Virginia Tech™home

A message from Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke

Dear Faculty:

Due to the continuing spread of COVID-19 infection in the United States, we must accelerate planning necessary to sustain our academic mission, including the use of online platforms to deliver instruction. Please use this Spring Break when most classes are not in session to become familiar with strategies to continue teaching through disruptions and to plan for the possibility that students and faculty may not be able to meet for course sessions in person. Full resources are available at: TLOS: Continuity of Instruction.

Consultation to assist you in identifying best options as well as support for implementing on-line strategies is available through Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies (TLOS). For individual assistance, please email tlos@vt.edu or submit a 4Help incident.

As we anticipate the return of students to campus after Spring Break, please also encourage and support our students in following public health guidance. Students who are ill should not attend class and neither should faculty and staff.

In the event that students and/or faculty are unable to meet in person for class sessions, you will need to make adjustments to allow students to continue their courses, as appropriate to the course content and structure. In deciding the appropriate course delivery methods to employ during this time, faculty should consider being flexible about course attendance policies and assignment deadlines, providing additional online resources for students who are unable to attend class, and allowing students to attend class virtually through Zoom or other formats.

For students who may have clinical symptoms consistent with COVID-19, it will not be necessary for them to seek absence verification from Schiffert Health Center or another health care provider, as this may discourage self-quarantine.

Any changes made to a course syllabus (e.g. changes in assessments/tests; changes in absence policies) should be communicated specifically and clearly to students in writing, either through a Canvas announcement or email.

President Sands has convened an executive workgroup and charged it to address the many issues and challenges related to the risk posed by COVID-19. In addition to planning and implementation of actions necessary to continue educational programs, the workgroup is in the process of developing strategies to respond to concerns related to study abroad programs, cancelled national and international conferences and reimbursement of associated costs, and a number of other pressing issues. Units from across campus as well as the Faculty Senate are being engaged in this effort. You can expect to receive future updates on the status of these deliberations.

Sincerely,

Cyril Clarke