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Community Wellness Commitment

Be committed. Be well.

In partnership with a range of local health, public safety, education, and government agencies, Virginia Tech collaborated with the New River Valley Public Health Task Force to develop a Community Wellness Commitment as the fall term approaches. The commitment outlines 10 tenets, based on well-known public health guidelines, that community members can personally adopt.

Testing

The following guidance will help faculty and staff know what they should do if they are showing COVID-19 symptoms or think they have been exposed to COVID-19 and need a test.

Human Resources

Resources are available for faculty and staff and supervisors as Virginia Tech gets goes through the fall 2020 semester. Visit the Ready Resources for Employees for information specific to faculty and staff including what individual employees need to know before returning to campus; guidelines on telework; information on benefits, leave, wellness; and more.

Human Resources is holding virtual office hours for any employee who has a question and needs to speak to an HR representative.

Employees may also contact the HR Service Center Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. at hrservicecenter@vt.edu or at 540-231-9331.

Academic Calendar

The fall 2020 academic calendar has not been changed, with the exception of the eight instructional days after Thanksgiving break and final exams, which will be conducted entirely online. Instruction began on Monday, Aug. 24, and will conclude on Dec. 16, as previously scheduled. Holidays and breaks prior to Thanksgiving will be observed, but nonessential travel away from campus is discouraged. 

Mental Health And Well-Being

Whether we’re on campus or still at home, our mental health remains an important part of staying healthy. Hokie Wellness continues to maintain virtual offerings that all students, faculty, and staff can access.

Your mental health and well-being is our top priority, and we have a variety of resources available to you:

Hygiene best practices

When returning to campus, all members of the university should follow these public health measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, flu, and other viruses.

Face coverings and masks

Everyone on our campuses (students, faculty, staff, visitors, and others) is required to properly wear a face covering or mask in the following indoor and outdoor settings. Make sure it fully covers the mouth and nose at all times.

Indoors:

  • Wear a face covering or mask unless working alone in a workspace with a closed door or a residence hall room with the door closed. If working or studying in an open-air cubicle, wear a face covering.
    • The exception would be for those with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering.
      • In these instances, these individuals should wear a face shield.
      • Employees who are unable to wear a face covering or face shield should be referred to the university’s ADA and Accessibility Services office.
      • Both face shields and face coverings with clear space over the mouth are available for order by colleges and departments through Virginia Tech Procurement).
      • Face shields or face coverings with clear spaces should be used in:
        • Speaking with those who are hard of hearing.
        • Lecturing in situations where wearing a mask would make them inaudible.

Outdoors:

Wear a face covering or mask at all times. Even if you’re momentarily alone, you can expect that you will encounter someone. The only instance in which you can exercise without a face covering is if you are alone, but you need to be prepared to put one on if you encounter someone. Exceptions and expectations relating to chronic health conditions are still applicable. However, even under these outdoor conditions, wearing a face covering will set a good example to the community at large.

We trust and expect that members of our Virginia Tech community will each make a personal commitment to wear a face covering or mask, and abide by all public health guidelines, in order to lower the health risks for our community. 

Students, employees, and visitors are encouraged to obtain their own face coverings before returning to campus. Additionally, in high-traffic areas on campus, one-time-use face coverings will be available, as supplies allow.

Disposable surgical masks are available at four pickup points across the Blacksburg campus. All members of the university community who forget or lose a mask, or feel like they need a replacement for the day, can pick one up at:

  • Student Services Building, at the Hokie Passport Services lobby area
  • Squires Student Center, at the welcome desk
  • Virginia Tech Police Department, at the security center through the double doors; officers will also maintain extra mask supplies within their cruisers
  • North End Center, at the lobby outside the Procurement suite

The university’s Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) office has prepared a guide on face coverings and masks, and a recent campus notice offers additional information. 

Additionally, the EHS frequently-asked questions page shares further information on respirators, the process for departments ordering PPE, workplace accommodations and medical exemptions, and more. 

Students

Students must wear a face covering or mask in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings, along with 6-foot physical distancing. Individuals should remove themselves from situations where this is not possible. Independent outdoor exercise is the only exception to the obligation of the face covering requirement.

On-campus residential students received a kit (in their room upon arrival) that contains two cloth reusable face coverings and other supplies.

When in residence hall common spaces, such as hallways, study lounges, and stairwells, students should wear a face covering at all times. Face coverings should also be worn when in close proximity (less than 6 feet) with others. While in a residence hall room alone or with a roommate, students are not required to wear a face covering. If anyone beyond the primary occupants are in the room, face coverings are required.

Students with specific PPE needs or questions may reach out to Hokie Wellness by emailing hokiewellness@vt.edu or calling (540) 231-2233.

Employees

Face coverings/masks are to be worn at all times when on campus. Exceptions include circumstances when an employee is working alone in a workspace with a closed door and if an employee is continually distanced from anyone else outdoors, such as when exercising outdoors. However, even under these outdoor conditions, wearing a face covering will set a good example to the community at large. Exceptions and expectations relating to chronic health conditions are still applicable.

We encourage supervisors to connect with their employees, as needed, to discuss individual concerns or questions. For the health and safety of the community, those who do not wear face coverings may face disciplinary action.

Instructors

The university will provide face shields for instructors to wear, given that face coverings could make the instructors inaudible to students. 

