Georgia Geen, Executive Editor
Residents of the Honors College, whose possessions were removed from the residence hall to convert the building into a medical facility, will not be able to retrieve their things until June 11 due to Gov. Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home order.
The executive order went into effect Monday and solidified many recommendations already in effect. Virginians must stay in their homes, with exceptions for traveling outdoors to obtain food or beverages, get medical care, visit or care for family members, go to work or exercise, among other activities.
“This new date time frame is a direct reflection of the stay at home order issued by Governor Northam and an effort to protect the health and safety of the community,” stated an email sent from Residential Life and Housing to Honors College residents.
Originally, students could pick up their belongings from Richmond Commercial Services beginning April 10. Items were sent there after being packed up and removed from the dorm, which is being modified to house low-acuity, non-coronavirus patients in the case that the pandemic causes overflow.
Students said they learned of the measure from videos posted to Facebook on March 25, which were then screen-recorded and posted to Twitter, and didn’t receive communication from Residential Life and Housing or the university until the next day. Residents were frustrated by the initial lack of communication, saying it was “violating,” and they were worried about items getting damaged or lost.
“I was shocked — I didn’t even think it was real,” said Honors College resident Leah Tyrrell, a freshman studying political science and mass communications. “I literally started crying because I have really important things to me in there. I have breakable things in there, such important things to me that are in there.”
Interim Honors College Dean Jacqueline Smith-Mason sent an email to residents on Monday apologizing for not informing students of the decision ahead of time.
“Unfortunately, this work began before VCU was able to notify students and their families of this emergency decision,” Smith-Mason said. “We apologize for that.”
Residents can pick up their belongings at Richmond Commercial Services at 3215 Williamsburg Road until Aug. 30.