From Frank Shushok Jr.: Caring for our students in a world with COVID-19
Dear Hokie colleagues,
Student Affairs couldn’t be more eager for students to arrive back to Virginia Tech. We had a great fall semester, and I celebrate our resilient students for their hard work, perseverance, and most of all, generous spirts. Throughout the fall, I also witnessed how most of our students’ victories and successes were directly attributable to you, our remarkable faculty and staff. I’m humbled to call you colleagues. Thank you for being such a caring force for the student community.
We’ve come to terms with the reality that for the foreseeable future, COVID-19 will continue to be a focus for our university, our students, and each of us individually. Even though COVID-19 remains part of our lives, together we can limit its impact and give everyone the best opportunity for another strong semester.
As vaccines, therapeutics, and mitigation practices have become readily available and widely utilized, personal responsibility and education are as effective as they’ve ever been for reducing the impact of COVID-19. To keep you informed about the spring semester, I wanted you to be aware of the four things we’re asking students to remember in preparation for the spring 2022 semester.
- Before returning to any Virginia Tech campus, residential students must submit to the StarRez Portal a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of their scheduled arrival. If a student tests positive, they cannot return to campus for five days and until they are symptom free for five days.
- If a student contracts COVID-19 while at Virginia Tech, they are to deploy their developed plan to isolate in place for five days. After five days, if they no longer have symptoms, they may conclude their isolation. Students are required to continue wearing their masks in accordance with university guidelines.
- If a student is identified as a close contact with someone with COVID-19, and they are vaccinated and boosted or vaccinated and not yet eligible for a booster, and they do not have symptoms associated with COVID- 19, they do not need to quarantine but should continue to wear a mask. Unvaccinated people should quarantine for five days.
- Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 should notify the Dean of Students Office immediately so they can provide support, including absence verification, and monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 on campus.
As a reminder, we are requiring booster shots within 14 days of eligibility for all students and employees. If you are eligible now, updated information is due by Feb. 1, and we urge you to get your booster as soon as possible. If you are not eligible yet, please schedule your booster as soon as you are able to do so.
Students and employees should upload their updated vaccination record as soon as they receive a booster dose. Procedures remain in place for students and employees to request medical and religious exemptions. Existing exemptions will be honored. For those with medical concerns about the booster shot, please consult with your physician.
The pandemic has been a much longer journey than we could have ever imagined. The unexpected addition of the omicron variant is testing our stamina once again. As I’ve shared with my colleagues across the country, I know of no other community that who has been more helpful, supportive, and other-centric than right here at Virginia Tech. Thank you times 100,000.
Frank Shushok Jr.
Vice President for Student Affairs