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February 2020 Family Newsletter

Spring is an excellent time for students to start thinking about on-campus opportunities to give back, and to get valuable experience outside the classroom. If your Hokie has an interest in health & wellness, we have two opportunities for them to explore. Hokie Wellness has multiple peer education teams that serve as student health educators and ambassadors to campus. They are HEAT (Health Education Awareness Team), IMPACT (Initiating and Motivating a Positive Alcohol Culture Together) and our NEW Financial Wellness Peer Education Interns. Each group learns valuable skills in public speaking, small group and individual facilitation, and a wealth of knowledge in their respective areas.

This spring, Hokie Wellness will be recruiting for IMPACT and Financial Wellness peer education positions for the 2020-2021 academic year. Applications open February 1st, and are due March 6th (the Friday leading into spring break). Both positions are paid, but the emphasis will be for us to find students who truly embody the values of each group and want to give back to the Virginia Tech community while gaining professional experience.

Please share these opportunities with your Hokie, and read more about each group at the links below:

For questions, interested students may contact Kelsey O’Hara-Marasigan (IMPACT) at or Kevin Sutton (Financial Wellness) at

Intramural Sports

Our spring intramural schedule is ready for students to register for sports and compete against other Hokies on campus for a chance to win the coveted championship t-shirt. Membership and registration info can be found here

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Fitness Programs

Group Exercise - Our spring group exercise schedule features over 110 classes each week and classes are catered to all skill and ability levels. All classes will be free the first week of class, and students can learn more about purchasing a group ex membership here.

Personal Training - Our certified personal trainers are ready to help students and staff reach their fitness and wellbeing goals. Our trainers create safe and customized fitness programs and provide clients with the 1-on-1 attention they deserve.

Hokie Fit: Online-Based Training Plans - We've completely revamped our online fitness program that is open to students, staff and the general public! 2-Week Kickstart, 4-Week and 6-Week workout plans are now offered and come with a full set of tutorial videos and a PDF workout guide.

Venture Out

Trips - 31 outdoor trips are scheduled for the spring semester! From hiking to caving, and rappelling to skiing, Venture Out offeres trips guided by trained perfessionals to provide elite experiences in our scenic surroundings. 

Rentals - For those who wish to partake in their own adventures, we offer equipment rentals to help send you on your journey!

Aquatics, Health and Safety

Our aquatics program offeres swim lessons as well as health and safety certification courses.

Sport Clubs

Our 30 sport clubs will reconvene for the semester and prepare to play recreationally or compete nationally! 

To learn more about our offerings, visit our website or connect with us on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram!

Flu: What you need to know

Is it a cold or is it the flu?

The flu and common cold are both respiratory illnesses but are caused by different viruses. The illnesses have similar symptoms, so it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference by symptoms alone. The chart below can help determine what might be making your student feel sick. Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly and can sometimes lead to complications. Students should seek medical care if they experience emergency warning signs, or any symptom that is severe or concerning.



Common Cold

Symptom Onset




Usual, lasts 3 to 4 days



Usual, often severe






Fairly common





Stuffy nose



Sore throat



Chest discomfort, cough

Common, can be severe

Mild to moderate, hacking cough




Fatigue, weakness



Source: CDC

How is the flu diagnosed?

Influenza virus testing is not required to make a clinical diagnosis of influenza in outpatients with suspected flu, particularly during increased seasonal flu activity. A flu test is helpful if an individual is considered at high-risk for influenza complications and for whom a diagnosis of flu can help their doctor make decisions about their care. Additionally, testing might be utilized to inform health officials if there is a respiratory outbreak in a closed setting (such as a hospital, long-term care facility, cruise ship, or summer camp) and will help in determining if influenza is the cause of the outbreak.

The “rapid influenza diagnostic tests” used in most outpatient clinics do not test for the flu virus directly. The test works by detecting the parts of the virus (called antigens) that stimulate an immune response. It is important to note that rapid flu tests vary in their ability to detect flu virus and because of this some individuals who are infected with the flu can test negative for the influenza virus. This is called a false negative test result. Additionally, it appears that rapid flu tests are better at detecting flu in children than in adults. A health care provider may diagnose your student with flu infection, despite a negative test result.

If your student has flu-like symptoms, it is not always necessary to test for influenza. Most people with flu symptoms are not tested because the test results usually do not change how they are treated. A doctor may diagnose your student with flu based on symptoms and their clinical judgement.

Treating Flu: Who Receives Influenza Antivirals?

Here are some simple guidelines if your student gets sick with flu. Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care, or antiviral drugs, and will recover in less than two weeks. If your student gets sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, they should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. Certain people are at greater risk of developing serious flu-related complications, these include young children, elderly, pregnant women, and individuals with certain medical conditions or with weakened immune system. It’s important for these individuals to start antiviral medications as early as possible. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a full list  groups who are more likely to get serious flu-related complications if they get sick with flu.

A new year means a new semester and a new set of resolutions! Have you made any resolutions to improve your mental health and wellbeing? Last year 5,048 students sought counseling services for over 31,000 appointments to improve their mental health and wellness. Contact Cook Counseling Center to see what services and resources are available to help you meet your mental health goals for a happy, healthy 2020.

The Cook Counseling offers multiple services to meet your mental health needs.

Counseling Services

Additional Services

Individual Counseling

Crisis Intervention

Group Counseling

Animal Assisted Therapy

Psychiatric Services

Sports Psychology/ Counseling


Student/Faculty Consultation

Online/Selfcare resources


We have just released a list (see attached pdf) of all group counseling sessions available for the 2020 spring semester. For additional information about dates and times contact the Cook Counseling Center directly at 540-231-6557.    

Our office provides services and accommodations to those with disabilities, and also serves those with temporary disabilities or severe illness.  This includes if a student were to have a concussion, if they broke their wrist and wasn't able to take notes, or if they have an extended illness that was preventing them from being able to perform their usual tasks. 

SSD provides:

  • Support for accommodations
  • Academic relief and suspension appeal
  • Standardized testing

Some accommodations include: 

  • Classroom accommodations
  • Accommodations for the deaf and hard of hearing students
  • Testing centers
  • Note takers
  • Alternative text
  • Special housing

The SSD office will review disability documentations year-round, there is no deadline to apply.  If your student already has a 504 plan or IEP you can submit them to our office.