Masks are typically worn on Halloween. Social distancing is practiced during flu-season physicians’ visits. COVID-19 has flung these phenomena into the mainstream and into microcosms of it, on college campuses everywhere. As the University of Mary Washington community perseveres through the pandemic – monitoring, masking, distancing, cleaning, testing and more – a rigorous liberal arts and sciences education remains the mission.
The Fredericksburg campus has been reimagined – classrooms reconfigured, athletic conditioning modified, residence halls re-arranged, dining options altered – with a focus on slowing the spread of the virus and continuing to provide a transformative college experience.
So what does UMW really look like these days? Here, in 22 photos, Mary Washington shares a snapshot of campus life during COVID-19.
The changing of classes has taken on a new look this semester. Campus Walk is eerily devoid of student clusters. UMW’s iconic benches are at max-capacity with a single “bench-sitter.” And student “Eagles Care Ambassadors” are out and about, reminding others to properly mask and follow health guidelines.
The arts and sciences remain top priority at UMW, with theatre, dance, music and a palette of fine arts courses carrying on, sometimes in the digital realm. The newly renovated Jepson Science Center continues to host hands-on learning experiences, with floor and lab-table space dissected into socially distanced segments.
Competitions for UMW’s 20-plus varsity sports were put on hold this fall, but COVID-19 couldn’t stop athletes from training. With new practice protocols in place, the academically rich Division III student-athlete experience continues to play out across the Battlefield Athletics Complex, William B. Anderson Center, Goolrick Pool and beyond.
The 72,000-square-foot Hurley Convergence Center is teeming with student activity – socially distanced, of course. Capped study-area capacity and diligent cleaning keep the space – a hub of collaboration and digital learning – up and running, for classes and cram sessions.
With strict guidelines in place, UMW’s Fitness Center in Goolrick Hall is alive with squats, bench presses and pull-ups. Campus Recreation exercise classes – yoga, cycle, dance and more – often take place online or in outdoor locales, like the intimate Goolrick Courtyard.
COVID-19 guidelines, posted and reinforced across campus, test Mary Washington traditions, but camaraderie and friendships thrive in beloved UMW spaces, especially outdoor areas, like Ball Circle, the Heslep Amphitheatre and Palmieri Fountain.