Chancellor Donna P. Henry on Tuesday sent an email message to college, faculty, staff and students announcing the decision.
“Our intention is to start the fall semester together, on campus,” Henry said.
Henry said a steering committee has been formed to work on the details for a safe opening in August. The panel will look at aspects from safe classroom operation and daily work duties to managing residential and campus facilities.
“The central focus remains maintaining a healthy and safe space for our community to live, learn and work,” Henry said in the message. “Southwest Virginia has some of the lowest rates of infection in the Commonwealth, and we feel we are well positioned to keep students and employees safe especially given the extra precautions we plan to implement.”
UVA-Wise shut down on-campus classes in March before students returned from spring break and switched to online courses on March 23 to complete the spring semester.
The shutdown led to a first for the college on May 9: an online commencement ceremony via Facebook, although the school is planning for an on-campus commencement ceremony on Oct. 4.
Henry said details of the campus reopening plan will follow as the steering committee works with senior leadership.
However, Henry said the college will be prepared to return to an online class format if indications of a national or regional spread of COVID-19 appear.