With regard to face coverings, we encourage instructors to connect with their students, as needed, to discuss individual circumstances. For the health and safety of the community, those who do not wear face coverings may face disciplinary action.

Additionally, the provost’s office has outlined specific guidelines for classroom conduct, including the use of face coverings. 

Researchers

Employees must wear a face covering or mask in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings. For guidance on scaling laboratory operations, the use of face coverings in research and laboratory settings, and other useful information, see the Environmental Health & Safety COVID-19 FAQs.

Department orders

Departments may order masks, face coverings, and other supplies through Virginia Tech's Procurement team by completing PPE/Critical Supplies Planning Survey. Procurement is distributing PPE ordered through them using a centralized process. Read this campus notice for more information. 

Physical distancing

In conjunction with wearing a face covering and practicing good personal hygiene, physical distancing is an important component in helping to prevent the spread of coronavirus. When in doubt, strive to stay 6 feet away from others in both indoor and outdoor settings. Virginia Tech will also play a role in helping to foster physical distancing in such ways as rearranging classroom furniture, altering traffic flow in and out of buildings, installing distancing floor decals, and much more.

The governor’s continued restrictions on gathering sizes reflect the seriousness with which we need to adhere to public health guidelines and protect those around us, particularly the most vulnerable. Should the Dean of Students Office or the Blacksburg Police Department need to respond to concerns about noise violations or disruptive parties, a referral will be made to the Student Conduct office for their follow-up. We are asking students to take personal responsibility in helping to keep the public safe. In the spring semester, students responded accordingly, and we expect that they will do the same in the fall semester.

Personal hygiene 

What you can do to stop the spread of viruses like coronavirus and the flu:

  • Cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Wash your hands often and for 20 seconds at a time.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
     

Cleaning and disinfecting

Virginia Tech is committed to maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness across all university facilities. Click here to learn about enhanced on-campus cleaning and disinfecting procedures, the installation of new hand-sanitizer stations, and other useful information. Follow these helpful CDC guidelines for tips on cleaning and disinfecting personal living and office spaces.

Don’t forget about the flu

Flu season will begin ramping up in early fall. Find the latest resources around flu prevention at Virginia Tech.

Ordering Critical Supplies

Virginia Tech's centralized process for departmental ordering and campus distribution of personal protective equipment and supplies (PPE) went live July 6. Departments can learn more here.

Physical Spacing in the Workplace

The Virginia Tech community should practice physical distancing and hygiene strategies for indoor spaces on campus to reduce exposure and limit the spread of disease. To support this approach, Virginia Tech will implement mitigation strategies that will include, among other ways, access control to unused spaces; furniture arrangements to encourage physical distancing; assigned seating; maintaining 6 feet of separation between occupants; signs indicating entryways and exit-ways; virtual meeting options; virtual access to meetings, conferences, and other in-person gatherings; and metering the number of occupants at facilities. More details will be published when available.

No unapproved, work-related gathering involving more than 15 people is permitted. When a task cannot be accomplished without more than 15 people gathering, a plan must be developed to mitigate health safety risk and the plan must be approved by the unit leader.

Facilities

Virginia Tech is committed to maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness across all of its campus facilities. In conjunction with physical distancing and personal hygiene strategies, to minimize spread and health risks for the most vulnerable populations, the university will employ a consistent, thorough, and deliberate cleaning process. Click here to learn more about enhanced cleaning procedures, the installation of new hand-sanitizer stations, and more. Please also refer to these university guidelines.

instruction

Virginia Tech is taking a phased approach to academic instruction, placing emphasis on health and safety in order to conduct in-person instruction that enhances experiential learning. In-person modes of instruction have been prioritized for courses, labs, studios, and performances that cannot be offered remotely at comparable quality.

Visit the Instruction page to get more information.

Research Operations

Virginia Tech has developed a framework and process for scaling operations to the current mode of modified operations that continues to recognize the importance of safety, transitions back to an in-person student-learning experience, and ramps up research programs. Working within modified operations in Phase Three status means the further easing of restrictions as research continues to ramp up, carefully and in accordance with commonwealth and Virginia Tech policy.

Most labs can/will be opened. Undergraduate and graduate students working on sponsored research or course credit may return to established or new research projects. Student volunteer research activity in labs is not advised, since the density of researchers in spaces will need to be monitored to adhere to proper physical distancing guidelines. Conditions do not supersede additional requirements colleges and institutes may add to activities in their units. Allowable research activities continue to require the approval of deans, vice presidents, or institute directors or their designee(s). In resuming additional research activities, individuals must use appropriate PPE and continue strict adherence to safety/hygiene and physical distancing requirements.

The COVID-19 Research and Continuity Guidance microsite contains various resources for researchers, including Phase Three: Reopening Guidance.

Parking and Transportation

Find the latest information about parking and transportation, including parking on the Blacksburg campus, alternative transportation, and more.

Beginning Aug. 3, all university community members must display a permit or pay a daily fee to park on the Blacksburg campus. Learn more about all of your parking options. Student commuter parking permits went on sale Aug. 7; all other student parking permits went on sale Aug. 10. The 2019-20 permits will expire Aug. 31.

The Blacksburg Transit (BT) website also highlights the latest schedule updates.

All Campus Connect trips have been canceled for the foreseeable future. Please email NCRShuttle@vt.edu with any questions.

E-scooter service on the Virginia Tech campus has been suspended.

illustration of a student standing next to a car