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Student update 4/6/20

A message from Dr. Elizabeth Wilmer:

I hope that this communication finds you healthy and moving forward with your spring semester classes. As we have said before, but I want to say again, Virginia Western is committed to supporting you and helping you to complete these classes with the needed learning to successfully move on to future classes or graduate. COVID-19 had forced us to deliver your classes in ways that none of us intended. For this reason, the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) had made some emergency policy changes only for Spring Semester 2020 to help the colleges and our students. These changes can be found at https://www.virginiawestern.edu/covid19/grading/.

The changes and what you need to do are listed below:

  1. Withdrawal Deadline

The Withdrawal deadline has been extended to May 8, 2020 for all but third four-week classes. The withdrawal deadline for third four-week classes is April 17.

  1. To withdraw from a class up until the deadline, you will go into the Student Information System through MyVWCC and withdraw from the class. This process is the same as it has been in the past with the exception of the deadline. Instructions on how to do this can be found at https://virginiawestern.edu/iet-services/myvwcc-help/withdraw-from-a-class/
    1. Guidance on Withdrawals:
      1. A “W” grade does not count towards your GPA but does appear on your Virginia Western transcript.
      1. A class with a “W” graded does not count towards graduation requirements
      1. If you are on financial aid, a “W” grade could impact future financial aid. Please note that the financial aid office will approach all appeals (impacts) with leniency and expedited turn around during this time.
      1. Students are only allowed to repeat a class three times. A “W” grade counts as one of these repeats.
  • Grading Scale

The default grading scale for spring semester will be the P+, P- W scale. Unless students select the A-F scale, faculty will use the default grading scale. The “WC” grade will be treated the same as a “W” grade.

Letter Grade What does the Grade Mean? How does it Apply?
P+ Pass with a grade of “C” or higher Applies to college transfer and technical education courses. A grade of P+ will not impact a student’s GPA. A grade of P+ will transfer.  
P- Pass with a grade of “D” Applies to college transfer and technical education courses. A grade of P- will not impact a student’s GPA. Will count towards Virginia Western graduation but will not transfer.  
W WC Withdraw     Withdraw/COVID-19 A student-initiated withdrawal through the revised deadline of May 8, 2020   A faculty member may award a WC for a student who did not initiate the withdrawal or did not pass.
I Incomplete The faculty member and student may agree to a plan to complete the remaining course requirements. The College has waived the requirement that students must complete 60% of course competencies and attendance requirements in order to receive a grade of Incomplete.  The Colleges has also agreed to allow students up to two semesters to complete the requirements for the course.
  • Students may opt for the standard A-F grading scale.
    • An assignment will be added to all Canvas shells that gives students the opportunity to select the A-F scale. This assignment will not count toward your grade for the class but is simply designed to give you this option. The option will be the only question on the assignment. If you select the A-F option:
      • You must do so by May 8, 2020
      • You may only do this once. Once it is done, you have selected the option and can’t change it. You will receive a grade on the A-F scale rather than the COVID-19 P+, P-, W grading scale above.
      • Guidance on when you might want to consider this option:
        • If you are transferring to UVA, an out of state college, or a private college that has not agreed to accept the P+ grade in transfer. Please check with your transfer institution.
          • Please note than when a course transfers, it only transfers for course credit and does not impact a student’s GPA at the transfer institution.
        • If you are a veteran and are concerned about the impact of a “W” on benefits. Please contact your veteran’s advisor for advising.
        • If you are trying to raise your GPA for graduation or academic standing purposes.
        • If you simply want a letter grade.
  • Incomplete Grade
    • If your class is not completed this semester, an incomplete is an option. This option must be agreed upon for just reason by both the faculty member and the student. All normal paperwork processes for documenting the incomplete should be followed. The exceptions are that the requirement that 60% of the work has been completed has been waived and the deadline has been extended to the last day of classes for Fall 2020.
      • Students in hands-on classes or clinicals where the class has not been able to meet in-person to complete the necessary in-person requirements of the class will receive an incomplete. We will ensure that you have the opportunity to complete this instruction to remove this incomplete. Your instructor will provide additional guidance as more information is available regarding when we can resume in-person classes.
      • Other students with extenuating circumstances should contact your instructor and follow the normal process with the two above exceptions.

