The University of Virginia’s College at Wise has purchased enough acrylic sheeting that if lined up end to end would span a four-foot wide section of Beaty-Richmond Field two times from goal to goal in Carl Smith Stadium.

Why the big purchase? The College placed orders early on as part of proactive health and safety measures designed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“Our goal is to install the guards at all classroom lecterns and selected public interaction desks as needed,” said Travis Perry, director of capital operations & planning.

Crews have worked with various departments across campus to come up with the best ways to use the acrylic barriers to add additional protection for students, faculty, staff, and visitors who frequent high traffic areas where face-to-face encounters occur. The thought, as recommended by federal and state health officials, is that the barriers alleviate much of the spread of particles that carry the virus.

The crews have used innovative ways to install the barriers, including hanging some from ceilings, bolting some to counters, and even placing smaller pieces to lecterns in classrooms. Those who determine where the barriers will go are listening to the people who use those spaces. Listening gives the crews the necessary information to make the best decisions regarding how the barriers are installed.

Perry said the installation, done in house by Chris Stidham and Ray Asher, is an example of professional craftsmanship.

“I’m very proud of them and the work they’ve done,” Perry said. “It’s another sterling example of our staff’s dedication to making every effort to provide a safe and healthy environment for this fall semester.”

Joshua Justice, dean of students and chief housing officer, also praised the work of the maintenance crew, especially Asher and Stidham.

“I just can’t say enough about our entire maintenance crew,” Justice said. “They have been working hard since May to make things as safe as possible for our return to campus in August.”

Justice said the work includes moving furniture in classrooms and other spaces to allow adequate social distancing measures and other tasks as well. The barriers placed at various locations in Cantrell Hall, the building that includes the housing offices and other several other student services, including campus police, have the acrylic barriers in place to protect the frontline workers who encounter the public on a daily basis.

Classes begin at UVA Wise on Aug 26.