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Remote Opportunities for Students

We understand that some members of our community are not comfortable engaging in in-person instruction this spring due to underlying medical conditions or a concern over transmission to friends or family members. To the extent possible, faculty, academic department heads and advisors will continue to work with students to maximize learning opportunities in a virtual format.

Undergraduate students who are concerned about academic issues (missing class, missing assignments, courses) can reach out to their academic advisor, Academic Advising Office, Dean of Students Office, or the undergraduate associate dean for their college: 

  • College of Architecture and Urban Studies: Kathryn Albright,
  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Susan Sumner,
  • Pamplin College of Business: Lara Khansa,
  • College of Engineering: Keith Thompson,
  • College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences: Dan Thorp,
  • College of Natural Resources and Environment: Keith Goyne,
  • College of Science: Robin Panneton,

Graduate students can contact their advisor, their graduate program director, and/or the Graduate School


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 All other requests should be sent to

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.

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.

During the spring 2021 semester, your rights and choices will be respected regarding courses and assistantships. Students can find links to key webpages students use most often on our Current Students page. Visit the Graduate School’s Ready Information page and the Guidelines for Graduate Education during COVID-19 for the latest information. Also visit the guidelines articulated in the Expectations for Graduate Study document available on the Graduate School website.

Graduate students who are concerned about academic issues (missing class, missing assignments, courses) can contact their advisor, their graduate program director, and/or the Graduate School.

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.

Instructional Faculty information

Preparing for teaching and Learning for Fall 2020

The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost has a number of academic instruction and technology resources available to faculty to support them in effectively engaging and educating students throughout the fall semester. Faculty can access these communities of practice, academic and student support working groups, and course design and development resources to assist with modified in-person, online and hybrid course delivery. For more info, please visit the provost’s website.

Student Perceptions of Teaching Evaluations

Student Perceptions of Teaching (SPOT) evaluations for all courses taught in calendar year 2020 will be conducted for all spring, summer, and fall classes. Recognizing that the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will complicate instruction, SPOT scores for courses taught in calendar year 2020 will not be the basis for decisions about future online course offerings or other administrative decisions.

The reporting of SPOT scores from the courses taught during 2020 for performance evaluations or promotion and tenure will be at the discretion of the faculty member. Faculty may choose to report their SPOT scores in their Faculty Activity Report or promotion dossier.  However, faculty may also choose to omit SPOT scores and the absence of scores will not influence the evaluation of the faculty member.

For more detailed faculty information, please visit the faculty affairs website.  

Spring 2021 operational plan

Review the university’s spring 2021 operational plan.

Research Operations

In the spring semester, Virginia Tech will continue its research in a manner that recognizes the importance of safety, transitions back to an in-person student-learning experience, and continues to ramp up research programs.

  • We are operating under the university’s modified operations status.
  • 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, due to lab space and physical distancing guidelines. 
  • Colleges and institutes may add additional requirements in their areas. 
  • Allowable research activities require the approval of deans, vice presidents, or institute directors or their designee(s). 
  • The COVID-19 Research and Continuity Guidance microsite contains various resources for researchers, including Phase Three: Reopening Guidance.

Research PPE and Hygiene

  • Individuals must use appropriate PPE and continue strict adherence to safety/hygiene and physical distancing requirements.
  • For guidance on scaling laboratory operations, the use of face coverings in research and laboratory settings, and more, see Environmental Health & Safety COVID-19 FAQs.

Guidance for Department Heads

If a faculty member in my department reports that a student has tested positive or has been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive student in his/her class or lab, what do I do?

  • The department head and the faculty should not share any information regarding the identity or status of the student who has tested positive with any other students, faculty, or staff. Department heads should always work closely and directly with the Dean of Students (DOS) Office on all student health and safety matters.
  • Department heads who learn from one of their faculty that a student in their class/lab has tested positive for COVID-19 should immediately notify the Dean of Students Office (Byron Hughes, The student should be directed to contact the Dean of Students, as they are the institution’s coordinating unit and contact for case management, to ensure the university is informed/aware and can coordinate with the Virginia Department of Health on contact-tracing and case management.
  • Department heads should also notify the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (Zachary Adams: 540-231-5985,; or Lance Franklin: 540-231-9044, of the contaminated classroom/lab space to request cleaning and sanitizing.
  • EHS and the department head should stay in regular contact to know when the classroom/lab space has been disinfected and it is safe for students and faculty to return to in-person instruction.
  • Department heads should work with faculty if there is a need to make short-term or long-term changes to course modality. If a change is necessary, faculty will need to communicate as early as possible with students to ensure course assignments can be completed without delay.
  • Additional guidance and actions to take for those who test positive, have come in close contact, or share a work area/equipment is in COVID-19 Instructions for Supervisors.

How should I advise a faculty member who has a student asking how they can get tested?

  • Department heads should tell faculty to direct the student to the Schiffert Health Center. The student should first call Schiffert at 540-231-6444 for initial screening and to make an appointment. 
  • Alternatively, students should be told they can also call the LewisGale Hospital Montgomery Emergency Department at 540-951-1111 or their doctor's office. 
  • Students who have paid the university health fee will not be charged for the testing at Schiffert. See Schiffert’s FAQs for more
  • Students with more specific questions should contact the Dean of Students office.

How should I advise a faculty member who has a student who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms in his/her class or lab?


  • As a best practice, department heads should suggest to faculty that they start each class or session in the lab with the question “Have you filled out the Hokie Health survey today?” Reinforcing the importance of maintaining awareness of their own health and whether they are exhibiting symptoms will help to encourage students to stay home if they are beginning to show symptoms of the virus.
  • Given that COVID-19 symptoms overlap in part with symptoms of other conditions such as the seasonal flu or allergies (e.g., coughing, sneezing, etc.), department heads should encourage their faculty to approach a student who seems ill with caution, and concern and compassion.


Students who exhibit symptoms or signs of COVID-19 should be strongly encouraged to stay home and seek medical assistance at Schiffert Health Center