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Provost's Update for Week of September 21-25

Update: Notifications of positive COVID-19 student cases

The Provost’s OfficeEmergency ManagementDean of Students, and University Registrar have provided updated information regarding faculty notification of students attending in-person classes/labs who have tested positive for COVID-19, and their return following required isolation.

Upon notice of an undergraduate or graduate student who has tested positive for COVID-19 and the submission of a report through the university’s case management system, the Dean of Students Office will generate an automated notification that will be sent to the faculty member who reports the disclosure, who will then have the option to send the DOS notification on to the students registered for that section.

The student’s name will not be cited in the notification, but it is likely the student will self-identify to the faculty to arrange for alternate options for instruction during the isolation period. Per FERPA guidelines, the identity or condition of the student who has tested positive cannot be disclosed.

The student should be advised to follow all VDH/CDC protocols and return to the classroom/lab only when they have been told by their healthcare provider that it is safe to do so.

Additional information can be found in the Faculty with COVID-19 Positive/Symptomatic Students FAQ or by contacting the Dean of Students Office.

Planning for Spring 2021: Course schedules and modalities

In preparation for the Spring 2021 semester and with a goal of providing students with as much in-person instruction and experiential learning as possible, the Office of the University Registrar has sent each department a spreadsheet for developing course modalities so students will understand their options in time for Course Request (October 27-November 10).

As was used for the fall semester, course modality optionsare face-to-face, hybrid (any combination of in-person and online), online-synchronous meetings, and online-asynchronous instruction. Departments are asked to return the spreadsheet to the University Registrar no later than October 9. Course modalities should be developed with the understanding that the instructional environment is expected to be the same as during the fall semester, with classroom occupancies limited to 49 students.

The following is a schedule of key dates for course modality development and schedule management:

  • September 25: modality and resource needs spreadsheet sent to departments
  • October 9: spreadsheet due back to University Registrar
  • October 27-November 10: Course Request
  • November 12: Course Request results sent to department
  • December 5: Drop/Add opens

Read Provost Clarke’s complete message to deans, department heads and faculty. Please email Rick Sparks, Associate Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and University Registrar, with additional questions.

University Libraries: Journal cancellation notice

In an effort to address budget reductions and to continue providing scholarly materials to faculty, students, and staff, University Libraries is eliminating discretionary one-time spending on electronic journal backfiles, primary source resources, and scaling back on new acquisitions in order to reduce the hit to journals and databases. As a result, more than $300,000 in subscriptions, which make up the largest part of the Library’s budget, must be cancelled immediately.

The list of cancellations was compiled with extensive input from subject liaisons and a thorough assessment of usage data from the past five years. Find titles that will be cancelled after January 1, 2021. Some of the cancelled databases will be active through the spring semester and the Library will retain access to pre-2021 content for cancelled journals. Interlibrary loan requests may be placed for post-2020 articles from cancelled journals.

University Libraries will continue to use and explore alternative ways to access scholarly materials, and will continue to prioritize the purchase of course materials and critical electronic resources for research and teaching.

If you have questions about the cancellation process or alternative access to the cancelled content, please contact your liaison librarian or Leslie O’Brien, Director of Collections, at

Recent Resource and Document 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.