Captains Relaunch

Fall 2020 Reopening Plan

This plan has been reviewed by the State Council of Higher Education and has been found to be compliant in containing the required components of the 'Higher Education Reopening Guidance,' which was developed inconsultation with the Virginia Department of Health.

As amended on August 26, 2020


  • Continue to fulfill the mission of the university: preparing students to live lives of significance
  • Inspire student, faculty, staff, family and community confidence in a return to on-campus, in-person education
  • Adopt, encourage and support policies and practices that will limit possible transmission and minimize the spread of COVID–19 on campus
  • Provide direction for identifying and responding to changes in COVID–19 status and evolving conditions on campus

Executive summary

Christopher Newport University’s campus will reopen August 3 with students moving into residence halls in phases and classes beginning one week earlier than in the calendar adopted before the pandemic.

Here are the key elements of the plan:

  • After appropriate precautions are taken on campus and if the course of the pandemic permits, freshman move-in will begin on August 7 and classes will begin on August 17. Fall break is canceled. Election Day will be a university holiday.
  • Administrative and academic offices and departments will adopt modified and flexible work schedules, including telework, for the phased return of staff that will begin on August 3.
  • In-person instruction in fall classes will end on November 20. November 23 will be an online review day for classes missed on Election Day. Final exams will be administered online after Thanksgiving beginning November 30. Students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving until the beginning of the spring semester.
  • Each member of the faculty and staff and every student will be expected to accept responsibility for their own health and persistently protect every member of the Christopher Newport community from the spread of COVID–19 as required by the University and directed or recommended by public health authorities.
  • Students, faculty and staff will each receive a “return to campus kit” that includes a cloth face covering, thermometer, door opener, sanitizing wipes and sanitizer gel.
  • The University will follow local, regional, state and federal direction and guidance for limiting transmission of the virus. Students, faculty and staff who under Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID–19 will be permitted to learn and work remotely.
  • The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the CDC will guide adjustments to on-campus life, academic and athletic activities, housing, dining, recreation, student programs, office and on-the-job functions. All will be modified with the goal of reducing risk of transmission of the virus.
  • Resources will be in place, or made available through health providers and government agencies, for detection of the virus, contact tracing, isolation and quarantining.
  • Faculty and staff will be ready to pivot to remote education and full-scale telework should it become necessary.

The course of the pandemic cannot be predicted. Only individual caution and cooperative conduct can effectively limit exposure to the virus. The Campus Restart Team will regularly review public health guidance, clinical best practices and the practices and experience of other institutions of higher education and change or update its protocols, policies and practices as the need arises.

These will be our touchstones as we prepare for and execute a return to in-person education at Christopher Newport for the fall:

Put people first

We are a student-first campus. In these new and unique circumstances, this value must extend to all of our people. It includes the responsibility to care for our own and the responsibility of each of us to care for ourselves and all the people we encounter during the course of a day. Each of us is responsible for every one of us.

Be curious

We will explore and share new ways of learning, living and working. We must be innovative and agile, turning our current situation into an opportunity for intellectual and personal growth.

Offer inspiring leadership

Reflecting on how we have overcome challenges in the past we will be inspired by the courage and optimism of our Captains working to overcome obstacles. We will inspire each other and the community around us with our commitment, tenacity and heart.

One Christopher Newport

These circumstances require us to rely on and care for our community. We will practice empathy, respect and openness and we will get through this together.


This report

After a brief overview of Christopher Newport’s position in Virginia’s higher education landscape (Section I), this report sets forth our plans for the repopulation of the campus (Section II), monitoring health conditions to detect infection (Section III), containment to prevent the spread of virus when detected (Section IV) and partial or total shutdown if necessitated by severe conditions and/or public health guidance (Section V). The report concludes with terms and definitions for cloth face coverings, and physical distancing (Section VI) and sources consulted (Section VII).

When compared to many businesses and other institutions, residential colleges such as Christopher Newport present unique risks – a population sharing bedrooms or suites, bathrooms and dining halls, and living together on campus day to day as a community. In this environment, risk exists for faculty, students and staff.

Christopher Newport’s culture is based on building personal relationships, between students and their professors, between students and staff and between staff and visitors such as prospective students and their families and, of course, among our students. While risk might be increased in these conditions, the implementation of direction and guidance from the Governor, the Virginia Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control provide a path forward that shows us how to limit that risk.

Christopher Newport has advantages. We have a large, open and airy campus made up of new and technologically advanced buildings with state-of-the art environmental conditions. Our campus is across the street from one of the region’s preeminent medical centers and that center is a valued partner in the health services offered on our campus. We enjoy a strong culture of respect, kindness and compassion that will guide us in doing the right thing for ourselves and for each other.

