With all due respect to University of Virginia President Jim Ryan, now’s the time to reverse course.
Ryan and UVa’s Board of Visitors are highly educated people who take their responsibilities to the university, Charlottesville, Albemarle County and surrounding areas seriously. So how can their decision to bring in thousands of potential COVID-carriers this month from all over the country, and internationally, be anything but very troubling to those of us who live here?
I’ve read their reasoning, and that of their colleagues. None of it makes any sense when they have the best solution of all at this stage of the pandemic: Remote classes until the virus is under control.
And especially unnerving is to see the front-page headline and story in The Daily Progress on Aug. 1 stating “COVID prevention to rely on student self-governance.”
Really? Rely on thousands of twenty-somethings to all do the right thing and not congregate in groups, partying and drinking at frat houses and elsewhere all around the area? And if they do congregate, to do so in small groups with face coverings and social distancing? Ryan and company actually believe that would happen?
Inevitably, we can expect a surge in transmissions, cases and hospitalizations. Even more frightening, the possibility of increased deaths.
Adding thousands from outside our area all at once is truly a recipe for disaster. This pandemic is getting worse. Please, for all our sakes, young and old, the university should reconsider and reverse its course, as so many other schools, colleges and universities are doing.
It’s the right thing to do.
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!