COVID-19 Testing

 How can students, faculty and staff be tested before going home for Thanksgiving break?

Testing at UPARK November 4, 11 and 18 from 2 - 7 p.m.
FREE (Sponsored by HHS, VDH, City of Harrisonburg and Rockingham county and JMU) and open to all students, faculty, staff and the community. You can pre-register or register on-site.

Testing at Warren Hall (only for students who live on campus) November 16 from 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
FREE, but you must have an appointment and live on campus.

Testing at UHC Monday - Friday 7:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Out of pocket cost is $55 or can be billed to insurance. Available by appointment only for all students, faculty and staff. Call 540-568-6178.

Weekend Testing at UHC Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. through November 15.
Out of pocket cost is $55 or can be billed to insurance. Available by appointment only for all students. Call 540-568-6178.

 Why is JMU not doing Universal Testing?

Research does not support it.

Research, and the CDC, continue to assert that entry testing has no sound basis in science and is a misuse of testing resources. Therefore, JMU will not be testing all students prior to their return to the classroom.

 Where can I get tested in Harrisonburg?

Students can get testing for COVID-19 at the University Health Center. The UHC will test patients with symptoms and those who had direct, close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

Also, there are some doctors’ offices and Urgent Care clinics that can obtain specimens for testing. Consider checking with the local CVS pharmacies as there are two locations close to campus that are easily accessible.

You should expect a nose swab for an appropriate test. If you test positive somewhere off campus, please report your results to UHC.

 What is JMU’s plan for testing its students for COVID-19?

We are launching a mandatory surveillance testing program.

In addition to the University Health Center’s existing testing capacity, JMU has contracted with a third-party testing company to test 300 non-symptomatic students per week who have not yet tested positive for COVID-19 to identify and get ahead of potential outbreaks of the virus. Testing will be initially focused on on-campus students. Note that this is a different kind of testing strategy than entry testing, where all students are tested prior to returning to campus.

Dean of Students

 How do instructors find out if I missed class because I’m in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19?

If you have been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19 outside of JMU UHC, you must self-report through the University Health Center website, using the “Self Reporting of COVID-19” button on the front page.

The Health Center will notify the Dean of Students Office (DoS) to provide documentation of your absence. Then the DoS will send you a message with a link and you will be able to go to this link and get an official notification letter that you can forward to your professors letting them know you have self-reported exposure or tested positive for COVID-19. The DoS is unable to excuse you from classes or assignments, and it is up to you to communicate directly with your instructors to determine how absences and assignments will be handled upon your return.

 Will the Dean of Students tell my instructors why I am missing class if I’m in isolation or quarantine at the university?


They will only communicate that the student has self-reported to the University Health Center unless you specifically request that they communicate your diagnosis.

 If I let the Dean of Students know that I’ve tested positive or been exposed to COVID-19 and don’t attend class, will they notify my instructors for me?

You must report your exposure or positive test to the University Health Center rather than directly to the Dean of Students Office.

The Dean of Students Office (DoS) will send you a message with a link to an official notification letter that you can forward to your professors if you indicate you want this notification when you self-report with the University Health Center.  However, the DoS is unable to excuse absences or assignments. It is up to you and your instructors to determine how those absences and assignments will be handled upon their return.

 Can the Dean of Students tell my instructors that I have COVID-19 if I want them to?

Yes, but you must specifically make that request to the Dean of Students.

 Can the Dean of Students make my instructors excuse my absence?


The Dean of Students Office is unable to make professors excuse absences. Students who self-report through the University Health Center will be given the option to have the Dean of Students notify their professors.  If students select this option, they will be sent a message with a link and an official notification letter they can forward to their professors. It is important for students to communicate with their professors as soon as possible.

 I’m a graduate student. Should I work with the Dean of Student’s office?


All students can work with the Dean of Students office.


 How has on-campus dining changed to accommodate physical distancing?

Dining locations require students to display the LiveSafe app for entry. The app must be current for the date and display green. Dining locations are actively monitored to maintain occupancy at a level that allows for social distancing. To-Go meals have been added as a temporary option in both residential dining rooms (E-Hall and D-Hall). To accommodate students who wish to dine-in, indoor seating was reduced to allow for appropriate social distancing as defined by the Virginia Department of Health. To provide additional access to students D-Hall is now open 7am – 8pm M-F and 10am – 8pm weekends, continuously. All guests are required to wear facial coverings in dining locations except when seated and actively eating or drinking.  Some locations that do not allow for safe social distancing have been closed, have been modified or have eliminated indoor seating. All food stations are manned and all food item are served except for prepackaged items. All locations are laid out and marked so students understand how to queue and physically distance within the space. Plexiglass barriers have also been implemented at cashier stations and other areas where person-to-person interaction is frequent.

