UVA moves all classes online in response to COVID-19

Virginia News

(WRIC) — The University of Virginia announced it would move all classes online in response to the coronavirus on Wednesday — the same day the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Online classes will begin on March 19. They will not be holding classes on campus for the foreseeable future and “quite possibly through the end of the semester.” The university said it will reassess this after April 5. University buildings and health system will remain open as of now.

The school also suggested all students in Charlottesville and on Spring Break return home this weekend. The university said it will offer assistance to students on financial aid who need help going home.

However, UVA said students who cannot go home for serious reasons, such as if their hometown or country is unsafe, will be able to stay in student housing and receive dining services, although they may be modified.

The university said events will more than 100 people are also prohibited and should be postponed, canceled or offered virtually.

“These are obviously significant steps that will cause disruption and disappointment, which we all regret. We nonetheless feel compelled to take these steps in light of the most recent evidence. The virus continues to spread nationally and in Virginia. We still do not yet have a confirmed case of COVID-19 on Grounds or in the greater Charlottesville community, so our risk remains relatively low. Given that fact, the easiest and least disruptive option would have been to bring all students back to Grounds as planned and hope to make it through the rest of the semester without a confirmed case. We also considered bringing students back and moving only large classes online.

After talking more with medical experts, however, and as the evidence of the spread here and abroad mounts, we believe that these approaches would not be sufficient and would create too much risk, especially for our health system and the medical center, which is a Level 1 trauma center and may be stretched to the limits in the coming weeks and months. Experts have also told us that the best time to take steps to prevent that spread is now, before the first case arrives.

Our approach here is guided by three goals: (1) to protect the health of our students, faculty, staff, and Charlottesville neighbors; (2) to help slow the spread of the virus in Virginia and the nation; (3) to ensure the continuity of our teaching, research, and clinical care. All of those goals are advanced by reducing the number of people who are living and meeting on Grounds. We cannot eliminate all risks, of course, but we believe at this time these steps will help mitigate the risks we face.”

UVA President James Ryan

For more coronavirus coverage, click here.

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