University of Virginia working on plans for students returning from COVID-19 hot spots

University of Virginia working on plans for students returning from COVID-19 hot spots

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - University of Virginia officials say safety is the top priority for welcoming students back, but many of the university’s students are coming from other states - including those that have become coronavirus hot spots.

“I have a number of friends from out of state, including some states like Florida, which is seeing cases rise rapidly,” rising fourth-year student Matt Mandell said.

Mandell has some concerns, but he isn’t sure if a mandatory two-week quarantine for students returning from hot spot states is the answer.

“I think if they suggested a self-quarantine before they came to Charlottesville, in their home state, I think that would make me feel better about it,” he said.

Last fall, UVA welcomed over 2,500 students from Virginia, but nearly 4,000 from out of state.

In a statement, a university spokesperson said: “The university is working to finalize policies and protocols that will enable us [to] welcome students back to grounds in a way that protects public health and safety. With respect to [what UVA plans to do about students returning from hot spot states], University experts are hard at work on our plan for testing, isolation, contact tracing, and the steps we expect students to take on their own to keep themselves and others safe. We will announce those plans as they are finalized.”

An employee at the UVA Bookstore, Courtney Stalnaker, says a quarantine might a good idea, but it’s going to be tough to implement.

“I think some people might take offense to it,” she said. “I think it would definitely be helpful, and it would set a lot of people’s minds at ease, but you know, it’s a big deal asking people to do things that they’re not used to.”

Some measures, like the new semester calendar, are encouraging for Stalnaker.

“I know everybody feels a lot more comfortable with the fact that when they’re leaving for fall break, they’re leaving for Thanksgiving, and then they’re not coming back until after the new year,” she said.

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