It's 2020. Virtually all normal processes have experienced some kind of disruption due to the pandemic. People are working from home, students are attending remote classes, and many others have found their projects shelved until further notice.
Recently, another adverse effect of COVID-19 has surfaced at Virginia Tech. After publishing a list of public health guidelines earlier this year, the school is now announcing that over 40 students have violated the cited rules. As a result, these students face suspension.
Virginia Tech's basis for this harsh punishment is simple: As a school, Virginia Tech exists partially to help students learn to make good decisions—and to help keep students safe during their formation. Breaking rules specifically geared towards health and safety in a pandemic, the school argues, goes against both of these primary academic goals.
As the Vice President of Student Affairs at Virginia Tech said, “We need people to make good choices out there, day in and day out.” To encourage these good decisions, the administration is taking a very firm stance on these rules.
However, some students don't think the school's been tough enough on rule-breakers.
Students Speak: A Conflicted Community in the Face of COVID-19
“I've served my time, I'm going to get it [COVID-19] anyway, I might as well get it while I rage,” said one Virginia Tech student, according to a frustrated member of student government. This laissez-faire attitude isn't popular with the majority of the student base.
Even though the university has launched a dashboard for the students to view regularly-updated testing data, many students remain skeptical. “It would be nice if we could see increased transparency about where these cases are coming from,” said one doctoral student, adding that they'd also appreciate knowing more information about hospitalization and other high-risk situations.
The university plans to increase testing rates, employ different testing strategies (such as random testing), and explore other opportunities for keeping its students safe. However, Virginia Tech does not currently have a plan to take classes fully online. As the president recently noted, “Going online is … probably not the most effective thing we can do.”
Virginia Tech's mass suspensions come as, nationwide, COVID-19 cases increase on college campuses. This resurgence of the virus may force schools to take further action against anyone who fails to meet ongoing guidance for public safety.
What to Do if You Have Experienced Pandemic-Related Suspension
If you believe that you have experienced unfair treatment due to your school's increased security measures, it's important that you protect your rights. Whether your school's action was warranted or not, you need to have access to your education going forward.
To pursue the most favorable outcome possible, you need to reach out to an experienced legal team. Fortunately, you're in the right place. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are ready to help guide you through these difficult times. For more information, contact us here or call 888-535-3686.