(WFXR) — The spring semester is kicking off at two universities in the New River Valley on Tuesday, albeit with certain scheduling modifications and virus restrictions in place to protect the Blacksburg and Radford communities amid the pandemic.
Starting Tuesday, Jan. 19, Virginia Tech students will spend their first week of spring classes completely online. However, they will transition to in-person and hybrid learning formats on Jan. 25.
The Blacksburg university also scheduled five single-day breaks throughout the semester to make up for the lack of a traditional spring break.
Virginia Tech’s spring semester is supposed to end on May 5, with final exams set for the week of May 7 and Commencement ceremonies set for May 13 through May 15.
Virginia Tech President Tim Sands shared the following letter with the university community on Monday, Jan. 18, ahead of the first day of classes:
Our spring semester is officially underway! To our students, faculty, and staff, new or returning, on campus or virtual, we’re glad to have our community together again as we continue this unique academic year. I appreciate your ongoing resilience and determination – it will serve us well as we make progress toward our “next normal” campus experience.
Thanks to our innovative faculty and staff, we continue to enhance the day-to-day campus experience for our students. Our new Field House provides opportunities for recreational sports with friends, and the dome beside Cowgill Hall can safely host in-person classes in an outdoor setting. Student Affairs is launching a new POD registration process that will provide more opportunities to study and to socialize with friends. Our division of Student Affairs is working to deliver a great campus experience that aligns with public health guidelines and the New River Health District/Virginia Department of Health’s vaccination program. Watch for the student updates sent to you three times a week throughout the semester and check the Ready site.
While balancing caregiving responsibilities and telecommuting challenges, our faculty and staff continue to serve our community. Our essential workers who are on-site every day keep our campus operational. Vaccine protocol and distribution through the NRV Health District has allowed nearly 400 employees to be vaccinated thus far with several hundred more scheduled for vaccinations this week, all as part of the 1b priority group as defined by the department of health. We are moving forward.
If we maintain our vigilance and commitment, we can cautiously anticipate an increasing number of in-person experiences both in and out of the classroom. And I’m hopeful we will once again be able to gather for events. For a more thorough discussion of our progress and plans for the future, I invite you to watch my 2020-21 State of the University Address.
Our success this semester depends on each one of us. Continue wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance, even after vaccines are administered. Take care of yourselves and each other. We’ve all worked hard to get this far, so let’s make it count as we look forward to reclaiming the active campus we know and love.
Be committed.Tim Sands, President of Virginia Tech
Meanwhile, Radford University is also planning to kick off spring classes on Tuesday.
Univeristy officials will use many of the campus reopening components from the fall 2020 semester in order to protect students and staff amid the pandemic.
In addition, the school will acknowledge spring break at the end of the semester, thus ending classes a week early.
Radford University is set to hold its Commencement events for the Class of 2021 — which will graduate separately from the Class of 2020 — will take place April 30 through May 2.