Dear Parents and Guardians:
These are hard times for everyone. As we experience a global pandemic that is expected to worsen in coming days in our area of the country, the University is joining with entities at the local, regional, and state level to share resources that may be needed for the health and well-being of our fellow citizens.
You and your student already are making personal sacrifices that none of us fully envisioned even a month ago. I’m writing today to thank you for all you are doing and to share more information about plans that will have an impact on a small contingent of students and their families. Although this does not affect all of you, I believe it’s important for all of our students and families to understand what – and why – certain decisions have been made in recent days.
As a state institution with a public trust and mission, we have a duty to share our resources in times of crisis. Our facilities are owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia. It’s our good fortune that the UVA Hospital, a nationally renowned, level one trauma center, is part of our extended Grounds. We offer major resources that can help those suffering from COVID-19 and other illnesses, as well as assist the many doctors, nurses, and staff members who are caring for them. Our resources are part of the bigger picture that emergency planners are reviewing to determine a comprehensive, joint response to aid the central Virginia area.
At the same time these plans are evolving, we must adhere to medical guidance and concerns for the safety and health of you, your families, our staff members, and people in Charlottesville. Many of you have understandably wanted to return to the Grounds to pick up your students’ belongings if they lived in a residence hall. That simply is not possible given all the current concerns about the spread of COVID-19. We will be determining a date and process for you to return in the future, but only when consistent with public health and safety.
The residence halls currently are accessible only to those students who received permission to remain on Grounds. We are in contact with the some 250 undergraduate students who remain so they are aware of how to access services if they need help.
Emergency Use of Bond, Bice, Shea, French and Spanish Houses. As part of the overall efforts addressing the COVID-19 crisis, the University recently was asked to provide housing in residence halls near the hospital. The buildings include Bice, Bond, Shea, and the French and Spanish houses. This weekend, eight students who had remained in those five buildings were relocated to vacant rooms in Lambeth and Copeley, located on the opposite side of Grounds.
As part of this process to answer the call of projected emergency needs, we now must carefully pack up and store all the possessions of students who had lived in those five buildings. The residents of those buildings received an email with details on Sunday and are being asked to complete a questionnaire to help direct the vendor we have retained for packing, moving, and storage. A second email further clarifying the process was distributed yesterday. Students who received the questionnaire need to complete it by tomorrow, April 8, so the vendor can handle students’ possessions as carefully as possible and in accordance with their preferences.
The University is covering the full cost of packing and storing items from these five buildings. Students only need to pay if they want to go to the storage warehouse and pick up their belongings before some point in the future when conditions are safer and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has lifted the stay-home order issued last week. Once a timeframe is set, the vendor will deliver everyone’s packed belongings to a central area of the Grounds where students and parents can pick them up. A range of dates and times for pick-up will be available.
Governor Northam’s Executive Order. If you live in Virginia, then you know Gov. Northam issued an Executive Order last week directing Virginians to stay at home until June 10. This order, and previous guidance from the governor and other officials, has guided our decisions since mid-March about students returning to Grounds.
The majority of our students are no longer in Charlottesville. A significant number, however, remain in off-Grounds apartments or houses. By and large, they are following social distancing guidelines and not gathering in groups larger than 10. I have seen exceptions, however, most notably on the UVA Lawn. Enjoying the beautiful spring weather is certainly not a problem, but if you think your student needs a reminder about not gathering in groups larger than 10, please help us out. It’s for their own safety and that of others. The asymptomatic spread of the novel coronavirus poses major concerns.
Withdrawal Deadline Extended. For students only in the College of Arts & Sciences, the date to withdraw from the spring term has been changed to May 8 (it had previously been April 14). All College students now have until May 8 to withdraw from the spring 2020 term and return in fall 2020 (or summer). Students in the College have received a notification about this.
Message from Dean Groves. All students received a message yesterday from University Dean of Students Allen Groves. He reminded students of the importance of social distancing and covered several other important topics, including the possibility of unemployment benefits for students who had part-time jobs and are now having difficulty paying rent or other major expenses. He also listed the many services available remotely, including the services of Student Health and Counseling & Psychological Services. I encourage you to read his message and ensure your student reads it.
The University is committed to sharing updates with you as information is available, but we remain in a fluid situation marked by numerous uncertainties. Thank you for all you are doing to support your student as they finish this semester remotely. I hope you and your families are weathering this crisis as well as possible.
Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer