

We wish you all well and look forward to seeing everyone again when things get back to normal.

Best, Gary Anderson

Tips for Success using Remote Desktop: March 27, 2020


Since using Remote Desktop can be resource intensive on the workstation/laptop where you are sitting, here are a few tips to improve your experience: 

  1. Close as many applications and windows as you can if they are not needed.
  2. Turn off system sound.
  3. Avoid other graphic intensive programs, streaming, Zoom, etc.
  4. Use a hardwire connection to your router (not WiFi).
  5. Minimize the number of other devices on your local network, smartphones, video gamers, etc.
  6. Be aware that your local Internet may see congestion during peak times of mid to late afternoon.

These items have been added to the ITNS Connect Remotely resource page.

Gary Anderson - CIO & Director, Information Technology

VIMS ITNS Support: March 20, 2020


In order to minimize exposure and support the VIMS Community as we work through this emergency, beginning today ITNS is going to reduced onsite staff with the remainder working remotely. In addition, we will no longer take walk-in customers without an appointment and the ITNS suite doors in Davis Hall will remain locked.

The best way for you to get support from ITNS is to open a ticket on our service portal: The portal is now open for off campus access so remote users can request support without using the VPN.

Alternatively you can dial our extensions, we have all forwarded our office phones to our remote phone. Please reserve dialing only for emergency situations needing help. With reduced onsite staff we will need to prioritize our tickets so you may be asked to wait or leave a voicemail. Opening a ticket on the portal puts you in a queue that we will address in the order they come in.

Some tips and tricks for remote work can be found at It's important to only use VPN when you need it since it is a finite resource and we want to keep it open and available. Please log off when you’ve finished your session.

Thank-you for your patience as we work through this challenging time. Wishing all good luck and good health!


Gary Anderson - CIO & Director, Information Technology

Virginia Institute of Marine Science


VIMS Campus Access: July 15, 2020


The campus remains open for VIMS personnel to conduct business as described in the Phased Expansion Plan published on June 12, 2020. Please be reminded of the following as you come to campus:

  • As described in the Plan, VIMS remains closed to the public and all facilities are locked.
  • If you have a key and choose to use it to bypass any lock on campus, it is your responsibility to be sure it remains locked after you have passed through.
  • The Boat Basin is locked 24/7 and it is the responsibility of the individual passing through to return the gate to its locked condition.
  • Watermen’s Hall Visitor Center exterior doors remain unlocked during business hours due to code restrictions.
  • For after-hours or weekend access, contact VIMS Security at ext. 7300 or 804-694-7300 to request access. The officer will request to review the individuals' W&M-issued identification card prior to providing access.
  • All requirements of the Phased Expansion Plan will be adhered to regardless of the time of day, location, or individual.

Please be aware of the following:

  1. After-hours or weekend access is restricted to VIMS personnel only. This includes all of campus buildings and grounds. VIMS beaches are included in this restriction.
  2. Spouse, dependents, and significant others of VIMS personnel will be allowed access and may remain on campus only when in the company of VIMS personnel.
  3. Anyone that is not considered immediate family will not be granted access.

If you have any issues with access, please submit a work order or call FM at 7300.

Thank you, Mark Brabham

VIMS COVID-19 Materials and Ordering Process Update: May 29, 2020

W&M has established a centralized staging warehouse of PPE equipment and materials that are related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  VIMS has agreed to keep select materials on our campus which will be stored and distributed by VIMS FM.  Standard PPE’s related to research tasks will continue to be the responsibility of the associated Center or Department.  W&M is not fully stocked at this time as venders continue to be over ran with orders and are shipping as much as possible.

Items that will be available include:

  • Cloth Masks (limited 2 per VIMS staff member)The cloth masks are available for immediate delivery (options are shown in the attached).
  • Personal -oz hand sanitizer dispensers
  • Quart sized hand sanitizer containers for refilling the personal dispensers (awaiting delivery)

1 oz Sanitizer Dispensers and refill quarts will be available when additional sanitizer is delivered. 

Bottle pumps and pump dispensers have become very difficult to obtain.  If you have an existing sanitizer container with a pump dispenser, please do not discard.  Hand sanitizer will be provided to refill the container.  You may provide any unwanted pump dispensers to VIMS FM for reuse.

  • Disinfectant wipes (Currently sold out) Disinfectant wipes are in high demand and the market is struggling to keep up.  VIMS has a very limited inventory and will supply them on an as needed basis.  Alternate disinfecting materials are being procured as possible. 

Ordering process:

Each Center or Departments responsible Business Manager will provide a consolidated count of those employees that would like to be provided two masks or personal hand sanitizer dispenser.  Email this count and the single location to deliver them to  VIMS FM personnel will deliver them as supplies are available.  Mask options are shown in the attached file and can be delivered immediately.  Dispensers will be delivered as sanitizer becomes available.  As other opportunities are provided, we will send updates of their availabilities. 

Please also take note that the public hand sanitizing stations are available and we have added more.  Following are the current locations. 

  • Davis Hall (First and Second floors)
  • Watermen’s Hall (Lobby and Administrative Area)
  • CBH (Lobby)
  • Andrews Hall (Bottom Floor Lobby)
  • FSL (Southeast Entrance)
  • Boat Basin (Dive Locker)

Thank you, Mark Brabham

Housekeeping Services Adjustment: March 27, 2020

Housekeeping will be reducing services throughout the campus until further notice. We will only be entering labs and offices on an as needed basis. Please place waste baskets in the hallway if you would like them to be emptied. We will continue to service public areas (hallways, lobbies, restrooms, breakrooms, etc.) and will continue to concentrate on high trafficked/touched areas.

If you have any issues that require further detailing, please submit a work order at or call FM at 7300.

Thank you, Mark Brabham

Boat Basin Access Further Restricted: March 27, 2020

Beginning at close of business today the Boat Basin will remain locked until further notice.