 My son/daughter has food allergies, can JMU accommodate them?


We have options for food that is made without the top 8 most common food allergens—egg, milk, peanut, tree nuts, shellfish, soy and wheat. We maintain an allergen free pantry for student use at D-Hall.  Dining has a dietician on staff, Gillian Kelly, and we strongly encourage students who need nutritional assistance to contact her (540-568-5731,

 How do students isolated/quarantine in an off-campus hotel get meals?

  • Meals will be delivered.
  • Lunch will be delivered between late morning and early afternoon each day.
  • Dinner will be delivered along with a morning pack between late afternoon and early evening each day. The morning pack will include some shelf-stable breakfast options.

 How do students isolated/quarantine on or near campus get meals?

  • Dining Services has established a Quarantine Express Pick-Up Meal Service from Lakeside Café located on the ground floor of the College of Business as well as Jemmy’s Market/Convenience Store at E-Hall.
  • Lakeside Café’s operating hours are 11:00am-3:00pm.
  • Jemmy’s Market’s operating hours are 3:00pm-7:00pm.
  • Combined, these hours will allow for continuous service for your convenience from 11:00am-7:00pm.
  • There will be a variety of meal options available including Heat and Serve Entrees, Sandwiches, Sides, Desserts, Breakfast Options and Beverages.
  • Please feel free to take what you need, and feel free to take Breakfast Items for the next day.
  • Be sure to wear your mask the entire time that you are outside of your room, and please be sure to properly social distance.
It is important to remember that ONLY those in QUARANTINE are to use the "Quarantine Express Pick-Up Meal Service." Students in Isolation will receive delivered meals daily and should not be leaving their designated isolation building.

Extracurricular Activities

 I am concerned over students hosting parties and large gatherings, how will JMU prevent students from doing this, particularly Greek Life?

We will be putting forth a series of educational and training pieces to help explain this concern. In addition, we will be using many of our student leaders to help set the expectations for behavior. Finally, we will not allow our student organizations to host events off-campus and will address those that break this rule through our student and organizational conduct process. The City of Harrisonburg has issued an ordinance that requires gatherings to be less than 50 individuals.

 How will my son/daughter be able to connect with other students safely in the fall?

There will be a variety of options for students to socialize safely.

Events will continue to be offered virtually, in-person and in hybrid formats so students can meet new people and get involved through whatever format they are most comfortable with at this time.

Event listings can be found on the Master Calendar, TV screens on campus and on social media pages of hosting departments/organizations.

Master Calendar:

 Will fraternity and sorority recruitment and events be canceled to help stem gathering situations?

No, but there are plans, processes, and precautions in place to minimize risk.

On page seven of the Fall 2020 Return to Campus Plan, Fraternity and Sorority Activities are outlined with the need for students to not gather in large groups for social events and the precautions that will be put in place for our Fraternity & Sorority Life community. We take our students safety very seriously, especially during this public health crisis of COVID-19. For updated Fraternity and Sorority Life information:

 I am on exec for a club and am trying to figure out the situation regarding holding club events for our general members. Can you help?


We will be working with our student organizations in the planning/implementation of their events to make sure they follow health and safety guidelines while at the same time, allowing students to feel engaged. Please review the Return to Campus Protocol for Student Orgs as you begin planning organization activities and email any specific questions to!

 Will there be restrictions on program and event sizes?


Event guidelines are shared on the Event Management page as well as in the Return to Campus Protocol for Student Orgs.

Fall 2020 MyMadison Check-In Process

 Where do I find the student agreement?

The Stop the Spread agreement is part of the required MyMadison Fall 2020 check-in process. The agreement must be completed. To see the agreement log into your MyMadison account with your student eID.

 Where do I find the Return to Campus Training? What do I have to do before I come to campus?

The Return to Campus Training is required for all students. Students hold the key to a safe campus that stays open for the entire fall semester. Every new or returning student is required to complete this training in order to return to campus. The content will take approximately 30 minutes.

At the conclusion of the training, students must take a short quiz located in Canvas. Students will need a 100% to pass, but you may retake the quiz as many times as needed. Parents can also view the training content at the link above.

 If I am completely online this fall, do I need to complete the training and quiz?


We want everyone to receive the information and be educated. This ensures that whenever a student chooses, for whatever reason, to come to campus, they are prepared.

 Who do I contact if I have problems with the Return to Campus quiz?

You can contact for any questions you might have regarding the quiz.