Preparations for the restart and its timing

Classes will begin on August 17 and fall break has been eliminated. This will allow all in-person coursework to be completed before the Thanksgiving break. It is believed that some risks of exposure will be reduced by closing campus in the early stages of the traditional flu season and a possible resurgence of the virus. The new schedule will also limit the number of trips away from - and resulting returns to - campus and home by our students.

To prepare to reopen, the University formed a COVID–19 Campus Restart Team and twelve sub-teams that includes faculty representation and senior leaders with cumulative responsibility for all aspects of the University’s undertakings. Faculty leaders, department directors and others responsible for planning and operational management were invited to participate. The group gathered and considered ideas, information and best practices from colleges and universities in Virginia and around the country, from public health professionals and from major employers.

COVID–19 Campus Restart Team:
  • Cindi Perry, Chief of Staff and Campus Restart Team Coordinator
  • Jana Adamitis, Associate Professor and Chair, Faculty Senate Crisis Response Team
  • Bill Brauer, Executive Vice President
  • Jim Hanchett, Chief Communications Officer
  • Kevin Hughes, Vice President, Student Affairs
  • Jennifer Latour, Vice President for Strategy and Planning, and co-Coordinator
  • Christine Ledford, Senior Associate Vice President, Finance and Administration
COVID–19 campus sub-teams and chairs:
  • Campus Recreation and Fitness - Lisa Powell, Director, Trieshmann Health and Fitness Pavilion
  • Dining Services - Wayne Reed, Associate Vice President, Auxiliary Services
  • Emergency Policy Group - Tammy Sommer, Director, Emergency Management
  • Events - Amie Dale, Executive Director, University Events and Special Projects
  • Faculty Senate Crisis Response Team - Jana Adamitis, Associate Professor
  • Mental and Physical Health - Brian Larson, Associate Dean of Students
  • Housekeeping and Maintenance - Scott Gesele, Director, Facilities Management
  • Human Resources - Ashleigh Andrews, Director, Human Resources
  • Instructional Delivery and Scheduling - David Doughty, Provost and Lisa Duncan-Raines, Vice President, Enrollment and Student Success
  • Intercollegiate Athletics - Kyle McMullin, Athletics Director
  • Library - Mary Sellen, University Librarian and Wayne Reed
  • Residential Experience - Katie Wellbrock, Associate Dean of Students

The Campus Restart Team consulted with the Peninsula Health District of the Virginia Department of Health and with Riverside Health System which operates a large, full-service hospital adjacent to the university and works in long-standing partnership with the university to provide services to our students.

How students will return to campus

  • Students will monitor their health and be briefed on new health protocols before move-in.
  • Move-in will be staggered over two weeks with a limit on the number of guests permitted inside residence halls.

Students will move into residence halls consistent with protocols required and suggested by the Governor, VDH and the CDC related to physical distancing, face coverings and density. They will benefit from updated sanitizing protocols and touchless fixtures in common areas.

Facilities preparation, student screening and the process of settling into rooms and suites will be conducted with a focus on limiting the risk of transmission of the virus.

Procedures will also be informed by the lessons learned from the abrupt end of in-person learning at the University in March 2020. By quickly moving to limit access, residents were consolidated into fewer buildings, campus operations were managed remotely, and vacant buildings were deep cleaned and sanitized.

Here are the key precautions being taken for the return to campus:

  • Prior to returning to campus, students will be required to monitor their symptoms and limit their potential exposure to individuals with the COVID–19 virus; this process will begin at home for most students. Beginning this process prior to return will allow students to learn how to meet campus expectations related to temperature checking and symptom tracking. Importantly, students whose self-monitoring results in identification of symptoms of or exposure to the virus will not be permitted to return to campus until they have received health clearance. To buttress the pre-campus screening process, students will be provided a tool for symptom monitoring, currently under development, through their campus email address in mid-July. The same tool will be used when students return to campus.
  • In addition to the pre-return-to-campus screening for all students, international students must quarantine for 14 days prior to attending in-person classes. International students will be notified of the need to quarantine by the Office of Enrollment and Student Success. The office will also notify the offices of Athletics, Housing, and Student Affairs so that additional and appropriate support measures can be initiated.
  • The check-in process for residential students will be staggered over two weeks. Depending on their class year, a student will either select or be assigned a date and time for move-in. The scheduling of each student’s move-in will allow us to limit the number of people in the building, on the floor, and in a specific room. Check-in will be touchless and sanitizing stations and supplies will be available. Staffing and cleaning of common space will be increased. Staff will administer a verbal health screening to all students and their two permitted guests before they are allowed to enter the residence hall.
  • Students will be provided training, education and support in self-monitoring, good hygiene practices, physical distancing and use of face coverings, in Orientation for first-time students and their families (freshmen and transfers) and before move-in and classes begin for all other students. Participants will learn about the University’s requirements and about their personal responsibilities.
  • Education will also be offered in mandatory residence hall meetings directed by resident assistants. Topics will include requirements for face coverings, physical distancing and symptom detection and reporting. Signage and digital communications will underscore these messages.
  • Students will be reminded of their daily screening requirement using electronic and printed media as well as mandatory trainings and verbal prompts from university staff and faculty.

