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Prepare for fall semester with these steps to protect yourself and the community

From: Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost; Interim Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer

As noted in the Aug. 8 letter, please follow these guidelines in preparation for the start of the fall semester.  

Guidelines for all in the community

  • The university strongly encourages COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters. Visit Vaccinate Virginia for vaccination sites in the commonwealth. 
  • Masking is always welcome anywhere at Virginia Tech, and the last few years have clearly shown that masks dramatically reduce the spread of airborne infections, including COVID-19. Masks are required in Schiffert Health Center. 
  • Do not attend work or gatherings if you are sick. Test if you suspect COVID-19. 
  • Employee “at-will testing” will end on Aug. 26. Employees are encouraged to visit the VDH website to find free COVID-19 testing sites throughout Virginia. Kits may also be obtained through the U.S. federal government and participating community libraries. Virginia Tech Human Resources will maintain a small inventory of test kits to meet unforeseen circumstances; employees can contact the HR Service Center for more information.
  • The university will also provide at-home rapid tests to students through Schiffert Health Center.
  • If you are advised that you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, the next steps depend on your vaccination status. Visit the VDH’s Isolation & Quarantine Calculator for information.

Guidelines for employees·      

  • You are no longer required to email, or contact EHS Case Managers if you have tested positive or believe you have been a close contact of someone who has tested positive. Virginia Tech will no longer offer case management services for employees or students, or publish the COVID-19 Dashboard; however will remain available during fall semester for employee questions.
  • The Virginia Department of Health calls for any COVID-19-positive person to isolate for at least five days and notify close contacts. Visit the VDH Isolation & Quarantine Calculator for more information. 
  • Do not attend work or events at Virginia Tech for at least five days or as long as you are sick. Follow the university’s sick-time policies. 
  • Virginia no longer offers Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL). If you are out because of a COVID-19 diagnosis, please use sick or other appropriate leave. 
  • If you feel able to work and your position allows you to work remotely, please coordinate with your supervisor, dean, or chair as appropriate. 

Guidelines for students

  • All residential students are strongly encouraged to complete an at-home COVID test prior to moving onto campus this fall.
  • We recommend that you use an at-home antigen test 48-72 hours before returning for the fall semester.
  • If your test result is negative, please test again the day you travel to campus.
  • If you test positive, please do the following
  • We no longer offer isolation/quarantine housing, and we will not move COVID-19 positive students from their rooms. Therefore, 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.
  • If you or your roommate(s) become infected with COVID-19:
  • Those infected should immediately begin wearing a mask if symptomatic for COVID-19 and continue doing so in all campus facilities—including inside the residence halls (including rooms) for ten days and until symptoms improve.
    • Execute your COVID-19 isolation plan; students may choose to return home while they or their roommate is positive for COVID-19
    • Contact the Schiffert Health Center and the Dean of Students Office to implement your plan or to discern alternative solutions as needed
  • Once on campus, Schiffert Health Center will serve as the best resource for care and information

Guidelines for faculty responding to student illness

  • Virginia Tech students who test positive for COVID-19 need to isolate and not attend in-person classes for at least five days. Visit the VDH’s Isolation & Quarantine website for additional information.  Students should seek absence verification from the Dean of Students.
  • Please accommodate students who need to miss class for a short period of time, as with any other illness. If you have a group of students who are out, you might consider recording lectures and/or using other means to provide instructional content.
  • It is essential that faculty respect the medical privacy of students who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been identified as a close contact. Please do not share with the class that a student is in quarantine or isolation, nor make testing or other recommendations based on that information. 
  • Resources are available for facilitating student access to academic activities in virtual environments. Visit Continuity in Teaching and Learning to learn more.
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