University launches dashboard updates each weekday
Tuesday’s debut of a reconfigured COVID-19 dashboard features a daily update of a seven-day number of positive test results from Schiffert Health Center as well as the number of students currently in quarantine or isolation according to the Housing and Residential Life isolation and quarantine data.
The new dashboard, retooled based on feedback and input from the Virginia Tech community, will be updated each weekday by noon.
It is important to note that this dashboard only includes data from testing performed at Virginia Tech through the auspices of the Schiffert Health Center. Test results from off-campus labs and clinics and private health care providers are combined with data from Schiffert Health Center in the reports generated by the Virginia Department of Health.
Tuesday’s updated dashboard will show the number of positive cases broken out in two categories, one for students and one for employees. These numbers show a cumulative total of 500 positive COVID-19 test results for students and three for employees since Aug. 3. A total of 11,984 tests have been administered. In the last seven days (Aug. 31 to Sept. 6), the number of newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 is 327 — 324 for students and three for employees. There are 119 on-campus students are in designated isolation/quarantine space. With the existing campus isolation and quarantine space and the ability to expand if necessary, we are able to manage the expected need for our students.
Although the case numbers have increased, the trajectory remains within the university’s expectations and projections. As explained at the President’s Town Hall on Sept. 3, the start of the semester brought an increased student population living in close proximity to each other. Still, local officials, including President Tim Sands and Noelle Bissell, director of the New River Valley Health District, are confident that Virginia Tech is in a good position to see case numbers plateau in the coming weeks before beginning to decline.
As Bissell said in the town hall, all indications are that student cases are largely staying within the student population and not spreading into the broader community.
Despite these indications that COVID-19 can be contained in the community, the significant number of new cases each week reinforces the need for all members of the university community to strictly adhere to public health guidelines:
- Wear a mask or face covering at all times, indoors and outdoors.
- Avoid large gatherings and remain physically distant from those around you.
- Wash your hands frequently.
In addition to strictly following public health guidelines, it is imperative that students, faculty, and staff who have symptoms or believe that they may have contracted COVID-19 inform university health professionals or their local health practitioner. This will allow for good health counseling and testing, along with effective contact tracing through the Virginia Department of Health, to help contain the spread of the virus.
While the university maintains that it is counterproductive to punish students by retroactively investigating how they contracted COVID-19, officials will utilize the student conduct process to address dangerous behavior that creates the conditions that spread the virus.
A driving goal for Virginia Tech remains the preservation of the essential elements of the in-person educational experience — instruction and labs, life within residence halls, and everyday encounters that lead to strong personal relationships, unique personal growth, and learning moments for our students — while caring for the health of our students, our dedicated faculty and staff, and the larger community.