A message from Frank Shushok Jr.: All of us must work together
August 23, 2020
I write today because though our hopes have been high, our on-campus opportunities for this semester are increasingly fragile, and they will not be realized without ALL of us committed to a successful outcome. As you know, I wrote to you this summer about what will be required. Just last week, our Dean of Students Byron Hughes reinforced the sacrifices that are necessary for an in-person residential experience.
The reality as of this morning is that only some are choosing to live by the health imperatives necessary. Many gatherings over the weekend, inconsistent practices of wearing masks and physical distancing, and other overt behaviors are weakening the resolve of many and the reality that we can all remain on campus. While developmental and collaborative approaches are the norm at Virginia Tech, it is now clear that this public health crisis will not be solved without clear and definitive boundaries that are enforced with swift and serious action. The following requirements are to provide clarity in your decision-making:
- There should not be ANY non-university sanctioned/monitored gatherings, on or off campus, larger than 15 people.
- Face masks/coverings should be worn at all social gatherings, with 6-foot physical distancing. Individuals should remove themselves from situations where this is not possible.
- Independent outdoor exercise is the only exception to the obligation of the face covering requirement.
To be clear, failure to follow these expectations is considered endangering the welfare of others and will result in immediate interim suspension and removal from campus housing. Immediate interim suspension means no academic classes or student activities until a full student conduct hearing is complete. This will adversely impact your academic career.
Our student conduct program is typically designed with opportunities built in to learn from one’s mistakes. Yet these aren’t typical times. The nature of the pandemic means the health and well-being of our community must be the values that win the day. Therefore, Virginia Tech will take swift action for all violations, and the academic career of all involved will be impacted.
I am counting on ALL of us. Let’s get this right. Now.
Frank Shushok Jr.
Vice President for Student Affairs