Fall 2020 Updates - Detailed information regarding protocols and scheduling for the Fall semester is now available. More

Fall 2020 Semester at VMI

"It is vitally important to producing citizen-soldiers and tomorrow’s leaders that our Corps of Cadets be physically present on post. Providing a rigorous academic curriculum in a military setting cannot be achieved virtually." - Gen. J. H. Binford Peay, III ’62, VMI superintendent

Institute planners were given the task of prioritizing in-person classes while maintaining the military mission of VMI. Social distancing, face coverings, and frequent sanitizing protocols, as well as plexiglass shields for instructors, will be in place in the classrooms. For the first time in its history, VMI will offer a number of classes in an online learning format; however, in-person instruction was given priority in the academic schedule. Some classes will be offered in a hybrid format, meeting in person once per week while meeting virtually for the remainder of the class periods. The academic calendar will begin nearly a week later than expected, and cadets will spend Thanksgiving week on post to minimize the risk of bringing COVID-19 back to VMI were they to return home for Thanksgiving.

Cadets will be subject to strict protocols regarding face coverings, social distancing, and personal hygiene. Their movements will be restricted, and they will be required to conduct a daily self-assessment for COVID-19 symptoms. Those cadets who present with symptoms will be evaluated by the VMI Infirmary. Isolation and quarantine protocols and locations have also been identified.

Below, you will find specific information organized by target audience. Please note: this page will be updated as necessary to reflect any changes or adjustments made to VMI's fall 2020 plans based on continued monitoring of public health and official statements by local, state, and federal officials. You may also download a copy of the entire Return to Post/Fall 2020 Operational Plan. This plan has been reviewed by the State Council of Higher Education and has been found to be compliant in containing the required components of the ‘Higher Education Reopening Guidance,’ which was developed in consultation with the Virginia Department of Health.

 


COVID-19 Information

Line icon of COVID-19 molecule and warning signThe VMI Pandemic Task Force and Institute leadership continue to monitor the latest information regarding the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). Based on the analysis of the current COVID-19 situation, changes to operations, events, and protocols may occur throughout the school year. Increased cleaning and sanitizing protocols have been implemented across all aspects of cadet life, and leadership has identified key areas for social distancing enforcement to maintain safety throughout the course of physical training and activities required of all cadets.

 

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Wear Face Coverings

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Wash Hands Frequently

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Maintain Social Distancing

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Monitor Your Health

 
Cadets experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms will inform the Infirmary. Medical staff will determine the next steps of testing, isolation, quarantine, and/or contact tracing.
 
If any VMI employee or their family members are diagnosed by a competent medical authority as having contracted COVID-19, the VMI member (faculty, staff, employee) must contact Major Ellie Kania, Interim Human Resources Director at (540) 464-7159. Identities will be kept confidential; however, there are Commonwealth of Virginia reports that must be filed and protocols that must be followed for the health and safety of VMI.
 
 
Note: Additional COVID-related information, including past correspondence from spring and summer sessions can be found on our Coronavirus Updates page. For questions or more information, contact coronavirus@vmi.edu.

 


 

Post & Building Access

 

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To ensure that cadets, faculty and staff, and visitors to VMI are safe and following state and CDC recommended protocols, the Institute has implemented policies for accessing post and the buildings therein. Many buildings will remain closed to the general public in order to prioritize cadet access while following social distancing guidelines.

Any changes to specific building access will be updated on this page as needed. Any member of the community accessing buildings should maintain social distance and follow posted instructions on a building-by-building basis. Posted signs are the final word on building access, regardless of any web-based instructions or notices.

 

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Preston Library

Access to Preston Library will be limited to members of the VMI community. Entry to the building will be via swipe card access using the VMI identification card. Patrons and staff will be required to wear masks in all public areas. The Library webpage has further details regarding online research and support.
 

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VMI Museum

Access to the VMI Museum will be limited to members of the VMI community. Entry to the building will be via swipe card access using the VMI identification card. Patrons and staff will be required to wear masks in all public areas. Visit the museum webpage for more specific information. Hours of operation and access rules for the Virginia Museum of the Civil War and the Stonewall Jackson House are available on each facility's website.
 

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Cocke Hall

Access to Cocke Hall will be limited to members of the VMI community. Patrons and staff will be required to sign in, and access hours may be limited to ensure social distancing and priority for cadet training and increased cleaning and sanitizing each day.

 


 

For Cadets

Cadet life will undergo a wide range of adjustments to schedule and location. Up-to-date, detailed information is available for all VMI cadets in the VMI Portal. Adjustments include, but are not limited to:

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RETURN TO POST

Cadets will return to post in five separate phases. Some NCAA cadet-athletes will begin to return to post beginning on July 11, while the vast majority of cadets will return over several weeks in August. Cadets who serve as EMTs will arrive between August 1 – 7, while cadet leaders will return August 8 – 9. Rats will matriculate on August 15-16, and the remainder of the Corps will arrive August 25 – 26. Rats and cadets should check their VMI email accounts daily for specific logistic information.

