Dear NOVA Nighthawks,
We miss you in our classrooms, in our offices, and in our hallways. Your presence adds a special vitality to NOVA and our campuses. Yet, this is an academic year unlike any other, and the challenges posed by the pandemic that led us to start this year remotely have not appreciably changed. As much as we would love to return fully to campus life, your health and safety comes first. So, today, I write to share that NOVA will remain largely remote for Spring 2021 classes.
In Spring, NOVA will continue to follow our State Council of Higher Education for Virginia approved COVID-19 Return to Campus Plan, which is grounded in a commitment to follow all Virginia Department of Health requirements and scientific guidance for social distancing and cleaning protocols. Our college is also prepared to follow Virginia’s guidance on both easing and reinstating public health restrictions should the local situation change.
Spring 2021 operations at NOVA will be as follows:
- Classes will begin as scheduled on January 11, 2021.
- Most NOVA courses will be offered in one of our approved distance learning formats, just as they were this fall. I encourage NOVA students to complete the course format survey emailed earlier this week. This input will help us make the best decisions in how we offer remote classes.
- Courses that require the use of NOVA facilities for hands-on instruction will return to our campuses for this portion of their classes. Examples include (but are not limited to) Automotive Technology, Dental Studies, Engineering Technology, HVAC, Nursing, and Workforce Development. Provosts and Deans will work with individual programs to identify these courses.
- NOVA will offer a limited number of other courses in a Hybrid format. This schedule will be determined by the Provosts working with Academic Deans and will reflect availability of socially distanced space and student demand.
- All NOVA courses will have a robust, quality Canvas online presence to support our students remotely.
- Our Computer Labs and Libraries will be open to limited numbers of student users to provide necessary services while maintaining appropriate distancing. NOVA will also continue to provide free Wi-Fi access to our students in our parking lots.
- Students will be able to access support services remotely, including call center support, advising, financial aid counseling, tutoring, student support programming, the virtual student union, and more.
- Students facing financial challenges will have access to NOVA’s Financial Stability Centers, including Single Stop services, remotely.
- The majority of NOVA’s employees will remain in a COVID-19 temporary telework status until conditions allow their return to campus.
- NOVA will be prepared to move more individuals back to or away from our campuses as Virginia public health restrictions and the local situation change.
NOVA will continue to follow the #StaySafeWithAce health precautions, including use of daily symptom tracking via the GoCanvas app, increased cleaning and disinfection of high touch/high trafficked areas, and the use of face coverings while on campus. We will maintain our partnership with the Virginia Department of Health and local public health offices for contact tracing and testing referrals. Throughout the year, you can always keep up-to-date on the latest information on NOVA’s response to COVID-19 on our website.
Please remember that the continued health and wellness of our NOVA community is a shared responsibility: we have an obligation to each other to help reduce the spread and stop any resurgence of COVID-19. I ask you to take and honor the NOVA Partnership Pledge.
Thank you for keeping us #BoldlyNOVA and proving that distance is no barrier to our amazing and inspiring Nighthawks!
Anne M. Kress