2018 State of the University

Virginia Tech President Tim Sands discusses plans for the future of the university during the annual State of the University event, Sept. 7, 2018.

As Virginia Tech begins to welcome students back to campus, President Tim Sands announced the latest local COVID-19 developments Tuesday afternoon.

From the 3,663 individuals tested for the virus that causes COVID-19 between Aug. 9 and Aug. 16, the university’s Molecular Diagnostics Lab reported one true positive and four positives from students who previously had viral infections.

Sands reminded community members of the university’s partnership with the Town of Blacksburg, where all members are expected to prevent the spread of COVID-19 enforced by Ordinance 1942.

Effective 12 a.m. on Aug. 12, face coverings are required in public places, social distancing is strictly enforced, public mass gatherings are limited and the maximum indoor capacity is reduced to 50. The new ordinance expires after 91 days at 11:59 p.m.

“For those who may wish to take a break–perhaps by hosting or attending a party with individuals not in your ‘pod’–please don’t,” Sands said, who labeled off-campus social gatherings without face coverings, physical distancing and adequate ventilation as the greatest risks. “I know how difficult it is to maintain the necessary discipline in what is normally the most social of settings, a residential university campus and town, but this pandemic will end, and there will be a day in the not-too-distant future when a degree of normalcy will return.”

Meanwhile, Sands mentioned that 10% of fall classes will meet entirely in person, and 60% of classes will meet entirely online. Sands also mentioned an online COVID-19 dashboard for the purpose to inform students, faculty and staff on coronavirus news. According to Sands, the dashboard will launch during the week of Aug. 16 and be updated weekly.

“Although it is too early to draw firm conclusions, the evidence suggests that aggressive and rapid testing, effective contact tracing and sufficient capacity for quarantine and isolation are effective and essential,” Sands said. “We have strategies in place that address these needs.”