BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — On Monday, students and faculty fully returned to Virginia Tech’s campus to begin their first day of classes for the fall semester.

Previously, the school only mandated students to be vaccinated before coming back to campus. However, on Thursday, Aug. 19, President Tim Sands changed that requirement, now requiring employees to get the vaccine.

“By expanding our vaccine requirement to all Virginia Tech employees, we can stay ahead of this virus and generate as much population immunity as possible,” said Sands.

If a student does not submit their vaccine forms, they will not be enrolled in the fall semester and will not be considered an active student at Virginia Tech.

Associate Vice President of University Relations, Mark Owczarski, says that from a COVID-19 perspective, they have been preparing for this day for more than a year.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled for something we’ve been working on and hoping on for 18 months. It’s wonderful to have that day upon us with students back on campus, students going to classes, and students engaged in activities. It’s what Virginia Tech is all about,” said Owczarski.

Students around campus say that they received one of the three vaccines because coming back on campus was essential. National Security and Foreign Affairs major, Erika Park says that she misses campus a lot.

“I miss campus so much. COVID hit my freshman year, so I feel like the freshman this year have been here longer than I am,” said Park.

Owczarski says that only six percent of students and 17 percent of faculty and staff have failed to submit their vaccinations. Students have until Friday, Aug. 27 at 5 p.m. to submit their forms.

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