Newsletter: Fall Plans, Vaccine Study, Employee Leave
In This Email:
Fall 2021 plans
UVA student COVID-19 vaccination study
Public Health Emergency Leave
In this week’s update, we are looking forward to the Fall of 2021. As you will see in the details below, our present plan is to return to the in-person residential, educational, and research experience that has always been a hallmark of our University. After a year in which the pandemic disrupted nearly everything about the UVA experience, we are eager to get back to living, learning, and working together here in Charlottesville and we know you are too.
The plan we are developing includes a return to in-classroom instruction for students and for faculty and more normal operations for key parts of University life like housing, dining, libraries, recreation, and transportation.
These plans are based on our expectation that vaccines will be widely available by the beginning of the fall term and the prevalence of the coronavirus will be much lower than it is today. In the event that the trajectory of the pandemic worsens, it may be necessary for us to revisit some of these decisions. Additionally, there may be a continuing need for some level of public health precautions, but we are optimistic that they will be much less restrictive than the protocols we have employed over the course of the past year.
As we have since the beginning of the pandemic, University leaders will work with public health experts to make those decisions based on their evaluation of the conditions surrounding the virus closer to the beginning of the semester. We will update you with much greater detail on our health and safety plans no later than July 15.
This good news would not be possible without students, faculty, staff, and parents who have overcome the challenges of the past year with grace and ingenuity and who have contributed to our preparations for the coming fall throughout the planning process. We are not quite out of the woods yet, but we have finally reached a point where we can envision a return to much more normal conditions of in-person learning, working, and research. That is certainly worth celebrating and taking a moment to thank all of you for helping us to get this far.
Speaking of celebrations, we will communicate directly with members of the University Classes of 2020 and 2021 with updates on Final Exercises tomorrow, April 2, and offer updates for the rest of our community in UVA Today as well.
Jim Ryan President
Liz Magill Provost
JJ Davis Chief Operating Officer
FALL 2021 INFORMATION
UVA Will Return to a Residential Academic Instructional Model
The default mode of instruction will return to in-person for faculty and undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in the Fall of 2021. Some courses and programs, of course, were not in-person before the pandemic but for those that were, the default assumption will be that faculty will be in the classroom, first-year students will be in our residence halls, and students will be in Charlottesville – all prepared to arrive in their classrooms at the appointed hour. Exceptions for students – for instance, international students – with unique travel limitations or health concerns will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. We will provide more information on those exceptions in a future update. We expect grading will return to normal in the fall as well.
University Operations Will Ramp-up Significantly
We plan for full opening of libraries, as well as IM-Rec, dining, and student activities facilities in the fall semester. University Transit Services (UTS) routes and schedules will be announced in August. All will continue to follow the public health protocols and University policies public health experts determine to be necessary at that time.
Facilities Management will continue to follow enhanced cleaning protocols developed last summer, and hand sanitizer dispensers will remain in place across Grounds.
Public Health Measures
If viral prevalence and vaccination rates are consistent with our expectations, we expect to be able to reduce restrictions on gatherings, visitors, and travel significantly for the fall semester. We will also continue to follow public health guidance on matters such as masking, physical distancing, and gathering sizes. University public health experts will continue to monitor public health metrics and to use data to make decisions about restrictions. We will update the community on those protocols no later than July 15, 2021.
Lessons of the Pandemic for UVA
The UVA community’s response to the pandemic has produced many innovations in how we conduct the University’s business—from teaching, to working, to research, to operations. Many individuals across Grounds are working to capture lessons and new practices that could continue to benefit the University, our workforce, and our students going forward. We will provide additional updates as that process continues, including more guidance for managers and employees about returning to work safely and the future of work at UVA, post pandemic.
Additional Updates to Come
We recognize that this update does not contain specific details on many important issues, most of which are still being resolved in light of changing pandemic conditions. We will update you over the coming weeks and months as additional decisions are made about how the fall semester will operate. The latest information and relevant FAQ’s are always available at coronavirus.virginia.edu.
OTHER UNIVERSITY UPDATES
UVA Student COVID-19 Vaccination Study
The University of Virginia is participating in a national study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), assessing infection, viral shedding, and transmission risks among college students who receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine two-dose series. Get vaccinated and earn up to $590 for participating. Visit the website for eligibility details and how to join.
Human Resources: Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL)
The American Rescue Plan recently approved by Congress broadened circumstances under which an employee can take Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL), which now includes time off to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. You may also take PHEL for recovery from COVID-19 or an adverse reaction to vaccination, quarantine or isolation under order from a medical provider or UVA Employee Health, and if you are caring for a household member with COVID-19. It is important that any COVID-related leave be coded in Workday as PHEL so that UVA can accurately track eligible leave. Details are available on the HR website Managing Leave During Coronavirus webpage.
Spring is here along with more opportunities to stay fit and have fun. People in our small group training form a tight bond around healthy behavior.
Make the most out of the spring weather by visiting our food trucks located on Grounds and enjoying a meal outside. View the food truck schedule to find out locations, times, and food truck offerings.
The Block 25 meal plan is back! This plan gives you 25 swipes and $35 Flex Dollars to use this semester. The smaller Block 25 plan is perfect for trying out the meal plan program or to adding to your existing plan if you are running low. View the Block 25 meal plan for more information.
Plus, save the date for our next Farmer’s Market in a Bag sign ups starting April 5th! Keep an eye out for more information in UVA Dine emails.