Sincerely,

Dr. Elizabeth Wilmer

Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs

Virginia Western Community College

Campus update 4/2/20

Dear Virginia Western community,

Last week, I shared with you details of a new grading policy and withdrawal period established by the VCCS during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to ease the burden on students as we adapt to an online learning environment. You can view information on those policies at: https://www.virginiawestern.edu/covid19/grading/.

The VCCS has made some revisions to the grading policy in an effort to clarify the process and equip our students for success during Spring Semester. Please see below:

  • Students who withdraw themselves will receive a W.
  • Students who are withdrawn on the final grade roster will get a WC.
  • Neither the W or WC will impact a student’s GPA and both will be handled as a traditional W grade.
  • The 60 percent work completion requirement for an Incomplete (I) grade has been removed
  • Students who receive an Incomplete will have two semesters to complete it, making that work due by the last day of classes for Fall Semester 2020.

We have extended the withdrawal deadline in the Virginia Western system. Students can withdraw themselves in the Student Information System through May 8, 2020.

We will provide guidance on the implementation of these processes in the near future and will share those with you when available.

Thank you again for your patience as we navigate these changes. Students, please reach out to your faculty member or advisor if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Dr. Robert H. Sandel

President

Virginia Western Community College

Campus update 3/31/20

Dear Virginia Western community,

On Monday, Governor Ralph Northam issued a statewide Stay at Home order to protect the health and safety of Virginians and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The executive order is to stay in place until June 10, 2020, unless amended or rescinded. I wish to reiterate the Governor’s words that we all need to stay home and limit interactions with other people unless essential in order to stem the spread of this virus.

As part of the executive order, the Governor directed all Virginia institutions of higher education to cease in-person classes and instruction with the exception of those related to the provision of health care or medical services, such as clinical rotations in medical facilities.

The majority of Virginia Western’s classroom instruction transitioned to online or remote learning the week of March 23, following Spring Break. Some of our classes with clinical rotations in medical facilities will continue meeting as needed and available due to the critical need for health care professionals at this time.

We will hold no in-person classes nor instruction on campus until after June 10 in adherence to the Governor’s executive order. That policy means we will remain in online or remote course delivery for the remainder of the Spring Semester and at least the beginning of the Summer Semester. That includes courses provided by our School of Career and Corporate Training (CCT).

Please continue to follow the Virginia Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for health and safety. We must all play our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Thank you for your patience and diligence at this challenging time.

Sincerely,

Dr. Robert H. Sandel

President

Virginia Western Community College

Campus update 3/27/20

Dear Virginia Western community,

As we wrap up the first fully online/remote week of classes during the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to update you on several important issues related to this change. First, I want to thank all of our outstanding faculty, staff and students for their flexibility and positivity as we make the best-informed decisions we can. These variations to our normal operations are going to have a positive impact upon our community’s health and will likely save lives. Please continue to support one another, help those in need and practice safe distancing routines.

Withdrawal Period: Given the unknown negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, VCCS Chancellor DuBois has extended the deadline to withdraw without a grade penalty for the spring semester. For Virginia Western, that date is May 8, 2020. Effective immediately, a student who withdraws or is withdrawn after the add/drop period but before the last day of classes shall be assigned a grade of “W.” We will send information on the process for a student to withdraw after the currently published deadline in the near future.

Grading Policy: To ensure that students’ academic progress is not adversely impacted at this time, Chancellor DuBois is instituting a Pass/Fail/Withdraw/Incomplete grading scale

for spring semester. Students will have the option to request that their earned letter grades be recorded in lieu of the pass/withdraw/incomplete option. This is compliant with federal and state financial aid guidelines. Public four-year institutions in Virginia have agreed to accept a Pass+ in transfer.

Under this policy, courses that have ended, such as 1st 8 week and 1st/2nd 4-week courses will follow the existing grading scale.

Courses that have not reached the course end date as of April 6, 2020 will use the following grading scale:

P+ Pass with a grade of “C” or higher Applies to college transfer and technical education. A grade of P+ will not impact a student’s GPA.  
P- Pass with a grade of “D” Applies to college transfer and technical education. A grade of P- will not impact a student’s GPA.  
W Withdraw A student may withdraw or be withdrawn up until the last day of classes without penalty. See COVID-19 Guidance Message 11.  
I Incomplete The faculty member and student may agree to a plan to complete remaining course requirements in the following semester. See VCCS Policy 5.6.0.

