Welcome Home!


Dear Fellow Dukes,

Welcome Home! We are so excited to have all of you back on campus and in our community once again. For some of you, this is your first time on campus and for others you are returning after a long time away. For all you, I can't wait to see you out and about on campus and enjoying the Spring semester. We continue to face this pandemic together and I am looking to every member of this community to keep each other safe in the days and weeks to come. We have made a number of changes this semester but one thing remains the same, personal responsibility and accountability is the key to our safety and success this semester.

As we welcome you home, I wanted to review a few things with you and provide brief explanations on frequently asked questions as well as share some resources.

Expectations throughout the semester

Stop the Spread Agreement

As a member of our community, each of you signed the Stop the Spread Agreement for this semester. Within this, you agreed and committed to a number of items. It is important that we uphold this agreement for a successful semester. Abiding by this will be the only way for us to remain together. Here are some of the most important aspects of this agreement:

  • 8-day quarantine before returning to campus
  • Wearing a face mask when in the presence of others, both inside and outside
  • Practicing physical distancing
  • Not hosting or attending social gatherings larger than 10 people
  • Self-reporting within 24 hours when you are exposed or test positive for COVID-10

Failure to abide by this agreement will lead to consequences for the individuals involved, but more importantly, these activities negatively affect the lives of those around you. I need us all to remember that we are a community that cares about each other by holding doors and looking out for each other. Please think twice before engaging in activities that will expose you and others to this virus and negatively impact your lives. While I know that many young people are not impacted long-term when they get this virus, the process of quarantine and isolation are incredibly disruptive and can be challenging for students. I would ask that you remember those in the JMU and surrounding communities that will struggle if they get the virus and make the best choices for all of us.


The LiveSafe health screening is required for all campus community members, including students, when engaging on campus. I know that some students don’t take this seriously but this is an important set of questions for you to consider every morning and determine how you are feeling. This screening is for you and for those around you every day so even if you aren’t focused on your own health I would ask that you think about others when you fill this out every morning.

The LiveSafe Reporting Tip is a tool for you to share unsafe behaviors or practices that they see or experience within the JMU community. All reports filter through the JMU Police department and then come to the Vice President for Student Affairs office and we see and follow up with students making the reports or ones mentioned in the report.

In the Fall semester we had to manage over 550 cases of students not living up to this community’s expectations. As part of this process, a number of students were suspended from JMU. I wish this were not the case but choosing to host large events that threaten the health and safety of our community won’t be tolerated. A choice to host one of these events is irresponsible and dangerous and we will continue to address this behavior this Spring. I know that you all are missing these types of gatherings and the opportunity to connect and socialize with your fellow Dukes. My hope is that if we can sacrifice a little longer that you will hopefully be able to gather again in the near future.

COVID-19 test results

We will host on-campus surveillance testing again this Spring as well as free testing clinics for off-campus students and testing by appointment at the University Health Center. It is important that you understand your results and what next steps you should take.

Negative results

  • What does getting a negative result mean? At the time of your test, you were not infected/shedding the COVID-19 virus. The test results are from a point in time and does not mean you cannot get the virus. It means, at the time of testing you did not have enough of the virus in your system to test positive.
  • How do I stay negative? To remain negative it is important to use preventative measures such as mask-wearing, social distancing, limiting contact to social bubbles, and good handwashing.
  • What if I already had the virus? Even if you already had the virus you can still carry it again and give it to others. Remember that the key to all of this is to remember that you have to take care of others as well as yourself. Even if you have had COVID-19 before and if you have received the vaccine, you still need to use the same precautions and safety measures.

Positive result

  • What support will I get? You will receive isolation guidance from the University Health Center and the Virginia Health Department.
  • What do I do? You should immediately isolate.
    • If you live on campus and test through JMU UHC or our sponsored testing clinics, you will be connected with Residence Life and they will transition you to an isolation space.
    • If you live on-campus and test outside of campus (MedExpress, Urgent Care, at home or another off-campus location), you should self-report to the University Health Center so that they can provide you support, resources, and move you to isolation housing.
    • If you live off-campus and test positive, you should review the Stop the Spread website and the FAQs we have for you there.

If you are looking to refer to a previous message from the University, check here.

As always, you can email questions to We are here to support you and connect you with resources both on and off-campus.

The CDC also provides valuable information.

Once again, I want to welcome you all home and tell you that we are excited to have you back again. I hope to see you all around campus and wish you will with your classes and your return to campus life.

Take care of yourselves and Go Dukes!

Dr. Tim Miller
Vice President for Student Affairs

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Published: Friday, January 29, 2021

Last Updated: Friday, May 21, 2021

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