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Provost's Update for Week of September 28-October 2

COVID-19 testing: Information for faculty and staff and students

Many of our faculty, staff, and students continue to have questions regarding COVID-19 testing. The following is updated information from Human Resources on what they should do if they are showing symptoms, think they have been exposed to COVID-19, or need a test.

Faculty and Staff:

Read HR’s COVID-19 Employee Testing Information designed to guide faculty and staff on what they should do and who they should contact if they…

  • feel sick or have COVID-19 symptoms,
  • believe they have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, or
  • are classified as a “high contact” employee.

President Tim Sands shared a message this week with the campus community on the university’s high-contact testing program for employees and students. High-contact personnel, due to the nature of their jobs or academic responsibilities, have a higher level of interaction with the public or each other, and at times may be unable to maintain recommended physical distancing.

Faculty and staff who have questions may contact one of the following offices for guidance and additional information:

  • Virginia Tech COVID-19 helpline: 540-231-760
  • HR Service Center: 540-231-9331,
  • Office of Emergency Management: 540-231-4873,


Schiffert Health Center recognizes that many students are still trying to determine whether or not they need a COVID-19 test, how to get tested, or what they should do to schedule a test. Read the Student Affairs resource to help students know what to do if they…

  • have symptoms or generally feel sick,
  • have been contacted by the Virginia Department of Health and told they have been contact traced, or
  • believe they may have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19.

Faculty and staff should advise students who have additional questions to contact the Schiffert Health Center at 540-231-6444,; or the Dean of Students Office at 540-231-3787,

See President Tim Sands message on mandatory random prevalence testing of undergraduate students in Blacksburg for additional information.

ICYMI: Cleaning protocols for classrooms and academic spaces

The Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities deploys cleaning and disinfecting practices in accordance with CDC, ISSA and Virginia Tech EHS guidelines. Nightly, classrooms and lecture areas are deep cleaned and disinfected using EPA registered chemicals, and electrostatic sprayers and misting machines may be used to improve productivity and coverage.

In addition to classroom/lab spaces, all common touch surfaces in academic facilities are cleaned and disinfected using EPA-registered chemicals with surfaces wiped and left wet for effective dwell time.

  • Restrooms/showers: All common touch surfaces (such as knobs, handles, dispensers, push plates, switches, and receptacles) are cleaned and disinfected multiple times per day using EPA-registered chemicals as a first step in the process. Remaining restroom/shower areas are cleaned multiple times per day using EPA registered chemicals.
  • Public spaces: All common touch surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected multiple times per day using EPA registered chemicals.
  • Floors/tiles: Public areas are spot mopped daily; fully mopped weekly (with auto-scrub as needed); buffed monthly, top scrubbed, stripped, and recoated annually.
  • Floors/carpet: Public areas are spot vacuumed daily; fully vacuumed weekly; extracted annually; and interim cleaned as necessary.
  • Kitchens: Areas are cleaned and disinfected weekly using EPA-registered chemicals.

Department heads or faculty who have questions or special cleaning needs should contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (Zachary Adams: 540-231-5985, or Lance Franklin: 540-231-9044,

More information can be found in this campus notice on cleaning protocols or on the Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities COVID-19 resource website.

Survey: Balancing caregiving and work responsibilities

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a common theme that has emerged through a number of conversations with faculty and staff is that caregiving responsibilities are immensely challenging as we juggle work and family responsibilities. As a result, all faculty, staff, and graduate student employees are invited to share their perspectives and participate in an anonymous survey about balancing caregiving and work duties.

The survey, which is open through October 23, should take about 10-12 minutes to complete. Information about faculty and staff experiences are important for the university to make informed decisions about possible solutions and support.

Additional information about the survey can be found in this campus notice. Caregiving support and resources are available on the Virginia Tech Women’s Center website.

Reminder: Course schedules and modalities for spring 2021

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).

Departments are asked to return the spreadsheet to the University Registrar no later than October 9.

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 questions.

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.