(WFXR) — Two higher education institutions in southwest Virginia — Roanoke College and Virginia Tech — are both reporting high vaccination numbers and low coronavirus case numbers as the 2021-2022 school year gets underway.
According to the most recent update to Roanoke College’s coronavirus dashboard, 40 students and five staff members were tested for the virus between Aug. 13 and Aug. 19, with only two off-campus students and one staff member testing positive.
In addition, Roanoke College says that 80 percent of students and 91 percent of employees are fully or partially vaccinated against the virus as of this writing.
This news comes as new students at Roanoke College are scheduled to move in on Saturday, Aug. 28; returning students are set to move in on Sunday, Aug. 29; evening classes begin on Tuesday, Aug. 31; and day classes begin on Wednesday, Sept. 1.
You can read the full message shared on Friday, Aug. 27 by the Roanoke College Dean of Students, Tom Rambo, below:
Hello Maroons! We’ll see you soon!
By now you’ve probably seen President Maxey’s welcome video, and you know that we are excited and ready for our students to be back on campus.
The purpose of my message today is to help set the stage for your arrival to campus.
Unfortunately, the pandemic isn’t over yet, so we are still carefully monitoring the COVID-19 environment on campus and in our community. As of today, 80% of our students report that they are fully or partially vaccinated, 1% percent have received a medical exemption and three percent have received a religious exemption. We know the vaccination rate will continue to increase as students arrive and present proof of vaccination. At this time, 91% of Roanoke College employees are fully or partially vaccinated with less than 1% having a medical exemption and less than 1% with a religious exemption.
A note for those who have not yet submitted this vaccine documentation: plan to arrive with your proof of vaccination. Virginia Department of Health reports that in Virginia, unvaccinated people develop COVID-19 at a rate 12.5 times higher than fully vaccinated people.
By now, you should have completed or be in the process of completing your pre-arrival COVID-19 test. If you received a positive result, do not come to campus but instead call Student Health Services at (540) 375-2286 and discuss your test results with them. They will give you directions on when and how to return to campus. Those who test negative should have their test results with them upon arrival. Results may also be submitted to the Student Health Portal or emailed to Student Health Services at email@example.com. Please bring a hard copy or picture on your phone when you arrive on campus in case your test hasn’t been processed yet.
We have plans in place to help make this a safe and healthy environment for our entire campus community. We plan to still have gatherings and events, but with safety precautions in place.
A note to family members: If you are helping with move-in and you have any COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to someone who is COVID positive, please help us limit the spready by staying at home.
As you know, everyone will wear masks indoors until the end of September. This includes wearing masks in classrooms, common areas, Colket Center, Belk Fitness Center, Fintel Library and other campus offices and buildings. Masks are required in common areas of the residence halls as well. Students are not required to wear a mask in their own residence hall room. Unvaccinated individuals need to wear masks in outdoor settings where social distancing isn’t possible.
Local health officials are reporting a surge in the region and therefore we are recommending students limit off campus activities.
We are updating our quarantine procedures. Those who are vaccinated will not have to quarantine if exposed to COVID. However, anyone who tests positive is required to isolate for up to 10 days.
We will again use the Daily Health Assessment form to remind all of us to pay attention to our health and to any symptoms we may experience. That form will go live on Aug. 30. Everyone on campus should fill out the form, daily. It takes only a minute to complete.
Using all the tools we have — vaccines, masks, testing and the daily health assessment — we are ready to have our students back on campus and fully engaged in the in-person learning experience Roanoke is known for. I look forward to seeing you on campus very soon!
Dean of Students
Meanwhile, Virginia Tech’s vaccination dashboard says that 95 percent of students and 88 percent of employees have reported themselves as fully vaccinated as of Thursday, Aug. 26.
As for positive coronavirus cases at Virginia Tech, out of the 627 tests conducted for students and employees between Aug. 17 and Aug. 23, the university says only three students came back as positive for the virus. In addition, as of Tuesday, Aug. 24, only two on-campus students are in the designated campus isolation/quarantine space.
Virginia Tech students moved into their dorms from Aug. 14 through Aug. 22 before starting classes on Aug. 23.
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