Virginia Western will develop a process to allow a student to request his/her earned letter grade/s (A, B, C, D, F). Requests must be submitted by not later than the last day of classes on May 8, 2020. A student may submit only one grade request per course, and the request is not revocable. Specifics on this process will be announced in the near future.

Campus Timeline: We have received multiple questions following the announcement that we would remain in online/remote capacity until further notice and not reopen campus on April 6, 2020, as originally planned. Our goal from the beginning of this health crisis has been to return this semester to a normal delivery of courses on campus. That said, we must acknowledge it is increasingly unlikely to happen. With Governor Northam’s restrictions on gatherings in place for at least 30 days (through April 24), faculty and students should plan for those weeks to remain in online/remote instruction with the likelihood we will have to remain online/remote for the rest of the semester.

I know this is challenging for everyone, as the environment can shift during the course of a day. I appreciate everything that you are doing to make this first week successful, and promise that we are sifting through information and options as quickly as possible. We remain mindful of the courses and students that are most impacted by a decision to remain fully online/remote. We will provide additional guidance as soon as it becomes available.

Thank you again for your patience and support.

Sincerely,

Dr. Robert H. Sandel

President

Virginia Western Community College

Campus update 3/25/20

Dear Virginia Western community,

I hope the start of this week has gone as smoothly as possible during this time of transition to online and remote education. Governor Ralph Northam and the Commonwealth of Virginia have continued to respond to the escalating scale of the COVID-19 pandemic and we are following their guidance.

When we originally planned the transition to online classes, our hope was to completely reopen for face-to-face instruction by April 6. That date is no longer realistic in light of guidance from the Governor, the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a result, Virginia Western campus will remain closed to students and the public until further notice. We will continue to hold Spring Semester classes online and remotely for the time being.

We are updating our website information and frequently asked questions throughout this public health crisis. If you have questions you’d like to ask, we have added a form where you can directly submit them: https://virginiawestern.edu/vwforms/questions-or-concerns/.

The Roanoke Region has been fortunate thus far not to have been impacted by COVID-19 at the level other parts of the country have. For the safety and well-being of our college community, we are asking that if you are tested for COVID-19, you inform the college so we can adequately respond. We will soon have an online form you may submit. Students can also email Lori Baker, Dean of Student Affairs, at lbaker@virginiawestern.edu. Employees can email Jennifer Pittman, Associate Vice President of Human Resources, at jpittman@virginiawestern.edu.

Thank you for considering the health and safety of our region and helping Virginia Western do our part to flatten the curve of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth.

Sincerely,

Dr. Robert H. Sandel

President

Virginia Western Community College

Campus update 3/20/20

Dear Virginia Western students,

Over the college’s Spring Break, the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) pandemic has spread in the United States and made it essential that we alter how we deliver our academic courses in order to keep our community safe. Our faculty have been preparing to transition your in-person classes to online or remote methods. Campus is closed to students and non-employees until further notice.

On Monday, the majority of our classes will be held online or remotely. Be sure to frequently check your school email account and log into MyVWCC to access courses through Canvas. Contact your faculty member directly if you have any issues accessing a class.

Our goal is to help all our students who started the spring semester to complete it successfully. Throughout this evolving national crisis, we will communicate changes to how Virginia Western responds. For a database of past updates, visit: https://virginiawestern.edu/coronavirus/index.php.

We have been working to update a list of resources and services you can access remotely. Visit: https://www.virginiawestern.edu/communications/resources.php. There, you will find information on Brown Library services and tutoring, Hall Career Center services, Intervention Services, Disability Services, Records, Information Technology Help Desk and more. This page will be updated with more information to support you. You can also call 855-874-6690 for help.

Advising Services have also transitioned online.  The following link provides instructions for scheduling an online advising appointment: https://www.virginiawestern.edu/advising/schedule_an_appointment.php.

The Virginia Western Bookstore is also closed to the public, but students may order books and other materials online or over the phone. During this time, Follett will ship purchases to you for free. Additionally, Follett has teamed up with several publishers to offer free ebook access.  Visit https://www.bkstr.com/virginiawesternccstore for more information.

We understand that this is an uncertain time and you may feel very real concerns. Sheri Meixner, Virginia Western’s intervention counselor, is available via online meeting or phone to help you. You can set up an appointment with Ms. Meixner by contacting her at smeixner@virginiawestern.edu or 540-857-6711.