How faculty and staff will return to campus

  • Faculty and staff will undergo mandatory education and training to ensure that they fully understand their individual responsibilities and the University’s expectations and requirements.
  • Faculty and staff will return to campus in stages with telework continuing where available and approved.

Faculty and staff will be expected to acknowledge the serious nature of COVID–19, the importance of each individual’s knowledge of the risks presented by the virus, and the expectation that they will follow all protocols in place to limit the potential for exposure to the virus. They will receive information about monitoring their own health and the expectation they will notify appropriate personnel if they are symptomatic and/or learn they have been exposed to an individual who is COVID positive, and the expectation they may be required to be tested if necessary. If symptomatic or exposed, they will be directed to stay home. This will be outlined in the mandatory training that will be distributed to faculty and staff in mid-July by Human Resources. The mandatory training will also cover self-screening procedures.

Workplaces will be reconfigured and otherwise altered as necessary to allow for physical distancing.

How we as Captains and as a university will strive to protect our community as the campus is repopulated

  • Students, faculty, staff and visitors are required to wear cloth face coverings when in class, common areas and shared offices. Face coverings are also required outdoors when physical distancing is not or may not be possible.
  • Extensive measures will be taken to clean and sanitize buildings and educate and encourage all in our community to follow hygiene and other public health guidelines.
  • Students, faculty and staff must complete mandatory training about COVID–19 and will be expected to fully adhere to the University’s public health requirements, self-screen for symptoms and take responsibility for the well-being of the community.
  • Students, faculty and staff will receive return-to-campus kits that will include wipes, sanitizer, a face covering, a door-opening device and a thermometer. These are intended not only to be useful but to communicate the importance of individual action.
Cloth face coverings

Cloth face coverings must be worn when in class, common areas and shared offices. Face coverings are also required outdoors when physical distancing is not or may not be possible. Exemptions from the requirement are permitted in individual indoor office spaces and with adequate physical distancing, during exercising, eating and drinking and for reasons defined by the CDC. A cloth face covering will be provided to every student, faculty and staff member in the return kits to add to their personal supply. Education and training will be provided to each student, faculty and staff to include the requirements and methods for wearing and removing a covering.

Cleaning and other environmental measures

In addition to cleaning performed by housekeeping, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to clean their own workspace multiple times throughout the day; students are strongly encouraged to clean workspaces in their residences as well as those they use in the library and other spaces. Special attention should be given to the most used surfaces such as keyboards, monitors, chair arm rests, desks, mouse and phone, among others. The University will provide cleaning products for employees, but employees may also use their own supplies if they are EPA compliant.

High touch surfaces, such as door handles, handrails and elevator buttons will be cleaned and disinfected by housekeeping frequently. Electrostatic spraying of disinfectant will be conducted in classrooms and common areas each night and the University has purchased additional machines to accomplish these tasks. Building hours have been reduced to allow this work to take place overnight.

The University’s HVAC systems will be monitored and filters changed more frequently than recommended by the manufacturer.

Manual restroom faucets, towel and soap dispensers, flush valves and lights will be converted to touchless devices prior to the return to campus. Water fountains will be covered or disabled. Reusable supplies in kitchen break rooms will be replaced with single use products.

Personal hygiene

Hand sanitizer stations will be installed at entrances to all campus buildings and in other strategic locations. Sanitizing wipes will be provided in classrooms and common spaces. Hand shaking will be discouraged. Staff and students will be directed to refrain from sharing supplies such as pens, staplers, tools and equipment. If supplies or equipment are shared, users must wipe them down before and after each use.

Education, training and communication

The University will establish mandatory training to students, faculty and staff about university requirements, procedures and expectations. It will also include guidance on COVID–19 prevention measures, self-screening and anti-stigma education.

Handwashing and face covering signs are posted in high traffic areas. Signage explaining face covering and physical distancing requirements will be posted at building entrances.

The Christopher Newport website will host a detailed description of requirements, with special sections for faculty, staff and students. The CNU Alert system website will host key communications on major changes in requirements should there be shifts in state guidance or the local health conditions. Social media posts on the University’s highest-traffic channels will relay key messages and links to videos and other forms of instruction. Emails summarizing this document and linking to it will go to faculty, staff, students and the parents of students. TV monitors in high traffic locations including the Freeman Center and the David Student Union will also communicate key messages.