There are a number of students going through the training all at once, so you may experience slow loading of the quiz or be kicked out in the middle of the process. We're aware of the issues and are doing our best to help you work through them.

 How do I know if I've successfully checked in and completed the Stop the Spread Wellness Agreement?

You can tell by what screen is shown when you login MyMadison and click on the Student Center.

If you see the “Student Check-in Process”, you have not completed the check-in and you need to do so right away. This includes the Stop the Spread Wellness Agreement.

If you see your student class schedule information, you have completed the Fall 2020 Check-in, which includes the Wellness Agreement.

In either case, you also need to make sure you've taken the Return to Campus Training by logging into the Canvas system. You need to complete the quiz at the end with a score of 100%. If you do not succeed initially, you can retake the quiz as many times as necessary until you do.

 I've completed the Return to Campus training and I got 100% on the quiz. Why did I receive an email saying that I still need to do it?

Because of how the various systems are connected, it can take up to 24 hours for results to be transferred. It's likely that the email was sent within that window of time. As long as you can see the grade posted in Canvas, you shouldn't need to do anything else.

 I just completed the Return to Campus training and the quiz, but a hold is still on my record and I can't register for classes. When will it go away?

It can take up to 24 hours for your results to be processed and the hold to be removed.

Health Center

 How will you guarantee the safety of students who must go to visit the Health Center?

We cannot provide any guarantees, but there are several ways in which we will significantly minimize risk to students who visit the UHC.

We are providing a mixture of telehealth and in-person delivery, reserving face-to-face meetings only when medically required or requested by the student. Additionally, for students coming in with symptoms we are directing them to a separate entrance where they are isolated from other students in a designated Respiratory Clinic. All students are required to wear a mask while in the health center and all health center employees they interact with will also be wearing a face mask.

 Am I able to get the medical information of our student?

Only with a signed FERPA waiver form and your student's permission for each visit to the Health Center.

If you are concerned about complete information about your student from within the university you and your student will need to sign a FERPA waiver form. FERPA is a federal law that protects students’ right to privacy with their educational records within a university. This can be accessed through the Registrar. One note: each time a student visits the University Health Center they are asked who the UHC can share information with about that visit. This can be different for each visit and will supersede any other forms.

 Is student health services ready to take care of our students? What is the bed capacity at the local hospital?

Yes, the university is prepared to provide outpatient medical care for our students as needed.

This care includes telemedicine services, in-person exams and COVID-19 testing. As the majority of students will have mild to moderate symptoms, we also provide self-care instructions to students who can manage their care without medical intervention. We are working closely with Sentara RMH (our local hospital) to ensure care for our students and monitor hospital capacity. A member of Sentara Leadership is part of our COVID-19 Response Team that meets weekly.

Sentara RMH Medical Center is readily capable of taking care of our community of over 200,000 residents which includes JMU students when school is in session. JMU students comprise only a small portion of the overall service area they serve, and they don't anticipate any issues being able to provide quality care to anyone in need.

Additionally, due to the pandemic, Sentara RMH Medical Center has received additional bed capacity from the state—should it be needed—to care for patients during any surges in the future. Sentara RMH Medical Center has plans in place and continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and is ready to respond to any change in the pattern of the virus that may be seen in the coming months.

On/Off-Campus Living

 Where are you quarantining students living on-campus who test positive for COVID-19?

We have two residence halls reserved specifically for quarantining and isolating students related to COVID-19. In addition, the university has contracted with local hotels to provide quarantine space for students who are awaiting test results or those unable to go home to complete a 14-day quarantine.

 If a student tests positive, what is the protocol for their roommates/suitemates?

Roommates will need to quarantine for 14 days. For suitemates, it depends.

The University Health Center and the Virginia Department of Health will perform contact tracing to identify "close contacts" of a positive COVID-19 case. If someone is identified as a close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, then they will quarantine for 14 days.

Roommates will always be considered a close contact. Suitemates may as well which may result in this group quarantining together depending on the living situation.

 Are we still allowed to have guest spend the night during fall semester?


For the Fall 2020 semester, our residence halls' building access will be restricted to the individuals that live there based on recommendations from the CDC and Virginia Department of Health. This will mean that overnight guests will not be allowed in the residence halls for the upcoming semester.

 What process, if any, is being used to monitor visitors (friends and family) who are on campus throughout the fall semester?

RAs will address this as they see it.

We are relying on students to follow the policy just like they are expected to follow all of the COVID guidelines. We are also encouraging residents to hold each other accountable as well, whether that is by addressing the situation themselves or notifying hall staff.

 What considerations should be made for students living in off-campus housing?