Thank you in advance for your patience during this time. Please stay safe and follow best practices provided by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Sincerely,

Dr. Robert H. Sandel

President

Virginia Western Community College

Campus Update 3/18/20

Dear Virginia Western students,

As information on the COVID-19 pandemic changes on a daily basis, we are dedicated to creating safe educational spaces. Beginning on Monday, March 23, after Spring Break concludes, Virginia Western will only provide online or remote classes. In-person classes, including those held at clinical sites and labs, are suspended unless otherwise noted. Additional specific information for AAS Nursing students will come from your program director. 

We have listed April 6 as the date we plan to reopen, but this is very likely to change based upon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Virginia Department of Health (VDH) guidelines. If you are enrolled in a class that relies on a clinical site or hands-on learning in a lab, your faculty member or school will reach out to you directly on next steps.

Starting Monday, campus will only be open to those employees who are not fully teleworking. Students will not be allowed on campus until further notice. If you need assistance accessing a class online or remotely, please contact your faculty member or school directly. Be sure to check your student email frequently and log on to your class in Canvas. We will be sending more information on resources to assist with his transition through email.

We understand that this is an uncertain time and you may feel very real concerns. Sheri Meixner, Virginia Western’s intervention counselor, is available via online meeting or phone to help you. You can set up an appointment with Ms. Meixner by contacting her at smeixner@virginiawestern.edu or 540-857-6711.

Our School of Career and Corporate Training (CCT), which provides short-term training programs and specialized training, is communicating directly with students and clients on the suspension of classes and online delivery.

Thank you for your patience as we adapt our practices to respond to this evolving public health crisis. I am very proud of our fantastic faculty and staff who are working hard to make this transition as seamless as possible.

Sincerely,

Dr. Robert H. Sandel

President

Virginia Western Community College

Governor’s Order to Enforce 10-Patron Limit

Governor Ralph Northam and State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA today issued a public health emergency order prohibiting more than 10 patrons in restaurants, fitness centers, and theaters. The order gives local and state law enforcement the ability to enforce this ban, which was announced by the Governor earlier today, if needed.

“I hope that everyone will have the common sense to stay home tonight and in the days ahead,” said Governor Northam. “This order will ensure that state and local officials have the tools they need to keep people safe.”

Full Release:
https://www.governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/all-releases/2020/march/headline-854500-en.html

Campus update 3/17/20

Dear Virginia Western community,

While our college remains closed on Spring Break, the COVID-19 pandemic has already had a dramatic impact on the ways in which we conduct business. Virginia Western is a community leader and as such, has been home to many large events for our students and for the public. As previously announced, due to guidance from the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health, we already cancelled all events through at least April 5.

With new national guidance related to minimizing group gatherings to lessen the potential spread of the virus, Chancellor Glenn DuBois announced the cancellation of May college commencements across Virginia’s Community Colleges. That includes special pinning ceremonies as well. This is a difficult step to take, but a necessary one for us to help flatten the curve of this outbreak.

Our commencement ceremony is the culmination of our academic year and gives us a chance to celebrate all the hard work and dedication our students have exhibited to reach their goals. With the evolving nature of this public health crisis, we have not yet determined the best way to reschedule our ceremony. We are, however, committed to honoring the Class of 2020.

We are tremendously proud of our students and all they have accomplished at Virginia Western. Thank you for your support and understanding at this challenging time.

Sincerely,

Dr. Robert H. Sandel

President

Virginia Western Community College

Campus Update 3/16/20

Dear Virginia Western community,

We thank everyone for their support and patience during this challenging time with the continued spread of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus). This public health crisis will necessitate an ongoing response from the college and we intend to provide consistent communication with students, employees and the public.

Currently, the college is on spring break and we will transition the majority of classes to remote and online delivery beginning on March 23. Effective immediately, all areas of campus are closed to students and non-employees unless you are specifically instructed to attend an in-person class.

We will remain in the mode of remote and online delivery until at least April 5, although that time period may be extended as needed. A limited number of specific classes will meet in person, in small groups, if essential to the program’s academic mission. Students will be notified by their faculty or school if they are in a class that will meet in person.

Campus events are currently cancelled through April 5. We are not yet rescheduling events. We will provide updates as soon as possible if this date is extended.

Again, thank you for your support at this time.

Sincerely,

Dr. Robert H. Sandel

President

Virginia Western Community College