BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Virginia Tech students are returning to campus, but things will look a bit different. Students are now required to be fully vaccinated — this includes the booster. They will also have to wear a mask indoors at all times and have a negative COVID test before returning to campus.

“Our goal is to be together but in a safe manner,” said university spokesperson Mark Owczarski.

Owczarski says the new coronavirus protocols this semester are meant to provide extra protection for students amid another surge of COVID-19 cases.

“We’re trying to step up the game because the omicron variant has changed how we have to react and behave,” he said.

Students will not be allowed into dorms without proof of a negative coronavirus test, along with getting fully vaccinated when eligible. They also must wear masks indoors at all times.

How long will this last? Owczarski says it depends.

“Until the spreading and the effects of the pandemic get to a point where we can loosen those restrictions and get to a place where we can move forward without them,” said Owczarski.

One student says she feels safer with the strict protocols.

“I’m definitely more comfortable from the beginning of the semester,” said student Katy Maschuch.

Maschuch says she feels the university is more prepared this time than last semester.

“I feel like they’ve got control on and they have a better idea of what’s going on now, so they are better prepared,” said Maschuch.

Parent Dennis Haley is dropping off his freshman daughter and says the protocols are necessary with the large number of students.

“It’s a lot of people up here and if that breaks out, a lot of people could get sick. It’s in the best interest of everyone, and I agree with it.”

The university will begin classes on Tuesday, Jan. 18 with the new protocols in place.