by CHEYENNE KERN & MARY FOSTER
The University announced on March 17 that classes for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester will be held online. All students remaining on campus were directed to move out by March 27, and all events and activities for the remainder of the semester were cancelled.
Students could petition to remain on campus, but only those with “extraordinary reasons” would be approved according to an email from Juliette Landphair, vice president for Student Affairs.
While the university is still open, many of the amenities available to students who remain have changed their hours and operations, or closed altogether.
With the closure of campus comes an increased concern for students’ mental health. As of March 20, the Talley Center said that they will remain operational through May 15. Their resources will be limited during this time. All in-person counseling sessions will be conducted virtually or over the phone between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Food service from the University Center will continue for students remaining on campus, according to director of Transfer and Off-Campus Student Services, CJ Porter.
“Everyone who is approved to remain on campus will be fed regardless of their meal plan or number of meals left,” said Porter.
The use of these meal services does not apply, however, to students who are currently off campus, or who are designated as off-campus students. Only the fourth floor of the UC will be open. Students will not be permitted to dine in at the UC facilities, and will instead be asked to pick up meals to-go during this week’s specified dining hours. From March 25-27, the new meal pick-up hours will be 9-10 a.m. for breakfast, noon-1 p.m. for lunch and 5-6 p.m. for dinner.
Starting March 28, the timeline for receiving meals from the UC will change to once a day in an effort to “minimize the number of times that students need to leave their residences,” according to Porter. Students will only be able to pick up food from 5-6 p.m. That pick-up will include “a hot dinner, bagged breakfast, and bagged lunch.”
“UMW Dining will also be including snacks,” said Porter.
There is also a plan in place for those students who are staying off campus and thus not eligible for the use of meal services currently, and for those who have returned home and will not be utilizing UMW’s campus dining services for the remainder of the semester.
“All students with meal plans who are not currently on campus will be getting refunds, so, off-campus students are not eligible to come onto campus for meals during this time period,” Porter said.
Students that fall into this category should be on the lookout for an email from Porter clarifying the current situation, and letting them know who to contact should they have any further questions.
Any students remaining on campus who are experiencing health issues are able to make an appointment over the phone with the Student Health Center. Their hours are Monday-Friday, 8:15 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., closed for lunch 12-1 p.m. Walk-in appointments are no longer accepted at this time and any concerns that are raised after hours and cannot wait until the following day should be directed to the Mary Washington Hospital.
“For any questions about possible exposure, students and faculty/staff are welcomed to call the Health Center with their concerns. We are here to support the UMW community,” said Dr. Nancy Wang, Student Health Center director.
Students interested in working out during this unprecedented closure of campus will be unable to do so at the Fitness Center. Kyle Lehmann, a senior international affairs major and UMW Fitness Center employee said, “The gym is closed until further notice. In the meantime, we recommend that students check out UMW Campus Recreation’s Youtube channel where there are playlists of various workouts that students can do at home.”
UMW Residence Life sent out a mass email laying out the timeline of events for the following days in which they stated that, “we may relocate all remaining students to one or more buildings.”
In addition to this, they have changed the timeline in which students who have left campus will be able to retrieve their belongings. As of March 23, a mass email was sent to students stating that they will be allowed back later in April to move out of residence halls. While no specific date given, the email said that another update will be sent out April 6.
Students searching for technology to complete assignments or public study spaces will not be able to use the Hurley Convergence Center, however the academic services provided within the HCC are available to virtually assist students. On March 21, Anna Billingsley, associate vice president of University Relations, sent out an email stating that the HCC will be transitioning to staff-only access starting March 23. All services provided in the HCC, including the IT Help Desk, Center for Teaching, Digital Learning Support, and the tutoring centers will continue to offer their services remotely or by appointment only. The Speaking Center and the Writing Center, also located in the HCC, will be hosting online consultations through Zoom. Appointments can be made online.
During this time, consistency is imperative to keeping campus operations afloat. “We’re directing everyone there [the Speaking Center’s homepage] for details so that we stick to one clear message,” said Heather Guhl, the Academic Support Center’s assistant.
During this time, the University has assured students that they will do everything in their power to keep them informed regarding any changes to campus resources. Landphair said, “Please know that we will keep working to ensure that you, our students, stay at the center of everything we do at Mary Washington.”