For many Hokies, having a safe and healthy Labor Day amidst the global pandemic starts with simply staying put in Blacksburg.

“This weekend is a challenge. Ideally, no one would travel, everyone would stay in your pod, have fun, but keep it to your pod,” said President Tim Sands during a virtual Town Hall earlier this week.

For students who must travel, Sands stressed a heightened level of awareness of potential exposures during the trip and of potential symptoms in the weeks that follow.

For those able to stay in the New River Valley and Roanoke regions, enjoying themselves in a cautious manner is of the utmost importance, both for individuals and the community as a whole.

Earlier this semester, Virginia Tech researcher Lindsey Marr shared a few tips on migrating risk while enjoying a festive atmosphere on Twitter. An expert in the airborne transmission of infectious disease, the civil and environmental engineering professor has spent the past few months in the national spotlight explaining the spread of COVID-19.

Marr’s tips include:

  • Smaller groups
  • Outdoor activities
  • Keeping masks on
  • Using a bendy straw under masks for beverage consumption

Here are a few other ideas of ways to spend your three-day weekend in and around Blacksburg. Many are fun, some are productive, and all can be done in a safe manner by following face covering, physical distancing, and basic hygiene guidelines.

  • Kick off the weekend right – Students will be able to interact with almost 500 student organizations during Gobblerfest 2020, which will be held virtually on Friday from 4-6 p.m.
  • Enjoy nature  – The region surrounding the Blacksburg campus is flush with ponds, lakes, trails, and streams. Check out 10 nearby locations.
  • Venture Out with Rec Sports – A special event is offered each day over the holiday weekend.
    • 9/4: Park and Play Stand Up Paddleboard – Claytor Lake
    • 9/5: Park and Play Mountain Biking – Pandapas Pond
    • 9/6: Challenge Course Open Recreation – Challenge Course on Campus

Check out a full list of their fall activities.

  • Get a workout inIndoor and outdoor facilities will be available on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, McComas Hall begins its newly implemented hours, including a policy of pre-registering for exercise timeslots. 
  • Explore self-care resources  – Hokie Wellness has a variety of available workshops - topics ranging from body image and mental health resiliency skills to financial wellness and strategies for partying in a positive and safe manner -  will all be available virtually. Some workshops will have in-person options, as space for safe physical distancing allows.
  • Create a study schedule – This fall, the University Libraries implemented a reserved seating system that allows individuals to book a study spot for four hours a day, up to two weeks in advance.
  • Establish your pod – Creating small groups committed to each other’s health is one of the best ways to help fight the virus and the quarantine blues. Learn more about how to create and maintain a successful pod.
  • Review guidelines for COVID-19 testing – Have questions about if or how you should be tested? Schiffert Health Center has provided some helpful advice.

— Written by Travis Williams