A Message from the Chancellor, March 18, 2020
Dear UVA Wise Students, Faculty and Staff:
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made critical decisions regarding the operations of the UVA Wise campus community. This unprecedented and very rapidly changing situation requires taking some significant, additional steps. Please understand it is our hope that the action we are taking, beginning today, will help prevent the spread of this virus and assist with the efforts to ensure that the healthcare teams in our region are not overburdened.
Today, we are announcing the following changes:
- Starting Monday, March 23, Classes will move online and continue virtually for the rest of the spring semester
- Commencement, set for May 9, will be postponed until a later date
- All events on campus are cancelled until at least May 15
- Students who receive federal work study will continue to be paid
- Modifications will be made to on campus housing and dining
- Credits for housing and dining will be prorated
- All employees who can telecommute must do so now with supervisor input
Classes will remain virtual. We have decided to not hold any in-person classes on campus for the remainder of the semester because of the uncertainty of the situation. For students who do not have Internet access needed to complete their classes online, please contact the IT Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All events of any size on campus are cancelled until at least May 15. These restrictions include events that are not sponsored by UVA Wise, including conferences, concerts, and social gatherings.
Student Employees. Student employees who are able to complete their duties remotely can do so with the approval of their supervisor. Students should submit time sheets and will be paid at their normal hourly wage. Students in the Federal Work Study program (FWS) will continue to be paid an average of their current wages bi-weekly through the end of the semester. Students on FWS who will continue to work remotely should submit time sheets and will be paid at their normal hourly wage.
For the safety of students and the others with whom they may come into contact, non-FWS student employees who cannot work remotely will not be eligible to continue working while the College’s operating schedule is modified due to COVID-19. We understand that this will cause some students financial hardship, and we will do whatever we can to help. If you are in need of financial support, please connect with your supervisor who has received a list of emergency financial resources available to displaced student employees.
Campus Housing Will Be Further Restricted. As our resources and on-site staffing levels diminish, we will only be able to provide housing for a very limited number of residents. Only students who have no other option will be permitted to remain in campus housing. All students who stayed in campus housing after our initial request to return home must make plans to leave by Friday, March 20 unless they meet one of the following criteria: 1) international students who are unable to secure travel to return home; 2) persons for whom campus housing is their only home (including faculty and staff for whom campus housing is their permanent address); or 3) students for whom traveling home would present a severe health risk.
Students who need financial assistance in order to depart from campus housing should contact Valerie Lawson, Vice Chancellor for Advancement & Alumni Engagement, at email@example.com or 276-376-4523.
Dining. Dining options will be very limited. Effective immediately, Smith Dining Commons is the only dining facility in service.
Credits for Housing and Dining. We will provide pro-rated credits to student accounts for Housing and Dining contracts. We will send additional information on the mechanics of this process in a later communication outlining the process for the credit to remain on their student account to apply to future bills. As long as students remain enrolled through the end of the spring semester, financial aid will not be impacted.
All faculty and staff who can work remotely should be told to do so. Telecommuting for all faculty and staff is mandated except for those who must report in person to carry out key functions of their jobs. The latter includes faculty who need to come to classrooms or offices to teach online and UVA Wise Student and Employee Health Center. The traditional categories of “designated” and “non-designated” are helpful but not entirely relevant because supervisors and managers have the authority to identify those who must report and those who can work remotely and should share direct guidance with faculty and staff. Some staff may need to consult with their managers to better understand how to conduct their work under the changed circumstances, and some may need to return to Campus to collect items necessary to work remotely. We expect these plans to be fully implemented no later than the end of the day, Friday, March 20.
We are determined to ensure that the modifications to our operations will not impact our existing commitments to compensate and continue existing benefits for employees, whether part-time or full-time. We will honor all existing commitments for the foreseeable future. The length of this crisis is difficult to predict at this point, as are the economic ramifications. There may come a point where we need to reassess in light of the length of time of the crisis or significantly changed circumstances, but our hope and plan is to weather this crisis together.
Those who must report for work will have to do so. Those who can work remotely will have to do so. Those who fall into neither category may be asked to perform other functions for their units or schools or to take on tasks elsewhere at the College. Whether or not these employees are able to be re-deployed, we will honor their existing employment commitments for the foreseeable future.
The Library will be closed, except to faculty and staff who need to use them for teaching online classes. Student activity spaces will also be closed.
Ely Health and Wellness Center. All gyms and fitness facilities on campus will be closed.
Additional details will be forthcoming regarding all of the above topics and will be posted on the COVID-19 website.
