two students wearing masks holding First Day of School sign
8.06.2021
By Roanoke College News

Vaccine and test reminders; Masking update

Hello Maroons, 

We hope you are having a great summer and we can’t wait to see you in a few short weeks. We’re preparing for a safe return to campus and a healthy semester, and we need your help to do so.  

The Delta variant is dominant in this region, and all areas of Virginia (and many other areas of the country) are seeing surges in infections from this variant of COVID-19. Model projections by Virginia Department of Health show cases could exceed January’s peak. Evidence is building that the Delta variant causes more severe disease and it is more transmissible. We are closely monitoring the increase of COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant of the virus, and are keeping up with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Gov. Ralph Northam regarding face coverings. 

Three tools are available to help us have a healthy, active and full semester: Vaccines, Masks and Tests (VMT for short). Roanoke College will use all three of these tools in the coming year. 

  • Vaccines are our best defense against COVID-19 and the Delta variant. Those who are vaccinated are far less likely to develop severe illness. VDH reports that between May 22 and June 22, over 97% of the COVID-19 cases in Virginia were among Virginians who were not fully vaccinated.  
  • We know from last year that masks work. We returned to our classrooms with masks and there were no documented cases from the classrooms.  
  • COVID-19 testing also helps to identify positive cases, especially those without symptoms, and allow us to minimize the exposure to the rest of the campus. Unvaccinated individuals will be subject to regular weekly testing. Others will be tested if symptomatic.  

Reminder to submit proof of vaccine 

Students are required to submit proof of a COVID-19 vaccination through the Student Health Portal and should have done so by now. You can still submit the proof of vaccination and it is important that you do so right away.  

If you still haven’t been vaccinated, please prioritize this so you may move back to campus and attend classes as planned. Being vaccinated will minimize the restrictions individuals experience on campus and allow the College to hold a more “normal semester experience” for our students.  

Many nationwide pharmacies offer the vaccines with no appointment required.  

Unvaccinated students will be subject to weekly COVID-19 testing via Student Health Services until a satisfactory number of students have been vaccinated.   

Plan for a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival 

Students are required to provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their arrival on campus. This is a requirement both for vaccinated and unvaccinated students.  UPDATE: Testing should be conducted at home prior to arrival on campus. PCR, Rapid tests or even at-home tests are acceptable. 

  • Aug. 28 move-in = test Aug. 25-27
  • Aug. 30 move-in = test Aug. 27 to 29
  • Aug. 31 move-in = test Aug. 28-30.
  • Off campus or Commuter students = test Aug. 28-30.
  • All results should be supplied to Student Health Center by Aug. 31 before classes begin on Sept. 1. 

Masking indoors for first month 

Based on recommendations from the CDC and because of COVID-19 surges in our region and across the country, Roanoke College will require everyone on campus to wear a mask in indoor settings starting on August 16 through the end of September. This change is based on the best medical recommendations at this time and based on our experience in managing COVID-19. Masks help to lessen the likelihood of infections and therefore should help us to gather our Maroon community on campus and in classrooms with a decreased chance of a back-to-school surge.  

Large gatherings, such as Fridays on the Quad, are being evaluated based on the current surge and the vaccine response by our community.  

Student Conduct  

We have learned much about this disease in the past year and we expect this year to go well with vaccines. However, the Delta variant presents a serious risk and we are taking it seriously from day one. We expect all students to do the same.  

Violations of COVID-19 policies and precautions will be treated seriously. The College was intentionally flexible with these rules last year, as much as possible, but we are in a potentially serious situation this fall and students will be expected to abide by policies set by the College.  

A successful semester 

We look forward to as normal a semester as possible as the nation gets through this pandemic. We plan to hold all classes in person. We will have safe and fun activities for students. In the residence halls, we will allow hall-to-hall visitation. Maroon Athletics and most other student activities will proceed on schedule.  

Throughout the past year and a half, you have proven your resilience and your kindness as you take precautions to keep each other safe. We ask that you continue to keep it up and together we will have a great year. 

If you have questions, you can always reach out to us at questions@roanoke.edu. Thanks!