When the University of Virginia canceled in-person classes for the rest of the semester, students were told to come back and grab what they needed. Starting this week, they were permitted return to Grounds and retrieve the rest of their belongings.
In staggered appointments from May 4 to May 24, students and one other person are allowed back into UVa dorms. Hundreds of students are slated to move out this weekend.
While moving out, participants were required to wear face masks and maintain six feet of distance from other people. The university said that security officials will enforce safety protocols.
Officials said the initial days of the move-out process went well.
“Our students and their families have helped us greatly by following move-out instructions and cooperating with safety protocols,” UVa spokesman Brian Coy wrote in an email.
Those who aren’t able to return to Charlottesville may opt to have university staff pack their rooms and store the items. Coy said that as of Thursday, 190 students picked that option and more than 3,000 signed up for move-out appointments. If students want their belongings shipped to them, they would have to pay for shipping.
Otherwise, students could designate a friend or family member to pack their things or move themselves out.
Appointments were staggered to minimize traffic and promote social distancing, the university said.
“We will monitor appointments as they are scheduled, and will ask you to reschedule if we find that students in the same room or nearby rooms have signed up to move out at the same time,” housing officials wrote in an email to students.
Students were told on March 11 during Spring Break that they had a week to come back and pack up their dorm rooms after UVa President Jim Ryan announced the cancellation of classes. Those with no option to leave were allowed to stay on Grounds. Housing contracts for those 213 students were extended to May 24 though they can move out sooner.
The university has not made a decision about fall classes, though officials said last week they were assessing three options: beginning the fall semester on time and on Grounds, starting later or holding classes online.
Ryan said at a recent Board of Visitors meeting that Chief Student Affairs Officer Pat Lampkin and Dean of Students Allen Groves crafted the move-out plan, which was cleared with officials at the state education department.
“So students are going to be able to come back in groups to move out of their dorms, which is a relief to them and a relief to us,” Ryan said.
Move-out plans included students who lived in Bice, Bond and the Language Houses, who were told in early April that UVa planned to use those residential complexes to provide temporary housing for health care workers.
“Due to successful mitigation efforts, the University has not needed to use these buildings thus far, and we do not anticipate needing them in the near future,” Lampkin wrote in an email to parents.