This semester will look different for returning students, as Virginia Tech has changed several of its policies put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a message sent by Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke and Interim Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer Chris Kiwus, the university reversed several of its guidelines.
“Like the flu and other common viruses and illnesses, COVID-19 is now one illness among many that university employees and students manage on a regular basis,” said the message.
According to the letter, Virginia Tech will cease publishing its COVID-19 dashboard. “At-will testing” for staff will end Aug. 26, and employees will not need to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Environmental Health and Safety Case Managers in the event they test positive for COVID-19, or may have come in contact with an individual who has.
Virginia Tech has also ended case management services for employees and students, and employees will be required to use sick or other forms of leave due to the Commonwealth of Virginia discontinuing Public Health Emergency Leave.
As for students, those living on campus this year are encouraged to take an at-home COVID-19 test 48-72 hours before moving in, and again the day of traveling to campus. In the event a student tests positive, they must notify the Housing Office and upload the positive test to the Schiffert Health Center health portal.
Additionally, Virginia Tech will not provide quarantine housing for COVID-19 positive students, nor will they move COVID-19 positive students from their dorms. “...It is critical that all residential students work with their families and their roommate(s) to develop a plan in advance should they or their roommate become infected with COVID-19,” said the statement.
Students who do test positive must isolate and not attend classes for five days, as well as get absence verification from the Dean of Students. Faculty are asked to accommodate students who must miss class due to a COVID-19 infection, similar to any illness.
Virginia Tech still advocates for COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, permits the use of face masks on campus and encourages those who are sick to remain home. Furthermore, Schiffert Health Center will continue to distribute at-home rapid tests to students.
“We have come a long way in understanding how to manage a pandemic and how to care for the community,” said the message. “We are grateful for all the support and acceptance of the reality of the impact of COVID-19 on our campus. We are looking forward to a great semester.”