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Campus update 7/17/20

Today, college officials learned that an individual who attended a class on Thursday, July 16, has tested positive for COVID-19. This case is unrelated to Virginia Western’s first identified case earlier this week, with the class taking place at a different location in the Fralin Center for Science and Health Professions, where most of the limited in-person classes are currently being held.

The college is working with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to contact any individuals who attended the class on Thursday and advising them to self-quarantine for 14 days unless they experience symptoms of COVID-19, at which time, they should seek medical advice and potentially testing/treatment.

The college is performing deep cleaning and sanitizing of the impacted area in accordance to guidance from the VDH. The VDH has directed the college that there is not a need to close the classroom or facility at this time. Employees and students are advised to use appropriate face masks/face coverings as well as practice social distancing and hand washing in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and VDH best practices.

We want to ensure that messages related to COVID-19 campus impacts are easily accessible and contained in a single location. In the future, if a positive COVID-19 case necessitates the closure of a facility or portion of a facility, notifications will be posted at https://www.virginiawestern.edu/covid19/. Health and safety guidance from the CDC and VDH as well as college protocols are also located on that site and within the college’s re-opening plan.

In-person advising, financial aid and tuition payment appointments available

Virginia Western is pleased to announce the availability of in-person appointments for advising, financial aid & tuition payment services.  Advising & financial aid in-person appointments are available now.  In-person appointments to make cash or check tuition payments will be available beginning July 27 as the college prepares for the fall tuition payment deadline (August 5). 

In addition to these in-person appointments, online and phone support will continue to be available.  In-person, online, and phone appointments can be scheduled using Navigate, which is accessible through each student’s MyVWCC account.

To learn more, visit: https://www.virginiawestern.edu/advising/index.php

Campus update 7/16/20

An individual who attended a class at Virginia Western in the Fralin Center for Science and Health Professions on Saturday, July 11, has tested positive for COVID-19. The college has identified all instructors and students who were present in the class and is working closely with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to contact each one. The VDH is advising those individuals to self-quarantine for 14 days (through July 25, 2020) unless they experience symptoms of COVID-19, at which time, they should seek medical advice and potentially testing/treatment.

The VDH has counseled the college that its regular proactive cleaning this week has sufficiently sanitized the facility and other employees and students do not need to take action beyond their regular safety precautions. Out of an abundance of caution, the college has had additional strict cleaning and sanitation performed on the specific classroom.

Thanks to the affected individual’s self-identification of a positive test to college leaders, we have been able to act swiftly to help safeguard as best we can the health and safety of campus, employees and students. For more information on how Virginia Western is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit: https://www.virginiawestern.edu/covid19/.

Notice of partial closure of Parking Lot 9 from 7/6-7/17

Please be aware that two bays of parking in (upper) Lot 9 along Colonial Ave. (between the STEM Building and College Services Building) will be closed for milling, paving and restriping from this Monday, 7/6/20 through Friday, 7/17/20.  During this time, student parking on South Campus will be available in Lots 1, 2, 3 & 4, with Faculty/Staff Parking also being available in Lot 1E. Upon completion, this portion of Lot 9 (including new ADA parking spaces near the STEM Building and Transportation Plaza) will be fully available for use. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we complete these campus improvements!

A message from President Sandel for Independence Day

I am writing to wish you a happy and safe Independence Day and remind you that Virginia Western Community College will be closed on Friday, July 3 to honor the national holiday. Many of us look forward to this time of year to enjoy a well-deserved summer vacation. This year, however, travel will look very different and we should all make health and safety a priority.

Governor Northam has transitioned Virginia to Phase 3 in the Forward Virginia Plan. This has eased restrictions on non-essential retail, restaurants, entertainment venues, fitness and exercise businesses and more. While the key health indicators in Virginia have improved, please continue to use caution. For the specific guidelines of Phase 3, visit: https://www.governor.virginia.gov/media/governorvirginiagov/governor-of-virginia/pdf/Forward-Virginia-Phase-Three-Guidelines.pdf.

