Stars shine brightly above the quiet Lawn. A reduction in car travel and other pollution has improved air quality in many places; the stars over Charlottesville have seemed brighter over the last month.
Photos: Snapshots of Week 6, From Radio Studios to Lawn Room Messages
As we make our way through the seventh week of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals scattered across the University of Virginia are doing their part to keep everything running, working together even while remaining apart.
On any given day, researchers are coming into labs alone, picking up work that their colleagues have left for them and leaving new progress – and disinfected workstations – for the next person in.
DJs at UVA’s FM radio station, WTJU, are continuing to fill the airwaves with music and public service announcements. University Police officers are diligently patrolling, making those working feel a little less alone, and dedicated Facilities Management staff are using this quiet time to catch up on maintenance and preservation efforts before normal foot traffic returns to UVA’s historic landscape.
Below, University photographer Sanjay Suchak shares this work and more from around Grounds last week.
Michael Purdy, an assistant professor of molecular physiology and biological physics, works in a lab in the Snyder Research Building. Purdy, biochemistry and molecular genetics professor Edward Egelman and associate professor of research, molecular physiology and biological physics Kelly Dryden have devised a plan so that their research can continue operating during the pandemic while maintaining safe social distancing practices.
The various labs leave prepared grids in a designated space. Then, a single faculty member is on site and loads samples in the Titan Krios electron microscope. The microscope works to collect images over the next three days, which will be available remotely for the team to view. This ensures that only one person is in the facility at a time.
A member of the grounds crew mows Davenport Field at Disharoon Park, keeping the grass in good shape even though this year’s baseball season has been cancelled.
Facilities Management crews are hard at work across Grounds on critical repairs and maintenance. Here, mason Daisy Maine repairs mortar joints behind a Lawn room. Maine and her colleagues have been systematically removing cement-based mortar, which can damage the bricks, and replacing it with lime-based mortar similar to that originally used on the Lawn rooms. On the Rotunda, mason Brent Ryder cleans the marble steps, an annual process that helps keep the Rotunda looking its best.
The School of Engineering continues to innovate and inspire as faculty and staff members work to help colleagues at UVA Health. Here, engineering technician Sebring Smith puts the finishing touches on a testing booth that he, along with biomedical engineering professor William Guilford, redesigned and refined based upon a prototype developed and in use by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Smith built two of these booths in two days. They can be used at remote testing sites to test patients more quickly while preserving critical personal protective equipment and keeping the doctors safe. Faculty and staff across UVA have also collaborated to produce masks, face shields, nasal swabs and other critical supplies.
Two students walk down the Lawn holding what might be the most valuable commodity during these strange times – toilet paper.
Above, University Police Officer Jamal Hurd patrols an empty Newcomb Hall as part of his daily routine and, below, provides guidance to Ambassador Dara James about dealing with large groups congregating on the Lawn.
Hurd patrols both unoccupied and occupied buildings, wanting to make sure that anyone who may be working alone knows that there is someone looking out for them. In addition, he responds as backup to local law enforcement on calls proximate to Grounds and works shifts at the UVA Hospital. For him, Hurd says, being a police officer is not a job, but a calling, and he choose to work at UPD because of his passion for community policing and being part of a community.
Dave Rogers, a.k.a. “Professor Bebop,” and Eileen Barnett broadcast their show for WTJU, UVA’s student- and community-run radio station. The WTJU studio remains open to DJs, but each host uses an elaborate and through cleaning process between shows and follows social distancing guidelines.
Since the stay-at-home order began, WTJU has been broadcasting its normal shows from both the WTJU studio and at-home studios, while also helping to amplify important work being done in the Charlottesville community and letting listeners know how they can help their neighbors.
“With the stay-at-home orders right now, we’re all yearning for human connection,” WTJU general manager Nathan Moore said. “That's really what WTJU is about – bringing people together through excellent music and conversation.”
A lone graduation cap sits on a windowsill of the Rotunda, lost or discarded by one of the many students who have stopped by the Rotunda to snap a few graduation pictures.
Notes posted on a Lawn Room and Range Room door offer thanks – and a reminder to wash your hands.
One of the few remaining Range residents makes his way back to his room after using the showers.
A headline from the Cavalier Daily, printed March 18, is chewed up in the grass by a passing lawnmower. The headline says, “Students congregate despite requests to return home,” warning that students should continue to stay home and practice social distancing to help avoid overwhelming local health care systems.