If you have a key and choose to use it to bypass any lock on campus, it is your responsibility to be sure the lock is secured after you have passed through. 

Thank you, Mark

Campus Wide Card Access Update: March 20, 2020

Beginning Monday (3/23), we will be expanding our lockdown practice. Watermen’s Hall will be the only building unlocked on a standard work day. All other facilities on campus will be locked and remain locked until further notice.

If you have any issues with your current keys or card access, please submit a work order or call Facilities Management at extension #7300.

If you need a key made for a specific building, please provide an approved key request form.  The approved form can be emailed to [[v|mrogers,Mark Rogers]] or [[v|mbrabham,Mark Brabham]] for processing. We will send an email when the key is ready to schedule retrieval. 

Thank you, Mark Brabham

Campus Wide Card Access Schedule Change: March 17, 2020


Beginning this evening at 5PM, the card access controlled doors on campus will revert to a locked condition 24/7.  Please remember to keep your ID cards on you at all times for access to those buildings and areas.  This will be in effect until further notice. 

If you have any issues with access, please submit a work order at or call FM at 7300. 

Thank you, Mark Brabham

Hargis Library
Library COVID Update: August 21, 2020\

Hello everyone,

For the fall semester, some details and operational items for you as we open up:

Hours and Access
  • Hours: The library will be open from 7am-5pm Monday-Friday for the fall semester. I will be on campus Tuesday and Thursdays, working remotely otherwise. Do get in touch by email for assistance or to have a zoom session.
  • Entrance and Exit: Use the lower entrance that faces the York River to enter and exit the building. The entrance is located down the steps from the Watermen’s Hall flagpole, off the circle. Those needing the elevator should use a main floor entrance.
  • Evening and Weekend Access: contact Security to access Waterman’s and the library.
  • Visitors: For the health and safety of the campus community, only current VIMS students, faculty and staff may enter the library.
While in the Library
  • Face Coverings: As with all areas on campus, face coverings must be worn at all times in all areas of the library, including the study rooms. If you forget your mask, spare masks are available in the VIMS lobby at the reception desk.
  • Physical Distancing: All individuals must maintain a physical distance of six feet from each other at all times.
  • Food & Drink: Please eat outside the library to keep it as safe and sanitary as possible. The Galley is an option in bad weather. Drinks are permitted in secured containers, masks must be replaced immediately.
  • Open study areas, study rooms, and public computers: Our open study areas are spaced to make sure desks and chairs are six feet apart. Please do not shift things closer. The study rooms are available, but the occupancy limits are 4 people per room and physical spacing requirement must be observed. You are required to wear your mask while in the study rooms and open study areas, even if you're alone.
  • Restrooms: Use the restrooms adjacent to the library entrance.
  • Cleaning Supplies: Cleaning supplies will be available in the library at the computer desk area. You should clean table tops, arm rests, computer keyboards and any other high touch surfaces before and after use to ensure your safety.
  • Book Loans: Use the sign out sheets at the front desk when the library is not staffed; otherwise in person transactions (Tues/Thurs.) You can now return any items you had out on loan. Use the slot in the front desk to put items in the book drop.
  • Intercampus Deliveries: On Thursdays. Request items from other campus libraries using the Request tab in the catalog. You must be signed in for this to show. You will be notified by Carol when your item has arrived.
  • Click and Collect: You can still request items in the Hargis collection to be pulled and set up for pickup from the book cart at the entrance of the library. Use the Request tab in the catalog to set this up.
  • Interlibrary Loans (ILL): for items not in our collections. ILL services continue to be available for items that can be provided digitally, you can still request articles and book chapters. New users must register first. Need a book? They will check to see if a digital copy is available, requests for physical items are not yet being handled. If you currently have an item on loan from ILL, please return it.

Get in touch if you have any questions.

Hope to see you on site or via Zoom!


Summer Library Access: June 12, 2020

Hi everyone,

Over the summer period Hargis Library will continue to be closed for daily use.

In order to more fully support your research activities, and enable access to print resources from the university collections, pick-up of books will be available at Hargis Library on Thursdays from 1-4 pm starting June 18th.

You will be able to request items from the VIMS and main campus libraries by using the REQUEST function in the catalog database.

Simply log in to your library account at, or from Hargis Library website -> renew books link & sign in, search the library catalog, select your item and click request.

  • Select Hargis Library as the pickup location, or Swem, if that’s where you wish to pick-up items
  • You will be notified by email when your items are ready
  • Collect items:
    • From Hargis Library front entrance – Thursdays 1-4 pm
    • From Swem front lobby – Monday – Friday 10 - 2pm.
  • Please observe distancing measures, wear a mask and bring your W&M ID

Note that selecting Swem for a pickup location will not speed things up; Hargis books will only be transferred one day a week – on Thursdays.

Any book returns should be placed in the book drop (slot under the counter) at the front desk.

Also, if you need an article or book chapter scanned from the Hargis collection, please [[v|coughlin,email me]] by noon on Wednesdays.

Regards, Carol Coughlin

Connecting to Journals from off Campus: March 27, 2020

Hi all,

In case you haven’t already set this up—

Getting W&M Libraries Resources when using Google Scholar (eliminate the need to be on VPN):

You can set Google Scholar up to automatically link to W&M Libraries databases for any articles we have access to. No need for VPN, just follow the steps shown here:

W&M ;Libraries have lots of digital materials available for you:

W&M Libraries Resources to Support Teaching & Learning During the COVID-19 Outbreak :

Note the following areas: Free Resources from library vendorsChronicle of Higher Education

Renew Books Online: just log into Your Library Account or use the Quick Link from the Hargis website. You will see your active loans displayed on the Loans section. Look for the title you need to renew and click renew. You can also renew all your active loans by selecting Renew All.

