CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - In-person classes are now underway at the University of Virginia, but look quite different than past years.
Although the University of North Carolina and James Madison University shifted classes entirely online after experiencing a rise in COVID-19 cases, some UVA students say their first day of in-person classes went well.
“We were all distanced from each other, wearing masks and stuff, so it felt really safe. It was nice to actually see people again. So overall it was just a good experience,” UVA third-year student Matt Smith said.
Smith says while the occupancy was down, it felt mostly normal. He is hoping his classmates aren’t cavalier about the new rules outside of class.
“I’m feeling a little bit cautious - maybe a little bit anxious - about how things are going to go. I’d like to be optimistic and hope that everybody does the right thing and makes smart decisions," he said.
Candace Moore, a second-year student who has all online classes this year, says she misses in-person instruction.
“You got to see your teacher, they could explain things to you easily right off the bat. But when you’re on Zoom calls for lecture it’s like you don’t want to interrupt the teacher,” Moore said.
Moore says she also finds herself with computer fatigue.
“It’s just kind of really sad because I have to stare at a computer for like five hours a day doing my readings, doing my lectures, and it’s just like annoying," she said. "I don’t want to learn through a screen.”
Moore says it is not all bad news: “Since my classes are on Zoom, and they’re synchronous or asynchronous, I have more time to really explore the grounds and campus that I wasn’t able to do before," she said.
Some students say the virtual classes are not worth the tuition bill. “A lot of the facilities and stuff right now are closed or like on limited hours and like everything’s pretty restrained, so I don’t think it’s worth it," graduate student Jay Padalia said. While others say it is.
“I think it is just because our tuition is paying the salaries of all of our professors in the maintenance staff and they’re kind of working overtime now, so I’d say yes,” first-year Kelsey Cashman said.
It’s not just different for students; The owner of a food truck that’s been on UVA Grounds for four years says business is down.
“As soon as we opened, as soon as we got here, I would have customers lined up and waiting for the food. But as you see, there’s no one waiting for us," YumYum Xpress Owner Mohammad Murtaza said.
There will be no fall break this year, and no classes after November 24.
We reached out to the University to see how many people in the community have utilized its concerns portal, but have not heard back.
We’ll bring you more updates about how many complaints have been submitted-and the nature of them- as soon as we have them.