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Fall 2020 Public-health Guidelines and Requirements: Student Conduct’s Education and Enforcement Strategies for Addressing Student Behavior

Updated July 28, 2020

The Virginia Tech motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), has taken on new meaning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The care and responsibility to serve is now a public health imperative. Upholding community values and prioritizing safety means taking individual responsibility for abiding by public health guidelines as a service to others.

Responding to concerns and educating students about their role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 is a shared responsibility. Faculty, staff, and other students must be willing to challenge students who do not uphold standards and, when possible, to engage in dialogue about the issue. Student Conduct can provide a more formal university response.

Public-health directives from Virginia Governor Northam, the Residential Life COVID-19 Health and Wellbeing Commitment, and the university’s Community Wellness Commitment require students to wear masks; to practice physical distancing; to engage in preventative hygiene practices; to avoid public spaces if they have symptoms of COVID-19 and to contact a medical provider; and to self-isolate as directed by a medical professional.

Failure to follow Virginia and university guidelines related to health precautions means you may be in violation of one or several policies outlined in the Student Code of Conduct. Relevant Policies in the Student Code of Conduct include:

  • Failure to Observe Rules and Regulations
  • Disorderly or Disruptive Conduct
  • Failure to Comply with a University Official
  • Endangerment
  • Involvement in a University Violation
  • Visitation and Guest Policies

If violations occur, they may necessitate intervention by Student Conduct to correct students’ behavior, to provide support or assistance, and—in situations involving repeated violations of public-health directives, associated disruptions, or behavior that places other people in immediate danger--to hold students’ accountable for violations of the Student Code of Conduct.

Given the complex and changing environment, the newness of some of the required behaviors for many students, and the varying levels of risk behaviors may pose, Student Conduct will employ a tiered intervention strategy, including both informal and formal options, to educate and hold students responsible for their actions and choices.

Student Conduct educates students about community expectations and values to uphold standards, foster personal growth, and promote a civil learning environment. We envision a safe, civil, and inclusive community where all members invest in personal and collective excellence.

Visit the VT Ready site at to learn more about the university’s preparations for the fall semester and beyond as we enact our principles-based approach to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contact Student Conduct at or 540-231-3790 if you have questions or concerns.

Read more about Student Conduct’s education and enforcement strategies.

Read more about the Blacksburg Police Department's enforcement strategies.