Please keep the library materials you have checked out until further notice.

Keep well, Carol Coughlin

VIMS Library Update: March 20, 2020

In conjunction with W&M Libraries closures and social-distancing measures, Hargis Library is closed as of March 20th. Carol Coughlin will be working remotely; feel free to [[v|coughlin,contact her by email]] for assistance or to plan a zoom session.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL): for items not in our collections

  • ILL services continue to be available for items that can be provided digitally, you can still request articles and book chapters.  
    • New users must register first
  • Need a book? They will check to see if a digital copy is available, physical items will not be requested.
  • If you currently have an item on loan from ILL, keep the book until further notice.

Intercampus delivery is not available at this time

  • If you have a book on loan from Hargis Library or other W&M Libraries, keep hold of it until further notice. All pending due dates have been pushed to May.

For those working on the VIMS campus:

  • If you have key access to the library, you may get a needed book. Be sure to fill out the loan form on the desk as usual practice. Make sure the library is locked when you depart; if you have problems, contact Security.
  • If you need an article from one of the bound journals, make a request via ILL and they will send a .pdf copy to you.
  • If you have questions about items, [[v|coughlin,Email Carol Coughlin]].

Employee Checkout/Sign-in forms:

  • [[v|coughlin,Email Carol Coughlin]] for clearance/confirmation of sign-in

Contribution numbers: [[v|coughlin,Email Carol Coughlin]]

W&M Libraries Resources to Support Teaching & Learning during the COVID-19 Outbreak :

Note these free resources from library vendors

  • Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Films on Demand
  • JoVE ( Journal of Visualized Experiments)
  • Kanopy Streaming Video
  • Many COVID related resources

Keep up to date with access to the New York Times | Washington Post | Wall Street Journal  - info on making your accounts here

LinkedIn Learning (formerly – video courses and tutorials.

And for those new to ZOOM:

Approval required for student research during COVID-19: May 28, 2020

Dear all,

I am sending this email to remind everyone again that my approval is required before a graduate student may participate in critical research or training. My original email on this matter, dated April 13, 2020, is below.

An email, submitted anonymously through the W&M COVID-19 FAQS website earlier this week, suggested that faculty at VIMS are forcing students to continue work as normal and that I am taking a lax approach to protecting student health and interests. The individual represented themselves as a VIMS graduate student and urged main campus administration to step in to investigate how the situation is being handled at VIMS.

For background, the VIMS critical research guidelines were developed in close coordination with, and the full support of, W&M’s Vice Provost for Research & Graduate/Professional Studies, the top administrator for research activities at W&M and a member of President Rowe’s cabinet. My addendum was designed to add an extra protective layer of review for students. When I determine that plans for student research or training go beyond “will be working in the lab alone,” this review step allows us to require modifications that will improve the plan. As with all of the planning and review going on during this challenging time, VIMS administration, VIMS EMT and department chairs and center directors are working together to address questions that don’t have easy answers, and situations that require new solutions. Discussions with faculty advisors and students are important and integral parts of the process of tailoring solutions for individual student research and training scenarios.

We can improve research safety for individuals and for the VIMS community overall, but only when we have the opportunity to engage. 

Best, Linda Schaffner

Addendum to Critical Research Guidelines: April 13, 2020

To VIMS faculty and students:

This is an addendum to the Critical Research guidance memo Associate Dean of Research and Advisory Service Mark Luckenbach sent on April 5, 2020.

Effective today, April 13, 2020:

Continuation of graduate training that cannot be conducted at a later date and the initiation or continuation of experiments that are essential for meeting graduate student milestones must have the approval of the Associate Dean of Academic Studies.  Approval is now also required for the initiation or continuation of field work for thesis or dissertation research.

  • Faculty are responsible for seeking approval for graduate training.
  • Students are responsible for seeking approval for the initiation or continuation of experiments or field research that are essential for meeting milestones.

Requests should be sent directly to Linda Schaffner and should include a brief statement of the rationale for continuation of training or the initiation or continuation of experiments or field research, the names of students involved, and the inclusive dates for the activity.

Linda Schaffner

Academic Studies Update for Students: March 18, 2020

Dear VIMS Students,

With the university’s academic and business operations continuity plans evolving, we want to update you on our plans for day-to-day operations in the Office of Academic Studies. Your well-being and the well-being of our entire community is our greatest concern, and supporting you in these unusual circumstances is one of our highest priorities.

Graduate Program Town Hall – Friday March 20, 2020 @ 2 pm
The spring town hall scheduled for this Friday will be held via Zoom. Dean & Director Wells will join us, Joe Martinez will join in to provide updates on the general VIMS policies for security on campus and Academic Council Chair Mark Brush will attend to help answer any questions you may have about the academic program continuity plan. Information on how to connect will be sent before the meeting. If you would like to submit questions in advance of the Town Hall, please use this link.

Office of Academic Studies Schedule - Staff Availability for March 17 to April 3
Office of Academic Studies (physical location) will be staffed on a reduced schedule effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020 through April 3, 2020. We will all be available by email and Jen Hay and John Griffin will be available by phone, 8 am - 5 pm on business days. Jen can be reached at 804-684-7106 and John can be reached at 804-684-7256. Cathy Cake will be in the office on a very limited schedule. We will all be available for face-to-face appointments via Zoom. If you would like an appointment, contact us via email to arrange a time.

Exemption from in-person participation in defenses, comps, quals, etc.
We are in the process of working out details for remote participation by students and committee members for pre-qualifying exams, comprehensive exams, qualifying exams, and thesis or dissertation defenses. It will take a little more time to generate a fully executable plan, but we hope to have a plan out by early next week.