If you are going to travel, please carefully consider your plans and take precautions to lessen your potential exposure and the spread of COVID-19. Myrtle Beach, Horry County, S.C.; has become a hotspot of the virus and travelers returning to our region from those areas must self-quarantine for 14 days before coming to campus. The Virginia Department of Health also advises self-quarantine after international travel, or travel on a cruise ship or riverboat. For more travel information, visit: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/coronavirus/travel-to-areas-with-widespread-ongoing-community-spread/.

I hope you all have an enjoyable Fourth of July weekend.  


Dr. Robert H. Sandel


Virginia Western Community College

VWCC to provide mix of online, in-person education for Fall

Virginia Western announces it will provide mixture of Fall classes online with in-person education and training options

Prospective students can enroll now for Fall Semester at www.virginiawestern.edu

ROANOKE — Virginia Western Community College announces that it will provide a full array of Fall Semester classes with a mixture of online and remote learning formats along with in-person technical training, clinical and lab instruction. The college strives to meet the safety, health and well-being of the entire community, and to continue its mission to provide quality educational and training opportunities.

“Our top priority is to serve the community and help our students achieve their academic goals,” said Dr. Robert H. Sandel, President of Virginia Western. “We are well-prepared to provide a mixture of online and hybrid classes that maintain our high academic standards to ensure students do not miss a step.”

Virginia Western will provide the majority of lecture and general education courses online and will be prepared to pivot its hybrid and hands-on courses to online should that be necessary. Some online courses are structured to meet at specific times on tools like Zoom, just like a traditional in-person class, so students can engage with their instructor and classmates together. Others offer a chance to learn material at one’s own pace, needing simply to complete assignments or take exams by specific deadlines. Our faculty stand ready to help students succeed, regardless of which mode they prefer.

The college released its Summer Semester re-opening plan and a cross-functional task force is continuing to develop the Fall Semester plan to submit for approval from Virginia’s Community Colleges and the State Council for Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). The plan will follow Executive Orders from the Governor, guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and other definitive public health sources. Students taking classes in person, will have smaller, socially distanced groups with protocols that align with national and statewide guidance.

Virginia Western’s School of Corporate and Career Training (CCT) resumed in-person training for Certified Medical Assistants last week, with Precision Machining and other courses starting this week. The college will resume other in-person Summer Semester courses on a limited basis beginning on June 30. The Hall Associates Career Center will continue providing career services to students, alumni and employers this summer through online and remote means including Career Connections (CCN), Zoom video conferencing, email and phone. For more information, visit our website at www.virginiawestern.edu/careercenter.

In addition, student services for enrollment, advising and financial aid will be available by appointment beginning June 30. Students and prospective students can schedule an appointment at: https://virginiawestern.edu/advising/schedule_an_appointment.php.

For more information about Virginia Western’s Fall Semester classes and how to enroll, please visit www.virginiawestern.edu.

Educational Foundation awards Innovation Grants

The Virginia Western Educational Foundation awarded nearly $24,000 to six Virginia Western faculty and staff members to support innovative initiatives designed to positively impact student success and advance novel ideas. 

This year’s awardees received between $500-$7,200 apiece to fund their initiatives. The Educational Foundation’s Innovation Grant program has awarded 52 grants totaling more than $250,000 in the past decade.

This year’s winning projects are as varied as the curriculum at Virginia Western. One grant will purchase more microscopes and slides for a STEM lab; another will enable outreach and collaboration between the College and Northwest Roanoke in an effort to attract more students from that area.

“We’re always looking for bright ideas and creativity in action,” said Marilyn Herbert-Ashton, Vice President of Institutional Advancement. “We are pleased that the funds will go to address real needs and enhance student success.”

The Innovation Grant program is funded by donors to the Educational Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports the College. The program’s growth is the result of a concentrated effort to create awareness of the funds available and educate faculty and staff on the opportunities, steps to apply, and evaluating the overall application process with staff to make improvements the following year.

The investment made by the Foundation is much greater than microscopes and slides or other project materials, according to Edwin “Ed” Hall, Chair of the Foundation’s Scholarship and Grants Committee.

“The goal of the Foundation is to attract really good faculty and improve education to the highest level possible so our students are employable,” said Hall. “We’re focused on the long-term growth of the individual student as well as our community, and these grants provide a means for us to continue delivering on that.”

