University of Virginia President Jim Ryan sent an email today to students, faculty, staff, and alumni that outlines the University’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for the remainder of the Spring semester.
You can read the full email here, but here are some of the highlights.
Starting Thursday, March 19, the University is moving its classes fully online, and will not be holding any in-person classes on Grounds “for the foreseeable future,” although they’ll be reassessing after April 5th. As the school is currently in its Spring Break, students who are away are “strongly encouraged to return home or to remain home if they are already there,” and anyone still on Grounds or in town are encouraged to return home.
Importantly, University events with more than 100 people are now prohibited for the foreseeable future and should be postponed, cancelled, or offered virtually. Events with fewer than 100 people can still be held, taking all necessary precautions to mitigate risk of infection.
However, these restrictions doesn’t yet apply to the University’s athletic events or events held at John Paul Jones Arena, “both of which remain under discussion and consideration.”
With athletic events being part of such a larger system with trickle-down effects, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that the University hasn’t unilaterally cancelled upcoming games, meets and matches. The NCAA set up a coronavirus advisory panel to monitor and provide guidance. There’s also been no restrictions on spectators at these UVA events.
During the next three weeks, women’s lacrosse, men’s lacrosse, softball, baseball, women’s tennis, and men’s tennis all have games and matches on Grounds. Track & Field is hosting the Virginia Challenge from April 17-18, and rowing competes in Earlysville, VA.
The health system and buildings on Grounds will remain open during what feels like a shut down.
So, best practice is for everyone to just stay at home or in an independent 6-foot radius. But at least for now, the sports must go on!