Forms and Signatures
Virtually all of the School of Marine Science forms can be digitally signed and submitted electronically. Please remember that Adobe is the preferred platform and digital (e-signatures) are preferred when forms can be routed electronically to committee members. If you cannot e-sign the form, scanned forms with handwritten signatures will also be accepted. If you do not have immediate access to a scanner, you may initially submit a photo of your signed form via email but a scan or hard copy of the original form should be submitted as a follow up action. Please submit all forms directly to [[registrar]]. We urge you to keep copies of all forms for your own records.

As of March 18th, VIMS and W&M are still open, and we will be maintaining normal operations within the health and safety recommendations identified by the CDC, VDH, and posted on the W&M website for information on COVID-19. As noted by Dean & Director Wells in the email he sent to the VIMS community a few minutes ago, faculty should be considering how to wind-down research should we face a broader shutdown. It is important that you discuss with your advisor how best to fulfill your research assistantship obligations and also discuss with them a contingency plan for thesis or dissertation research plans should VIMS need to close.

The move to remote instruction poses many challenges to anyone in a teaching role, including graduate students. TAs should work closely with their instructor of record to determine what their role will be. Both TAs and Teaching Fellows (those teaching their own course as instructor of record) should familiarize themselves with this online resource developed by the Studio for Teaching and Learning Innovation (STLI) that is intended to help you transition to remote instruction. If a TA has any questions or concerns, please contact Linda Schaffner for graduate courses, or John Graves for undergraduate courses (Teaching Fellows and TAs)

In accordance with the university’s decisions, university sponsored events are cancelled through April 3rd. These cancellations include the GSA Café, Scientist Walks into a Bar, Grad Bash, and Diversity Week. We understand that this is disappointing but we appreciate your resilience and patience.

Services Across Campus
While W&M and VIMS remain open for normal business operations at this time, all offices are closed to the public as of March 18th. The following support services are continuing:

  • Health Center – William & Mary’s Health Center will remain open, but students are strongly encouraged to call 757-221-4386 for appointments. The Health Center’s hours and services can be found online though this link.
  • Counseling Services – Dr. Haygood-Jackson will continue to meet with the VIMS community by offering her counseling services over the phone. Appointments can be scheduled by calling her confidential number: 757-367-9137. Dr. Haygood-Jackson will originate the calls at the start of your scheduled appointment time. W&M’s Counseling Center is not taking any in-person appointments but you can call 757-221-3620 for further information or support.
  • The W&M Recreation Center is closed to all activity. We encourage you to get some sunshine and exercise closer to home.

In addition, it is important that you keep up to date on information by reading emails from Sam Jones, President Rowe, Vice President Ginger Ambler/Student Affairs and VIMS Dean & Director John Wells.

Academic Digest
We will continue to update you on important information and upcoming deadlines for the School of Marine Science through the Academic Digest that is sent out on Tuesday mornings.

Student Check-In Plan
We encourage you to regularly check-in with lab mates and friends during this unusual time of social distancing and telework arrangements. In Academic Studies we are framing this disruption as a great opportunity to explore new ways to do our work and stay connected. We encourage you to think about ways you can stay connected with other students in your department or in smaller groups. If you have any questions or concerns, feel uncertain about how the unfolding events will affect your academic program, or feel isolated in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of us in the Office of Academic Studies.

Please take care of yourselves and each other.

Linda, Jen, John and Cathy, Office of Academic Studies

Positive Test, VIMS Protocols: September 14, 2020

Dear VIMS community,

As we approach the end of the 2nd week of prevalence testing and begin the 2nd round of required student testing, I am happy to report that we continue to have no positive cases of COVID on our campus. This recognition and result is because of each of you, your commitment to a shared responsibility mentality, continuing to telework where possible in order to keep the campus density population to a minimum, and following the protocols of the approved VIMS Phased Expansion of Campus Operations plan.

I also wanted to further remind you all of the procedure to self-identify and notify the VIMS EMT in the event of a positive test result. You must still follow the VIMS protocol in addition to the instructions in the University’s message below.

Our plan reads as follows:

  1. We have established a new email address: [[v|emt,]]. This email is available for anyone in our campus community to notify the VIMS EMT of a suspected, presumed, or positive case of COVID-19. For the purposes of privacy, this email will be restricted to the following members of the Emergency Management Team (John Wells, Mark Luckenbach, Linda Schaffner, and Joe Martinez).
  2. Once the email is received and reviewed, the relevant information will be forwarded to the VIMS Office of Safety and Environmental Programs, to contact directly the individual in question to obtain additional information via a questionnaire that has been developed. The responses to the questionnaire will aid in the creation of a response plan. The questionnaire includes:
    1. When were you last on campus?
    2. What buildings, offices, laboratories or other areas (including restrooms) did you frequent?
    3. Is your office/work area currently secured?
    4. What activities were performed while on campus (lab work?, microscopy?, data analysis?, field work?, etc.)?
    5. Please list any and all VIMS personnel that you’ve been in close contact with over the past 14 days.
  3. With the developed response plan, notifications to individuals and affected building areas will be communicated by the VIMS Office of Safety and Environmental Programs.

Here are some general ground rules:

  1. If a VIMS faculty member, staff member, or student has been tested, either voluntarily or as directed by a health care provider, they are to remain off campus until the test result is provided, and to notify the VIMS EMT. This would not include the prevalence or the large vessel fleet testing programs.
  2. If a VIMS faculty member, staff member, or student was to test positive for the COVID19 virus, that individual will require a release from a medical provider before returning to work and campus.
  3. If a VIMS faculty member, staff member, or student is caring for someone who has tested positive or showing signs of COVID-19 they should remain off campus due to possible exposure.
  4. Impacted areas will be closed and access restricted immediately for a minimum of 72 hours before the Advanced Cleaning Team will commence with decontamination activities. Based on the response plan, impacted areas may include offices, labs, building floors or the entire building.

The above protocols have been exercised and has work well to date.

Thank you for your cooperation, keep up the good work, stay well, and have a great weekend.

