Virginia Tech Athletics Releases Statement and Information on COVID Policies

Virginia Tech Athletics Releases Statement and Information on COVID Policies
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Aug 03, 2020

Photo Credit: Harley Taylor

After Caleb Farley made a statement on NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk that raised concerns about Virginia Tech's COVID policies, VT released a statement on those policies via Dr. Mark Rogers, the Chief Medical Officer for Hokie Athletics.

Here's the full statement by Rogers.

“The health and welfare of our student-athletes and staff, as well as the Virginia Tech and surrounding communities continues to be our foremost priority. All Virginia Tech student-athletes are tested for COVID-19 and screened before being cleared to participate in any athletic activities. In addition, follow-up testing protocols are performed on a regular basis in accordance with Centers for Disease Control, ACC and NCAA recommendations.

“In addition, daily screening protocols and monitoring measures are in place in accordance with the standards established by the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Tech and Montgomery County public health officials. An abundance of caution continues to be utilized to ensure all equipment and facilities are sanitized and cleaned appropriately.

“Student-athletes and staff have been issued personal protective equipment to wear in indoor areas. The Beamer-Lawson Practice Facility continues to be utilized in an open-air configuration in accordance with health department guidelines. As another safety precaution, all staff members have been issued additional personal protective equipment to wear during workouts and practices. In conjunction with Mike Goforth and Tech’s Sports Medicine team, we will continue to follow the latest guidance from Virginia Tech, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the CDC.”

Farley's comments pointed to concerns about both players travelling after starting to participate in workouts (including to Myrtle Beach) along with a recent time in the Beamer-Lawson Practice Facility where most players were maskless in what is a mostly indoor place.

That last comment was not denied, but rather VT clarified that it is an open air facility that has greater flexibility under current regulations from the Virginia Department of Health due to the garage doors that allow for natural air flow. We heard the travel comment was largely during June per a source but there is plenty of reason why those actions could give a player anxiety, especially given how Myrtle Beach has proven to be a COVID transmission hotspot at times this summer.

Virginia Tech also released in their press release and on their website a link to their athletics return plan during the pandemic, a document that was previously released vi a FOIA request, but not released directly in full by Virginia Tech (or anywhere else in full as far as we can recollect) until today.

The plan does reveal lots of standard, good details for regular symptom checks upon entering facilities, quarantining even for players and staff in close contact with someone.

However, it does lack details on testing protocols including how regularly athletes will be tested and whether they are tested anytime they leave the Blacksburg area other than for athletic-related reasons in season.

ACC plans have pointed towards weekly testing that must include results prior to the next competition, which is likely the case at VT but unclear at this time if that is happening or how testing is specifically being done at VT. We have reached out to Virginia Tech for comment on testing specifics but have not received any response to date.