NEW RIVER VALLEY, Va. (WFXR) — Two southwest Virginia universities have Day One of the spring semester under their belt.
Radford University and Virginia Tech look to make this semester better for students and staff than the fall, a semester of uncertainty and adaptation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s no secret that the fall semester was difficult for colleges and universities in southwest Virginia.
Virginia Tech and Radford were no exception.
“…but through all of that, our students still want to get to work, as do our faculty,” said Mark Owczarski, Assistant VP for University Relations at Virginia Tech.
“…they (students and staff) showed up, worked hard, and they did what we needed them to do so we could finish semester on campus. We are very proud of them,” added Caitlyn Scaggs, Assistant VP for University Relations and Radford University.
Both university spokespeople say they will take what they learned from the fall and use it to their advantage in the spring.
“Added to that is the hope of vaccines,” Owczarski said.
University staff are in the 1c category for vaccinations in Virginia, and the expectation is to be vaccinated in the March-May range.
Radford University recently concluded a survey amongst staff on willingness to be vaccinated.
Of 1,112 faculty and staff, 905 said they were interested in being vaccinated, an 81% yes.
“We also did a survey of our employees, in terms of their willingness or desire for vaccines, and 88% said yes,” Owczarski said.
Both spokespeople acknowledge we’re not out of the woods yet during this pandemic and are urging their respective university family to stay the course in combating the spread of COVID-19.
“We need to be vigilant; we need to follow those public health guidelines,” Owczarski said. “If we do the things that we need to do, we can, again, successfully complete a semester.”
“When our students do their part, we can accomplish great things together,” Scaggs stated. “We can maintain our on-campus delivery of our coursework, and we can keep our Highlanders here with us, which is exactly where we want them to be.”
Virginia Tech is staying virtual for the remainder of the first week back, to give students a gradual move-back period.
They will begin in-person and hybrid learning on Monday, Jan. 25.