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U.Va. to pack and store belongings of on-Grounds residents to prepare for housing healthcare workers

The University will cover the cost of packing and storing belongings, but not shipping

<p>Students’ belongings will be packed and placed in storage by the University’s unspecified third-party moving vendor where they will be warehoused until August.</p>

Students’ belongings will be packed and placed in storage by the University’s unspecified third-party moving vendor where they will be warehoused until August.

The University will pack and store the belongings of on-Grounds residents living in Bond, Bice and Language Houses, according to a Sunday email sent to on-Grounds residents by Gay Perez, assistant vice president of student affairs and executive director of Housing and Residence Life. 

Students’ belongings will be packed and placed in storage by the University’s unspecified third-party moving vendor where they will be warehoused until August, when the moving companies will return boxed belongings to locations on Grounds. According to the email, the University will cover the cost of packing and storing students’ items. 

However, if students choose to pick up their belongings from the storage site, they will be charged $65 to $100. Students will only be charged if they retrieve their belongings from storage before Governor Ralph Northam’s restrictions are lifted, according to a series of clarifying Tweets from Dean of Students Allen Groves in response to students’ objections to the costs. Similarly, students will be charged to ship their belongings to their home, depending on the number, size and weight of boxes shipped. 

Shortly after the announcement, the Student Council executive board passed a resolution Sunday denouncing the requirement that students pay up to $100 to retrieve their belongings from the storage site. 

"The original move-out plan only gave students two days to gather their items before locks were changed and swipe access discontinued," the statement said. "Charging students who were unable to gather their items in this short time frame is absurd."

Students were required to leave their on-Grounds residences by March 20 — unless they are international students who cannot return home due to travel restrictions, students for whom their on-Grounds residence is their only home or students for whom traveling would prevent a severe health or safety risk. Roughly 300 students currently remain on-Grounds while all other housing is locked, and residents cannot return to retrieve belongings. 

"This crisis bears similarities to war efforts of the past when citizens had to make sacrifices and pull together for the greater good," Groves said Sunday in a University-wide email. "I regret some decisions have come very quickly with little advance communication, but the situation is exceptionally fluid right now and the University is part of larger efforts with new priorities emerging daily."

The University stated that it will also not store or ship aerosol cans or cans under pressure, batteries, cleaning chemicals, food items, flammables, houseplants, liquids — including over-the-counter medicines — and weapons. These items will be discarded or donated, and the University will not reimburse students for the cost of these items. 

The decision comes after Thursday’s announcement that the University will temporarily house U.Va. healthcare workers in Bond, Bice and Language Houses as the University Health System works to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The 23 students still living in these locations will be reassigned to housing in Copeley or Lambeth Apartments and, if they do not want to relocate, given the option to move out. 

Three students have chosen the latter option.

Some students will be relocated into apartments with belongings still inside. University spokesperson Wes Hester said in an email statement to The Cavalier Daily that 10 apartment units will have belongings in common areas consolidated. 

“The relocated students will be placed in vacant apartments, either because the students have fully moved out or they are otherwise not on-Grounds,” Hester said. “We have been in contact with the students in Copeley who are not on-Grounds where we are consolidating their items from common spaces in their apartments.”

To initiate the process of packing items, all on-Grounds residents must complete a survey by April 8 at 9:00 a.m. To complete this survey, students must identify and specify the locations of prescription medications and items of “personal or sentimental value.” They must also specify which items they’d like to be packed or donated. 

This article has been updated to include input from Dean of Students Allen Groves and Student Council. Check back for more updates. 

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