Joe Martinez, Chair, VIMS EM

COVID Update: August 11, 2020

Dear VIMS Community,

As we approach the beginning of the fall semester and phased expansion of on-campus operations, I write to provide several updates and to reiterate important information that has been previously conveyed to you. Please read this and send questions and concerns directly to me.

Joe Martinez, Chair, VIMS EMT Committee

Wearing Face Masks

Wearing face masks is paramount in the success of containing and not spreading the coronavirus on our campus. Recently there have been reports that VIMSers are violating our mask policy that was conveyed in the Phased Expansion Plan. This is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The Healthy Together Community Commitment (see the link below) identifies the disciplinary action that could result for non-compliance. Face Masks are mandatory and will be worn:

  • By faculty, staff, students, contract workers, and other campus visitors
  • In all public spaces (entryways, hallways, elevators, restrooms, etc.)
  • By students and faculty moving in and out of classrooms, and during class (yes, they can lift the mask to take a sip of water)
  • By staff in open work areas even if physical distancing can be maintained; employees who move throughout the interior of  buildings to perform their work must wear masks at all time
  • All members of the community are not required to wear masks outdoors, as long as social distancing is maintained. When outdoors, masks should be readily available to pull up if you come in contact with others.
Revised Phased Expansion Plan (dated July 22nd)

Dr. Wells sent out the revised VIMS expansion plan more than a week ago. You can find the collapsible version and other pertinent information on the VIMS COVID site.

W&M Healthy Community Commitment

All members of the W&M and VIMS campus community will be asked to affirm their commitment to shared actions to mitigate risk of spreading COVID-19, to show care and concern for others, and, thereby, to support the university’s ability to succeed during these most challenging of times. Affirmation of the Healthy Together Community Commitment is required for anyone who will be living, learning, and working on campus this fall. Students will have an opportunity to review and affirm the Healthy Together Community Commitment through the Personal Information Questionnaire. Employees will receive a copy of the Healthy Together Community Commitment along with their PPE kits, and they will be asked to affirm the commitment as part of the required on-line COVID-19 training that will be made available by Human Resources via Cornerstone.

Technology Apps

COVIDwise is a smart phone application developed by the Virginia Department of Health for COVID-19 exposure notification.The Governor has recommended that all Virginians download this app.

W&M’s tool, called the Daily Health Check, will be part of its Healthy Together module available via the university’s mobile application and website. The module includes several features to help users account for healthy habits and monitor their physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The free and open-source tool complies with all legal and privacy requirements; it was designed for any and all universities in the Commonwealth easily to adapt to their systems. Participation will be enforced for all members of the community. Students and employees will get a daily prompt, followed by a push reminder if they have not completed a daily check within 48 hours. If the check is not completed within 72 hours, additional measures will be taken to ensure compliance—some of the individual's W&M IT services may be temporarily frozen until they confirm they have completed the necessary steps. Learn more here.

COVID Testing for Students and Employees

On August 7th, Sam Jones sent an email titled: Required COVID-19 Testing for Employees. VIMS will be part of and participate in this testing program. The testing program consists of

  • required testing for students and for certain employees (whose work requires them to be in close contact with others) before returning to campus
  • prevalence testing, and
  • “At Will” (voluntary) testing for employees.

To date and specific to VIMS, VIMS students are scheduled to receive their tests and should return them immediately. To my knowledge, no employee was contacted to be tested prior to returning to campus. Once the semester begins, W&M will be engaging in ongoing (prevalence) testing that allows W&M (incl. VIMS) to see trends of COVID-19 within the community. These tests consider cross-samples of both students (@ 5% population) and employees (@ 2% population) to understand the extent to which we are seeing positive cases, or trends, of COVID-19.

To facilitate our testing program, William & Mary (incl. VIMS) through its agreement with VCU Health System has partnered with Kallaco, a national lab network, for integrated testing. The Kallaco platform provides a quick, centralized way to check test results.

To prepare for the faculty and staff testing process, all faculty and staff members should visit the Kallaco portal and activate an account. Those who have already been tested will receive their test results through the portal. To activate your account, enter your William & Mary employee email address, click forgot password, and follow the on-screen instructions to reset your password. Please note, Kallaco does not offer single sign-on at this time, so you must create a password unique to the Kallaco platform. Do not use your William & Mary password.

If you are identified as an employee who must complete a COVID-19 test either in conjunction with the return to campus or as part of the prevalence testing, you will be notified by your supervisor and advised to contact the VCU Health Center in Williamsburg. You will not be expected to quarantine based on your participation in the required testing, although you will be expected to isolate if you develop symptoms or test positive. Required tests will be conducted at the VCU Health System clinic at 332 N. Henry Street in Williamsburg and shared with the university. This allows the university to respond quickly to any positive test result. As a reminder, you must report to your supervisor if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through your health care provider or other testing programs.

COVID Testing for Vessel Users

VIMS Leadership has ​recently approved updated ​COVID Policies and Procedures for ​the larger VIMS vessels ​which include the RV's Tidewater, Bay Eagle, and Virginia. The revised document is available online. The new document requires ​a cruise participant to test negative within 4 days ​prior to boarding the vessel. VIMS has been working with W&M and their partnership agreement with VCUHS to support our testing requirements. Here are some specifics:

