Changes to COVID-19 Testing and JPJ Vaccination Policies
To the University Community:
We hope you enjoyed a relaxing Spring Break and you are as excited as we are to finish this semester strong. As we write, we continue to see encouraging trends with respect to the pandemic that we hope will allow students, faculty, and staff to enjoy the final weeks of this academic year.
As a result of those positive trends, we remain on course to make wearing a mask optional under most circumstances, effective Monday, March 21, in a manner consistent with the latest CDC guidance. Masks will still be required while in class, in UVA Health facilities, and on University Transit.
This change in policy applies in all other non-UVA Health indoor settings, including meeting rooms, office spaces, and research laboratories (masks will continue to be required in lab classes). This change does not prevent anyone from wearing a well-fitting medical grade mask, if they feel that is necessary, or from wearing a mask voluntarily if another party in a meeting or gathering indicates that would make them more comfortable.
We continue to remind members of our community to treat each other with courtesy and respect as we all make our own decisions about when to wear a mask and when to go without one.
As a result of improving viral trends and high vaccination and booster rates within our community, the small number of UVA students who are unvaccinated will no longer be required to appear for mandatory weekly prevalence testing, also effective March 21.
In conjunction with that change, we are also planning to phase out the University’s saliva testing program. The final day for saliva testing will be Thursday, March 24. The demand for this type of testing has fallen sharply due to rising vaccination rates and the availability of at-home tests, and it will fall even further as our prevalence testing requirements change.
Going forward, asymptomatic Academic Division students, faculty, and staff can pick up no-cost rapid antigen at-home tests at the Student Health and Wellness pharmacy and the UVA Bookstore pharmacy. The University’s supply of these tests is limited, so we ask community members to help us use this resource wisely. In addition to those resources, at-home tests are widely available at retail pharmacies and online and the federal government is offering 2 sets of 4 free tests.
This infographic offers additional helpful information about the University’s updated approach to testing, including what to do if you are experiencing symptoms or are a close contact.
These changes do not apply to UVA Health. Current masking policies remain in place for health system facilities. Testing policies remain for UVA Health faculty, team members, and students, including prevalence testing procedures for those with COVID-19 vaccine exemptions.
The final change we would like to announce, which will also take effect on March 21, is the end of the University’s proof of vaccination policy at large event venues, including John Paul Jones Arena.
University leaders and public health experts are continuing to evaluate our remaining public health policies, with the with the intent of lifting the mask mandate in the near future, hopefully as early as March 28. We will update the community on that decision next week. As always, if viral conditions change substantially, we will always be ready to change our approach in order to keep our community safe.
More than two years since the start of the pandemic, we remain very grateful to members of this community for your patience and flexibility as we continue to adapt our public health approach to current conditions and the needs of our community.
Chief Operating Officer