Spring 2021 Semester Operational Plan

Message from President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. Spring 2021 Semester Operational Plan

Dear Radford Family:

I am pleased to share the Spring 2021 Semester Operational Plan for Radford University. The plan provides important details regarding the University’s operational structure and academic calendar for next semester. The plan includes the continuation of many of the Campus Reopening Plan components, which proved to be successful during the Fall 2020 semester as we worked together to fulfill our mission and, at the same time, slowed the spread of COVID-19. As I have previously stated, our efforts to limit COVID-19 were successful due to the many precautions put in place and the constant care demonstrated by Highlanders.

As students return to campus in January, a structured process will be utilized in order to reduce density in the residence halls. Students traveling to and/or returning from hot spots will be required to participate in prevalence testing. This information will be collected from students through a Travel Disclosure Form, which will be distributed during the break. Students will receive direct communication from the Division of Student Affairs with specific details regarding move-in and testing.

The first day of class will occur on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, as originally planned. Spring Break will be observed at the end of the semester, thereby concluding the semester a week early. Due to the change in the academic calendar, Commencement ceremonies and related activities for the Class of 2021 will be held from Friday, April 30, 2021 through Sunday, May 2, 2021. In-person ceremonies, for both undergraduates and graduates, will be held in Radford for the main campus and in Roanoke for Radford University Carilion and comply with state mandates regarding attendance and capacity. Please note that multiple ceremonies will be held, and the Class of 2021 will graduate separately from the Class of 2020. All ceremonies will include required face coverings and enforced physical distancing.

Please know that we will continue our robust communication and reporting efforts moving forward. The Reopening website will continue to be updated on a regular basis. Our weekly updates to the COVID-19 Dashboard will also remain in place as we provide continued accountability and transparency in our response and reporting efforts. With today’s update, which is now live, we continue to report fewer individuals seeking testing and a very low number of positive cases identified through campus-based testing. This past week marked two new positive cases from a total of 75 campus-based tests, representing a weekly positivity rate of 2.67 percent. For two consecutive weeks, two positive cases have been reported in each update. And, for five consecutive weeks, we have slowed the spread of COVID-19 on our campus!

Despite these low numbers, the University will offer COVID-19 testing during the week of finals in order to provide reassurance to those who will be returning home and/or visiting families during the break between semesters. Details regarding exit testing are included in the Spring 2021 Semester Operational Plan and will be shared broadly with the campus community as we approach the end of the semester.

I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to express my everlasting appreciation and sincere gratitude to students, faculty, and staff, as well as parents, alumni, and community members. When our campus was faced with a growing number of cases, Highlanders responded. And, since that time, our campus has diligently followed Commonwealth of Virginia requirements, Radford University expectations, and public health guidance. I could not be more proud of our faculty and staff for modeling positive behaviors and our students for their commitment and flexibility throughout the Fall 2020 semester. I am confident that we will finish the Fall 2020 semester strong and return to campus in January ready for a successful Spring 2021 semester in which we will join together for long awaited and much deserved Commencement celebrations!

With Highlander Pride,

Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D.