From President Tim Sands: Mask requirements may be lifted in the coming weeks
Dear Hokie community,
As Virginia Tech persevered through the past two years of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone in our community has looked forward to an eventual return to normalcy. As confidence grows that the omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has nearly passed, it appears that we will soon have the opportunity to eliminate the complications of required masks and distancing from our daily routines. Although the emergence of future variants of concern cannot be ruled out, this is welcome news.
Since last summer, Virginia Tech has required masks for everyone in indoor public spaces, including classrooms, labs, theatres, and sports venues. Working with vaccinations and boosters, these mask requirements have kept COVID-19 cases manageable on our campuses. As COVID-19 recedes, we continue to follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and track the following data to inform our decision on lifting mask requirements:
- New hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Virginia and in the region
- Numbers of employees and students in isolation while recovering from COVID-19
- Employees unavailable for work and students unavailable for learning due to the impact of COVID-19 on families
- Weekly numbers of reported positive tests per 100,000 people on campus and in our communities
- Percentage of faculty, staff, and students who are fully vaccinated
All of these indicators are currently trending in the right direction, though on a later timeline than communities where the omicron variant first surged. Once we are confident that these trends will be sustained in our local communities, mask requirements will be lifted. Based on current data, we expect to reach this threshold in the next several weeks. When we determine that the time has come to make a change, we will post an announcement on the Ready site that will take effect immediately and will be followed by email and social media messages. Until such a time, it is important that we all continue to comply with the current mask requirement. Please understand there may still be a need to recommend continued protections in certain situations outside of our campus and while using public transit.
Your patient and faithful adherence to our public health measures have protected our community, kept our university operational, and supported our mission throughout the past two years. Thank you for doing your part to help us reach this important milestone. Please continue to take care of yourself and support others who are in need by using the resources available and shared below.
- Better Together
- Cook Counseling Center at 540-231-6557.
- Dean of Students Office at 540-231-3787. Referral to a campus cleric may be made through this office.
- Employee Assistance Program
- Anthem at 855-223-9277
- Aetna at 888-238-6232
- Kaiser Permanente at 866-517-7042
- Optima Health Vantage HMO at 866-846-2682
- Hokie Wellness at 540-231-2233 (students) or 540-231-8878 (employees)
- Office of Housing and Residence Life at 540-231-6205
- Equity and Accessibility at 540-231-2010
- University Ombuds Office at 540-231-3125
- Graduate Office of the Ombudsperson at 540-231-9573