  • VCUHS Testing Site – located near the main campus at 332 N. Henry Street, Williamsburg
  • It is the responsibility of the PI or the Chief Scientist to schedule the date the test needs to be taken, for all members of the scientific party, in order to comply with the revised Vessel COVID Policies and Procedures and dependent on the cruise departure schedule. You should included alternates to protect against unforeseen circumstances. Test results, through the Kallaco portal, will be emailed to the individual employee. You will need to show the Vessel Captain your results before boarding.
  • Scheduling can be done by contacting [[|kemazzitti,Kathleen Mazzitti]]. Please provide 7 days advance notice of date for test taking.
  • VIMS has reserved a total of 100 test kits at the test site dedicated for VIMS use in support of our vessel research program.
  • To prepare for the testing process, all vessel users (faculty and staff members) should visit the Kallaco portal and activate an account. Those who have already been tested will receive their test results through the portal. To activate your account, enter your William & Mary employee email address, click forgot password, and follow the on-screen instructions to reset your password. Please note, Kallaco does not offer single sign-on at this time, so you must create a password unique to the Kallaco platform. Do not use your William & Mary password.
PPE Update
  • Student and employee welcome kits -  Kits will include; 2oz personnel hand sanitizer bottle, 2 face masks, package of hand sanitizer wipes, and an COVID educational brochure. The kits were delivered to VIMS on August 7th.  The Office of Academic Studies will distribute the kits to the students. Distribution of kits to employees is still being developed. All VIMS employees (faculty and staff) are required to complete and sign their Employee Acknowledgement form and submit to their respective Business Manager or Administrative Department Head. Unit heads will provide their complete Department/Center forms to the D/D Office. The D/D office will forward all VIMS forms to Human Resources.
  • Face shields – VIMS has purchased face shields to use as added protection. Face shields are not to replace the requirement of wearing a face masks. If you would like a face shield, you can submit a request to Facilities.
  • Thermometers – Facilities has purchased a few point and shoot thermometers for quick use during the normal business day. They will be tethered to the hand sanitizer stations that are distributed throughout the campus.  If the facility does not have a sanitizer station, contact Mark Brabham in Facilities and a central location will be coordinated with the occupants. Please do not remove thermometers from these locations.
Abrahamson House

The Abrahamson House on the VIMS campus may be used under certain stipulations as listed below.

  • Use at any given time will be exclusive to a single group of up to 4 external visitors sponsored by a VIMS employee. This is on a First-Come/First-Serve basis.
  • The occupant(s) will be responsible for all cleaning, disinfecting, and housekeeping during their period of residence.
  • There is no need to have a COVID test done immediately before travel to VIMS, unless individuals choose to do so because they will be working in a lab/office.
  • VIMS-sponsored individuals are to make the reservations through the normal process of the EMS system. Instructions from Bobbie Dorety will follow on how to obtain the keys on arrival in a touchless and safe manner.
  • Prior to arrival, Facilities will provide an ample number of sheets, towels, bathroom accessories, etc. for the duration of the stay. No housekeeping support or house entry will occur during the entire period. If additional supplies are necessary, arrangements can be made to drop off on the porch by Facilities.
  • Guest are responsible for taking out their own trash. A dumpster and a recycle bin are located behind the Seawater Lab. The gate is open Monday-Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Facilities will handle the disinfecting of the house on departure. Bobbie Dorety will add 4 days of non-occupancy to the end of the reservation to allow for cleaning by Facilities.
  • Please ensure that the occupant(s) bring face masks when arriving on campus. If by chance they forget, let Facilities know and we can provide one.
HVAC modification

Facilities Management has adjusted building HVAC systems wherever possible, increasing the amount of outside air being introduced into the buildings.  FM has also increased the level and/or frequency of replacement of air filtration as possible. At this time, all systems meet or exceed their applicable code requirements. We are following the guidance provided by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Condition Engineers (ASHRAE) and the CDC, and we are working to implement the measures that are determined to be most beneficial to the Institutes faculty, staff, and students.

Contractor/Vendor COVID Procedures

VIMS and W&M have partnered to establish COVID procedures for contractor and vendors working on our campuses. These are available online.

Phased Expansion Follow-up: June 18, 2020

VIMS Community,

On June 12th, Dr. Wells distributed the VIMS Phased Expansion Plan to the Campus Community. If you haven’t done so already, be reminded to take a moment to read the plan as it explains how campus operations, under a new normal, will be conducted. Other Institute messages can be found on the Messages page on our COVID-19 website.

We have also formatted the Plan (including References) for easy reference at

This plan is now (since June 15th) in effect and will be until further communication is sent out. Our Plan’s main relevance to the Governor's Phase Two expansion (Executive Order 65) is in the area of research in that it no longer considers only critical research but now includes other research that can done if health and safety requirements are met.

I would like to point out just a few important highlights of the plan:

  • All employees will be required to wear masks when walking through campus buildings and public spaces, shared spaces, during in-person meetings, and when the 6-foot physical distancing requirement cannot be met. We expect our community will join together in following this requirement and to remember that wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing will communicate the importance of protecting yourself and family, protecting your colleagues and neighbors, and more generally protecting VIMS in all of your day-to-day activities.
  • Research and Advisory Services sponsored travel is permitted after review and approval by the Associate Dean of Research and Advisory Services on a case-by-case basis. Clarification for out-of-state travel is currently being sought by VIMS Administration.
  • All laboratory groups and VIMS Centers must develop a written set of procedures that clearly spell out how they will meet or exceed the guidelines in the Plan, submit that document to the Associate Dean of Research and Advisory Services, and make it available to all members of the lab group.

In addition, efforts are underway to post maximum occupancy limit signs for all classrooms, shared conferences rooms, elevators, and gathering spaces. In some cases these rooms have been rearranged to comply with social distancing requirements.

Please continue to use [[v|EMT]] to send questions and to report a suspected, presumed, or positive COVID-19 case to the VIMS Emergency Management Team. We have created an FAQ webpage  for those questions received and responded to. We will continue to update this page as additional questions are received. Continue to check the FAQ page for further updates.

Everyone stay safe and healthy,

Joe Martinez, Chair, VIMS Emergency Management Team

Temporary Personnel Actions: June 16, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

We write to you today as the leadership of the Faculty, Staff, and Professional Assemblies to ensure clear communication and transparency to each employee at William & Mary during this time of uncertainty.