The student newspaper, The Captain’s Log, will be encouraged to publish stories and editorials on the University’s plan, new requirements and ways of living and learning, and the importance of individual responsibility.

The University’s plans will be shared with the Newport News community through news releases and advisories sent to local media, social media posts, and communications with local elected officials and health authorities.

Personal commitment

Each member of the faculty and staff and every student will be expected to commit to taking responsibility for their own health and to recognizing and accepting their responsibility for the health of every other member of the Christopher Newport community.

Travel and visitors

University-sponsored international travel is suspended until further notice. University-sponsored non-essential non-local travel is suspended until further notice. Essential non-local travel will be severely curtailed and must be approved in advance by the provost or appropriate vice president.

Faculty, staff and students returning from personal travel to international locations must self-quarantine for 14 days prior to returning to campus as recommended by current CDC guidelines. Faculty and staff must adhere to CDC and State Department travel restrictions.

Visitors must wear cloth face coverings and should be provided one, if necessary. International visitors must self-quarantine for 14 days before arriving on campus. Gatherings should be held electronically whenever possible.

How classes, labs, academic spaces and experiential learning will be conducted

  • Physical distancing will be facilitated by planning for classes with fewer students, reconfiguring furniture, or using larger spaces for in-person class meetings.
  • Cloth face coverings, barriers and alternative methods of content delivery will be used to limit the risk of transmission of the virus.

In-person education will continue at Christopher Newport. Students and faculty must wear cloth face coverings in classrooms. In addition to a cloth face covering, faculty and students may wear or use other protective tools as they see fit (see Section VI for definitions). Classroom seating will be reconfigured to achieve physical distancing with signage indicating seats and areas off-limits for use during classes. When necessary, the number of students in a class will be reduced.

It is the University’s plan to restore Christopher Newport’s uniquely valued in-person educational experience for our students to every extent possible. However, it must be acknowledged that in some classes the demands of physical distancing may limit the effectiveness of traditional in-class teaching methods. Creative adaptation to the new circumstances confronting us may be required. For this reason, and understanding that in-person teaching is of primary importance, faculty may reimagine a class by incorporating virtual elements, with decisions guided by sound pedagogy necessary for effective teaching, and approved by the department chair and dean. A hybrid model is expected to preserve for students the in-person interaction with faculty – inside the physical classroom – that is one of the hallmarks of a Christopher Newport education, while at the same time doing our best to ensure students’ success.

When possible, classes will be moved to larger, alternative spaces such as the Diamonstein Concert Hall, Peebles Music and Theater Hall, Gaines Theatre and the David Student Union Ballroom. This will free large classrooms such as the lecture halls in McMurran Hall and Luter Hall for use by classes with a smaller number of students – essentially a step ladder approach.

Disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer will be available for individual use in all academic spaces. Academic spaces will be frequently and thoroughly cleaned by housekeeping staff throughout the day.

All courses will be configured for remote learning so that they will be available for students who are unable to attend because they are isolated or quarantined. Instructors and students determined to be at an increased risk of severe illness under the CDC guidelines will have the option to teach and learn remotely.

In practical or experiential learning classes, a split attendance approach may be used. The class may be divided into two groups, with one group attending the first half of the period and participating through remote learning for the second half of the period, and vice versa for the second group. Students must wear cloth face coverings as well as any other required PPE specific to the course. Labs will be organized so that students can maintain physical distance. Only one student may use a workstation at a time. Students should not share lab equipment when possible and gloves may be required in most labs. Physical distance must be maintained during travel to fieldwork sites. Lab discussions must cover these new procedures.

In musical performance classes, plexiglass shields will be used for instrumental ensembles combined with extensive physical distancing. Diamonstein Concert Hall will be dedicated to these courses. Private (applied) voice and instrumental lessons will be conducted using plexiglass shields. Vocal ensembles will have a reduced course capacity to maximize physical distancing.

At Trible Library and in other study areas, seating will be reduced to enforce physical distancing. Plexiglass shields will be installed to protect patrons at large tables. Capacity of study rooms will be reduced. Access to the library will be limited.

How students, faculty and staff at increased risk of severe illness under CDC guidelines will learn, teach and work

Faculty and staff

Employees who are at increased risk of severe illness (or if they live in the same residence with a person at increased risk) as identified by current CDC guidelines, and who seek to continue to teach and/or work remotely have been asked to self-identify by submitting the Temporary Workforce Modification Form to Human Resources.

Any employee requesting a temporary workforce modification for a health condition must provide documentation from their physician. The forms have been distributed to employees and are available from Human Resources. Human Resources will notify supervisors of the individuals who work for them who are at an increased risk and will be working remotely.

Employees at increased risk are not required to seek a temporary work modification. It is optional and at the employee’s discretion.

