CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Take a quick trip to University of Virginia grounds and you’ll see that it’s very different from past semesters.
There are signs promoting mask-wearing and social distancing, and now, new guidelines for classes and football Saturdays.
In-person classes at the university will start next week, providing a bit of normalcy during a very different school year.
Andrew Culbertson, a second-year student was sitting with three friends, all wearing masks, on The Lawn late Friday afternoon.
“I’m sitting close to him because we’re roommates,” Culbertson said, motioning to his right, “and further away from them because we’re not.”
That’s what some Friday evenings look like on grounds. Culbertson says it’s to keep everyone safe.
“I don’t want to put anyone that I know in danger,” he said.
It’s a sentiment shared by fellow second-year student Katy Miller, who says not everyone has the same commitment.
“Definitely, there are people partying,” Miller said. “There are people partying at my apartment complex. It keeps me and my roommate up a lot. If people want the situation to get better, they’ve got to work on themselves.”
Meanwhile, the first two weeks of online classes are in the books. Students say there are pros and cons to the online format, but it has been better since the quick shift to virtual learning in the spring.
“I think a lot of professors are trying to ensure that students have access to resources now more than ever,” said Chenelle Williams, a third-year.
“Probably the saddest part about being in the university setting is that you don’t get the same social interaction that you would normally get,” said Jalon Daniels, a fourth-year student. “But I think from an educational standpoint there’s still high-class education that can be delivered.”
Another change announced Friday: a very different game-day experience. Only family members of players or coaches will be allowed to attend Hoos home football games.
“I hope that there’s still a level of comradery of small groups around football, around other sports,” Daniels said.
Boby Yazdi said he’ll spend his Saturday doing “a lot of studying,” but will watch the games on TV if they are broadcast.
Students who spoke with NBC29 said the chances of a successful semester are greater if their peers avoid large gatherings or parties.