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FAQs for graduate students regarding the university's COVID-19 directives

Spring semester began on January 19 and semester classes will end on May 5. Finals will be held May 7-12. The virtual university commencement will be on Friday, May 14, at 6:15 p.m., and degrees will be conferred at this time. Virginia Tech will host 15 in-person commencement ceremonies in Lane Stadium May 10-16 that will be divided up by college, including the Graduate School, to celebrate graduating Hokies while also adhering to public health guidelines. The Graduate School Lane Stadium events are at 2 p.m. on Monday, May 10, and at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 11. Tickets are required for both participants and their guests.

The university continues to observe the public health guidelines and procedures recommended by the Virginia Department of Health. Classes have been offered in three modalities: online, in-person, or a hybrid combination.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate, while students and others who come in contact with someone who tests positive for the disease are asked to quarantine.

All employees and students must adhere to public health guidelines, which include wearing face masks or coverings in public, observing physical distancing, avoiding crowds, and frequently washing hands or using hand sanitizer. Classrooms have been modified to decrease capacity to avoid potential spread of COVID-19. 

We continue to monitor public health updates and will share new information as it is provided. You'll find up-to-date information on the university's Ready page

"I think it is important that we continue to communicate," Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education Karen P. DePauw said during a recent virtual town hall. "We will do everything we can to communicate changes or what we are doing. ... It is the uncertainty and unknowing that can add to the stress." We are endeavoring to provide up-to-date and accurate information as we receive it. 

(Updated: April 30, 2021)

What are the university’s plans if there is an increase in COVID-19 cases on campus or in the region?

The University is prepared to transition in-person course instruction to online should the need arise.

What is the university doing to with classrooms to ensure safety?

Virginia Tech' facilities crews have been reconfiguring classroom spaces to provide 6 feet of space between students. This has reduced the capacity of instruction spaces. There will be hand santizer stations outside each classroom, and instructors will wear face shields if they are teaching in front of students. You can find out more about VT's efforts to follow public health guidelines in classrooms in this article

What personal hygiene protocols will be expected of me?

The university will follow the governor’s guidelines for personal hygiene related to public health. Face coverings or masks will be required in all campus buildings, and also outside on campus grounds if physical distancing is not possible. Students, faculty, and staff members are expected to observe social distancing guidelines of six feet between individuals. All university community members are expected to continue frequent handwashing and using hand sanitizer when handwashing is not possible. 

(updated December 12, 2020)

What about our campuses in the Washington, D.C. area, Roanoke, and beyond? 

The University's FAQs includes a page focused on our campuses in the Washington D.C. area, Roanoke, and other locations, that are updated regularly. We will share more details as we receive them, too. 

Where can I found out how many members of the Blacksburg university community have tested positive for COVID-19?

The University has developed a COVID-19 Dashboard, which it updates weekly. The University reset the numbers to begin fresh with the Spring semester. Additionally, the page has a link to the Department of Health page so you can see reported cases in the region. (Updated January 25, 2021)

Where can I get current and accurate information about COVID-19 at Virginia Tech?

The university has continued manning its COVID-19 call center, also known as the COVID-19 Hotline, to help all members of the university community get information and answers on matters related to the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The number is 540-231-7600.

(updated February 17, 2021)

Can I get a COVID-19 test from Schiffert Health Center if I am in Blacksburg?

The spring semester strategy includes voluntary and mandatory testing, along with adaptive approaches as needed. The university has also increased laboratory capacity for the spring semester. Surveillance testing for high-contact employees continues through May 7.  

  • Voluntary testing for students, faculty, and staff will occur daily (Monday through Friday) through May 7.
  • Pre-sign-up walk-in testing for students, faculty, and staff is available on Sundays through May 2, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Schiffert Health Center testing will continue through May 14, for all symptomatic students and students who have been contact-traced or have a known exposure. 
  • Testing out of quarantine for students will be handled through Schiffert. Testing out of quarantine for employees will be cleared through the Environmental Health and Safety office, based on ArcPoint testing. 

(updated April 2, 2021)

Are tests available for students at campuses in the Washington, D.C. area? 

Virginia Tech has been offering COVID-19 testing in the D.C. metro area when classes are in session. The last sessions offered will be May 11-13.  You can make a testing appointment in the usual way using the online system.

Please note that this testing is NOT for people who are experiencing symptoms or think that they might be sick with COVID.  If that applies to you, please contact your primary care physician or Schiffert Health Center in Blacksburg (540-231-6444) for advice on how to be tested.

(Updated April 30, 2021)

How do I report a positive COVID-19 test?

This flowchart provides guidance for how to report symptoms or a positive test. 

(Updated Jan. 4, 2021)

Are any of Virginia Tech's graduate programs waiving their GRE testing requirement for fall 2021 admission? 

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is not a requirement of the Graduate School, but may be required by the program to which you are applying. Current programs waiving the GRE or GMAT test score requirement for Fall 2021 are listed here

(updated January 5, 2021)

How is the vaccine being administered?

Virginia Tech is working with the NRHD to vaccinate all eligible individuals in the New River Vally Health District. Register for the vaccine at the Virginia Department of Health website.  

When will everyone else get the vaccine?

The governor has announced that all adults are eligible for vaccinations. That expansion began April 18. 

How do I find out more about the COVID-19 vaccine and its availability?

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is guiding vaccine distribution, and the Virginia Tech community is actively supporting their efforts. We will provide further information about vaccinations as it becomes available. You can read more about the VDH response on this webpage. Meanwhile, we urge all members of our community to continue adhering to public health guidelines.

I live in the greater Washington D.C. metro area. Where do I find information about vaccine availability?

This bulletin announcement provides a wealth of information, including health district contact information and businesses providing vaccines to the public. 

(updated April 30, 2021)

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Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown

155 Otey Street

Graduate School, Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA 24061