If employees fall into the increased risk group but do not choose to continue working remotely at this time, they may discuss other possible modifications of their work environment with their supervisor or department chair. Temporary workforce modifications may remain in place through June 30, 2021.

Separately, the University will continue to accommodate those with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act. Employees who wish to seek accommodations of a disability should contact the Office of Human Resources.


Students who are at increased risk of severe illness as identified by current CDC guidelines will work with the student disability support specialist in Student Affairs. On an individual basis, the student disability support specialist will discuss each student’s circumstances to determine the appropriate modifications to support the student’s continued participation in his or her education.

Any student requesting a temporary modification to their campus experience due to a health condition which places them at an increased risk must make a written request to the student disability support specialist. This request must include communication from their treating physician confirming that the student is considered to be at increased risk as identified by the CDC.

Separately, the University will continue to accommodate those with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act. Those who wish to seek accommodation of a disability should contact the student disability support specialist.

How offices, fitness facilities and non-academic areas will function

  • Offices will open under strict guidelines requiring physical distancing, cloth face coverings and barriers if necessary.
  • Meetings and events will be reduced in number and size.
  • The fitness center will operate with restrictions on capacity and spacing of equipment, physical distancing requirements, and with intensified cleaning regimens.

In offices, staff will be physically distanced and wear cloth face coverings. Workstations will be outfitted with plexiglass barriers when necessary for in-person transactions. Supervisors will be responsible for developing back-to-campus work plans for their offices, which must be submitted to their vice president for approval. Plans should make use of all available tools, including options such as flex scheduling, staggered schedules and continued telework.

Floor markings will identify proper distances for people waiting in congregation or transactional areas.

Maximum occupancy in conference rooms, waiting rooms and break areas will be reduced to facilitate physical distancing and breaks may be staggered if necessary to reduce crowding.

External groups and individuals will not be permitted to reserve space and hold events on campus until further notice.

Internal events, meetings and invitations to campus visitors will be reduced and must comply with public health guidelines for group size, physical distancing and face coverings. As often as practicable, meetings will be reduced in size and/or be conducted electronically even when all participants are present on campus. Office gatherings, even those that comply with public health guidelines, are discouraged.

The fitness center will comply with public health guidelines, currently 75% of capacity with physical distancing. Equipment will be spaced or taken offline to facilitate physical distancing. Housekeeping will clean and disinfect high contact and common areas throughout the day. Fitness center users will be required to wipe down and sanitize the equipment before and after each use. Supplies will be provided by the University. Classes and program size will be limited as necessary to allow required physical distance between participants and the center will continue to offer virtual programs. Showers and lockers will not be available.

How dining services will function

  • New methods of serving food and arranging furniture in dining rooms have been adopted to limit risk of transmission of the virus while still offering patrons an array of choices in an inviting atmosphere.
  • New locations for dining services and new and expanded outdoor seating will reduce wait times to prevent crowding and will spread students out into more areas of the campus during periods of high demand.
  • The Dining Dollars program will be expanded to many nearby restaurants. This will give students inviting and convenient choices while reducing volume at the University’s primary dining facilities.

Cloth face coverings will be required in dining facilities, except while eating and drinking.

Procedures for dining will change significantly but the quality, variety and abundance of the food offerings will continue. Cash will no longer be accepted for payment and diners will use touch-free readers for Captains Card, credit and debit cards. Preordering and prepayment will be strongly encouraged as the technology permitting those options is put in place.

Self-service for food and beverages will be eliminated and the use of shared items such as condiments will be eliminated to every extent possible. The use of disposable utensils and packaging will replace silverware and plates for regular meal service in the dining halls.

The dining facilities are being redesigned to allow physical distancing. Floor markers, stanchions and signage will direct patrons through the new traffic flows. New and expanded outdoor seating areas and reconfigured indoor areas will allow diners to maintain physical distance.

The number of menu items for grab-and-go meals will increase. New pop-up cafes in the Peebles lobby of the Ferguson Center for the Fine Arts and in the main thoroughfare of the Freeman Center will offer students new options at high demand times.

The Dining Dollars program affiliated with the student meal plan will be expanded to include the purchase of food from participating restaurants and stores in Hidenwood Plaza adjacent to campus and on East Campus, where over 1,000 students reside in university housing.

Major changes are also underway in kitchens and service areas. Plans are in place to clean and disinfect high touch surfaces frequently throughout the day. Dining Services staff must wear cloth face coverings and gloves at all times, will adhere to rigorous infection prevention guidelines and will work in staggered shifts to reduce the number of employees on duty at the same time.

How residence halls, apartments and Greek housing will function

  • Common spaces will undergo frequent and thorough cleaning throughout the day.
  • Buildings will be de-densified by eliminating three-person rooms in freshman halls and reconfiguring or restricting access to lounges, kitchens, laundry rooms and other common spaces.
  • In-room guests from off-campus or other residence halls will be prohibited and guests from within a residence hall will be limited.

