NORFOLK, Va. - College campuses can begin to reopen, but must submit plans to the State Council for Higher Education for review, Gov. Ralph Northam said Thursday.
"They can begin to return to campus and offer in-person instruction, but they must follow all relevant guidance," said Northam.
The plans will have to address how the colleges and universities plan to repopulate campuses, detect infection, contain the virus, and possibly shut down if there are outbreaks.
"While college life will change, the energy, creativity, and commitment shown by college and university faculty and staff will ensure that the learning experience will not be sacrificed," said Peter Blake, the Director of the State Council for Higher Education.
Several aspects of college life will be different, Blake said. Students should expect more online classes, smaller class sizes, staggered schedules, and non-traditional food service. "Expect a new normal," said Blake.
Athletic events and fine arts performances will also be different, but Blake didn't go into specifics.
Because Virginia's colleges and universities are diverse and in different geographical areas, they expect the plans to be different.
"We want our students to be back on campus this fall and we want to do it safely and responsibly," said Northam.
Earlier this week, Northam outlined how k-12 schools can reopen.