To the university community,

Our spring semester is officially underway! To our students, faculty, and staff, new or returning, on campus or virtual, we’re glad to have our community together again as we continue this unique academic year. I appreciate your ongoing resilience and determination – it will serve us well as we make progress toward our “next normal” campus experience.

Thanks to our innovative faculty and staff, we continue to enhance the day-to-day campus experience for our students. Our new Field House provides opportunities for recreational sports with friends, and the dome beside Cowgill Hall can safely host in-person classes in an outdoor setting. Student Affairs is launching a new POD registration process that will provide more opportunities to study and to socialize with friends. Our division of Student Affairs is working to deliver a great campus experience that aligns with public health guidelines and the New River Health District/Virginia Department of Health’s vaccination program. Watch for the student updates sent to you three times a week throughout the semester and check the Ready site.

While balancing caregiving responsibilities and telecommuting challenges, our faculty and staff continue to serve our community. Our essential workers who are on-site every day keep our campus operational. Vaccine protocol and distribution through the NRV Health District has allowed nearly 400 employees to be vaccinated thus far with several hundred more scheduled for vaccinations this week, all as part of the 1b priority group as defined by the department of health.  We are moving forward. 

If we maintain our vigilance and commitment, we can cautiously anticipate an increasing number of in-person experiences both in and out of the classroom. And I’m hopeful we will once again be able to gather for events. For a more thorough discussion of our progress and plans for the future, I invite you to watch my 2020-21 State of the University Address.

Our success this semester depends on each one of us. Continue wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance, even after vaccines are administered. Take care of yourselves and each other. We’ve all worked hard to get this far, so let’s make it count as we look forward to reclaiming the active campus we know and love.

Be committed.
Be well.

Tim Sands,

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