The University’s residential facilities are relatively young and that is a significant advantage in protecting students and staff. Nearly every residence hall was built within the past 20 years and the newest comes online this fall. Because they are new, there are no large common hall bathrooms and shower rooms. Residents typically share a bathroom connecting two rooms, each housing a maximum of two students per room with shared responsibility for cleaning and sanitizing these personal spaces. Residents who live in on-campus apartments share an in-unit kitchen, living room, and washer/dryer while having individual bedrooms and bathrooms. With no shared bathrooms, those students hold primary responsibility for cleaning and sanitizing their own personal living spaces and bathrooms.

Common spaces such as hall lounges, laundry rooms, and hall kitchens will have reduced access to allow for physical distancing. These areas will be cleaned frequently throughout the day. Additionally, some residential units have unique features such as a kitchen and lounge in the Special Interest (Greek) houses occupied by 25 people per house and the three theme-unit apartments, each occupied by 15 students. Students in those facilities will be responsible for cleaning their personal spaces and shared restrooms but the University will provide primary cleaning and sanitizing of the common spaces.

Students and staff are required to wear cloth face coverings in common areas but students will not be expected to wear face coverings within their suite or apartment unless a non-resident of the suite or apartment is present. A suite or apartment may be designated as a family unit for purposes of quarantine.

To reduce the risk of exposure, guests in buildings and units will be restricted or prohibited. While small group study and personal tutoring must continue and may occur in a resident’s room, the number of people who may be present at any one time in a room, apartment or residence will be limited. Non-residents of the building will not be permitted as guests. These restrictions apply to students from other residential facilities, non-resident students, and guests including family members and/or friends from other universities. Should a student need to meet a family member or other guest, they may do so in the residence hall lobby and then move to a different location to visit. Physical distance must be maintained during visits and both must wear cloth face coverings.

The new procedures will be communicated in advance through multiple platforms, including email, policy updates, and town hall-style virtual meetings. Resident assistants will be trained so that they may explain the procedures and respond to potential issues.

How athletics and university events will take place

The Athletic Department remains committed to allowing our student-athletes, coaches and staff to return to training, practice and competition as soon as circumstances allow. Student-athletes will not return to campus early.

The department is developing procedures and protocols that will utilize a phased resocialization plan to limit the size and physical interaction of groups within each team to minimize the potential for transmission of the virus. The use of common areas within athletics (e.g. locker rooms, strength and conditioning rooms and equipment, meeting rooms) will be limited during the phased resocialization to achieve the appropriate physical distancing. The department and its sports medicine team will provide mandatory information and training sessions for staff and student-athletes about the importance of proper hand and equipment sanitization, use of cloth face coverings, and physical distancing. In addition to the daily University screening requirements, athletes will be expected to complete supplemental athletic daily screening protocols before admittance to common areas or participation in any team activities.

Guided by the NCAA’s COVID–19 Advisory Panel, discussions continue within CNU’s Division III conference and information and decisions will be announced through, social media and email.

Large events, conferences and meetings involving participants from off-campus will be virtual or live streamed. Public performances at the Ferguson Center for the Performing Arts have been canceled for the fall semester.

  • Students, faculty and staff will be directed to conduct daily self-screenings for virus symptoms 14 days prior to arrival on campus, using a university provided tool.
  • Students, faculty and staff will be directed to conduct a daily self-screening for symptoms or exposure, using a university provided tool. The tool will provide instructions to immediately seek medical assistance if symptoms are identified and will direct individuals with symptoms or potential exposure to self-quarantine.
  • Testing will be available through Riverside Health System adjacent to the campus.

Measures will be aimed at accurately identifying and isolating students, faculty and staff infected with the virus and tracing their close contacts in order to limit the number of COVID–19 cases that occur on campus. The Virginia Department of Health will be the lead agency in contact tracing and the University will support them in these efforts. Working closely with our campus partner Riverside Health System, the University will provide isolation and quarantine options.

Campus screening

Students, faculty, and staff are expected to self-screen on a daily basis; screening is to occur prior to departure from their home or residence hall. Anyone with symptoms or suspected exposure must not come to campus or leave their residence hall room. As knowledge about the virus expands and symptoms and best practices are updated, new educational materials will be provided, in electronic and print formats, to our campus population.

In addition to pre-departure screening, students, faculty and staff will have ready access to thermometers included in their return kits and to no-touch temperature taking stations on campus. Residential or commuter students in need of medical care to include symptom checking will be able to access the University Health and Wellness Services (UHWS) clinic via telephone and, if needed, by appointment. All community members can access the UHWS website for additional information related to screening.


