March 20, 2020
Due to the ongoing public health emergency, academic coursework will be offered in an online environment through the end of the spring semester. Cadets are not to return to post to retrieve their belongings at this time. More information about barracks move out, commissioning and commencement, as well as other frequently asked questions will be forthcoming early next week.
COL James P. Inman
U.S. Army (Retired)
Chief of Staff
March 17, 2020
Since the Superintendent made the decision to move our academic courses to an online learning environment last Friday, the situation in our Commonwealth and nation continues to evolve. Currently, there are no cases of coronavirus associated with VMI or the Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County communities. We know that can change in an instant.
We promised last week to provide answers to the multitude of questions you may have regarding our decision to move to an online learning environment. The VMI Coronavirus Task Force and many faculty and staff have been working diligently to create and implement the many processes necessary to make such changes. The following is general guidance for cadets, faculty, employees, and the community. Our coronavirus webpage attempts to further answer many of these questions and provide greater detail. This webpage will be updated frequently and should be reviewed with regularity. Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The situation remains dynamic with national and state directives arriving daily. The leadership team continues to make decisions based on the most up-to-date information provided by our public health partners and civic leaders. Decisions are motivated by the health and well-being of our cadets, faculty, employees, and local community. Updates will continue as the situation evolves and so may some of the decisions outlined today.
COL James P. Inman
U.S. Army (Retired)
Chief of Staff
March 13, 2020
Dear VMI Community:
With the health and well-being of our cadets, faculty, staff, and local community in mind and based on guidance from our public health partners, we are implementing the following changes to VMI operations.
VMI has cancelled all on-Post academic instruction. Beginning on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, classes will move to distance learning environment and will continue until at least Friday, April 17, 2020. Cadets will not report to post until further notice. If a cadet has extenuating circumstances that requires barracks housing during this time, requests will be considered on a case by case basis. Details on barracks housing will be forthcoming.
During this period of distance learning, cadets will still be expected to uphold the core tenets of being a VMI cadet – honor, integrity, physical fitness, and self-discipline. The honor code and other academic regulations will continue to be enforced.
VMI faculty have been working since Wednesday to develop plans for delivering instruction in a distance learning environment that continues to provide our cadets with the rigorous and challenging curriculum for which VMI is known. Faculty have been given license to develop a plan that is suitable to the unique nature of each course and the cadets who are enrolled. Each plan for online instruction will be approved by the department head and the dean of the faculty. If a faculty member has chosen to provide synchronous (live) instruction, that instruction will occur at the usual time designated for that class period (Eastern Daylight Time). Cadets are able to access asynchronous instruction on their schedule and based on the instructor’s direction. Cadets must continue to regularly check their VMI email and Canvas accounts for updates from their professors.
There are still many questions to answer regarding cadet life, academics, and operations. I ask for your patience as our faculty and staff are working around the clock to implement these changes and prepare for the many questions that will be raised. We will communicate more specifics early next week.
This is a challenging time for everyone. We realize that many of these decisions have a lasting impact on the future of our cadets beyond their immediate health and well-being. VMI is committed to providing a quality education regardless of the situation at hand and will work with each cadet based on their unique circumstances. This is not unprecedented in VMI’s history but it is unlike anything we have seen in our lifetime. But there is no place in the country whose people are more prepared for such adversity than VMI.
J.H. Binford Peay, III ‘62
General, U.S. Army (Retired)
March 11, 2020
Dear VMI Community,
Over the past several weeks, you have, no doubt, grown increasingly concerned over the spread of the novel coronavirus across the globe and now into our own backyards. I too share your concerns and am tasked with the responsibility to balance those concerns with continuing to carry out VMI’s mission. This is not a task that I take lightly.
The VMI Pandemic Task Force has been meeting for several weeks and continues to work with our local, regional and Commonwealth health partners. As you know, this is a constantly changing situation and we are addressing many different concerns based on VMI’s unique mission. Suffice it to say, however, the health and safety of the corps, faculty, staff, and our community is paramount in every decision we make.
As I write this, VMI is business as usual. We are taking steps to ensure that we know our cadets’ whereabouts during spring furlough as well as making sure that all cadets, faculty, and staff have updated their emergency contact information. We have established a coronavirus website to communicate the latest operational updates to the VMI community. This website will be the official record of any necessary changes in Institute operations. If you hear a rumor about VMI and it is not reflected on the website, then the rumor is not true. The website will be updated each day at 4 p.m. Cadets, faculty, and staff are expected to check it each day.
