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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.

Ready! Student checklist

It’s been too long, Hokies, but our physically distant reunion is on the horizon.

Whether it’s your first semester or the home stretch of your degree, you’re about to embark on an exciting, historic journey. Here’s a handful of steps you can take in advance.

Academic Calendar

Instruction will begin on Monday, Aug. 24, and conclude on Dec. 16, as previously scheduled. Instruction will be a hybrid of in-person and online courses. The eight instructional days after Thanksgiving break and final exams will be conducted entirely online, and residence hall occupancy will conclude at the start of Thanksgiving break. 

Holidays and breaks prior to Thanksgiving will be observed, but nonessential travel away from campus is discouraged. Those who travel away from Blacksburg at any time before Thanksgiving break may be subject to quarantine upon return, depending on the location of travel and potential exposure to the coronavirus.

As the summer and fall seasons progress, we will have increased clarity on the health precautions that will be necessary for the spring 2021 semester.

Tuition and Financial Support

Current tuition charges reflect the cost to deliver instruction regardless of modality (in-person, virtual, or a combination). The most significant costs of instruction are the salaries and benefits of faculty and staff, who have been working through the spring and into the fall to deliver the highest-quality educational experience possible with the academic rigor expected at Virginia Tech. The campus disruption and the move to deliver classes online have actually led to increased costs in many parts of the university. Though many personnel and technology costs have increased, the university’s Board of Visitors recently approved both a tuition freeze and an increase in student financial aid to help students and their families during this unprecedented time.

Fees

Virginia Tech seeks to ensure a holistic, vibrant student experience that meets student needs and expectations and is sensitive to the overall cost of education. Comprehensive fees are a mandatory cost of attendance for students matriculating to the Blacksburg campus that support the operation of self-supporting (auxiliary enterprise) units that provide services for the benefit of all students. For students enrolled less than full-time, the comprehensive fee is pro-rated. In recognition of students living and studying away from the Blacksburg campus, comprehensive fees may be reduced by $300 per semester for full-time students enrolled in an all-virtual schedule and who certify that they will reside more than 50 miles from the Blacksburg campus for the entire semester. More information and an application form can be found here.

For a list and description of fees, visit the Bursar website.  The site outlines the mandatory fees, comprehensive fee components, supplemental program fees specific to individual colleges, and more. Mandatory fees cover the estimated cost of delivering a bundled set of services. These bundled services are designed as part of the total cost of attendance, without regard to individual usage of each service, to create the maximum community benefit at the lowest cost.

Student Emergency Fund

Through generous donations provided by many caring Hokies, the Dean of Students Office has been entrusted to manage a fund for students who find themselves in immediate financial need, due to no fault of their own. This means, any student currently enrolled at Virginia Tech can apply for a one-time grant to help during this trying time.  

The process for applying is simple. Complete the contact form and a representative from the Dean of Students Office will be in contact with you.

CARES Act Funding and Commercial Loan Relief

Virginia Tech is receiving $9.7 million in CARES Act funding. The university will distribute the funds to both undergraduate and graduate students through a process of formula-driven distributions and expanded individual emergency support. In an effort to get relief into the hands of students and families as soon as possible, Virginia Tech will distribute the majority of the student aid support based on a formula. The formula will consider factors that include Pell grant eligibility and prior borrowing from direct subsidized or alternative loan programs. Both undergraduate and graduate students with needs, and faculty and staff who learn of students with COVID-19 related emergency financial needs, should contact the Dean of Students Office at (540) 231-3787 or dean.students@vt.edu.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has announced an initiative, in partnership with several other states, to offer payment relief options for Virginians with commercially-owned Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) loans, Perkins loans, or privately held student loans.

Private student loan servicers providing relief include:

  • Aspire Resources Inc.
  • College Ave Student Loan Servicing LLC
  • Earnest Operations LLC
  • Edfinancial Services LLC
  • Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corp.
  • Lendkey Technologies Inc.
  • Higher Education Loan Authority of the State of Missouri (MOHELA)
  • Navient
  • Nelnet Inc.
  • Scratch
  • SoFi Lending Corp.
  • Tuition Options LLC
  • United Guaranty Services Inc.
  • Upstart Network Inc.
  • Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA)
  • Vermont Student Assistance Corp. (VSAC)

Borrowers with private student loans can check their monthly billing statements for contact information.

Borrowers can visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243 or 1-800-730-8913 (TDD) to determine the types of federal loans they have and who their servicers are.

Student Jobs

Student employees are an important part of Virginia Tech’s workforce, and students will continue to be hired into roles such as those in dining services and other areas as the need for student workers arises during the fall 2020 semester. We do anticipate that there will be fewer overall students jobs given the operational changes at the university in response to COVID-19.