Earlier today, the Board of Visitors (BOV) passed a resolution authorizing, if necessary, temporary personnel actions in the coming year. Prior to this resolution, the university had no existing policy on temporary actions like furloughs or salary reductions; the available personnel options were essentially limited to permanent actions such as layoffs. The BOV action provides additional, more flexible tools should they be required in FY21.

  • A furlough is a temporary leave from work without pay.  It can be granted intermittently (e.g., one day per week or month) or for a period of time over consecutive weeks or months.  During a furlough, employees retain some benefits, most notably health and life insurance.
  • A temporary salary reduction is a reduction in pay for a specified time period.

President Rowe called Assembly leadership into these conversations in advance of this action and has committed to continue engaging with us throughout the year. We support the university having the tools to sustain our workforce to the extent possible and affirm the following principles that would guide action:

  • William & Mary’s core learning mission will be preserved.
  • If necessary, the university will look first to temporary actions (e.g., furloughs and salary reductions), not permanent ones (e.g., layoffs).
    • Senior university leaders will be the first impacted.
    • In university-wide actions, we will seek to protect our lowest-paid employees (e.g., those making less than $50,000 annually) to the extent possible.
    • Temporary actions will not exceed 20% of a person's salary.

As states open back up, it is important to remember that the full economic impact to higher education will not be fully realized until months from now. President Rowe and her Executive Leadership Team have committed to transparency as difficult decisions are made.

We commit, as your elected representatives, to hear your voices and advocate for you, particularly in the coming year. We recognize you have received this message multiple times today, but we believe it’s important in these uncertain times that you know your Assembly is working hard for you.


  • Thomas Ward, Faculty Assembly President
  • David Armstrong, Faculty Assembly President-Elect
  • Arielle Newby, Staff Assembly President
  • Robin Hollenbeck, Staff Assembly Vice President
  • Joe Wheeless, Professionals & Professional Faculty Assembly President
  • Mariellynn Maurer, Professionals & Professional Faculty Assembly President-Elect

Joe Wheeless, President
Professionals & Professional Faculty Assembly
William & Mary
757-221-3485 (call me directly – W&M line is being forwarded)
Schedule a meeting or phone call with me using bookings and we will set up either a call OR a Zoom connection

Critical Research and Associated Risk: April 5, 2020

I appreciate the patience and cooperation that you have shown over the past few weeks as we have developed guidelines for how we can conduct our research under the changing pandemic conditions, especially under the Governor’s Executive Order 55 that was issued on March 30. Developed in coordination with W&M leadership, the following are the general guidelines for defining critical research activities.

  • Critical research activities that may be performed on our campuses, aboard our vessels, and in the field must meet one or more of the criteria listed below.
  • Maintenance of research animals and cultures (algae, microbial, or tissue) of special significance
  • Continuity of valuable, time-sensitive information and products that supports VIMS advisory mandates to VA state agencies and industries
  • Continuation of vitally important experiments and graduate training that cannot be conducted at a later date
  • Maintenance of sensitive lab equipment
  • Periodic maintenance of valuable field equipment and important sampling of ongoing field experiments
  • Processing of highly valuable samples that would otherwise be lost
  • Initiation of new experiments that cannot be conducted at a later time

Research activities not permitted on VIMS campuses, aboard our vessels, or in the field while we are under a stay-at-home directive include:

  1. work that can be done from home,
  2. work solely for the purpose of meeting grant deliverables timelines [many granting agencies have already signaled liberal
    policies in this regard], and
  3. routine processing of preserved samples that are not urgent.

This list of critical research activities expands the one provided by Dean and Director Wells in his April 3rd email to the VIMS community. The above is a list of attributes of critical research activities only, not a listing of which specific projects can go forward. If you have any questions about whether the work that you are proposing meets one or more of these criteria, [[luck, contact me to discuss your plans]].

All research activities must comply with the distancing requirements in the Governors order—maintaining a minimum of 6 feet distance between people at all times. An unfortunate consequence of this distancing requirement is that research aboard our large vessels (R/V Virginia, R/V Bay Eagle and R/V Tidewater) have been suspended until June 10. Additionally, we expect everyone to develop plans that go above and beyond these requirements (e.g., isolating individual work stations where possible, adopting extra cleaning efforts, etc.). While we have managed to achieve a rather liberal definition of “critical” research that should enable us to sustain our research and keep most graduate students on track to meet their milestones, this is not a green light to resume most of our research activities. We must be driven first and foremost by safety concerns. I trust that you will all be extra vigilant about meeting distancing requirements and making your activities as safe as possible for yourself and others in your research group. As Dean and Director Wells communicated on April 3rd, “technical staff and students are not required to work in labs or in the field if they do not feel safe doing so” and if needed should contact the appropriate person in the VIMS administration to discuss their concerns.

There is a very important additional issue that we must consider here. It is likely that additional people at VIMS will show some symptoms over the next couple of months that cause them to either to self-isolate or to be instructed by their physician to isolate. There is also a growing likelihood that someone at VIMS will test positive for COVID-19. Under those circumstances any building on campus could be subject to our Operational Protocol for Potential COVID-19 Contamination, which calls for closing potentially impacted spaces for a minimum of 72 hours before sending in an Advanced Cleaning Team. Should there be a positive test, the VA Health Department would become involved, contacting others with exposure to this person and directing them to self-quarantine for 14 days.

As recently seen in Chesapeake Bay Hall, even a suspected case can shut down a whole floor of a building for several days, impacting other programs and potentially resulting in the complete loss of animals, cultures, experiments and samples. This can be a big challenge for us to manage because once it goes to a potential contamination situation you do not have any avenue to appeal for access. The potentially affected spaces are closed for several days. The likelihood of these closures increases with the number of people that are in our buildings, not just your laboratory.

