Dear UVA Wise Community,
It’s no secret that 2020 was a difficult year. Going into fall, we researched, planned and put our best foot forward in the battle against COVID-19, hoping that we could host students on campus, as they desired. Thanks to your diligence, we were able to maintain a distinctively low COVID-19 positivity rate on campus and complete our on-campus classes in person, as planned!
What’s more is that you persevered to help our students accomplish some pretty amazing achievements, despite a global pandemic:
- Students have been using new career tools including a new networking site that lists jobs and internships, an artificial intelligence resume reviewer, and a pathway tool that helps them identify majors and career possibilities.
- Some, like seniors M. Jerryd Meade and Grayson Proulex, published their research on algae.
- Others, like those in the theatre department, held an engaging outdoor performance of tales from our region.
- Still more, like our fearless ROTC program, raised a new flag at a nearby overlook.
- And, senior Josh McCray, presented to the State Council for Higher Educationin Virginia about his experience this fall.
There are countless other examples like this, so I thank you for persevering in carrying out vital health and safety measures so that this, and more, was achieved!
Now, I write to you to let you know that we used the fall semester to research, listen, learn and strengthen our efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19. Our plan for mitigating COVID-19 in spring 2021 has many steps, and our priorities for keeping the campus and surrounding community safe and healthy include:
- Prior to students’ arrival on campus for the spring 2021 semester, all students must provide a negative COVID-19 test or documentation from a healthcare provider that they have had the virus and completed isolation as required by the Centers for Disease Control. (Students, share this information with the UVA Health Clinic at Wise via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have not done so already.)
- All employees will be part of prevalence testing early in the spring 2021 semester. (If you are a UVA Wise employee and receive a positive result from testing, notify Stephanie Perry, Director of Human Resources at email@example.com.)
- Prevalence testing for students and employees will continue throughout the spring semester for all of those visiting campus to live, learn, or play. We are continuing with the Let’s Get Checked test and process that was utilized during the fall.
These testing measures will be complemented by continued efforts to encourage everyone—our students and employees—to wear a face covering, remain socially distant, and wash your hands.
Each one of us holds the key to keeping each other well and the payoff of doing so is significant: we provide an education that empowers students to not only complete their degree, but to thrive throughout their lives!
I am excited for what 2021 can bring and look forward to working alongside you to continue to institute best practices to maintain the safety of our community, while also advancing the education we offer, despite what tries to hold us back.
Donna Price Henry, Ph.D.