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Virginia Tech Upgrades Outdoor Campus Areas to Help Curb COVID-19


Keeping the safety measures required for the fall semester 2020 in mind, Virginia Tech (VT) has upgraded its campus outdoor areas to improve their scope as either study or gathering areas.

To make outdoor spaces more usable, inclusive, and accessible, the university has invested $250,000. The quarter-million will be used to add semi-permanent and permanent furniture, exterior lighting, and wireless internet to make the outdoor areas more student-friendly.

“Having some protected outdoor spaces, with wifi access and furniture, will give students more options for places to be during a challenging semester,” said Ken Smith, vice provost for academic resource management, in a statement.

Virginia Tech students will receive more than half of their classes in an online format this fall. For the remaining classes, the university wants to ensure there are safe places to host students while they are attending those classes, studying, or working on class projects. Students can use the new outdoor spaces at any time of the day.

“The exciting activation and enhancement of these outdoor environments is just one way the university is leveraging existing spaces on the campus to deliver new opportunities for collaboration, innovation, and community-building,” said Christopher H. Kiwus, vice president for campus planning, infrastructure, and facilities at VT.

Safety Measures 

The university also released a new safety app, Hokie Ready, which offers critical emergency information and COVID-19 resources. The app is available for Android and Apple devices.

Students and faculty need to answer a survey related to their symptoms and the app will notify them about whether they should attend work or class that day.

If the survey indicates that a student or employee should not work, the app recommends that they contact a health care provider to see if any additional actions are needed. Students, staff, and faculty members are required to take the survey daily to ensure safety on campus during the pandemic.

“We have been working to prepare as best we can for the opening and move-in of school,” VT spokesperson Mark Owczarski said to local Virginia TV station WDBJ7.

Most classes of Virginia Tech are completely remote or operating on a hybrid model. The first day of classes is on August 24.

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