Since President Ryan wrote to you earlier today, he and I have had an opportunity to be in further conversation with students, as well as with Student Affairs staff, and the school deans. It is so important for us to be with you and to hear and know the grief that you feel, and that we are all experiencing as a community. As classes are set to resume tomorrow, we have heard concerns about class attendance and keeping up with coursework. We know that some students are feeling a strong pull to be with their families. In light of the important questions you’ve raised, I write to provide additional clarity about tomorrow’s resumption of classes.
In our message, President Ryan and I shared that faculty will not require graded assignments or give exams before Thanksgiving, except in certain graduate and professional courses. I want to be sure that you know that this means that student grades will also not be penalized for non-attendance during the five instructional days before Thanksgiving break. Over that time, I have also asked that our faculty provide a way for students to keep up with their coursework if they cannot attend class. How faculty do so will vary depending on the nature of their course (there is no one best way to do this across our range of lectures, seminars, labs, clinical placements, and arts and performance courses) but I know that all our faculty are committed to supporting you. If you aren’t able to attend class before the Thanksgiving break, please be in touch with your instructors to alert them and to ask them how you can best be keeping up in their course.
We are committed to providing this flexibility as our faculty seek how best to care for you and how to help advance your education in this hard and broken time. As we do so, I also encourage you to attend classes in person if you are able. The gatherings of the past two days have reinforced for so many of us the value of being in each other’s presence, whether we are working together, or talking, or sitting silently in a circle of thousands on the night-time Lawn holding up lights of sorrow, hope, and commitment to one another.
Thank you for holding those lights. Thank you for your devotion to one another. Thank you for being our students. We are committed to doing everything we can to honor the trust you have given us in being here.
University of Virginia