Virginia Tech community can prepare for spring semester with these steps
January 1, 2021
As students, faculty, and staff anticipate a return to Virginia Tech’s campuses in January, they are encouraged to take note of several key aspects of the spring semester plan.
Coming to campus
- Students are asked to commit to a 10-day self-quarantine prior to returning to campus, in order to minimize the chance of transmitting COVID-19. See a checklist for students returning for the spring semester.
- Students are strongly encouraged to secure a negative COVID-19 test result within five days prior to returning to campus.
- Residence halls open for move-in at noon on Jan. 16.
The academic calendar
- The semester begins on Jan. 19 with online instruction; on Jan. 25, in-person and hybrid instruction begins.
- Five spring break days will be observed on Feb. 5 and 25, March 17, and April 6 and 26. On these days, no classes, assignments, or assessments will be conducted.
- Classes end on May 5, Reading Day is May 6, final examinations are on May 7-12, and commencement ceremonies are on May 13-15. (Details on the nature of the commencement ceremonies will be shared at a later date.)
- The spring semester strategy includes voluntary and mandatory testing, along with adaptive approaches as needed. The university has also increased laboratory capacity for the spring semester.
- Voluntary testing for the Greek life move-in period will begin Jan. 7.
- Residential move-in testing will be conducted Jan. 16-24.
- Random prevalence testing for students will begin Jan. 25 and continue through May 7.
- The complete testing schedule for students will be finalized and released closer to the beginning of the semester.
- Surveillance testing for high-contact employees will begin Jan. 5 and continue through May 7.
- Voluntary testing for students, faculty, and staff will occur Jan. 5-8 and Jan. 11-15; and then daily (Monday through Friday) from Jan. 25 through May 7.
- Pre-sign-up walk-in testing for students, faculty, and staff will occur on Sundays beginning Jan. 31 through May 2, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- Schiffert Health Center testing will begin Jan. 4 and continue through May 14, for all symptomatic students and students who have been contact-traced or have a known exposure.
- Testing out of quarantine for students will be handled through Schiffert. Testing out of quarantine for employees will be cleared through the Environmental Health and Safety office, based on ArcPoint testing.
- Student Affairs is introducing a pods registration program to enrich the collegiate experience. These small groups will allow students to interact more closely in a more relaxed, unmasked environment.
Isolation and quarantine spaces
- During the fall semester, Housing and Residential Life expanded from 430 to 513 beds and did not experience any capacity issues. In the spring semester, the 513-bed capacity will be maintained.
- Virginia Tech is prepared to partner with the Virginia Department of Health to address the challenges of storing and distributing COVID-19 vaccinations.
- Our shared and well-known behaviors – to avoid close contact; avoid crowds; avoid closed, poorly ventilated spaces; wear masks; get a flu shot; and more – will apply throughout the spring semester.
Meanwhile, the university continues to evaluate and enhance its practices, for cleanliness, student programming and services, event guidelines, accommodations and support for employees, health and well-being services, communications and more.
The university’s full operational plan is being updated and finalized for the spring semester. The plan and its principles reflect the university’s accumulated learning and adapting to the pandemic over the spring, summer, and fall months of 2020; the strategies seek to balance the traditional Virginia Tech experience with the safety and well-being of the community. As a result of these proven strategies, and the community’s commitment to wellness, Virginia Tech was able to manage the impacts of the disease spread within the Blacksburg campus community, resulting in a seven-day moving average positivity rate of less than 10 percent by mid-September that decreased to 1.4 percent by the end of in-person instruction on Nov. 20.