Class of 2024 Moves to Grounds
On Thursday, the first cohort of first-year and transfer students began moving into dorms at the University of Virginia, beginning a four-day process to have pupils settled safely in their rooms ahead of Tuesday’s start of hybrid instruction.
UVA delayed move-in by two weeks so officials could assess the spread of the coronavirus in the area, before announcing Aug. 28 that move-in would proceed as planned. UVA has mandated that students wear face coverings in public, gather only in groups of 15 or less and remain 6 feet apart from others.
This year’s move-in procedure was modified to take the pandemic into account. Students are assigned two-hour windows to move in, and only two people are allowed to help.
At 6 p.m. Thursday evening, Liza Trundle of Charlottesville began hefting her belongings into her second-floor room in Watson-Webb House, making several trips with her mother, Sarah.
Along with her bedding, Trundle brought artwork, a photo collage of her friends, Clorox wipes, masks, oatmeal, tea, apples and, of course, clothing for the fall semester. She is also supplying the room refrigerator.
Her roommate, Teegan Howell of Richmond, arrived earlier in the day with a microwave and all of her other belongings. Trundle and Howell met last year at a UVA football game; they reconnected later in a Facebook group and decided they’d made a good match.
Like the rest of the student body, Trundle began taking courses online two weeks ago and she said things have been going well. She’s especially enjoying “Introduction to Western Religious Traditions.”
Trundle said she’s willing and ready to follow all of the University’s directives to stem the spread of COVID-19, especially after seeing other schools reverse course and send students back home. “I know it’s for the best,” she said. “As long as I can move in and be on campus, I can deal with these really strict things.”
Trundle’s mother, Sarah, said she feels relief and happiness for her daughter, especially after a spring of missed milestones, including graduation and prom. “There is a weird, time-warped sense of, ‘How did we even get here? Did she even graduate from high school?’” she said.
Christian Bliss, who is scheduled to move into his suite in Dillard House on Saturday afternoon, has been busy with his courses at his home in Needham, Massachusetts, and is looking forward to arriving in Charlottesville to meet his suitemates and make new friends.
As roommates often do, one agrees to bring a microwave and the other a dorm fridge. Bliss will be bringing a microwave when he heads down to Virginia with his parents, Gina and Mike.
Along with his favorite pillow, Bliss is also bringing a comfortable office chair, “since I’ll be sitting at my computer a lot,” he said.
“I’m probably most looking forward to just meeting other people and being able to be part of a completely different community,” he said, “just being able to hang out with new friends and just have the college experience.”
Bliss is also enjoying his courses thus far. “I wasn’t expecting the online format to be going as well as it is,” he said. “It seems like a lot of the teachers have gotten it down and have come up with interesting and effective ways of teaching. I am definitely a lot more motivated to do the work than when it was a high school online experience.”
While most instruction at UVA will remain online, some in-person classes will begin next week.
Bliss, who is enrolled in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, said he will have at least one class in person; students will attend on alternate days to reduce the number of people in the classroom at any one time.
“It’s certainly not the typical move-in weekend or fall semester as a result of COVID-19,” Dean of Students Allen Groves said. “However, the excitement of heading off to college and the many opportunities it will bring over the next few years remains unchanged. I have great faith in the optimism and resiliency of our students. They are what makes this place so special.”
Housing and Residence Life says 3,880 students will move in between Thursday and Sunday. There are 245 resident staff members. Resident advisers, or RAs, will hold hall meetings with first-year students the first day they move in.
Wahoo Welcome, an Orientation and New Student Programs event, is underway and features daily programming to orient and welcome new students to the University. In-person classes begin Tuesday.
For now, check out some more photos from Thursday, captured by University photographers Sanjay Suchak and Dan Addison.