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How We’re Changing Events During Covid

August 17, 2020

We’re just a few short days from events starting up and we couldn’t be more excited. FIVE MONTHS – that’s how long we’ve waited for this semester, and boy are we ready! If you keep up with our blog, you know we’ve hinted at some changes being instilled at events, like increasing sanitary procedures or limiting capacity. While this may be true, we’re still committed to bringing you the same great events with just a little twist. We want to host events and we want you to stay safe, so we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to do this right.

So what does this look like? First, this post is giving you the most current information as of today (August 17). Unfortunately, just as state guidelines change, so will our event procedures.  In an effort to communicate the most accurate information and make the safest decision possible for guests, all changes and guidelines for events will be posted on Instagram in addition to the specific event page the week of the event. Our weekly event rundown on Instagram will give you capacity limits each Monday, and we’ll always be posting tips on how to attend our events safely.

As of today, Student Activities is operating within Virginia’s Phase 3 ‘Safer At Home: Entertainment and Public Amusement’ guidelines. This means an increased sanitary event environment, such as staff wearing masks in all customer facing areas, discontinuing hand-to-hand contact where applicable, encouraging halls/households to physically distance from other groups, and limiting guests in high traffic spaces. We’ll have mobile hand sanitizing stations all around our events, so utilize those to keep yourself and others protected. Operating within these guidelines also means that our events will have limited capacities of 50% of the lowest venue occupancy or 1,000 guests, whichever is lesser. In order to accommodate this, all venues (whether indoors or outdoors) will have distinct entrance and exit points. Outdoor event spaces will be roped off with signage to help guide you to the entrances. By adhering to these policies, we’re all working together to ensure these events are safe for everyone who attends.

So, how can you help? In general, keeping up with our guidelines and reviewing our social media for any event changes prior to showing up to an event will be key. Once we reach capacity, we’ll post it in an Instagram story – we don’t want you to travel all the way to the venue if you don’t have to! To keep groups separated, we’re asking halls and households to arrive together so you can easily be seated together (i.e. Movie Night, Bingo, Outdoor Open Mic, etc.). This ensures you have enough space for your group, while leaving 6’ between you and the group next to you. Lastly, pay close attention to signage throughout the event, as it will guide you to entrances, exits, line queues, etc., and allow you to maintain a safe distance from other individuals.

There’s a few other practical things you can do to keep safe:

  • Use wipes to clean any surface that you come in contact with
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 30 seconds
  • Stay home if you’re feeling sick or have flu-like symptoms
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and dispose of it in the trash
  • Wear a mask or face covering
  • Avoid close contact with other halls/households (groups) or individuals at events to promote social distancing

One of our greatest resources at Student Activities is the feedback we receive from students who attend our events. We always want to do things with excellence and intentionality, so when you fill out a survey, it helps us make necessary changes in improving our events. These surveys will be increasingly important at events this year to make sure we’re doing a good job with the changes we’ve implemented and making our guests feel comfortable, while maintaining university and state guidelines. To eliminate passing around tablets and paper surveys like we typically do, our staff will be walking around with QR codes so you can take the survey right from your phone at every event. If you get the opportunity to fill one out, please do so. They take less than 60 seconds and are a huge asset to us as we continue to learn and change during this season.

We’ve developed this theme within our team culture that we’re “all in this together”, and we mean it. If we’re doing our part and you’re doing yours, we think these events will run smoothly and safely. I speak for all of Student Activities when I say we’re so excited to have you back on campus, and are really looking forward to building community with each of you this semester.

As a reminder, for updated info on event policies follow us on Instagram and check out our website. To see a full list of what we’re doing and what you can do to make events safe, visit the event sanitary procedures page on our website.  Thanks for the support – we can’t wait to see you this week!


Written by: Steph Ward

Steph is the Director of Student Activities. She has a B.S. in Visual Communication Arts: Graphic Design and a M.S. in Management. Steph oversees the overall calendar and vision of the Student Activities Department from promotion to execution and analysis. She also leads the Student Activities staff, comprised of 20+ full time and student worker employees.