Dear members of the Virginia Tech community,

Yesterday we updated our COVID-19 online dashboard and reported a marked increase in positive cases on our campus. Specifically, Schiffert Health Center recorded 157 new cases over the past week, and 48 students are now isolating or quarantining in designated living spaces on campus. Any increase in positive cases is a cause for concern, but Monday’s report was not unexpected. We’ve been planning diligently for this scenario for months and are managing it in very close partnership with the New River Health District.

The Virginia Department of Health has been contact tracing each positive case. We also continue to conduct health screening and perform diagnostic and surveillance testing across campus. We are monitoring information on a real-time basis, and our community will see that reflected in more frequent updates to the COVID-19 online dashboard. As information comes in, we’ll continue to be flexible, take action, and follow the guidance of health authorities. Looking ahead, should the number of new cases not stabilize and decline, we will consider temporarily scaling back university operations consistent with our planning.

Just as important as what the university does as a whole is what each of us does as an individual. As I’ve walked the campus over the past few weeks, I’ve seen so many students, faculty, staff, and community members continue to demonstrate strict adherence to the public health behaviors that limit the spread of the virus. It makes me so proud to see how much our fellow Hokies care about each other. Thank you! Wearing masks, keeping physical distance, and avoiding uncontrolled indoor gathering is making a difference.

At the same time, it’s clear that not everyone is doing everything they should. For those who think that the personal risk of serious disease is low or that a small indoor party without masks or physical distancing is worth it, I ask you to consider the implications of your decisions for others. We will get through this, and if we all make personal decisions based on the collective well-being of our community, we will get through this faster.

Thank you for all you’re doing and will continue to do to contain this virus. Let’s continue to work together to keep the Virginia Tech community healthy, safe, and vibrant.

Tim Sands,

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