Residential students returning for the fall 2020 semester at UVA Wise will notice enhanced health and safety measures in place to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Dean of Students and Chief Housing Officer Josh Justice recently announced.

“We are eager to welcome our students back to campus this fall after the spring semester was upended due to the global pandemic,” Justice said. “Our staff has spent many hours creating a safe and workable plan to allow our students to return to Wise in a timely manner. We recognize that it has to be a team effort with our residential students being a vital part of the team.”

Justice said students would see an increase in sanitization and cleaning of common areas and bathrooms.

“We will encourage students to avoid unnecessary travel once they return to campus and to avoid the group activities that we see as a source of many outbreaks in the nation,” he said. “Our students have a responsibility as members of our College community to do what they can to help slow the spread. I have no doubt that our students can rise to the challenge.”

The College’s residence halls will welcome returning students and first year students to campus a little differently this fall. Traditionally, Move-In Day included a flurry of activity as students, faculty, staff, and a group of volunteers pitched in to help new students and their parents lug boxes, bags, and mini refrigerators to dorm rooms. This fall the arrival time will be spread out over a five-day period.

Justice said some residential students would return to campus beginning on Aug. 5 while others will arrive at various times Beginning on Aug. 21. Some students who are reporting for athletic camps or training will receive different instructions for Move-In.

The Move-In schedules are spread out to allow social distancing. Two visitors will be allowed to help move students and their belongings to the residence hall rooms, and each helper must adhere to campus safety guidelines established by state health officials to combat the spread of the virus.

Justice sent emails to residential students on outlining the procedures. In addition, Justice said residence assistants will be training specifically on COVID-19 policies and procedures to better help residential students understand the new measures that are in place.

Residential programming for students will also be modified with safety and health considerations guiding all sponsored activities in the residential halls.

One residence hall, Martha Randolph Hall, will be used only for residential students if they must be quarantined or isolated in the event they contract the virus or are exposed. Martha Randolph Hall will be managed in coordination with the Virginia Department of Health. The Office of Dining Services and Student Affairs will coordinate meal deliveries to quarantined or isolated students. The students would also continue their coursework via virtual learning during the two-week period.

“Housing staff has worked to ensure Martha Randolph Hall is ready with items that are needed for a temporary two-week stay,” Justice added.

Justice is excited to see the students return to campus. He said UVA Wise is a special place, but campus staff and faculty have missed the students.

“I look forward to the fall semester and getting to see our returning students and to welcome our new students to the UVA Wise family,” he said.

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