Applications for 2021-22 funding will be available in December, and proposals are due in March. All faculty and staff are eligible to submit proposals.

For more information, contact Carolyn Payne, Scholarship Coordinator, at cpayne@virginiawestern.edu or (540) 857-6376.

2020-21 Innovation Grant Recipients

Proposal NameProject DescriptionAwardee/DeptAmount Awarded
Alleviating Barriers for Adult Learners Through Portfolio AssessmentProject phase 1 creates an innovative and more consistent credit for prior learning program for adult learners through portfolio development, assessment and evaluation. Professional development will educate us on how to engage key players, administer processes, create a pipeline of faculty evaluators, and outreach to students.Cathy Ferguson, School of CCT$5,000
Microscopes and Slides for STEM CenterThe primary goal of this project is to obtain microscopes and slides for the STEM center. Students will have greater access to microscopes in which they can utilize to enhance their technique and study for Biology laboratory exams.Matthew Goff, School of STEM$7,242
VWCC/Northwest Collaborative: United for ImpactTo increase the footprint of Virginia Western in Northwest Roanoke through collaboration with neighborhood, nonprofits and grassroots organizations which promote health, education and training and community development.Cheryl Hilton, TRIO Pathways$5,000
Accelerating the Automotive Technology PathwayIncrease students in BTT’s Automotive Analysis & Repair CSC courses. Expand program capacity, increase opportunity for new course development in automotive technology and support new automotive course partnerships focused on new English language learners.Wil Preston, School of CCT$3,000
Improv for Creative Teaching and LearningHelp foster a more creative culture at Virginia Western — ultimately improving the student learning experience — by providing an opportunity for faculty and staff to learn the basic techniques of improv theater.Stephanie Seagle, Institutional Advancement$500
Expanding Machining Program CapacityRestructure teaching space to create two dedicated teaching areas for the Machining Lab at the current Melrose campus, rearrange the machine shop layout to group machines to match the curriculum of the classes (Fundamentals, Milling, Turning and CNC Programming). We will also consolidate the former Industrial Maintenance lab equipment with newly purchased Mechatronics Fundamentals equipment into the STEM building for our partnership with the Mechatronics academic program.Bryan Walke, School of CCT$2,700

Virginia Western closed to honor Juneteenth

In recognition of the importance of the Juneteenth holiday and in alignment with Governor Northam’s announcement of the state holiday, Virginia Western was closed Friday, June 19, 2020. As Governor Northam said, awareness and education are critical to eradicating institutional racism. Join us in reflection as we honor Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of ending slavery in the United States.

You can read more of the Governor’s announcement at: https://www.governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/all-releases/2020/june/headline-858213-en.html.

Campus re-opening plan for Summer Semester

Dear Virginia Western campus community,

During Spring Semester, Virginia Western made unprecedented changes to how we deliver academic courses in order to keep our students, faculty and staff healthy and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. I applaud everyone involved for the efforts to rapidly transform Virginia Western into primarily an online and remote institution in order to complete the semester with as little disruption as possible.

As we prepare to resume a limited number of face-to-face labs and classes with clinical instruction — in accordance with guidelines from the CDC, the Virginia Department of Health and Governor Ralph Northam — I want to share with you our plan for reopening in Summer Semester 2020. This plan is our first iteration – designed to provide a framework for our limited return to campus this summer. Certain CCT training programs will pilot the re-opening of classes next week, with a priority on completing incomplete Spring courses. The rest of the campus will begin a limited return on June 30. As with most things right now, it is a fluid document and will be adjusted as additional guidance is received from the system office, the state and local health agencies.

A cross-functional team has explored regulations, recommendations and best practices in order to create this plan. The plan takes multiple perspectives into account to balance health and safety measures with the need and desire to move forward in fulfilling our mission.

We are pleased to share this with you as a means to communicate our progress and intentions. To view the plan, please visit: https://www.virginiawestern.edu/covid19/.

Please share your thoughts and questions with your supervisor or faculty member so we can work to address specific matters. We fully expect this plan to evolve throughout the summer and as we approach further campus classes in the fall. Thank you for your support!


Dr. Robert H. Sandel
Virginia Western Community College