CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA — The University of Virginia announced Thursday updated health guidelines for an in-person fall semester, doubling down on plans to guarantee every student on Grounds can catch COVID-19.
“As a leading institution, we have a duty to offer students the most comprehensive coronavirus experience possible” said J.J. Davis, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for UVA. “We’d be doing a disservice to give students this life-threatening disease online.”
Davis also said that the coronavirus experience at UVA will be “all-inclusive,” including two-week quarantines for close contacts, painful PCR tests at UVA Health, and an added risk from undergoing deadly respiratory symptoms.
Students who opt to return to grounds for the semester will be guaranteed to receive COVID-19 by the end of November, a UVA spokesperson said.
“I’ve heard students’ concerns that as cases rise and UVA Health becomes overwhelmed, we may switch back to fully online coursework, said President James Ryan. “I want to assure students that this is not true. We’re committed to spreading this disease, whatever it takes.”
The University clarified that students will have the option to remain at home for the semester, but those students will be responsible for incurring COVID-19 on their own.
“200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson imagined an illimitable University in which personal and academic lives are unified,” Ryan said. “We can’t think of a better way to encapsulate that vision than by combining academia with a worldwide public health emergency. If he was alive, Jefferson would want students to get COVID-19 at UVA, in-person, together.”
This is a developing story.