Faculty and staff colleagues,

As we near the end of the fall semester and enter the holiday season, I want to share my thanks and appreciation to each of you. As a community, we have come a long way working together the past seven months, keeping each other safe while moving Virginia Tech forward throughout the summer and fall.

Recently, an article ran in the Virginia Tech Daily regarding campus operations after Thanksgiving break. I want to take this time to provide more information for faculty, staff, and wage employees as it relates to several key items for spring 2021 semester.

The upcoming spring semester will operate similarly to the fall semester, outlined in the Fall 2020 COVID-19 Operational Plan.

Spring classes will begin Tuesday, Jan. 19, starting with online instruction through Friday, Jan. 22. In-person and hybrid instruction will begin Monday, Jan. 25, and continue until the end of the semester.

Remote work and flexible schedules

The university’s workforce will continue to operate as we have in the fall semester, and telework will remain an option for spring 2021 for employees in roles that can be performed remotely. Virginia Tech continues to encourage managers to work with employees to provide flexible and alternative work options, and the university will continue to support flexibility while there are challenging demands of caregiving.

Existing telework agreements with review dates set for the end of the year or fall semester can be updated to run through the end of spring 2021 semester. A new telework agreement can also be created for the spring semester.

Employees are encouraged to begin discussions now with managers on work plans for the spring semester.

Safety protocols

Virginia Tech will continue the workplace safety protocols put in place for the fall semester.

The university will continue to require testing for approximately 1,000 high-contact employees. Details about spring semester testing will be shared with those employees, their managers, and HR partners soon.

We hope and expect to offer voluntary testing as we have capacity before the holidays and after many return to work after the New Year. Details are forthcoming.

Employee leave

While 2020 has been an unusual year and leave may not have been taken as it would have normally, it is important that we all take time away from work for our mental health and wellbeing. I encourage you to work with your manager now to plan and use leave.

As a reminder, the last day to use accrued 2020 leave is Jan. 9, 2021. Avoid losing excess leave that will not carry over! Information about leave carryover limits can be found on the HR Leave website.

I hope you will enjoy well-earned leave over the upcoming holidays. The Thanksgiving holiday begins at noon, Wednesday, Nov. 25, and runs through Friday, Nov. 27. The university’s Winter Break begins Dec. 24, 2020 – Jan. 1, 2021. Employees will need appropriate leave types to cover Dec. 28 – 31, 2020, during the Winter Break as those dates are neither university nor state holidays.

As a reminder, the federal Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) will expire Dec. 31, 2020. Human Resources will continue to monitor changes that come from Richmond and Washington, D.C., and communicate them to employees.

Employee resources

I encourage you to review the many resources available to employees, and take advantage of them, as needed. From Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to Hokie Wellness to Virtual Learning Center, these great resources and many others can be found on the HR website.

As always, keep practicing good health habits, using the three W’s — wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.

Thank you again for your dedication to Virginia Tech! While full of unprecedented challenges, 2020 has shown the best of the Hokie Nation: service, commitment, and excellence.

Go Hokies!

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