Dear Parents and Guardians:
I am writing to you as someone who cares deeply about your students' safety, health, and well-being. We are facing a public health crisis worldwide, nationwide, and here in Virginia.
On behalf of the University and larger Charlottesville community, I am appealing to you if your student has told you they want to remain here: We need your help ensuring your student returns home and is ready to begin virtual classes on Thursday, March 19. We recognize a small number of students cannot leave due to unavoidable circumstances, and we will continue to support those students, but we need all other students to return home for the foreseeable future.
We are especially concerned right now about students living off Grounds. Last night, a number of students were celebrating on the Corner, and a rumor is circulating about more gatherings this evening. We need your assistance in helping them understand the dangers posed by COVID-19. While they may not become sick or may suffer only mild symptoms, they could potentially infect residents in the local community who could contract the disease and become acutely ill.
We made the very difficult decision to move our classes to virtual instruction not only based on the health and welfare of our students, but also because we want to ensure that the UVA Health System, a Level 1 trauma center, is not stretched too thin in the coming weeks and months. We believe the fewer students in Charlottesville right now, the better for our health system and, thus, for the health and welfare of everyone in the region.
Mitigating this crisis must be a community-wide effort, and we have enlisted the help of the area's primary landlords, asking them to reiterate these concerns to their student-tenants. Yesterday, we engaged alumni who manage Greek housing, asking their help as well. If your student lives off Grounds and needs individual help with matters like retrieving their most important belongings, they should contact their landlord directly. If your student encounters difficulty after contacting their landlord, please have them email the Office of the Dean of Students at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Likewise, if your student lives on Grounds and they need a few essential things from their room, they can have a friend pick up the items or arrange for a staff member to enter their room to get the items and ship them. For help with this – only if your student lives in on-Grounds housing – please email email@example.com.
Your student will be hearing more from the University soon about the transition to virtual classes. We know this will be an abrupt and challenging transition, but faculty and staff across the University are working hard to make the shift as smooth as possible, and your student will have support from the University. In addition, Allen Groves, University Dean of Students, will be communicating soon with your student to further clarify a variety of questions that have arisen.
Thank you to each of you for your help and support. I know there are many whose student is already at home or planning to be at home soon. We are grateful for your partnership and quick action.
In my 40 years at the University, I have faced many crises, yet none like this. Most of our students have no memory of September 11. This, however, is a global pandemic previously unseen by any of us. We must help them understand how vital it is to unite around this crisis. The COVID-19 health crisis is forcing each of us to make sacrifices and changes none of us wants to make. In the end, however, it is not about us. It's about our responsibility to our fellow human beings. Thank you for all you and your student are doing during this difficult time.
Finally, please continue to check our coronavirus website, which is being updated continually with new information. If you have questions, please call our Response Lines at 877-685-4836: domestic; 1-202-800-2408: international; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer