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As members of Virginia’s General Assembly prepare to begin the new legislative session Jan. 13, Student Council’s Legislative Affairs Committee plans to pursue its own state-level agenda on behalf of University students. This year, the committee hopes to eliminate discrimination from religious student organizations, end the use of unpaid prison labor and expand voting access.
According to the University’s COVID-19 tracker, 25 new cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty, staff and contracted workers were reported over the weekend as the fall semester enters its final full week of the calendar year. Of these reported new cases, 17 were among students.
The past eight months have left many COVID-19 questions unanswered. Earlier this summer, there was even more confusion about the virus’s long-term impact on the organs. To monitor those long-term health effects, Drs. Chintan Ramani and Alexandra Kadl on June 2 opened up a post-release clinic for patients discharged from U.Va. Medical Center’s COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit.
The University’s COVID Tracker reported 21 new cases of COVID-19 from tests conducted on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as the weeklong positivity rate dipped to 2.3 percent from 7.2 percent two weeks ago.
Students have had to adapt to a new normal in all facets of University life, from classes and clubs mostly operating over Zoom to watching home football games from a social distance at Klockner Field. Social gatherings have been forced to adjust, too.
After an early September video circulated of students packed onto the stairs at Observatory Hill Dining Hall, the University began asking dining hall staff to stand on the stairs to enforce social distancing. Now, students stand six feet apart down the stairs during peak meal times and communicate with employees through masks and plexiglass dividers before finding a strategically distanced and frequently cleaned table at which to sit.
New COVID-19 pandemic-related guidelines forced the University Judiciary Committee to adjust its operations earlier this summer. For that reason, fourth-year Batten student Gabby Cox, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, said the line of communication between the Office of the Dean of Students and the UJC has been constant.
As coronavirus cases on Virginia campuses surpassed 2,100 and the number of cases at U.Va. ticked above 300, the Virginia Student Power Network held a virtual press conference Monday morning to express concerns about coronavirus conditions at colleges and universities across the state.