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Virginia Tech hosts State of the University, prepares for students to return

Thousands of Hokies will return to Blacksburg next week

BLACKSBURG, Va – With the start of the spring semester just days away, Virginia Tech President Tim Sands says employees are working around the clock to welcome students back to Blacksburg.

“We are building on what we learned in the fall as a ramp-up of our testing for the spring with an emphasis on mandatory random prevalence testing of students and surveillance testing of high contact employees,” Virginia Tech President Tim Sands said.

During his state of the university speech Wednesday, Sands explained that Virginia Tech is facing a $60 million dollar loss stemming from the pandemic. (Copyright 2020 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

A major concern on the minds of many is a repeat in a surge of COVID-19 cases similar to the start of the fall semester, but New River Health Director Doctor Noelle Bissell says it’s unlikely.

“We do expect to see our cases increase, we do not expect to see the increase the bumps that we had back in the fall, we don’t expect several hundred cases a day from our college students,” New River Health Director Doctor Noelle Bissell said.

Sands says the work and research being done at Virginia Tech Carilion have significantly increased both the university and the state’s response to the pandemic.

“The Fralin Life Sciences Institute and Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC have played a major role in our COVID response by providing an expanding testing capacity not only to our Virginia Tech Community but to the state,” Sands said.

The university has administered 46,000 COVID-19 tests since August.

During his state of the university speech Wednesday, Sands explained that Virginia Tech is facing a $60 million dollar loss stemming from the pandemic.

Despite that, the university remains committed to studying and expanding testing for COVID-19.


About the Author:

Annie Schroeder joined the 10 News team as a reporter in June 2020 and is no stranger to Southwest Virginia.