University leaders taking precautions as holiday travel draws near

Some ending semester early, others turning to remote learning for final weeks

College students taking COVID-19 precautions ahead of the holidays
College students taking COVID-19 precautions ahead of the holidays

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Students are busy studying their coursework and the COVID-19 guidelines before heading home for the holidays.

They’re finishing up their last week classes at Virginia Tech, and university leaders are asking students to enter a 14-day self-quarantine before traveling.

Mark Owczarski, a Tech spokesperson, says COVID-19 testing is also available, but not mandatory.

“We’ll be providing exit testing for students who wish to have it this week, and we have begun that process right now. We have about 3,600 students that have signed up for exiting testing,” said Owczarski.

After Thanksgiving break, students will have one more week of classes, then finals, all done remotely.

“So, a student can stay home, avoid the travel, and complete their fll semester from wherever they may be. They can stay here if they have an off-campus apartment, but our residence halls will be closing on Friday for the Fall term,” Owczarski added.

Meanwhile, at the University of Lynchburg, finals begin Tuesday and run through this week.

Spokesman Michael Jones said once students travel home, they’ll have an extended break through late January.

“We determined that to minimize travel to and from, we’d begin our semester early and end at Thanksgiving,” said Jones.

While COVID-19 testing is also optional, students are asked to quarantine.

“We do have a number of students who are currently in quarantine, and we anticipate we will have a small number of students who may be in quarantine when the semester ends,” Jones said.

As for what will happen when students return to campus, these university officials say they’ll be finalizing protocols over the next few weeks.


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