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Pods at Virginia Tech

Pods at Virginia Tech, coming Spring 2021!

Pods are a tool to help students expand their social circles and create closer connections, while ensuring individuals are following CDC guidelines and maintaining healthy community!

Pods are small groups of students who are able to interact with each other more closely and in a more relaxed, un-masked environment. In order to do so, students in a pod make a commitment to rigorously follow safety measures, including face coverings and physical distancing, when interacting with anyone outside of the pod.

Pod Size:

Traditional Style Rooms: A pod can contain up to 14 students, and students must be in the same pod as their roommate. Therefore, pods can contain between two and seven roommate pairs. Students can only be in one pod.

Suite Style Rooms: A pod can contain up to 14 students, and students must be in the same pod as all of their suitemates. Students can only be in one pod. Therefore, for example, a pod could be made up of the following at maximum:

  • 1 10-person suite and 1 4-person suite
  • 2 4-person suites and 1 6-person suite
  • 2 6-person suites and 1 2-person traditional-style room

Off-Campus Students: Off-campus students may join registered on-campus pods. Off-campus students will be included in the 14-student maximum. Any off-campus student looking to join a registered pod must receive a COVID-19 test within seven days of joining the pod. Once the results are received and the student is cleared by a medical professional (if applicable) the off-campus student is eligible to join the on-campus pod.


Pod Behavioral Guidelines:

While interacting... In a Student Room In a Common Space Outdoors Away from Passersby Outdoors Near Passersby
Solely with members of pod
  • Remove mask
  • Increase gathering size: 6
  • Relax social distancing
  • Wear mask
  • Abide by posted gathering limits
  • Relax social distancing
  • Remove mask
  • Increase gathering size: 14
  • Relax social distancing
  • Wear mask
  • Abide by university gathering limits
  • Maintain social distancing
With individuals outside of pod
  • Wear mask
  • Limit gathering size: 3
  • Maintain social distancing
  • Wear mask
  • Abide by posted gathering limits
  • Maintain social distancing
  • Wear mask
  • Abide by university gathering limits
  • Maintain social distancing
  • Wear mask
  • Abide by university gathering limits
  • Maintain social distancing

Pod Registration:

Students will be required to register their pod by the end of the second week of classes. This will allow students time to return to campus, get settled, receive the results of their COVID-19 test, and reestablish their informal pod from the Fall 2020 semester - if they choose to do so. Pod registration will open on January 18, 2021 at 8:00am EDT.

Students can create their pod in the StarRez Portal. Once you are logged in using your PID/password and 2-Factor, select Pod Registration. Click continue next to Pod Registration 2020-2021. There are two options from this point: (1) create a pod and share with your pod members the name and password of the Pod Group or (2) join your pod by typing in the name and password of your Pod Group. Once you have successfully joined your pod, you will receive a confirmation email to your Virginia Tech email.


Pod Commitment:

As a part of the pod registration process, students are required to complete the following pod commitment:

1. When in public or interacting with individuals outside my pod, I will:

  • Maintain social distancing
  • Wear my mask at all times
  • Talk with my pod members and abide by any additional precautions that my pod members determine need to be taken

2. When I am not feeling well, I will:

  • Inform members of my pod
  • Refrain from interacting with my members of my pod until I am feeling better and/or cleared by a medical professional, if applicable

3. When another member of my pod is not feeling well and/or has tested positive for COVID-19, I will:

  • Participate in contact tracing efforts truthfully and accurately
  • Abide by all quarantining/isolation recommendations of medical professionals and the Virginia Department of Health

4. Prior to exiting a pod and joining a new one, I will:

  • Discuss and agree upon switching pods with my roommate
  • Quarantine for 7-days prior to joining a new pod
  • Refrain from interacting with my current pod unless all participants are masked and practicing social distancing
  • Discuss and agree upon additional safety measures with my new pod
  • Formally register with my new pod
  • Switch pods no more than 3 times

When registering, I certify the following terms:

  • My pod is no larger than 14 Virginia Tech students
  • My pod includes my roommate and/or suitemates (if applicable)
  • I understand that my pod information will be shared with contact tracers and university officials as needed.

Pod Enforcement:

A student’s pod name is located in their StarRez Record. Housing and Residence Life staff members can locate this pod name by searching for a student on the StarRez Housing Mobile Application. If all students in a room have the same pod name, they are in the clear. If the pod names do not match, and mask and/or social distancing guidelines are not being followed, a conduct referral will be submitted. Pod names are also visible to students on the homepage of their StarRez Portal.


Frequently Asked Questions:

No, you are welcome to spend time with students outside of your pod, but you will need to follow all university guidelines around mask wearing, gathering sizes, and social distancing when hanging out with people outside of your pod.

No, you can only be in one pod at a time. If you need to switch pods, you will need to take the following steps:

  • Discuss and agree upon switching pods with your roommate
  • Quarantine for 7-days prior to joining a new pod
  • Refrain from interacting with your current pod unless all participants are masked and practicing social distancing
  • Discuss and agree upon additional safety measures with your new pod
  • Formally register with your new pod
  • Switch pods no more than 3 times

Yes, you must be in the same pod as your roommate. and all of your suitemates. Because you and your roommate spend time in the room together, even if it’s just while you are sleeping, it is important that you both know and agree upon who you are comfortable interacting with in a more relaxed environment. This doesn’t mean you can’t interact with people not in your pod, it just means you need to take more precautions while interacting with people not in your pod.

For traditional style rooms: If you and your roommate have different friend groups, a good compromise may be that you pick 6 people to be part of the pod and your roommate selects the other 6. This ensures that your friend group and your roommate’s friend group can both spend time in your room in a more relaxed manner. This is something you and your roommate will have to discuss and agree upon. Please remember, however, that only 6 pod members can be in your room at any given time.

For suite style rooms: Depending on the size of your suite, selecting remaining pod groups may be easy or more challenging if you have different friend groups. You will need to have a conversation with your suitemates to determine who will be part of your pod. If you are unable to come to an agreement, you are still welcome to have friends over, you will just need to follow the guidelines for interacting with individuals outside of your pod.

We know that as the semester goes on, your friend group may change. That is totally okay! We have established a process for switching pods to account for your changing social circle. Please note, however, that you are only able to switch pods three times throughout the semester. To switch your pod, follow these steps:

  • Discuss and agree upon switching pods with your roommate
  • Quarantine for 7-days prior to joining a new pod
  • Refrain from interacting with your current pod unless all participants are masked and practicing social distancing
  • Discuss and agree upon additional safety measures with your new pod
  • Formally register with your new pod
  • Switch pods no more than 3 times

We know some students may have friends who live both on and off-campus. We want you to be able to socialize with your off-campus friends the same way you can with your on-campus friends. As a result, you are welcome to have an off-campus student register for your pod.

Off-campus students will be included in the 14-student maximum. Any off-campus student looking to join a registered pod must receive a COVID-19 test within seven days of joining the pod. Once the results are received and the student is cleared by a medical professional (if applicable) the off-campus student is eligible to join the on-campus pod.

It takes time to find your group. That is entirely normal, and you are not the only one. While we are not currently offering pod assignments, we plan to host some events and activities, both virtually and in-person, where you can come meet other students who are also still looking to make connections. These events will be concentrated at the start of the semester, but will continue throughout Spring 2021. We hope to see you there!

If you have questions we didn't cover, reach out to us at housing@vt.edu or 540-231-6205.