Remote Opportunities for Students

We understand that some members of our community will not be comfortable engaging in the residential campus environment this fall due to underlying medical conditions or a concern over transmission to friends or family members. To the extent possible, academic department leaders and advisors will consult with students to design plans to maximize learning opportunities. Students desiring to enroll only in fully online courses may not have access to the same courses originally included in their plans of study, in the event that these courses are in-person or a blend of in-person and online. Although we are planning to offer some classes fully online, not all courses will have a remote option.

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning offers tips for students working in an online environment. The Student Success Center (SSC) will also be available to support your academic progress by offering its services, including tutoring, through an online format. A complete list of academic excellence programs can be found on their website. To request tutoring, please email tutoring@vt.edu. All other requests should be sent to studentsuccess@vt.edu.

We know that our international students have many more complex situations and questions, and we’ve provided more in-depth information for both undergraduate and graduate international students on the Cranwell International Center website.

Regarding internet access away from campus, see the Home Internet Tips page. To optimize what you can do with a lower-speed internet connection, check out steps 1-4. If you have no internet access at home, steps 2 and 5 offer tips on contacting internet providers and finding community WiFi resources, respectively. Many internet service providers are offering low cost or free options for students who need to complete courses online, so be sure you let them know you are a Virginia Tech student.

Course Offerings

We will take a phased approach this fall, placing emphasis on in-person instruction that enhances experiential learning. In-person modes of instruction will be prioritized for courses, labs, studios, and performances that cannot be offered remotely at comparable quality.

Decisions on modes of instruction have been made and students are encouraged to check their schedules in HokieSPA so they can plan accordingly. Students should also monitor their schedules for the possibility of changes as faculty work to finalize plans and delivery modes for their fall courses. This VT News article provides further information.

Due to the limited capacity of most instructional spaces that have been modified to accommodate physical distancing, many lectures and discussion sections will be delivered online, preferably synchronously to enable real-time interactions between students and instructors. Depending on the availability of suitably-sized instructional spaces, lectures and discussion sections may also be presented in-person and synchronously transmitted to other spaces, as long as physical distancing and other public health requirements are met in all locations.

Smaller lectures, sections, and laboratories will be offered in person, providing that the spaces allow for proper distancing. Depending on capacity and the availability of instructors, we may need to schedule classes in the evenings.

Our goal is to provide an in-person campus experience to the greatest extent possible while taking measures to minimize the health and safety risks for our campus community. Should public health guidelines relax during the fall semester, in-person teaching and learning will be expanded.

As students begin the fall semester, they will know their course delivery mode and the expectations from the beginning of the term. Thus, we don’t anticipate any extension of the credit/non-credit options offered during the spring.

Professional students
Professional students at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine and the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine will continue to return to clinics and in-person instruction in a phased approach during the fall.

Third- and fourth-year students at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine returned to clinical rotations on Monday, July 6. The second-year class will continue the next block of study virtually with plans to start in-person learning on Monday, Aug. 31. The new first-year class is scheduled to begin orientation Monday, July 27. Orientation will be a blend of virtual and in-person experiences. Their first block of study will begin primarily in-person on Monday, Aug. 3.

DVM students at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine began a phased return to clinics this summer, starting on June 22. The fall semester for DVM students in years 1-3 will begin on Monday, Aug. 10, and all courses will be completed by Thanksgiving (Nov. 25). Orientation for the DVM Class of 2024 will be held virtually, with workshops scheduled throughout July and August. The traditional White Coat Ceremony has been postponed, and will be scheduled for a later date.

Labs
Lab spaces will be arranged with proper physical distancing and safety measures. For guidance on scaling laboratory spaces and operations, the use of face coverings in research and laboratory settings, and other useful information, see Environmental Health & Safety COVID-19 FAQs.

Study abroad
Virginia Tech has canceled all fall 2020 study abroad programs. A full set of FAQs about the programs is available on the Global Education Office website.

Libraries

Beginning Monday, Aug. 17, the University Libraries will be providing in-person services and opening Newman Library in accordance with the university's health and safety guidelines. Students will be able to check seat availability and reserve a study spot through the University Libraries' online reservation system before coming to the library. Check out the library's Ready page for more information.

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 wear a face covering or mask in the following indoor and outdoor settings.

Indoors

Wear a face covering or mask, unless in a secluded location such as a personal office space with the door closed or a residence hall room. 

Exceptions* to this requirement include the following:

  • Medical condition
  • Speaking with those who are hard of hearing
  • Instructors lecturing in situations where wearing a mask would make them inaudible
     

*In these instances, a face shield must be worn. Employees who are unable to wear a face covering or face shield should be referred to the university’s ADA and Accessibility Services office.