In accordance with guidance from VDH, diagnostic testing will be available to symptomatic students and employees who are directed by a campus healthcare provider affiliated with the Riverside Health System to seek a COVID–19 test. Testing will also be available to students, faculty and staff directed to diagnostic testing because of exposure to someone who is COVID positive. Testing of non-symptomatic individuals will be provided based on VDH guidance and the availability of tests. Priority will be given to those individuals who are at increased risk of severe illness or who may come in close contact with each other on a regular basis such as student-athletes.

A student or employee seeking a diagnostic test due to symptoms determined by a doctor to require additional evaluation or determined to have been exposed to the virus will be required to take the following steps.

  • Students who seek a diagnostic test due to symptoms or exposure must immediately notify the Vice President for Student Affairs. Additionally, other students, employees or family members who become aware of a student seeking a diagnostic test or have been exposed should also immediately notify the Vice President for Student Affairs.
  • Students must isolate while waiting for COVID–19 test results. They may isolate at home, or the university will provide isolation housing if they are a residential student and returning home is not an option. Isolated students will not be permitted to have visitors and must stay in their room. Food will be delivered and remote learning tools provided.
  • Students must quarantine if directed to do so by a University or health department official. Any student notified by VDH of the requirement to quarantine must notify the Vice President for Student Affairs. If the student is a resident in on-campus housing and chooses to remain on campus, the student will be subject to the same limitations as a symptomatic student in isolation.
  • Employees who have symptoms must immediately notify their dean or supervisor who must inform the Director of Human Resources.
  • Employees must quarantine if directed to do so by a University or health department official. Any employee notified by VDH of the requirement to quarantine must immediately notify their dean or supervisor who must inform the Director of Human Resources.
  • Symptomatic and quarantined employees must not come to campus.

  • The Virginia Department of Health will spearhead contact tracing to identify those at risk.
  • Student Affairs and University Health and Wellness Services staff will monitor and assist students during isolation and quarantine.
  • Riverside Health System is prepared to assist if there is a surge in symptoms or positive cases on campus.

Contact tracing

As they return to campus, students, faculty and staff will be alerted to the importance of effective contact tracing and must cooperate with efforts to notify their close contacts. This means we must all be aware of who we come in close contact with each day.

The Virginia Department of Health is responsible for contact tracing for all state agencies and public institutions of higher education and has detailed its plans here. Christopher Newport is prepared to collaborate with VDH on case investigation and contact tracing. The proposed VDH proximity tracing app, combined with student information available to university staff trained in contact tracing who also have access to class schedules, residence hall rosters, athletic team membership, club and organization rosters, and meal plan usage, is expected to decrease the time required to conduct contact tracing.

Student containment

Should a student contract the virus or be quarantined due to a potential exposure, the University will assign a case manager from Student Affairs to help that student navigate the challenges of their situation. At the outset, the case manager will conduct a virtual meeting with the student to discuss academic access, residential living and support, physical and mental health resources, and student involvement and employment (if applicable). The case manager will coordinate support among various units for students who are isolated or quarantined. The case manager will remain in contact with isolated/quarantined students throughout this period.

During the isolation/quarantine period, any student who has accessed University Health and Wellness Services will be monitored by the clinical staff.

In order to return to regular campus life, students in isolation will be required to meet health requirements, as assessed by UHWS. These requirements are based on VDH and CDC guidelines. They are:

  • Three days with no fever (without the aid of fever reducing medication);
  • Symptoms improved; and
  • Ten days since symptoms first appeared.

Depending on the healthcare provider’s advice, additional steps may be required and may include:

  • A test to determine if the student still has active COVID–19; and
  • If a student is immunocompromised and has a confirmed case of COVID–19, the student must have two negative test results from at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected more than 24 hours apart. The student can return to class as soon as the second negative test results are received and if the student has no fever, has not been using fever reducing medication, and respiratory symptoms (if applicable) have been getting better over the previous three days.

If a student has a confirmed case of COVID–19 but never had symptoms, the student may be eligible to return to campus life 10 days after the date of a positive test.

When a health care provider has cleared a student to return to campus, the student will have a re-entry meeting with the case manager to discuss continued monitoring of health, preparation for potential conversations with roommates/classmates/friends, reentry into the classroom, strategies for completing missed assignments, and management of student employment responsibilities relative to academic obligations. At the student’s request, the case manager may engage with other residents, faculty members, and employers to alert them to the student’s return to campus life. The case manager will remain in contact with the student to help them navigate the remainder of the semester and any academic, social, employment or personal challenges that arise.

Employee containment

Faculty or staff who have a confirmed case of COVID–19 are required to meet the following health requirements based on VDH and CDC guidelines in order to return to work and be cleared by a health provider with documentation sent to the Office of Human Resources:

  • Three days with no fever (without the aid of fever reducing medication);
  • Symptoms improved; and
  • Ten days since symptoms first appeared.