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ACADEMIC INSTRUCTION

VMI will offer a number of classes in an online learning format. However, in-person instruction was given priority in the academic schedule. Some classes will be offered in a hybrid format, meeting in person once per week while meeting virtually the remainder of the class periods. Courses requiring in-person instruction will follow PPE and social distancing guidelines. 

More information can be found in the Fall 2020 Parent Academic Letter from Brigadier General Robert W. Moreschi, Deputy Superintendent for Academics and Dean of the Faculty.

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SUPPORT SERVICES

Continuing on the protocols from spring and summer sessions, VMI Support Services will continue to offer digital sessions for cadets. Some offices will have in-person hours available by appointment, but no offices will serve walk-ins. Cadets are encouraged to contact individual offices for specific guidelines and offerings. This includes services where parents and other stakeholders would need to be involved in meetings.

 

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BARRACKS

The wearing of masks outside of assigned rooms, restricted visiting of other cadet rooms, elimination of large stoop gatherings, controlled lavatory and shower access, as well as frequent cleaning and sanitization of those same areas will be required. Increased noise restrictions will in effect during the day to facilitate academic study due to the shortage of classroom space caused by social distancing. Stairwells in barracks will be designated as “up” or “down” stairwells. Also, cadets will not sleep head to head. Various levels of cadet leadership will ensure these new practices are maintained.

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DINING SERVICES

Crozet Hall will no longer offer self-serve / buffet- style dining. Six serving lines have been created where Parkhurst Dining staff will serve cadets. Individually wrapped packages of disposable utensils and cups will be provided, along with individual condiments, milk, and juice. No refillable containers will be permitted, but as always, we encourage all cadets to come back for seconds. Tables and chairs have been spaced further apart and seating location availability will be adjusted to reduce the number of cadets in the hall at a time. A grab-and-go lunch option will be available. Options for updates to the PX are in development. Cadets can find more details in their e-mail, dated July 21, 2020.

 

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PHYSICAL TRAINING

Physical Education courses and ROTC physical activities will be modified in terms of scheduling, number of cadets participating at any one time, and location. Access to weight rooms, training facilities, and fields may be adjusted on a daily basis to allow for proper cleaning, sanitizing, and social distancing. Temperature and symptom checks will be implemented during VMI and ROTC training sessions.

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ATHLETICS & CLUBS

Cadets will be notified by coaches and leadership regarding any changes in location, time, or format of practices, training, and competitions. At this time, public attendance and tailgating for home football games are tentative. Activity locations and schedules for all extracurricular activities will be adjusted to comply with social distancing requirements and Institute directives. 

 

Important Fall 2020 Dates

Date(s)Name of Event
July 11, 2020 NCAA Football rats and basketball team arrive
Aug. 1-8, 2020 EMT cadets arrive
Aug. 8-9, 2020 Cadre return
Aug. 15-16, 2020 Rats matriculate - check VMI email daily for updates
Aug. 25-26, 2020 Old Corps returns
Aug. 31, 2020 Classes begin
Sept. 11, 2020 Guest Speaker - No classes
Nov. 11, 2020 Founders Day - No classes
Nov. 26, 2020 Thanksgiving Day - No classes
Nov. 27, 2020 Friday of Thanksgiving - No classes
Dec. 11, 2020 Last day of classes
Dec. 12, 2020 Reading Day
Dec. 14-18, 2020 Final Exams
Dec. 18, 2020 Commissioning
Dec. 19, 2020 Class of 2020 Commencement

For Employees

The Office of Human Resources is the main point of contact for all potential exposure notifications and questions regarding return to post for all VMI employees. 

Line icon showing checklist on a clipboardTo uphold health and safety measures and limit risks, the physical Human Resources Office will remain closed, except for specific services outlined in the full plan, and will limit traffic by implementing appointment-only measures for other services needed by faculty, staff, or cadets. If any employee feels that he or she is in one of the identified high-risk categories, the Human Resources director will work with the employee to take particular care to reduce their risk of exposure while making sure they are able to perform their job duties, and that VMI complies with relevant laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination Employment Act.

All VMI employees will follow plans and protocols prior to and upon return to post:

  • Prior to returning to work, all state employees will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to the date they return to post. Quarantining in this case refers to limiting contact with people outside their family unit.
  • All state employees will also be asked to monitor their daily health for any potential COVID-19 symptoms.
  • All state employees will also be required to complete an online training and education package related to operating in a COVID-19 environment while also preventing its spread.  
  • Upon return to work, all state employees will be asked to continually monitor their health for signs of COVID-19 symptoms. They should immediately report to their health care provider if symptoms manifest themselves.
 