Outdoors

Wear a face covering or mask when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

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.

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. 

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

For off-campus students, face coverings will be distributed, as supplies allow, at leasing offices in large apartment complexes and at several distribution points on campus. Students can sign up to pick up face coverings at any of the following locations between 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 24 and 25:

  • New Classroom Building Area
  • Turner/McBryde Area
  • McComas Front Lawn Area (near bus stop on Washington)
  • In front of War Memorial Hall
  • Squires/Library Area
     

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

Employees must wear a face covering or mask in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings. Departments will also distribute face shields to their employees.

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.

Residence Life

In order to provide an on-campus living experience that promotes public health safety, Housing and Residence Life (HRL) will limit the number of students living on campus to no more than two people per room and require all on-campus students to sign a Health and Wellbeing Commitment.

In mid-June, HRL hosted a Q&A on on-campus housing. Watch it here.

The Dean of Students Office and Virginia Tech Off-Campus Housing hosted a Q&A about off-campus housing in mid-June. Watch it here.

Move-In

Housing and Residence Life is establishing a carefully organized move-in process spread out from Aug. 14 to Aug. 23, in order to follow public health safety guidelines. Students are limited to two additional people during the move-in process and all will be required to wear a mask for the duration of the move-in process. Students will be assigned time slots based on room assignment and will have two hours to complete the move-in process.

Once a student has moved into the residence halls, they may leave their belongings in their room for the duration of their contract. After Thanksgiving break, all instruction and final exams will be fully online. When students leave for the Thanksgiving break, they don’t need to remove their belongings. However, once they leave, students will not be able to access their room until they return for the spring semester. Students are advised to take all necessary belongings with them when they leave for Thanksgiving.

Housing Contract Updates

Not all students who have contracted for the fall will be able to remain in on-campus housing. Housing and Residence Life has contacted all students with completed contracts, as well as incoming first-year students who have not yet contracted, to notify them of their housing status for fall 2020. Decisions on housing status were made primarily based on first-year student status and the date students signed their original housing contract.

Students not approved to re-contract have been provided direction on how to be added to a waiting list. If a student does not wish to live on-campus, they should submit the Fall Contract Cancellation form in StarRez.

Housing Assignments

Housing assignments will begin in late June/early July and go through the end of July. Your assignment timeslot is determined by the date you submitted your original housing contract, as long as you re-contract by June 16. If you have already created a roommate group and you are both approved for on-campus housing, it will transfer over to your new contract as long as both of you re-contract by June 16.

Health and Well-being Commitments and Precautions

All students wanting to live on-campus must review and sign a Health and Well-being Commitment as part of the re-contracting process. The main tenets of the commitment include an eight-day pre-move-in quarantine, practicing physical distancing and personal hygiene, avoiding public spaces, and self-isolating if identified as infected with COVID-19 or at-risk of infection. In addition to the Health and Well-being Commitment, Housing and Residence Life will provide access to soap, hand-sanitation stations in high traffic areas of each hall, and personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary, as well as isolation spaces for students infected COVID-19 or at-risk of infection.

Those prospective residents who provide a medical doctor’s attestation of susceptibility to serious disease can contact Services for Students with Disabilities to request an accommodation for a single-occupancy residence.

Living-Learning Programs

Students who applied for a Living-Learning Program as part of their original contract will not have to re-apply. Students who have not applied for an LLP and have been approved to re-contract will be able to apply as part of the re-contracting process. Students will receive an acceptance or denial to an LLP by June 19.

Dining

We are excited to welcome students back into our facilities in the fall in a safe and healthy manner. We are implementing a number of safety measures to keep both students and staff safe. While we know this will create a different dining experience for our customers, we are committed to public health safety for the Virginia Tech community.

Get a glimpse at how using our dining centers will look this fall. 

We are implementing the following measures to increase public health safety while continuing to serve students:

  • Installation of Plexiglas dividers to separate customers and staff.
  • Mandatory face coverings and gloves for all staff, with handwashing every 30 minutes.
  • Maintaining 100 percent cashless operations, with installation of touchless payment and additional Grubhub self-ordering and payment kiosks.
  • Reduction of seating in all dining facilities to align with the most current guidelines.
  • Removal of all self-serve areas to include salad bars and condiment stations.  Beverage dispensing machines will be available for use with the purchase of a drink cup. Refillable bottles will not be permitted in the dining centers.
  • Guidance for physical distancing in all lines and spaces.
  • Limited vendor access to building interiors.
  • Installation of hand-sanitizer dispensers throughout all dining facilities at register stands and entry points.
  • Regular cleaning of high-touch areas, including tables and chairs after each seating.
  • Temporary suspension of debit/credit card transactions at the start of the semester.

