Virginia Tech in “uncharted territory” as it prepares return to classes in Fall


WASHINGTON (WFXR) — Universities and institutions are assessing their plans to reopen for the fall 2020 academic semester. One thing is certain: everything will be dramatically different.

Mark Owczarski, assistant vice president for university relations at Virginia Tech, said we’re in uncharted territory.

“The fall at Virginia Tech like so many colleges and universities will be unlike anything it has ever been in any year at any college or university in history,” Owczarski said.

Owczarski said doing this the right way is what’s important.

“We’re not just trying to keep our students, faculty and staff safe. We have an obligation to the broader community as well,” Owczarski said.

Students will have the option of staying remote if they want to.

“We estimate about 30% of our instruction will be in-person and 70% will be online,” Owczarski said.

Adil Sageer, student government president at Virginia Tech, said finding a class online shouldn’t be that difficult.

“If you wanted to stay remote, it shouldn’t be too hard — unless you’re graduating soon — it shouldn’t be hard to switch out electives and major courses,” said Sageer.

U.S. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) supports reopening this fall if it can be done.

“That is going to be better for families that don’t have good broadband to get course material online. That is going to be the best thing. That’s what we should shoot for,” Kaine said.

The Virginia senator said while universities might be reopening, don’t forget to be cautious.

“We have to monitor the spiking of coronavirus and pray we don’t see the spikes in Virginia we’ve seen in other places,” Kaine said.

Whether online or in-person, Sageer is optimistic.

“I’m a rising senior, so this is a chapter in my college experience. Don’t think of it as a negative, think of it as an extremely memorable semester,” said Sageer.

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