University, students speak out after Virginia Tech suspends 7 students for violating COVID-19 policies

'Wear your mask. Social distance. Don’t purposely go against the rules knowing that they’re in place for a reason'

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Classes don’t begin until Monday, and Virginia Tech has already suspended seven students for breaking the school’s COVID-19 policies.

“We take these situations quite seriously,” said university spokesperson Mark Owczarski.

The violation of VT’s Code of Student Conduct left the university no choice but to suspend the students.

“There have been select instances where large gatherings of students without masks, without social distancing and things like that have occurred,” said Owczarski. “And that is in violation of our Code of Student Conduct.”

Owczarski said the town of Blacksburg alerted Virginia Tech to the off-campus incidents and the school took immediate action.

“A pandemic and not following public health guidelines is a classic example of putting people at risk,” said Owczarski.

Every Virginia Tech student is required to follow that code of conduct, which includes wearing a mask and social distancing.

On campus Friday, students told 10 News that they’re glad the university is cracking down, but they’re not too surprised the school had to step in.

”I know as college students, it can be very tempting to gather like with your friends,” said sophomore Lindsey Burnsed.

Burnsed said Tech made the right move.

“Maybe we don’t have, like, compromised immune systems so maybe it can be hard to understand why we need to [follow the rules],” said Burnsed. “But I think with everything going on, it’s probably the right call to protect the community and the university so we can stay as long as we can.”

Sophomore John Williams said it’s simple: Don’t break the rules knowing they’re there for a reason.

“Wear your mask. Social distance. Don’t purposely go against the rules,” said Williams. “Just be smart. Be a good person.”

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