Norfolk State delays in-person return to campus, will test every student for COVID-19


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk State University plans to give a COVID-19 test to every student who is returning to campus this fall — and therefore is delaying in-person return to campus to give more time.

The semester will still start on time on Aug. 26, but faculty and students will have remote classes for the first two weeks.

“The delay in bringing all students back for classes affords us the time to align new and necessary resources with our reopening plan. We realize this situation particularly impacts courses that will be taught in face-to-face and in-person blended formats and considered multiple options to avoid this delay. Unfortunately, changing conditions and the need to meet our commitment to the safety and wellbeing of everyone in our community demands that we start classes in virtual formats,” NSU wrote in a message to campus.

Every student that comes to campus will be tested for COVID-19. Tests will also be offered to all faculty and staff. Testing will likely start Aug. 29.

NSU is one of the first colleges and universities to be a part of the “The Just Project” initiative, which consists of $15 million in diagnostic instruments, test kits and other medical technologies from Thermo Fisher Scientific. The initiative will give several HBCUs such as NSU technical support to start on-campus COVID-19 testing throughout the 2020-21 academic year.

The partnership is also with Howard University, which will process NSU’s COVID-19 tests in their labs. That plan for collaboration is in the process of being finalized.

“NSU is rapidly adjusting to this new normal and making operational decisions on a timeline that reflects the fluid nature of this pandemic,” the school said.

While classes will be online for the first two weeks, students will return to campus in a phased-in approach. First-year students will come back between Aug. 29 and Sept. 1.

Other students will come back between Sept. 2 and 7.

Specific dates for arrival will be given to students based on their housing assignments.

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