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Virginia Tech announces plans for fall semester

The school will shift to online classes after Thanksgiving to close first semester.

NCAA Football: Belk Bowl-Arkansas vs Virginia Tech Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the world. Everyone from around the world has had to adjust to a new normal whether it meant online learning for children and college students, working from home or countless other things.

The world of sports was shut down in mid-March, but there could be good news on horizon.

With numerous schools and conferences allowing students back on campus, including Virginia Tech, there is a plan to move forward with the 2020 football season as scheduled.

Now, of course, things will be different. All stadiums will likely be at half capacity or less. Also, in some areas, wearing masks will likely be required.

This week, Virginia Tech announced a detailed plan for getting students back on campus this fall. While President Timothy Sands didn’t directly address sports in his message, the reopening of campus obviously goes hand-in-hand with the opening of football season.

In his message, Sands noted the lengths Virginia Tech has gone to in recent months to ensure the campus is healthy and safe when students return. He even noted now his team of experts continues to monitor statistics regarding COVID-19 across the New River Valley and the entire state of Virginia.

At the time of this announcement, the incidence of COVID-19 in the New River Valley has been largely suppressed and appears to be declining across the commonwealth, yet there are still hot spots in other regions of the U.S. and across the world. We can anticipate further outbreaks and resurgences of the disease over the coming months. While we are hopeful for vaccines and effective treatments that reduce serious symptoms and mortality, we cannot count on those solutions in the near term. It is reasonable to assume that we will be living with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future, and during this time we must rely on each other. We will learn together how to live well and work effectively as we take the precautions necessary to mitigate the health risks for our community. We also deeply value our relationships with the local communities that host our programs and campuses. While we transition back to more traditional operations and an on-campus academic semester, the safety, security, and well-being of our community will remain the principal focus, and we will make changes in our plans and practices as conditions on campus and in our community evolve.

On Tuesday, the Hokies began voluntary workouts with around 25-30 members of the football team. While this is a step in the right direction, the pandemic is far from over.

But, we have reason for optimism.