For those of you considering attending UVA, I have observations about the way life on Grounds during the era of Covid and I’m WARNING everyone look for the fine print before you sign on the dotted line for this University.
If you are under the impression UVA is “open” you are being misled. Almost nothing is open on Grounds. The place is a ghost town but for the 1st years who are going to their mandatory weekly Covid test, or grabbing a to-go box from the Cafeteria. Can’t even go outside for a run with another person, has to be alone. The place is more like a prison than a university. Students are only allowed to dine with 1 other person, and even then, they must be 6’ away from them. Most eating is done in dorm rooms because nothing is open. It’s awful.
UVA admin has created a horrible culture of snitching at UVA that is SO TOXIC because they have an anonymous portal that anyone can upload a picture of you with your mask not on properly, not standing 6’ foot from another students, or God forbid if you are in a group of more than 6 people. Those photo’s are being used to suspend students from school, and you don’t get your money back or any of the credits for that semester. They are so backlogged in cases it takes a long time to even know you are in trouble. Since students have almost nothing to do, since no gyms are open, no clubs are meeting, there are no rec sports, no attendance at the varsity sports event, or anything in person. Everything is virtual. And so, large numbers of students are now making sport of turning each other in. The living conditions are almost inhumane.
If students were actually in-class with something more important to do, maybe things would be different. But here’s the thing, they’ll tell you UVA is open for in-person instruction but what they don’t tell you is close to 80% of the students HAVE NO IN PERSON CLASSES (that was a last minute bait & switch, people thought they had in-person classes and about 48 hours before courses started, they all changed). UVA claims they can’t get more students into classrooms due to spacing issues. So, a lecture hall that used to hold 400 people only holds 40. Do the math… Even if you are lucky enough to score that one in person class, don’t be fooled, cuz it’s just an “in person component” which could mean meeting just once in person, or just a lab a time or two, but the vast vast vast majority of students do not have ANY in-person classes.
For almost everyone else who gets to learn virtually, most the classes are terrible. It’s like the professors have done nothing to help engage students (although that does vary from department to department). UVA has allowed way too many pre-recorded lectures - the quality of which are sub-par. Just go through the course catalogue for this last semester and look at how many are AS vs OS (asynchronous vs. synchronus). What are we paying tuition for??? (And activity fees, but I digress…)
Communication to the student population is full of warnings and threats. There’s no common goal and sense of what we need to achieve, just a constant “hang in there, just a little longer…” No one seems to know how low the Covid numbers need to go to even allow students the opportunity to throw a frisbee on the lawn, or even a snowball fight, but so far this year, not allowed. For the past couple of week the positivity rate on a student population that is mandatorily tested (oh, and if you don’t comply they lock you out of the computer system to access course work) has been minuscule, like .17% with 99%/97% of the isolation/quarantine beds open, and still, students are still holed in their dorms and apartments for fear the yellow jacket enforcement creeps will site you. It’s crazy.
Oh, and the students at The University have to live by a completely different set of rules by the faculty, staff and others living in and around the community. It’s so unfair.
In closing, people are starting to HOPE that this Fall will be better. But the administration at UVA is made up of a bunch of risk-adverse lawyers. They make the least possible effort to allow students any semblance of “normal” - their priorities are for the Charlottesville Community - who, by the way, HATE UVA STUDENTS… Mayor, City Council, etc… hate the students (even though a huge portion of the entire economy in the area is dependant on the University). So, if you are considering attending UVA, suggest you start asking the right questions on what next semester is going to look like. If you don’t get a “we’re planning to return to operations as close as possible to pre-pandemic levels, with all students in all majors experiencing in person instruction” you better run! If you already committed, you go into this eyes wide open. Cuz it’s been nothing but a giant disappointment for most with students needs at the very last priority.