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Virginia Tech Announces COVID-19 Testing and Tracing Plan

Virginia Tech outlined a comprehensive testing, tracing and case management plan as the campus prepares for students, faculty, and staff to return in the fall.

Virginia Tech outlined a comprehensive testing, tracing and case management plan as the campus prepares for students, faculty, and staff to return in the fall. The plan includes guidelines for ongoing screening and testing, cooperation with local health department contact-tracing investigations, and case management within the university population.

Before Virginia Tech students arrive on campus, they are encouraged to self-quarantine and wear a face mask for 14 days before returning to campus. They are also “strongly encouraged” to secure a negative COVID-19 test result five days before returning to campus.

Testing will be available to thousands of students living in university housing during move-in days which will be Aug. 14 through Aug. 23. About 9,000 students live on campus, making up about 30% of the total student population, according to the Daily Progress.

“If all our on-campus students participate in this screening program, we will have a very reliable snapshot of health and well-being of our student population, including students from areas of high prevalence, both within and outside of Virginia,” Mike Mulhare, assistant vice president for emergency management, said in a university statement. “That information will help us make informed decisions about future testing and mitigation strategies.”

Faculty, staff and students will be asked to complete a daily health survey before stepping on campus using the “Hokie Health” screening tool in the university’s public safety mobile app. Some higher-contact areas may have additional screening protocols.

Testing of symptomatic people will be given the highest priority, followed by individuals identified as close contacts of those who have tested positive for COVID-19. As the university becomes aware of people who test positive, it will notify local health departments to coordinate contact-tracing.

Students who test positive should notify the Dean of Students office in order to provide personal, social and academic support for the student. If a student living on campus tests positive, the student will be moved to the designated isolation residence hall at New Hall West and will receive daily health check calls from the health center.

Employees are required to notify their supervisor if they miss work due to illness or are asked to self-quarantine by the Virginia Department of Health.

In addition to the testing and tracing plan, Virginia Tech spent more than $1 million on personal protective equipment (PPE), reports the Daily Progress. The university bought more than 400,000 disposable surgical masks, 58,000 reusable cotton cloth masks and 30,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, as well as 2,300 hand sanitizer stations that will be installed on throughout campus.

Read more on Virginia Tech’s testing and contact tracing plan here or visit vt.edu/ready

About the Author

Yvonne Marquez is senior editor of Spaces4Learning and Campus Security and Life Safety. She can be reached at ymarquez@1105media.com

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