The Start of a New Semester

All Parents and Guardians
Robyn S. Hadley, Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer

Dear UVA Family:

They told me when I moved to Charlottesville from Missouri that it’s not as cold as St. Louis nor do we have as much snow. Yet I’m finding myself wearing the big coats and heavy sweaters I brought from the Midwest and enjoying the first Lawn snowball fights of the new year. Throughout these first seven months at UVA I have found joy in the moments when I learn something new, meet someone new, or glimpse the sunrise beyond the mountains from a window early in the morning. My Tar Heel family and friends can’t believe all the orange and blue swag I now own.

I don’t know about you, but this is not the January I envisioned. It is hard to believe that in March we will reach the two-year mark for this alternate universe in which we seem to be living, one that only a science fiction author or the epidemiologists among us could have imagined. Through it all, we have grown tired of the masks, not being able to see people smile or hug our little ones and the elders, or watch the news without hearing pandemic statistics. 

But somehow, we at UVA are rising to the occasion as the first classes of the spring 2022 semester begin for most of our students. We will soldier through this semester because, on the other side of this cold, snowy January, there is something called “the first pitch” of the season, acceptance letters for the Class of 2026, spring break, the VA Festival of the Book, Springfest, the Phi Beta Kappa announcement, Final Exercises, summer, Wahoo Welcome 2022, and football season with a new head coach.

Back in December, on the windy night we left Lighting of the Lawn, most of us thought we were getting back to a life with little or no COVID. But here we are. Different from last January, though we now know COVID and its variants will be with us for a while. As the science evolves, some are suggesting COVID and its variants eventually will affect many of us but not bring a halt to daily life. Different from last January, we now have vaccines, boosters, and more research to help each of us navigate how we and our loved ones need to care for ourselves to be safe and to keep our communities and neighbors safe.

So I look forward to spring and summer, as I’m sure you do, when national championships are won, heavy coats are cast aside, the leaves return to fill the trees on the Lawn and elsewhere on the Grounds, and alumni return for reunions. Until then we will continue to test, to wear our masks, to say please and thank you, to be gracious to our neighbors throughout Charlottesville, to seek and create new knowledge in our classrooms, libraries, and laboratories. And I hope that when we disagree, we can talk about the matter rationally and civilly. As time moves on, we will adjust and be resilient because that is who we are and that is what we do at UVA.

More information about resources to help your student as they start a new semester include:

    • Connections. Every Wednesday, the Division of Student Affairs sends UVA students this e-newsletter listing events, activities and opportunities at the University.
    • Getting involved. Friday and Saturday of this week, Student Council is holding Spring Student Activities Fairs for students to explore the many student organizations on Grounds.
    • UVA Arts. From the visual arts to the performing arts, students can enrich their lives through a broad spectrum of the artistic choices.
    • Intramural-Rec Sports. Students can make friends, engage in friendly competition, and find wellness in the many offerings of IM-Rec Sports.
    • Georges Student Center. Located on the second floor of Clemons Library, the center connects students with resources, support, and opportunities.
    • Resident Advisors. Students who live in University housing can look to their RAs and other members of the Resident Staff when they need help.
    • Academic Advisers. When facing academic challenges, students should call on their academic adviser. For students in the College, that person is usually their Association Dean.
    • Peer Advisers. Often, a knowledgeable peer can be the best source of advice or help. Several peer groups at UVA have long track records of success. They include the Peer Health EducatorsCareer Peer EducatorsAfrican American Peer Advisors, and Transfer Student Peer Advisors.
    • What if…? Students should prepare for the possibility of contracting COVID. To be “COVID-Ready,” review the wealth of resources available from Student Health and Wellness.
    • Missed classes/Absences. Provost Liz Magill communicated last week with students and instructors on how to handle missed classes. Read her message.
    • Questions? Send them to: [email protected].

Best wishes to your student and each of you as the new semester begins.


Robyn S. Hadley
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer