2020 in Photos: Part II

2020 in Photos: Part II

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University of Virginia photographer Sanjay Suchak is sharing some of his most memorable photos from 2020.

We shared Part I and some of Suchak’s reflections, earlier, covering mostly the spring semester and the abrupt shift from normal life on Grounds to virtual learning in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world.

Here is Part II, covering the fall semester, from students’ return to Grounds in September to UVA’s first COVID-19 vaccinations at the beginning of December, with many moments and memories in between.

Take a look.

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Guy Mengel, director of University Library Facilities and Security, places a social distancing decal on the floor of Brown Library in order to help prepare for reopening for students.
Some of the hardest-working and most unseen groups of people on Grounds were the staff of the Office of Housing and Residence Life, who packed and arranged for student possessions to be shipped or stored after the spring semester’s abrupt shutdown. Here, more than 5,000 boxes, stacked up to 10 feet high in the Slaughter Recreation Center, await students’ return.
Move-in, while delayed this year, felt largely the same as years past. Students were encouraged to only bring what they could easily transport, as helpers were limited.
The World War II B-17 bomber “Sentimental Journey” made a trip over Grounds, flying up the Lawn and then veering toward the east on its way to Richmond.
Drama professor and artistic director Marianne Kubik’s theatrical movement class was relocated from a smaller classroom to the large stage in Culbreth Theatre, which still holds the set from a production cancelled in the spring.
In-person courses looked very different in the fall semester. Eileen Chou’s course in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy was a hybrid class of virtual and in-person learning, held in the Newcomb Hall Theater.
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At the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, the reading room is available by appointment only and most educational sessions are conducted via videoconference. Here, Krystal Appiah and George Riser show some treasures to a class online.
A student in the Chemistry Building’s large lecture hall is an island unto himself. String demarcates seats to not be used to enforce physical distancing.
Professor and director of choral music Michael Slon had to break his large University Singers group into smaller groups to rehearse in outdoor locations, like the pavilion gardens in the Academical Village.
When football did return, the games looked very different. Nearly devoid of fans and with only essential personnel allowed on the field, the experience was surreal. At one point when there was an injury on the field, it was so quiet out that I could hear birds outside of the stadium and leaves rustling in the wind along Alderman Road.
One key to managing a pandemic is testing. UVA held many events for the community to be tested, including this one at the Church of the Incarnation in Charlottesville. Here, Dr. Mohan Nadkarni administers a COVID test to a community member.
Adaptation was the name of the game this year, and the Virginia Film Festival for the first time hosted drive-in movies at both Morven Farm and the Dairy Market. I was able to attend one at Morven, seen here, and it was a much-needed respite. I hope they continue.
Trick-or-Treating on the Lawn was canceled this year, but CavMan and some Lawn residents brought treats to the Southwood neighborhood of Charlottesville to bring a little cheer to an area that’s been hit very hard by COVID.
One of the most impressive things I’ve seen this year has been the work by the staff of the Office of Vice President for Research, who managed to develop and build a COVID saliva testing protocol and lab in a matter of weeks.
Students and the Charlottesville community came out to vote in the presidential election, with four polling places on or near UVA’s Grounds.
This year, for the first time, the Lighting of the Lawn committee lit up both sides of the Rotunda, so that community members could enjoy the view while driving by. The annual Lighting of the Lawn event was held – but like everything else, it was virtual this year.
Employees at dining halls across Grounds prepared a Thanksgiving feast for students to enjoy – safely spaced – before departing Grounds to end the truncated in-person semester.
After a rainstorm, a jogger runs through the Lambeth Colonnades, the sunset reflected in a small puddle of rainwater.
Dr. Ebony Hilton received UVA’s first COVID vaccine on Dec. 15, a historic moment in a dark time of the pandemic. As someone documenting the whole thing, it was hopeful, but felt more like a consolation prize than a victory lap, with so much suffering still occurring.

Look back at Part I of Suchak’s 2020 photo series.

2020 in Photos: Part I

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Media Contact

Sanjay Suchak

Photographer Office of University Communications