UVA urging students to not leave Charlottesville as part of enhanced COVID-19 regulations

Updated: Sep. 23, 2020 at 5:39 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Since students have returned to the University of Virginia and the Charlottesville area, the number of those infected with COVID-19 has been steadily increasing. Now, the university is emphasizing travel restrictions on students, urging them not to leave Charlottesville.

“We’re doing these things so that students can continue to stay in Charlottesville, and learn together in person," said spokesperson Bryan Coy said.

Coy said the new, more strict rules, should not surprise anyone. “It has been a policy of the university all semester, that we ask all members of the UVA community to limit all unnecessary travel," he said.

Going to work or family events are permitted, but other, non-essential reasons for travel are not. Students who violate the policy will be penalized and risk suspension.

“We all know which things are necessary and which things are not. Going to work is necessary. Taking a road trip to Blacksburg is not. And so, there are cases in between, but we’re asking students to be smart," Coy said.

Paige Kobza, a fourth-year student, said while the stricter regulations could be a good thing, there has been little communication about what the changes look like.

“I didn’t know about it until my friend sent me a text with a link to the social media post. They haven’t sent an email out to students at all yet," Kobza said.

Carly Lester, another fourth-year student who didn’t know about the travel restrictions, agrees. “If they’re going to make a decision like that, they need to give us more information because right now, it’s unclear. How is this going to be enforced? Are students gonna follow? And as I said, I wasn’t even aware of this. How many students are aware of it?" she said.

The restrictions apply to students living on and off grounds, but Lester has her doubts. “Having a travel restriction, I can get that that could be an encouragement, but I just don’t see how they’re going to be able to enforce something like this, especially when a lot of the students here are simply not going to abide by it," Lester said.

According to university officials, the travel restriction will continue for at least the next two weeks.

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