To manage this challenge effectively, we must absolutely minimize the number of people who are in our buildings, the amount of time that they are there, and the places that they go. We must all expand our thinking beyond just the risk-benefit calculation for our immediate research group and think about our colleagues and the campus as a whole. A faculty member, staff member, or student may say that she/he feels perfectly safe working in the lab, but if that person later exhibits symptoms or tests positive, then we must shut down all or a part of the building for others for several days. Given that individuals can spread the virus before becoming symptomatic, we all need to be mindful that we could unwittingly be a vector.

I encourage you to look carefully at the list above and not simply ask, “how much of my program can I keep active?” but also the more critical question, “what work can I possibly put on hold for the next couple of months?” If we all take this seriously by minimizing the number of people that come to our campuses at any time, minimizing the places that those people go, and all of us minimizing our exposure in our daily lives, we can get through this safely and maintain a reasonable level of productivity.

Mark Luckenbach

(download as pdf)

Status of News & Media Services: March 23, 2020

Dear all,

During the coronavirus closure, the News & Media Services office will be available to complete requests for routine services as follows:

Media Services
(Printing, lamination, binding, graphic design, business cards, etc.)

Sue Stein will be in the office 2 days a week for several hours to fulfill these requests. Otherwise, she will be working remotely from home. To promote social distancing, Sue will leave all completed work in the hallway outside of Suite 126 in Davis Hall so individuals can pick up their jobs at their convenience and not only when she is in the office.

This week, Sue will be in the office on Monday from 1-5 pm, and on Thursday 10 am-3 pm. Please [[v|sstein,email her]] with your printing needs, new design requests, and other work that she routinely does for you. Sue will email you when completed work is ready to pick up.

Cascade Web Management
We are close to filling our vacant webmaster position, but in the meantime I ask that you continue to contact me (Dave Malmquist) [[v|davem,via email]] with any routine web additions or updates. I also encourage you to visit our COVID-19 web hub for updates and archived information regarding the VIMS response:

News & Social Media
Please contact me if you have a story concerning how the coronavirus has impacted your research, or if you’d like to share any novel approaches to maintaining your research, educational, or advisory activities in ways that enhance physical and mental health, whether individually or for the broader VIMS community and our social-media audience. As always, please continue to inform me of any contacts you have with the media, concerning the coronavirus or otherwise.

We wish you all well.

David Malmquist, News & Media Director

VIMS OSP Support: March 19, 2020

Dear VIMS community,

In accordance with directives from President Katherine Rowe and Dean John Wells, members of the Office of Sponsored Programs are expected, to the greatest extent possible, to work remotely and practice social distancing. Until further notice, you can reach any of us during regular business hours (8:00 am – 5:00 pm) using the contact information below.

Thank you for your understanding and flexibility during this difficult time. I wish you all well.

Connie M. Motley, Director of Sponsored Programs

Marine Science Day and Digital Outreach: March 19, 2020

Hello VIMS community

As the situation with the COVID-19 outbreak continues to unfold and we all shift toward working from home and social distancing as our new normal, Advancement has been thinking differently about the modes of delivery for VIMS outreach programs. Not knowing when this outbreak may subside, we have canceled all in-person outreach programs on and off-campus through the end of May, and we are strengthening our digital outreach strategy overall through summer. I am writing to share what we have planned and to outline three ways to help.

What’s coming up:Marine Science Day will move to a set of curated, online experiences presented in a day-long, digital event format. This Marine Science Day will be filled with online resources, livestreams, and recorded videos of lab tours, demonstrations, and talks. We are excited about the opportunities this creates for VIMS including:

  • Reaching a different and wider audience unconstrained by geography
  • Growing VIMS’ presence and visibility beyond our local and regional base
  • Generating new content that can be used and re-used online for multiple purposes in the future
  • Learning from this experiment in digital content delivery so that future Marine Science Days can always have both in-person and digital components

We are currently working on the plan for Marine Science Day and will be providing more information soon. Over the next few weeks, Candice Vinson and I we will be reaching out to those of you that already signed up to host an exhibit or activity during MSD to talk about how we might present your information digitally. If you did not originally sign up to host an activity during MSD, but would now like to be involved in the digital format, please let us know.

We are also beginning execution of a digital outreach strategy to carry us through the summer:

  • We are converting some of our in-person events to online events – such as After Hours lectures and the Discovery Labs offered by CBNERR.
  • We are developing content that can be delivered regularly via our social media platforms – such as Fast Talk Fridays, a series of recorded 5-min talks delivered via Facebook, and Virtual VIMS, a series of recorded laboratory tours or demonstrations that provide a behind the scenes look at VIMS.

How you can help:

  1. VIMS has always excelled at welcoming the public into its labs through in-person tours and lectures. Now, we need your help identifying and creating content that will give the public a behind the scenes view into our work via videos of no more than 5 minutes.
    1. Do you have a fun way to demonstrate your research or a process that takes place in the marine environment?
    2. How do you feed your research animals or keep your algae cultures alive?
    3. Do you have videos of zooplankton or larval oysters swimming in a petri dish or on a slide?
    4. Do you have videos from previous research cruises or field studies?
  2. If you have an idea, but are not sure about it or how to provide it digitally, let us know and we can help you think it through. 
  3. Keep an eye on VIMS’ social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn) over the next few weeks and like and share our content on your own social media channels. Often, this content will link back to the VIMS website or to another platform like YouTube so you can also send links out to people you think would be interested even if they are not on social media. This will greatly help expand our reach.
  4. Get started now: This morning, CBNERR posted a story time and demonstration on their Facebook page that highlighted the importance of wetlands.

As we are working remotely, if you have questions or ideas please email them to Candice or me and we can set up a zoom session to talk about them more in-depth.

Thank you all and take care! We look forward to your creative input.

Sally Brooks, Outreach Coordinator