RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia State University is switching to fully online classes and closing on-campus housing for the remainder of the fall 2020 semester.
"We have worked tirelessly to prepare for the safe return of our students. We are fully prepared to welcome them back to our campus; however, we have determined that the implications and risks of returning to campus in the midst of this growing pandemic could potentially have harmful or even deadly ramifications," President Makola M.Abdullah said.
Earlier in August, VSU opted to begin the first four weeks of instruction in an online/remote format with a scheduled transition to on-campus courses on September 14, 2020.
The adjusted schedule was to allow time to provide at-home COVID-19 testing for all VSU students, faculty, and staff prior to their return to campus.
"The VSU administration revisited the topic after a number of universities across the country reopened and were then forced to go fully online after major campus COVID-19 outbreaks," Abdullah wrote. "This is evidence that we cannot prevent widespread transmission of COVID-19 between students if we allow them to return to campus."
"VSU serves a population that is at higher risk of COVID-19. More than half of all cases and deaths are in the black community. We recognize that despite our heartfelt efforts, meticulous planning, and precise preparations, this virus is relentless."
Abdullah wrote that while there is a slight possibility that the trend could reverse itself, it is necessary to prevent the massive disruption that could be caused by the need for an abrupt shutdown.