Healthcare partnerships and information sharing

Christopher Newport University’s on-campus health clinic is a contracted service through Riverside Health System, a partnership spanning two decades. It provides unique benefits to students that can expedite their care, including hospital-admitting privileges for clinicians in the health clinic and the use of electronic medical records that can be shared with the Riverside Regional Medical Center adjacent to the campus.

An operating protocol for a potential surge in cases includes the use of Riverside Health System’s five acute care facilities within the region based on need and capacity, and transferring patients between locations based on medical guidance and triage protocols.

While Riverside Health System serves as the primary entity for health services for students Christopher Newport students, faculty and staff can also utilize two other hospitals nearby.

Test confirmation and contact tracing will be through the Peninsula Health District, Virginia Department of Health, adjacent to the university’s campus. Contact information follows:

Peninsula Health District
416 J. Clyde Morris Blvd.
Newport News, VA 23602
(757) 594–7305
(757) 594–7714 (FAX)

Dr. Natasha Dwamena, Director

Cynthia Reiken, Epidemiologist

John Cooke, Regional Health Emergency Coordinator for the Eastern Region

Kevin Pearce, Emergency Coordinator for the Peninsula Health District

  • The University will move quickly and on multiple platforms to alert stakeholders including students, faculty, staff, families and the community in the event of a shutdown.

A University decision to shutdown due to severe conditions and/or public health guidance will be in consultation with the Virginia Department of Health, Peninsula Health District. The University has shared with the local health district the potential shutdown of a portion of a building, an entire facility or the university itself. The University has identified the following factors that may shape these decisions:

  • The growing spread of COVID-positive students in a specific residential location:
  • Multiple students on the same residence hall floor or wing may necessitate the need to quarantine the floor/wing; or
  • Multiple students on multiple floors/wings within the same residence hall may require the quarantining of the entire building.
  • The growing spread of COVID-positive students in multiple residential locations:
  • Multiple students in different residence halls may require the university to consider dismissal and conversion to a remote learning platform.
  • The growing spread of COVID-positive employees in a department:
  • Multiple employees in a department (e.g., Grounds, Theater, Dining, Financial Aid) may require transitioning to telework, if possible, and providing alternative delivery methods.
  • The tracing of the virus to a specific location as the initial source:
  • If a specific location (academic space, gym, administrative unit, etc.) is identified as a source area, that space may be taken offline and alternative locations identified.
  • The rapidity with which the COVID-positive results are occurring:
  • Multiple results over a short time frame (e.g. 10 days) may result in different decisions than the same number of results over an extended period (e.g. two months).

While Christopher Newport is committed to providing an exceptional on-campus, in-person educational experience, these unprecedented times require a prioritized focus on the health and well-being of our students and employees. The University’s Emergency Policy Group, comprised of senior administrators at the university, and its COVID–19 Campus Restart Team will continue to meet throughout the fall 2020 semester to monitor campus situations and circumstances and, in partnership with local and state health officials, determine the most appropriate response to changing conditions that affect the health and safety of our campus community.


Information about dismissals and shutdowns will be shared across the university’s channels, including: emails to faculty, staff, students and parents; a CNU Alert post by text message to subscribers; advisories and news releases sent to local media; social media posts on the university’s primary channels.

Cloth face coverings

Cloth face coverings should:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Be made of more than one layer of fabric that you can still breathe through
  • Be able to be washed and machine dried without damage or change to shape

Face coverings should not be put on children under the age of two or used by people who have trouble breathing, are incapacitated, or who are otherwise unable to remove the face covering without help.

Face coverings are not required in indoor public spaces for the following situations:

  • While eating or drinking;
  • While engaged in strenuous exercise;
  • By anyone who has a breathing problem or health issue that would put their health at risk by wearing a cloth face covering;
  • By anyone communicating with people who are hearing impaired for which the mouth needs to be visible; or
  • When temporary removal of the face covering is needed to get medical or governmental services.

Physical distancing

Physical distancing, also called social distancing, means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. To practice social or physical distancing stay at least six feet (about two arms’ length) from other people.

In addition to everyday steps to prevent COVID–19, keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to this virus and slowing its spread locally and across the country and world.

Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if you – or they – have no symptoms. Physical distancing is especially important for people who are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID–19.

Christopher Newport University’s Reopening Plan is based on guidance and information provided through the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and the Virginia Department Health.

During the development of our Reopening Plan, we participated in extensive discussions with other Virginia public colleges and universities, reviewed private sector and corporate reopening plans, and consulted with local and state health authorities and higher education leaders. We are grateful for the assistance and wisdom shared by all.

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