Outbreak Response

 What will be your response to a campus-wide outbreak?

It depends.

If an outbreak occurs on campus we will have to deal with each of these differently depending on the specific circumstances. It is hard to explain every possible scenario because each will differ based on any number of factors.

In the event of a campus wide outbreak, we may be put into a position where we may need to have students and staff leave campus—similar to the Spring 2020 semester—and continue their education in an online format. While this is obviously not ideal for anyone, as James Madison University is an in-person university experience, this may be the best course of action to keep everyone safe.

With all of that being said, we are working to educate our students on the expectations and safety precautions to limit exposure and try to prevent outbreaks from occurring. This includes avoiding large social gatherings, practicing social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands regularly, and avoiding touching of the eyes, nose, and mouth.

 What will happen to the JMU if Virginia reverts back to Phase 2?

There is no way to know how the State's phases would or would not impact the university's status.

We continue to talk with local and state leaders about the virus and its potential impact on our operations. We are also collaborating with our colleagues from across the state to understand their choices. We will keep the JMU community up to date as anything changes on campus and as things change across the state.

We're sorry there isn't a more clear answer to this question, but much of this is evolving by the day and we are doing everything we can to keep the health and safety of our community first in our decision making. You can find the most up to date information on our Stop the Spread website so you can keep up with new and changing information.

 What is the plan for a student testing positive for COVID-19? Will they be sent home? Do you have a place to quarantine them on campus?

For any student that tests positive for COVID-19, we will encourage them to return home to have support of family during their isolation and recovery. If a student is unable to return home, the University will provide quarantine and isolation spaces for them to stay and receive support. If a student lives off campus, the student will be instructed to quarantine or isolate in their housing off campus.

If you are looking for more specifics and additional information about our process for student quarantine please refer to the Fall 2020 Return to Campus Plan on page 27. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out.

Public Transportation

 How are the on-campus buses changing to accommodate the new class schedule?

An 18-passenger limit will be in effect for HDPT transit buses. Designated seating will encourage physical distancing. Additionally, we have increased the number of buses to help alleviate the impact of lower ridership per bus.

 With classes ending close to 10pm, how can we reliably get home safely at night?

The bus schedule will change to accommodate the later class time. Additionally, we also have our campus police, the blue-light system, and the LiveSafe app (which can be used to monitor your friends as they travel to a destination) for those who feel uncomfortable traveling at night.

Student Expectations

 How long should students be quarantining before coming to JMU?

Students will be expected to quarantine for 8 days prior to their arrival on campus.

 How can you expect students to follow the rules? I am confident in myself but I do not trust other JMU students to successfully keep everyone else safe.

While personal accountability is heavily emphasized, we also expect that our students will hold each other accountable as well. When it comes to situations like this, it will be largely up to the students to keep the community safe.

For those who choose to not take the proper precautions, we will be counting on students like yourself to report these individuals so that we can respond accordingly. To support this, we will be requiring multiple trainings online regarding proper health and safety during this time so that students can feel confident knowing how they can best keep everyone around them healthy.

Additionally, our policies regarding masks and social distancing will be strictly enforced this fall, and students who fail to do their part in keeping the community safe will be sent to our Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practice.


 Are first-year students allowed to have cars given the circumstances?

Generally, no. First-year students are not allowed to have vehicles but you could reach out to Parking Services to ask for an exception based on your situation.

 What is the best place for a student to quarantine – home or at school?

The answer is, it depends on the situation. Since quarantine means having no physical contact with others it can be very lonely. In many cases students would rather be home where they can be taken care of by family in familiar, comfortable surroundings (although they still need to follow the safety protocols like distancing and wearing a mask). In other cases, it may put a family member at risk or traveling is inconvenient so staying here is the best option.

If they test positive for COVID-19, it is important for them to isolate where they are. If at home, stay there. If here at JMU, stay here. Isolation housing is available for students who live on campus. Students who live off campus should stay there and limit their exposure to roommates and other people, wear a mask when they need to leave their room and clean anything that they came in contact with.

 Who do I contact for exceptions to mask-wearing based on religious beliefs?

There will not be an exception for religious belief. If you have a question or concern, please reach out to AVP Marsha Mays-Bernard.

Useful Resources

 Useful links and departmental contact information

Fall 2020 Return to Campus Plan

Office of Disability Services
(540) 568-6705

Office of Residence Life
(540) 568-4463

Office of the Registrar

Center for Global Engagement- International Student and Scholars Services
(540) 568-6119

Student Activities & Involvement

University Recreation
540-568-8732 (540-JMU-UREC)

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