On a Friday, May 1st Zoom conference call, community leaders in southwest Virginia came together to discuss the area’s COVID-19 response. This conversation, which was posted to the Virginia Tech school website, included leaders across several areas in Blacksburg and greater Montgomery County.
Virginia Tech school president Dr. Tim Sands and athletic director Whit Babcock were both included on the conference call, and discussed their outlook on the area’s recovery from the global pandemic, and how Virginia Tech fit into that puzzle.
Regarding the fall academic semester
“We see the fall as an opportunity for us to bring campus back to life to some degree. We’re really hoping and planning that will be an in-person fall, but with caveats. There are still some major decisions to be made,” Dr. Sands explained.
“The target date for a decision on how we’ll proceed in the fall is June 8th, but we will have signaled and made smaller decisions along the way, and will have been public about that, so when we get to that first week of June, don’t expect to be shocked.”
Fall Sports are “expected”
“We’re going to do it responsibly, but we’re going to do anything we can to play football at Virginia Tech,” Whit Babcock said on the conference call.
Babcock also hinted at a six-week “return-to-play” model for football, which would have to begin in late July if the college football season were to start on time.
As has been reported widely across multiple news outlets, there is also an option on the table for the season to be pushed back until later in the fall or even in the spring, something that Babcock also alluded to in the discussion.
Babcock mentioned that there are many possibilities being considered for fan attendance, including limiting stadium capacities and conducting health screenings at the security gates around the stadium.
While Dr. Sands and Whit Babcock both remain hopeful, it is clear that there are plenty of decisions left to be made, and uncertainty abound as recovery begins from this unprecedented pandemic.
You can find more details about the Blacksburg area’s plan for recovery and other aspects of the community conversation here.