A pandemic outbreak response is something that the Institute has been planning for many years but hoped that would never come to fruition. The manner in which we are able to weather this storm while preserving our mission relies on frequent communication and sound intelligence. Our emergency planners are in constant communication with health professionals, higher education colleagues, and local and regional organizations. We are gathering sound information from many reliable sources. Our decisions are being made based on the most up-to-date, factual information at the time. We will not make decisions based on rumors or what other institutions are doing.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding. We will get through this together.
J.H. Binford Peay, III ‘62
General, U.S. Army (Retired)
News Update from March 9, 2020
The Virginia Department of Health has announced three cases of coronavirus in the commonwealth. Nine tests are currently pending. Two of those tests are from VDH’s northwest region which encompasses the entire Shenandoah Valley. At the present time, all VMI operations continue as normal unless told otherwise.
The best way to prevent the spread of the virus continues to be practicing healthy habits such as avoiding contact with sick people, washing your hands frequently, covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Everyone should be wiping down their living and work spaces several times a day with disinfectant wipes or with soap and water.
Anyone traveling over spring furlough will check travel advisories before beginning their travel. Both the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control provide advisories based on a number of factors. VMI does not recommend, nor support, travel to countries at a level 3 or higher. As coronavirus spreads throughout the United States, travelers must check with their destination’s local or state health departments to determine the risk of travel. Any questions about travel risks will be directed to COL Dave Hall, director of International Programs, at 540-464-7350.
On Wednesday afternoon, a message will be sent with a situational update and final instructions prior to leaving for spring furlough. It is each cadet’s responsibility to update emergency contact Information and follow all instructions prior to signing out on furlough. Additionally, cadets will check their email messages throughout the furlough period.
News Update from March 6, 2020
The VMI Pandemic Task Force continues to monitor the latest information regarding the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). While the virus has been identified in other areas of the country, there are currently no known cases of coronavirus in Virginia. The Institute is working with our partners at the Virginia Department of Health as well as local and regional agencies to prepare and coordinate a response if coronavirus makes its way to the commonwealth.
In the meantime, VMI’s Physical Plant is taking steps to reduce the spread of germs by more frequently disinfecting surfaces, doorknobs, and handrails. Cadets, faculty, and staff should follow suit by frequently wiping down their living and workspaces with disinfectant wipes or with soap and water. Everyone should be practicing healthy habits by avoiding contact with sick people, washing your hands frequently, covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Cadets and faculty who plan to travel internationally during spring furlough should check the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control travel advisories. Additionally, anyone planning on traveling throughout the U.S. should also exercise caution as the number of cases being reported in individual states is increasing daily. VMI does not recommend travel to any country listed by the CDC at a level 3 (China, South Korea, Iran, Italy). If you plan to conduct personal travel anywhere outside of the United States, especially to a level 3 country, or have questions or concerns about that travel, it is important that you stop by the Office of International Programs, 101 Old Hospital, before traveling to speak with COL Hall, Director of International Programs or call him at 540-464-7350.
News Update from Feb. 27, 2020
In light of the Centers for Disease Control’s recent update regarding coronavirus (COVID-19), VMI is continuing to take steps to prevent and prepare for an outbreak. The Institute is following protocols established in its pandemic emergency plan and has established regular communications channels with external partners including the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. A team of VMI officials, including the Institute’s senior leadership, emergency management, health, and communications professionals, are meeting regularly to effectively plan, conduct surveillance, and communicate with VMI faculty, staff, and cadets. Situational updates will be provided when available. Any questions should be directed to COL Wyatt, public information officer at 540-464-7170 or email@example.com.
The Centers for Disease Control continue to suggest that the risk to the American public of COVID-19 is low at this time. The best way to prevent the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu is to practice healthy habits. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and wash your hands often.
As spring furlough approaches, members of the VMI community are encouraged to consult the U.S. Department of State or the CDC’s travel advisories for any planned international travel. By simply typing in your destination country into the State Department’s advisory site, you can discover the travel advisory level. The State Department is currently factoring into their travel advisories CDC warnings with respect to coronavirus. VMI does not recommend travel to any country listed at a level 3 or 4 (China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Japan or Hong Kong).
If you plan to conduct personal travel anywhere outside of the United States or have questions or concerns about that travel, it is important that you stop by the Office of International Programs, 101 Old Hospital, before traveling to speak with COL Hall, Director of International Programs or call him at 540-464-7350.