For those that do not have a dining plan, food trucks will be available on campus for students to use credit/debit or cash to purchase food. The coffee vendor in Newman Library will be open, as well as Subway and Seattle’s Best in Johnston Student Center.

We will continue to update our hours and services

Dining plans

Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate both on-campus and off-campus students while maintaining physical distancing and public safety guidelines for students and our staff. Therefore, we will not be offering the sale of new dining plans to off-campus students for the fall semester under the current regulations. Fall 2020 dining plans for off-campus students will be canceled automatically, and students do not need to take any further action at this time.

If an off-campus student is interested in the purchase of an off-campus dining plan, they can add themselves to the Dining Plan Waitlist in the Dining Plans section of StarRez. Dining will contact students on the waitlist if they are able to offer an off-campus dining plan option in the future.

If you rolled over a dining plan to fall 2020, you will be able to use your remaining Flex Dollars, Commuter Cash, Flex additions, and Dining Dollars at available dining facilities. You will not be able to add any additional money to your account, however. Any remaining balances must be used during the fall 2020 semester. If you have a FLEX roll-over balance that you do not plan to use, you may request a refund of that balance prior to Aug. 1. This refund will just be for the FLEX balance and does not include administrative fees. Please contact hokiepassport@vt.edu with your Virginia Tech email account to request a rebate on your rollover account from spring 2020. Rebates should be processed 1-2 weeks from the time of request. Balances can be located at www.hokiepassport.vt.edu.

Athletics and Rec Sports

Virginia Tech Athletics continues to work with the NCAA and the ACC to develop potential scenarios related to fall competitions. Find the latest updates at hokiesports.com. Read our football Q&A here

Recreational sports

McComas Hall and the Rec Sports Field House will be open for use with limited occupancy throughout the day to adhere to occupancy and physical distancing guidelines. Outdoor recreation spaces, such as the lower SRA turf fields, fitness park, tennis courts, Challenge Course, and golf course, will be open for a combination of walk-up open recreation and scheduled programs. Intramural Sports will offer dual/individual activities, self-report leagues, and skill-based sport competitions. Venture Out will deliver programming through a combination of in-person and virtual offerings, including gear rental and adventure trips.

Recreational Sports’ group exercise programs will return this fall with new membership options that provide in-person and virtual classes. In-person group exercise classes adhering to physical distancing guidelines (max of 15 participants/class) will be held each week and will be offered Monday-Sunday with advance registration. Recreational Sports will also offer a virtual membership option that gives members access to over 20 virtual classes each week. For more information on group classes, please visit recsports.vt.edu/groupexmembership.

Events And Programs

Campus arts presenters have temporarily paused live events. Gatherings of more than 50 people are not permitted in Virginia during Phase 2 of the commonwealth’s re-opening.

Our planning assumes gathering limits will be in effect through the fall semester. For up-to-date information on both live and virtual events, go to:

Commencement

As the summer and fall seasons progress, we will have increasing clarity on the health precautions that will be necessary for larger gatherings, including the celebration for May 2020 graduates that is planned for the Sept. 26 home football game weekend and the fall semester commencement in December. We will communicate in greater detail as soon as we can.

 

Graduate School

Graduate students often have dual roles – as students and as graduate assistants, graduate teaching assistants, and graduate research assistants – and they contribute to the teaching and learning, research and discovery, and service and engagement missions of the university across its colleges and campuses. The university recognizes and supports your belief that progress toward your degree is important and the Graduate School will work with you toward that end.

As we prepare for the fall 2020 semester, know that your rights and choices will be respected regarding courses and assistantships. For new students, we are modifying our orientation program to provide information and tips for success in a virtual format. Visit the Graduate School’s FAQ webpages and the Guidelines for Graduate Education during COVID-19. Also visit the guidelines articulated in the Expectations for Graduate Study document available on the Graduate School website.

Remote Assistantships

Graduate students who hold assistantship appointments (GTAs, GRAs, and GAs) should discuss with their supervisor available options for carrying out their duties, including working remotely. Supervisors are asked to be understanding and as accommodating as reasonable.  Graduate program directors are available to assist in specific situations, following the guidance from the Graduate School. The Graduate School Ombudsperson’s Office also is available for consultation as desired. Graduate assistants with an underlying medical condition and/or a disability that places them at a higher risk should contact ADA and Accessibility Services.

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:

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 go on sale Aug. 7; all other student parking permits go 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

Facilities And Enhanced Cleaning

Virginia Tech is committed to maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness across all campus facilities. Learn about enhanced cleaning procedures, installation of new hand-sanitizer stations, and much more.

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.