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Week of January 4-8

Welcome back: Preparing for the Spring 2021 semester

Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to take note of several key aspects of the Spring 2021 semester plan as they prepare to return to campuses or to online instruction and operations. Virginia Tech 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, and communications. Preparations and considerations should include:

  • Returning to the physical campuses
  • Academic calendar
  • Testing 
  • Pods
  • Isolation and quarantine spaces
  • Vaccinations
  • Continued vigilance with health and safety protocols

Virginia Tech’s full operational plan is being updated and finalized for the Spring 2021 semester, and reflects the university’s accumulated learning and adapting to the pandemic over the spring, summer, and fall months of 2020. It also includes strategies to balance the traditional Virginia Tech experience with the safety and well-being of the community.

Employees are encouraged to review the Virginia Tech Daily Email and visit the VT Ready site regularly for new information and updates.

Faculty guidance: Attendance, grading for in-person instruction

Syllabus and Performance Expectations (Faculty Handbook 9.6.1) requires faculty to provide clear expectations for all elements of a course through the syllabus, including attendance and assignment of grades. Information about class attendance is further detailed in Section 9.6.2.

This expectation is particularly important as Virginia Tech continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic while maintaining public safety and simultaneously ensuring students meet learning outcomes for in-person instruction, especially laboratory courses. Classroom expectations and course policies for in-person instruction must be adapted to the health and safety measures needed to mitigate transmission of COVID-19. A core element of this is the requirement that individuals self-isolate when exhibiting any symptoms of illness.

It is crucial that faculty communicate to students that they should not attend an in-person class if they answer yes to any of the questions in the Hokie Health survey, and also take no action that could encourage class attendance by those whose presence might endanger public health.

Additional information on attendance and grading for Spring 2021 in-person instruction, and sample syllabus statements is available on the Provost’s website.

COVID-19: Updated quick reference guide for supervisors

Virginia Tech’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety has released updated COVID-19 guidance for supervisors. The quick reference guide provides detailed information on what supervisors should do in the following situations:

  • When an employee tests positive for COVID-19.
  • When an employee has been in close contact with a known or suspected COVID-19 case, and may need to quarantine.
  • When an employee exhibits signs or symptoms of COVID-19, but has not been in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case.
  • When an employee has been in a shared area or used shared equipment with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, but has not been in close contact with the individual.
  • When an employee has been around someone who has been in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case.
  • When employees have been in a building where there has been a positive COVID-19 case, but they have not been in close contact with the individual.

Additional guidance and information on managing employees in these situations is available on the Provost’s website and VT Ready.

COVID-19: Voluntary testing available for employees

Voluntary COVID-19 testing for faculty, staff, and wage employees will be offered Monday, January 11 through Friday, January 15. Employees must register for testing in advance using the VTNotify – COVID-19 test scheduling system.

VTNotify is a new testing system for both students and employees that uses 2-factor authentication. The site shows the user their most recent negative COVID-19 test and allows the user to schedule a test. The system shows test appointments two weeks in advance so if the test date you want to schedule is not available yet, check back two weeks prior to that date.

The deadline to schedule is 11:59 p.m. on the day prior to the test date. January testing will take place at Lane Stadium, Gate 1. Employees should receive their results in 48 to 72 business hours of being tested.

Answers to commonly asked questions are available through Human Resources. If you have additional questions about voluntary employee testing, contact employeetesting@vt.edu or call the HR Service Center at 540-231-9331.

Comments and suggestions: Weekly Communications Update

We welcome your thoughts and feedback on the content, organization, and distribution of the Weekly Communications Update. If you have comments or recommendations for how we can improve this communication tool, or suggestions for specific information and topics that should be shared with faculty, staff, and academic program personnel, please provide them through this Google form.

Recent resource and information updates

Please visit VT Ready and the Provost’s website frequently for new and updated university information. All members of the campus community should also read their VT Daily email for further important updates, notices, and resources.