On Friday afternoon, President Jim Ryan and UVA’s senior leadership team sent an email to the University community announcing that residence halls will reopen and in-person instruction will resume on Tuesday, Sep 8.
This comes after Move-In and in-person undergraduate classes were delayed by two weeks to assess the viral spread and resolve supply chain issues.
In this latest email, Pres. Ryan reported improvements in the local prevalence of coronavirus and that supply chain concerns have been addressed.
To reopen safely, undergraduate dorms will only be two-thirds full, housing about 4,400 students who are mostly first-years. UVA also plans to monitor dorm wastewater, which can catch outbreaks before they start.
Students and employees who suspect they have COVID-19 are asked to get tested immediately at Student Health, while those who do not exhibit symptoms can request to be voluntarily tested once every 60 days.
UVA is also implementing safe-distancing measures such as plastic shields in libraries to minimize the virus spread.
Warren “Hubba” Wood of Facilities Management with a clear plastic shield designed for the protection of students, staff and faculty. (Source: Sanjay Suchak, University Communications)
Earlier this week, UVA released initial results from its mandatory COVID-19 testing program: of 13,000 reported tests, 36 returned positive. While UVA has seen a recent uptick in cases, Pres. Ryan stated in his email that this was “expected with roughly 15,000 students already in Charlottesville.”
Pres. Ryan reiterated that UVA is moving forward with reopening because parts of the college experience cannot be replicated online. He acknowledged that some members of the community will contract the virus and fall ill, and emphasized that the administration will continue to monitor conditions closely and “change course” if necessary.