Updated 2/3/21

Updates are in bold and red text.

A task force, including leadership from the University Health Center and representation from across all divisions, collaborated to address questions about what living, learning, and dining arrangements on campus will look like in light of public health guidance. This guidance is subject to change as new information is received.

Download or view the updated Faculty Guide for Classrooms

Masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  1. All community members – staff, faculty and students – must wear fabric face masks that cover the mouth and nose while indoors or while outdoors in the presence of others. Individuals may wear a face shield if they have a valid accommodation attested to by a medical or mental health practitioner or if the academic or employment activity they are involved in cannot occur with a face mask. You can view types of acceptable masks online. Faculty and staff who have a religious belief that prevents them from wearing a face covering will be exempt from this requirement and other physical distancing strategies will be put in place. Contact Human Resources (Benefits) to handle any needed exceptions. JMU students who need to seek accommodation of disability related to the face covering policies should follow procedures to register with the Office of Disability Services. See the ODS Getting Started page.

  2. Physical distancing protocols must be followed in accordance with state and federal regulations.

  3. Face shields are available to faculty and students for use in appropriate situations: If academic activities cannot occur with a face mask, a face shield is a reasonable exception. The Provost's Office will provide a face shield based on the academic activity, such as labs, studios, work in foreign languages, etc. Students are responsible for providing their own replacement masks. If any work-related activities cannot occur with a face mask, a face shield is a reasonable exception (with approval from a supervisor). The best protection is provided by wearing both a face mask and a face shield.

  4. JMU has acquired a supply of N95 masks, and they are available for any faculty or staff member. 
    Faculty and staff should email N95maskrequest@jmu.edu to receive a set of five N95 masks intended last the duration of the semester.

Building and Classroom Enhancements

  1. Facilities Management and Academic Affairs have established dedicated entrances and exits for buildings, classrooms and labs where feasible.

  2. Facilities Management worked with building coordinators to determine which doors may be kept open with doorstops to avoid unnecessary touching.

  3. Facilities Management is monitoring air filters and building systems for optimal performance.

  4. JMU procured plexiglass to create podium shields, which have been installed in classrooms. Wearing a mask while teaching from behind the plexiglass shield is required.

  5. Classrooms are configured with technology to allow for synchronous and/or recorded asynchronous remote instruction.

  6. Building coordinators have thermometers available for faculty to monitor their temperatures should they feel ill. Students who feel ill should be referred to the University Health Center.


Building Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems

Facilities Management (FM) maintains and operates campus buildings in accordance to their original, renovated or commissioned design at the time of construction, renovation or commissioning/recommissioning. These designs were in compliance with building and ventilation codes that were in force at the time of the design. In addition to their regularly scheduled maintenance, Facilities Management has been inspecting, repairing and updating HVAC systems in response to COVID-19 since March.

FM also contracted with an outside company that specializes in mitigating construction risk. These consultants examined ventilation, filtration, disinfection, humidity, and air distribution in 251 air handlers across campus and reported, “the majority of the AHU’s were in good working order overall and have been well maintained.” Facilities management is implementing their short term recommendations, which consist mostly of increased ventilation air, BAS control modifications, and increased maintenance, all to provide the optimum amount of fresh air to spaces in the buildings. As part of their usual summer maintenance, many issues were fixed on site or were taken care of immediately after their visit. The process generated an online database checklist so that we can continue to track conditions, and verify the additional recommended maintenance.

A brief overview is below, with more details on HVAC systems and specific buildings available here.


Filters are checked and replaced if needed on a regular basis. JMU uses two ratings of filters: Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 8 and 13. MERV 8 filters have 90 % efficiency on particles that are 3 to 10 micrometers in size; MERV 13 filters have 90 % efficiency on particles that are 3 to 10 micrometers; 80% and 85% efficiency for filtering particles between 1 and 3 microns and between 35% and 50% efficiency for filtering particles between 0.30 and 1 micron in size.

The size of the particles or droplets the COVID-19 virus is attached to is typically 0.5-16 microns so while the viral particle itself is smaller, it is attached to droplets or aerosols that are much larger. Therefore, the filtration JMU uses will trap most of these particles.

As FM continually monitors, change frequency will be adjusted to provide the maximum amount of fresh air and cleanest environments that the systems can handle while still meeting comfort needs of occupants.

Water Systems

Facilities Management is flushing all water systems on campus on a rotating basis and will continue to do so as building occupancy increases. This is the recommended procedure to ensure fresh, clean water is available for drinking and personal use.

Window Units

Facilities Management services the window units in classrooms twice a semester. They have cleanable screen filters with built-in ventilation. These units will be continuously disinfected in classrooms, with cleaning and disinfecting occurring three times within a 24 hour period. 

Classroom, Lab and Studio Scheduling

  1. Based on a thorough analysis of state and federal guidelines, classroom configurations and instructional needs, the university is limiting maximum instructional capacity to 50% of the room capacity listed in our Event Management System (EMS). Appropriate face coverings are required. This applies to all instructional spaces including classrooms, labs and studio spaces.

    When classes resume in person, meetings will be limited to 50 students or fewer. No class meeting will have more than 50 students in a single room. A class may maintain a higher enrollment if there are detailed plans to prevent 50+ students from gathering in person at once.

