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Virginia Tech announces COVID-19 safety protocols for fall semester

Virginia Tech students Hannah Lyons (left) and Emma Putnam work in a campus biochemistry lab while following the university's indoor face mask guidelines.
Photo by Ray Meese.
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Virginia Tech students Hannah Lyons (left) and Emma Putnam work in a campus biochemistry lab while following the university's indoor face mask guidelines.

Several precautions Virginia Tech enforced last year have been revised for the upcoming school year. The university released new COVID-19 safety guidelines Monday ahead of its fall semester.

According to the release, the university “strongly encourages” COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, but doesn’t require students or employees to be vaccinated. Masks are welcomed, but not required, except they must be worn at the Schiffert Health Center.

For comparison, last fall when the Delta variant was surging, the university required students without an exemption to be vaccinated, and masks were required in all buildings for anyone not vaccinated.

One other major change begins Aug 26, when optional employee testing will end. At-home rapid test kits are available for students at the Schiffert Health Center.

All residential students are strongly encouraged to complete an at-home COVID test 48-72 hours before moving onto campus this fall. Students who test positive should isolate at home for five days and notify the director of housing and test results to the Schiffert Health Center health portal. The university is not providing space for students to stay while they isolate.

The letter, which was signed by senior staff at Virginia Tech, said “We believe that the time has come for us to stand down the daily emergency management of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases.” Anyone in the Virginia Tech community is asked not to attend work or gatherings if they are sick, and to take a test if they suspect they may have COVID-19.

To find a free testing site, contact the Virginia Department of Health or visit a participating local library.

Updated: August 8, 2022 at 4:14 PM EDT
In the interest of disclosure, Radio IQ is a service of Virginia Tech.

Roxy Todd is Radio IQ's New River Valley Bureau Chief.