Other job-specific and location-specific information will be disseminated by individual supervisors. Support services, Preston Library, and other locations where employees normally interact with cadets face-to-face will have individual and specific precautionary measures put in place such as moving meetings and appointments online, installing plexiglass barriers, and limiting or eliminating seating areas.

Line icon of identification badgeFaculty, staff, and all employees are expected to maintain social distance and wear face coverings when in public or communal spaces. In most cases, building access will be restricted by badge access, so it is imperative that all employees keep their VMI ID on at all times and contact Human Resources with any new badge or lost badge requests.

 


For Parents & Families

Line icon of a calendar with bell icon representing announcementAs with every year, it is important for parents and families to review the New Cadet Handbook, VMI website, and supplied policy and protocol documents in regards to post access, furlough schedules, and return to post expectations. Due to social distancing rules and the ever-changing realities of life in a COVID-19 world, there are a number of changes to the fall semester that will affect parents and families directly.

Large-scale events and ceremonies have been a staple of the VMI parent’s life. Some events, such as the new cadet oath at New Market Battlefield, will not occur this year as there is no way to ensure social distance standards while moving the entire rat class via bus transportation, nor their integration with parents and large visiting crowds.  Rather, I will swear in these new cadets on their Matriculation day. Others, such as Parents Weekend, football tailgates, class reunions, open houses, and Ring Figure remain under study and are tentative. Our intention and planning effort is to have a full NCAA athletic program this fall that will see certain adjustments to attendance and seating parameters.  Decisions on all these events will be made on a rolling basis, a minimum 30 days in advance and based on the latest guidance from our health and government partners and Institute assessments of the health and readiness of the Corps. 

The pandemic has also necessitated changes to the academic calendar for the fall 2020 semester. While the Old Corps reporting date is 25 and 26 August, classes will start on 31 August, nearly a week later than expected, for we have much to brief and cover with the Corps due to these circumstances. As it stands, cadets may not be afforded the traditional Thanksgiving furlough. Though they will not have classes on Thanksgiving Day or the Friday after, we may keep the Corps on post to reduce the risk of cadets (en masse) bringing back the virus to post upon their return from furlough, and we may need this flexibility to address deficient Corps training that was impacted earlier due to virus conditions.

- Excerpt from Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III '62, VMI superintendent's Letter to Families.

Parents and families are encouraged to bookmark this page, connect with the Parents Council, and follow VMI's official Facebook page for timely updates and the event decisions, which will be posted in the table below.


Additional information regarding academics for the fall semester can be found in the Fall 2020 Parent Academic Letter from Brigadier General Robert W. Moreschi, Deputy Superintendent for Academics and Dean of the Faculty:

The fall semester will look different, of course, due to COVID-19. Along with all VMI employees, the faculty and staff on the academic team have been hard at work the past several months reimagining an academic program that will be safe and flexible, while still providing an excellent education for the cadets.

Our mission remains the same, to educate young men and women and to mold them into honorable citizen-soldiers needed by the military, private enterprise, the commonwealth, and the nation. To accomplish this in a COVID-19 environment, we have made modifications to the delivery of the academic program while creating an environment in compliance with evolving public health guidance.


For the Community

Line icon of user and text bubble on mobile phoneAs cadets, faculty, and staff return to post for the fall 2020 semester, there will be a number of changes to post access and events for the general public. At this time, VMI buildings and facilities on post are closed to the general public to allow for maximum social distancing. Off-site museums will follow their own protocols in regards to opening hours, capacity, etc. Please visit each museum's webpage for specific details. Athletic competitions and other events will be addressed on a case-by-case basis

VMI Facility Status

FacilityStatus
Cocke Hall CLOSED to the General Public
Corps Physical Training Facility CLOSED to the General Public
Cormack Hall CLOSED to the General Public
George C. Marshall Museum CLOSED to the General Public
Preston Library CLOSED to the General Public
Stonewall Jackson House Store and new exhibit center open July 2; house will reopen September 2.
VMI Museum CLOSED to the General Public
Virginia Museum of the Civil War Open as of July 1

VMI Event Cancellations & Status Updates

Name of EventDate(s)Sponsor
New Cadet Oath at New Market - CANCELLED - Cadets will be sworn in at Matriculation Sept. 5, 2020 VMI
Football vs. Princeton - CANCELLED Sept. 19, 2020 Athletics
Parents Weekend - Tentative Oct. 2-4, 2020 VMI
Football vs. Furman - Public attendance / tailgating tentative Oct. 3, 2020  Athletics 
Football vs. ETSU - Public attendance / tailgating tentative  Oct. 24, 2020  Athletics 
Football vs. Citadel - Public attendance / tailgating tentative  Oct. 31, 2020  Athletics 
Football vs. Mercer - Public attendance / tailgating tentative  Nov. 21, 2020  Athletics 
Stonewall Jackson House 2020 Events - CANCELLED Various Stonewall Jackson House