Norfolk State, ODU say they’re moving ahead with reopening plans in joint statement


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk State and Old Dominion universities say they’re moving ahead with scheduled reopening plans “after examining local COVID-19 trends, consulting with public and health officials and participating in countless conversations with other Virginia higher education institutions.”

The schools made the announcement in a joint statement on Tuesday.

“While this pandemic has challenged all of us, we feel this decision is the right one for ODU, NSU and the Hampton Roads community, the statement read. “We will continue to work with city officials to strongly encourage students and employees to adhere to Virginia’s COVID-19 guidelines, both on campus and in adjacent communities.”

Norfolk has seen its cases mostly trend down in the past two weeks, from reporting over 100 cases per day to less than 50 per day. The city did report 81 cases on Tuesday, but that was after reporting 0 cases on Monday, showing there was lag. The city’s percent of positive tests has fallen to 8.1%, after going as high as 17% in July.

Norfolk State will start classes Wednesday, August 26 with remote, online learning for the first two weeks, before moving to a combination of in-person and online classes on Sept. 7.

ODU starts classes August 29 with on-campus, online and hybrid learning.

“The resilient spirit of our Spartan and Monarch communities is shining brightly—innovating how we teach, research, learn and live and allowing for a return to campus life this fall. We remain committed to advancing educational equity and stand ready to support students’ learning, research, career aspirations and personal well-being, on and off campus as well as virtually. We look forward to welcoming you back soon. In the meantime, please stay safe.”

Some colleges across the state are already struggling with outbreaks. VCU had reported 72 cases among students and staff as of Monday, with at least 23 cases at JMU (all self-reported). Virginia State University, which had plans to switch to in-person like Norfolk State, decided to opt for virtual learning through the fall semester to avoid a “massive disruption’ that could happen if the campus had to shut down due to an outbreak.”

For more info on reopening plans for both schools and other local colleges, click here.

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