VMI Details Plans for Fall Return to Post

LEXINGTON, Va., July 2, 2020—The Corps will return to Virginia Military Institute this fall after their longest separation from post in the 181-year history of the Institute.

In the Fall 2020 Return to Post and In-Person Classes Operations Plan, VMI detailed a 5-phase return plan for cadets. Some NCAA cadet-athletes will be on post 11-24 July while the vast majority of cadets will return over several weeks in August. Cadets who serve as EMTs will arrive between 1-7 August while cadet cadre and leaders will return 8-9 August. Rats will matriculate on 15-16 August and the remainder of the Corps will arrive 25-26 August. Returning cadets will be encouraged to quarantine for 14 days prior to their return to post.

The operations plan in its entirety was posted on the VMI Fall 2020 web page today. It will be updated regularly throughout the fall semester.

“VMI’s mission is unlike any other in higher education,” said Gen. J. H. Binford Peay, III ’62, VMI superintendent. “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.”

Cadets will be subject to strict protocols regarding face coverings, social distancing, and personal hygiene. Their movements generally will be restricted to post through September 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.

The academic offerings will see emphasis continue to be on providing traditional, in-person instruction. However, some courses will be in an on-line environment or in a hybrid in-person/on-line manner. Many Saturday mornings will be used to accommodate increased ROTC and commandant instruction.

The fall semester typically plays host to many large-scale, public events. The new cadet oath typically held Labor Day weekend each year at the New Market Battlefield in New Market, Va. will not be held this year. Arriving freshmen (rats) will take the new cadet oath at matriculation. Other events such as Parents Weekend, class reunion weekends, VMI Open Houses, and football tailgates are still on the calendar but are tentative. VMI plans to have a full NCAA athletic program this fall with adjustments to attendance and seating parameters. Decisions on those events will be made on a rolling basis, a minimum of 30 days in advance of the event and will be based on the latest guidance from our health and government partners as well as the Institute’s assessments of the health and readiness of the Corps.

The Fall 2020 calendar is as follows: 

1 – 8 August EMT cadets arrive
8 – 9 August Cadre return
15 – 16 August Rats matriculate
25 – 26 August Old Corps returns
31 August Classes begin
19 September Football vs. Princeton (Public attendance / tailgating
2 – 4 October Parents Weekend (tentative)
3 October Football vs. Furman (Public attendance / tailgating tentative)
9 – 11 October ROTC Fall Field Training Exercises
24 October  Football vs. ETSU (Public attendance / tailgating tentative) 
31 October  Football vs. Citadel (Public attendance / tailgating tentative) 
11 November  Founders Day (No classes) 
20 November  Ring Figure (tentative) 
21 November  Football vs. Mercer (Public attendance / tailgating tentative) 
26 November Thanksgiving Day (No classes) 
27 November  Friday of Thanksgiving (No classes) 
11 December  Last day of classes 
12 December  Reading Day 
14 – 18
Final Exams 
18 December  Commissioning 
19 December  Class of 2020 Commencement


VMI employees have largely been teleworking since March. The operations plan calls for employees to return to work beginning July 20, 2020. Employees will be required to conduct a COVID-19 symptom check each morning prior to their arrival on post. Flexible work options are available to those employees who may be particularly vulnerable to the virus. 


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