Transition to Virtual Instruction

To: The W&L Community
From: President Will Dudley
Date: March 13, 2020

In light of rapidly changing circumstances in Virginia and in the U.S., we have made the decision to suspend in-person classes immediately, and transition to virtual instruction for both undergraduate and law students for the remainder of the current term.

This decision, like those made earlier this week, has been governed by our two primary commitments: the safety of our community and the education of our students. Along with our peers across the country, we have grappled with how to respond to the outbreak of COVID-19. At every moment we have tried, on the basis of the best available information and guidance, to protect the health and wellbeing of our campus and surrounding community, while also operating the university as normally as possible, for the benefit of our students. At this point in time, it has become apparent that even with our uncommon academic calendar, it is no longer viable to finish this term on campus.

  • We will take a two-week recess from classes to allow our students time to relocate, and our faculty time to prepare for virtual instruction. Classes will resume remotely on March 30 and continue through April 24.
  • Plans for exam week and undergraduate Spring Term are still being developed, and we will share those details as soon as possible.
  • All students except those with express permission from the Residence Life Office must depart their on-campus residences no later than 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18. We strongly encourage students to return home as soon as possible.
  • Washington and Lee will remain open for faculty and staff to conduct their work.
  • All campus events are canceled beginning tomorrow, March 14.

Students who believe they need to remain on campus, need additional time in their on-campus residences, or have concerns about moving their belongings, should email Residence Life as soon as possible at We will accommodate and support students on campus if they are unable to return to their homes, and will provide financial assistance for travel expenses to those who need it. Students in need of financial assistance should contact Sidney Evans, vice president of student affairs and dean of students. Student Affairs staff will also be available in Elrod Commons until 9:00 p.m. this evening and from 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Students living on campus will receive details about moving procedures from Dean Evans later this evening. More information for all undergraduate students will follow tomorrow. Faculty and the law community will receive additional information from Provost Conner and Dean Hellwig later this evening. We will also be posting answers to frequently asked questions on our website.

These are unsettling times, and now, more than ever, we need to be attentive to our community's circumstances and needs. Caring for each other is a core strength of W&L and I am confident we will rise to this occasion. As I have sat in planning meetings and worked with people across campus this week who were attending to the many issues arising from this unprecedented situation, I have been deeply impressed by the collective dedication of our faculty, staff and students. Thank you all for your understanding, your compassion for one another, and your shared commitment to keeping our community together, especially during the upcoming period when many will be physically distant from campus.

Will Dudley