    While classroom, lab and studio configurations will generally comply with 50% of room capacity, some classroom, lab and studio spaces are large enough to allow for appropriate physical distancing and student capacity above 50% of the room capacity listed in our Event Management System (EMS).

    In instructional situations where appropriate physical distancing cannot be maintained, additional protective measures (i.e., PPE, barriers and safety protocols) should be used and/or creative hybrid approaches of instruction should be employed with approval from the AUH and dean.

  2. Classes held in lecture halls or classrooms where enrollment is greater than 50% of the classroom capacity were either moved to larger spaces OR planned so that students can engage with the content through creative hybrid approaches that allow face-to-face time with the instructor at least once per week. The hybrid approach used reflects the class space, the content and the preferences of the instructor as approved by the AUH and dean.

    Instructors will teach masked students face to face with students sitting in physically distanced classrooms with seating ranging from approximately 4 to 6 feet of distance between students, where feasible, with lowered room capacity, ideally 50%.

Use of LiveSafe and COVIDWISE Applications

Live Safe

The LiveSafe app, customized for JMU, was designed to help keep our campus community members safe during the pandemic. You can download LiveSafe from the App Store or Google Play.

All faculty, staff, and students must complete the five-question COVID-19 survey on the LiveSafe app each day they plan to come to campus. You must receive a green check indicating you successfully passed the health screen to be on campus.

If you do not successfully pass the health screening or if you have been asked to self-isolate by another agency/medical professional, you may not report to work on campus and should follow the instructions provided by the appNotify your immediate supervisor of your required absence and contact your physician. You may also contact the Occupational Health Nurse at the University Health Center at (540) 568-5310 to discuss your symptoms and required actions.

While on campus, faculty, staff and students may be asked for proof of their LiveSafe health screening completion. It is expected that, when asked, community members will provide proof of that day’s successful completion. Faculty members will be asking students to show their green check mark as part of on-campus classes, where possible and appropriate.

Those who refuse to show proof of successful screening completion when asked will be reminded of the requirement and refused entry until proof of screening completion is provided. If it becomes evident that faculty and staff did not complete the health screening as required, any user can provide a “tip” through the LiveSafe app describing the failure to follow protocol. Tips will be sent to designated individuals in various university divisions, who will follow-up with those faculty and staff members, where possible, to ensure they are aware of the protocols and community expectations. Employees who do not follow the screening protocol may be subject to disciplinary action.

See more details in the Return to Workplace Guidelines.

Tips can also be reported for students who do not follow the daily protocol, and students, faculty and staff members may ask a student who is not displaying a green check or who refuses to provide their survey results to leave the location requiring this information.

If a student will ultimately not cooperate, you may involve JMU police, academic unit heads, deans or the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices. The Office of Student Accountabilities and Restorative Practices has outlined expectations regarding LiveSafe and mask-wearing.

Additionally, protocol and recommendations for LiveSafe App and mask-wearing can be found on the Return to Campus Protocol website for student organizations.


All faculty and staff are encouraged to use the Commonwealth of Virginia’s COVIDWISE app. COVIDWISE is the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) COVID-19 exposure notification app, which may assist health care workers to identify individuals who may need to quarantine. This is one tool that may be helpful in contact tracing. Contact tracing is a technique used by public health authorities to contact and give guidance to anyone who may have been exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. You can download the free app from iPhone App Store or Android Google Play Store.

You are not required to automatically quarantine based on a COVIDWISE notification. If you receive a notification that you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should contact the University Health Center at (540) 568-5310. Please do not call the Virginia Department of Health or your primary care physician as JMU is working closely with VDH in using this contract tracing tool.  


Housekeeping Enhancements

  1. Housekeepers will clean classrooms at the end of the day, after classes have ended, prior to the next day. Labs and studios will be cleaned intermittently throughout the day by university personnel or lab attendants and prior to the next day by housekeeping staff. Public restrooms will be cleaned twice a day.

  2. Cleaning and disinfecting supplies are available in each classroom, lab and studio space for faculty and students to clean their work area, study area, or desk between formal housekeeping services. Housekeepers will continue to provide cleaning and disinfecting supplies on a regular schedule.

  3. Hand sanitizer is available at the entrance to each building and in every classroom, lab and studio space.

  4. Twice daily, housekeepers will clean and sanitize all high-touch surfaces such as stairwell handrails, water fountains, door entrance and exit handles, elevators, vending machines, and all other general-touch surfaces.

  5. Housekeepers will no longer clean white boards and chalkboards. This is a faculty responsibility. Appropriate cleaning supplies for white boards and chalkboards has been provided.


Research and Scholarship

The Office of Research and Scholarship is working closely with the colleges to administer Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for field and on-campus research activities. Contact your college dean to discuss the process for approval in your respective college. Social and behavioral science research is administered through JMU’s Institutional Review Board.


When traveling alone or with a group for official university business, Academic Affairs encourages these practices to limit the spread of COVID-19:

When using a state vehicle, you must complete this form, have it signed by your supervisor, and submit it with your Travel Authorization.  


Additional support for needs of students and faculty will be processed through departments and colleges in partnership with Human Resources as needed.


Please note that all guidelines are based on the best CURRENT knowledge we have based on the latest information from the CDC, WHO and VDH and will be updated accordingly.

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