These decisions were made with the best interests in mind for the health and safety of our students, employees, and our region. Please accept my sincere appreciation and thanks for everyone’s assistance as we navigate this difficult path together.
Donna Price Henry, Ph.D.
Frequently Asked Questions
The College is open and operating.
The University of Virginia’s College at Wise has moved courses online for the remainder of the spring semester to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep our students safe.
Since students won’t be residing in residence halls or eating in the cafeteria, will there be any sort of financial adjustment for room and board during this time period?
Due to recent events surrounding COVID-19, and students being asked to remain off campus, housing and dining charges will be prorated and a credit given. Due to this unique situation, the College had to be careful to make sure providing the appropriate credit did not cause any problems with regulations such as federal financial aid or NCAA compliance, to name a few.
This credit will be used to satisfy any outstanding balance on your student account for the Spring semester. Any remaining credit will be applied toward a future semester’s charge for housing and dining. If you are a graduating senior, you may request a refund by emailing Amanda Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than April 15th, and please provide the appropriate mailing address for this refund. Refunds will apply to the direct payments made on the account by the student.
Students who resided in McCraray Hall will receive a credit of $2,100. Students who resided in all other residence halls will receive a $2,400 credit. If you have any questions regarding this credit, please email email@example.com.
How is UVA Health and the UVA Health and Wellness for UVA Wise Students and Employees involved in planning and response?
The UVA Wise Health Clinic is open and operating. They are in contact with UVA Health and the local health department.
Has anyone in the UVA Wise community been diagnosed with COVID-19?
At this time, there have been no diagnosed cases in Wise or Wise County.
How is the College keeping students, parents, faculty, and staff informed?
UVA Wise is keeping our COVID-19 page up-to-date with the latest information on the College’s response to this virus. Students, faculty, and staff should also check their campus email regularly.
A comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions for students, faculty, and staff has been assembled for the UVA Wise community.
A March 16th Update on Residential Student Information from the Dean of Students
Much has occurred in the past week since Spring Break began and the College announced the transition of courses to an online format. I realize you have been receiving a great many messages from the College this week but please be sure to read all emails and messages. First, if you can return to your home, we need you to do so as soon as possible. Secondly, if you are away from campus and only need a few essential belongings, we can help.
If you live on campus: With your permission, we can arrange for a staff person to go to your room, retrieve essential items you need (i.e. textbooks, medicines, etc.) and ship them to you. You are also welcome to have a friend do this. To make arrangements for either, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. At this point, we strongly discourage you from traveling to campus to pick up essential items. As of 5pm Friday, March 20, the College will suspend temporary access to the residence halls for students needing to access the building to pick up items.
If you live off campus: Please communicate with your landlord. Remember that some off campus leases require that you let your landlord know, in writing, if you will be gone for a week or more. Please check your lease and make sure you follow these and other instructions. If you don’t have a copy of your lease, ask your landlord to email it to you. If you have friends still in town, please consider enlisting their help (along with your landlord’s) in collecting your essential belongings before they leave.
It is very important that you return home and be ready to start virtual classes on Monday, March 23. We know that some of you will need to stay due to unavoidable circumstances, but otherwise, you should be returning home right away. If you need to return to the college to collect your belongings from your apartment or residence hall, please make every effort to make your trip as brief as possible, and note, that visitors or guests may not accompany you inside your residence hall. We are facing a global pandemic previously unseen by any of us. You are risking not only your health if you continue to gather in groups and circulate in the area, but also—of critical importance—you are risking the health of others in our community who are likely to be more affected by this disease.
If you have been approved to continue to stay on campus: While the College will be open, please know that some services and hours will be limited. These services and hours may change as the situation develops and we ask that you check your email frequently for the most up to date information. While on campus, again, please practice appropriate social distancing advice to discourage the spread of the coronavirus.
Online resources: We recognize what an abrupt and challenging transition it will be to shift to virtual classes. Faculty and staff across the College are working hard to make the shift as smooth as possible, and you will have the support from the College. You will be able to link to resources and updated information through the COVID 19 website.
Thank you for all the steps that you are taking to help us respond to this health crisis. This is a situation like no other in our lifetime and each of us has a responsibility to our community to do what we can to protect both ourselves and others. Your willingness to comply with what is being asked of you will help the broader community—including many at risk individuals—minimize the impact of this crisis as much as possible. Wash your hands frequently and continue to follow the CDC and Virginia Department of Health guidelines. Together, we will meet this crisis and it requires each of us display leadership and selfless actions. Together, your part may save a life.
Dean of Students & Chief Housing Officer