ETTRICK, Va. (WRIC) — Students at Virginia State University will not be returning to campus this fall as planned but the move is being praised by many.
The university made the announcement Monday after several colleges across the nation, including Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond, have seen outbreaks of COVID-19 after reopening.
Initially, the university said that classes, which began last week, would be virtual for the first four weeks of the semester to allow students, staff and faculty time to get tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus on Sept. 14.
In a letter sent late Monday night, President Dr. Mokola Abdullah said that while the school is “fully prepared” to welcome students back in-person, the implications and risks are too dangerous.
The declaration came after Abdullah said VSU Administration revisited the topic following a spike in positive COVID-19 cases at multiple universities. Many reversed course, switching back to virtual learning, a move VSU followed.
Our sister-station WRIC spoke to sophomore Joi Boyd, who said while she is sad that she will not see be able to see any of her friends in person, she understands the university’s decision.
“I kind of expected it because the numbers aren’t really going anywhere,” she said. “They’re increasing so I knew it was coming but I was really disappointed.”
Junior Mykal Childs said that she signed up for all online classes this semester because she was not comfortable moving back to campus if VSU stayed with its original reopening plan.
“I feel like it was a great decision because I already wasn’t coming back this semester,” she said.
The historically black university also pointed out that the school serves a population that is more at-risk of COVID-19, as studies show half of all cases and deaths stem from the black community. VSU added that students would hear from university officials soon about updates for housing and dining.
“I know it’s all for the best,” Boyd added. “I just hope it all goes away soon and we can all get back to the norm.”