CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The University of Virginia is rolling out its spring semester plans, urging students to remain vigilant to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
UVA President Jim Ryan said in a recent video that the university learned a lot during the fall semester, and while he feels ready to take on the spring semester, now is the time to act with more caution than ever before as the threat of growing case numbers and new variants of the virus loom.
“The difference between success and failure, as with last semester, will come down to the small decisions each of us makes every day,” Ryan said.
In-person classes and online classes for undergraduate students are planned to start on February 1, with some changes:
- All students will be required to submit a negative coronavirus test before returning to UVA Grounds, similar to the fall semester, but are now required to submit another test within seven days of their arrival.
- The university will also be ramping up its testing efforts on UVA Grounds.
“We can now preform thousands of tests per day, and we will now be requiring every student to get tested every week. We are also making regular testing available to faculty and staff,” Ryan said.
Groups will be limited to six people, the maximum number of students living in residence hall suites until February 14. Dean Allen Groves said those found in violation of any COVID-19 guidelines will face consequences.
“Given the increasing risk, we will move more quickly to immediately address violations, and in the most severe cases, suspend those who will not comply. It won’t take many violations of scale to quickly unravel the in-person aspect of the spring semester, so each person’s decision to fully comply really does matter,” Groves said.
Ryan said despite the challenges, UVA students should understand expectations going forward into the new semester, and know that anything could change if necessary.
“Conditions are more challenging than they were in the fall, and we will be prepared to change plans if we have to, but we’ve been through this before, we know what it takes, and I’m confident that together, we can make it through this semester, like we did the last one,” the president said.
Dean Groves reminded students that even if they’ve had the virus before, or have been able to get the vaccine early, they must still abide by UVA’s restrictions.