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Provost's Update for Week of August 17-21

Face coverings in classrooms and indoor spaces
The Dean of Students Office has provided additional clarity/guidance for faculty regarding enforcement of face coverings for students in classrooms and other indoor spaces.

  • Q: Do I have any recourse if someone passing me in the hallway is not wearing a mask? Will there be any enforcement of mask wearing in campus buildings and, if so, what is the process for reporting someone who does not wear one?
    A: It is a policy for all people to wear face coverings in campus buildings. If someone isn’t, you can direct them to put it on. If they refuse, you can ask for their name and refer the student to the Office of Student Conduct by submitting a complaint
  • Q: Do I have recourse if a student in my class does not wear a mask and claims to have a medical condition that prevents it? Is my only option to cancel class if someone does not wear a mask or am I allowed to tell students they may not take my class (in-person) if they do not agree to wear a mask?
    A: The policy is that students have to wear some sort of face covering and you can advise them of this. If there is a medical condition that would prevent them from wearing any sort of face covering, then the student would need to consider switching out of the class – and really any in-person class or experience on campus. The medical condition doesn’t give them reprieve from the policy. There are different types of face coverings that can be utilized, to include a face shield, which they need to access for themselves.

We will continue to work with the Dean of Students Office to clarify guidelines and protocols for in-person instruction and activities. This info will be posted to VT Ready and the Provost’s website, and will supplement the Student Education and Enforcement guidelines and Guidance of Face Coverings currently available.

Pathways assessment for fall 2020
The university has decided to suspend the collection of Pathways assessment data for the fall 2020 semester and will resume collection of this information for all courses in spring 2021. Faculty who are already planning to collect assessment data are encouraged to submit it to the Office of Analytics and Institutional Effectiveness.

Pathways assessment data will be used to inform and improve the Pathways curriculum to enhance student learning at Virginia Tech, not to evaluate individual instructors or courses. Each time a Pathways course is taught, instructors will collect and report assessment data. Submitted data will be aggregated at the student learning outcome level, ensuring that data are not student, instructor, or course identifiable.

Faculty who would like more information and helpful tips should visit the Pathways assessment website or email Molly Hall in the Office of Analytics and Institutional Effectiveness.

Outdoor wi-fi coverage
To enable physical distancing on campuses, Virginia Tech has increased outdoor wireless availability in Blacksburg, Roanoke, and the Greater Washington D.C., metro area. Students, employees, and guests can connect using either the Virginia Tech guest or eduroam wireless networks.

See a map of approximate outdoor wi-fi ranges.

Recent Resource & Document Updates

  • COVID-19 dashboard
    Posted-August 20
    Online resource with data about the number of COVID-19 test results and the number of students in on-campus isolation spaces.
  • Study spaces and gathering areas
    Updated-August 19
    List of areas available for students to study or gather (adhering to physical distancing guidelines) before, during or after classes.
  • Student travel guidelines
    Posted-August 19
    Student travel is discouraged until further notice due to public health guidance related to COVID-19 transmission and travel.
  • Message from President Sands: testing and reopening
    Posted-August 18
    Update on in-person instruction and activities, and campus-wide commitment to following health and safety protocols.
  • Definitions
    Updated-August 18
    Glossary of terms related to COVID-19 and Virginia Tech documents and communications.
  • Preparing for Teaching and Learning
    Updated-August 14
    Resources for faculty including communities of practice, course design and development, FAQs, and best practices for online instruction.

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.