Virginia Tech is moving First-Year Orientation sessions online in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
First-year orientation sessions typically take place from June to July annually. Dates depend on the students’ departments and majors.
All summer activities until August have been either cancelled or moved online. First-Year Orientation is among those, along with Summer Academy, conferences, club meetings, 4-H and FFA meetings.
The decision came after the university decided that it wouldn’t be safe for the Hokie community to have orientation face-to-face. Assistant Vice President of University Relations Mark Owczarski said the summer orientation is still a work in progress as the decision was made very recently.
Owczarski said it is too early to know what orientation will look like online.
“There are so many things that need to be done to make it happen,” Owczarski said. “It's something we would prefer to do in person because orientation, if you think about it, is about seeing campus, visiting campus, meeting people, meeting potential roommates, breaking small groups and seeing what Squires Student Center is like … and that's going to be hard to do online. We recognize that. But, we're going to try to present it in the very best way that we can to cover all of the material that needs to be covered.”
Madison You, an incoming freshman majoring in psychology with a pre-med track, said she does not believe that moving orientation day online will affect her understanding of Virginia Tech.
“VT is such a well-organized, reliable institution and I am confident that no matter the circumstance, VT will provide an environment where I will be able to build lasting relationships with others,” You said.
In addition to First-Year Orientation, the coming fall semester is still ambiguous in terms of whether or not the semester will take place online. President Tim Sands mentioned in last week’s Town Hall that the fall semester activities will largely depend on federal and state funding decisions that have not yet been determined.
“We do not yet have the information we need to plan for the next academic year,” Sands said on the status of the university’s budget. “We have not yet received promised federal support in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Until there is news on whether or not there will be state and federal funding, Virginia Tech does not have a clear picture of the budget for the coming academic year. However, plans for the fall will be announced in early June.