Newsletter: Health App, Student Expectations, Virus Testing
This week, the University provided three major updates on the approach we are taking heading into the fall semester.
On Monday, we released new details about our student testing program, including a website where students can request an at-home COVID-19 test kit and instructions on when and how to take and submit the test in order to provide the University a negative result before returning to Grounds. As of this writing, more than 15,000 students have requested their tests for delivery, and the first have been received.
On Tuesday, the University announced that, in response to an increase in the prevalence of the virus in Central Virginia and around the country, we will delay for two weeks the start of in-person classes for undergraduates and the opening of residence halls for undergraduates.
Finally, yesterday, Dean of Students Allen Groves wrote to students about the many ways in which life at the University will be different as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the steps that students and all members of the UVA community will be required to take to keep each other and our Charlottesville neighbors healthy and safe. That update included a series of requirements students must fulfill before returning to Grounds including watching a mandatory training video on rules and norms to prevent the spread of the virus, signing a contract agreeing to those rules and norms, and preparing to accept disciplinary consequences for violations of those expectations.
As Dean Groves made clear yesterday, as students consider where they will live and study this fall, they have an important choice to make. If they elect to be in Charlottesville, they are making an affirmative decision to abide by University policies on testing, the wearing of masks, physical distancing, social functions, and other important areas of life at UVA.
We believe in the capacity of this community to meet the challenges ahead; that is why we are working so hard to offer an in-person academic experience this fall. We also recognize that some students may feel more comfortable staying home and continuing their studies virtually; that is why we have extended the deadline to withdraw from housing contracts until Aug. 24.
In the update below you will find summaries of this week’s announcements and links to more details on the University’s Return to Grounds website and student portal. We recognize that this is a lot of information to process and no decision in this environment is easy. We are hopeful that we can make a safe return to Grounds this fall, but we are – as we must – continuing to monitor the progression of the virus and are ready to make changes to our plan as necessary. Going forward, we will continue to keep you informed and to do everything we can to make this upcoming semester a success for us all.
Liz Magill Provost
J.J. Davis Chief Operating Officer
PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES
UVA Program to Provide Mandatory COVID-19 Testing for Students Begins
On Monday the University launched an online portal for students to order self-administered COVID-19 test kids. Students are urged to order their free kit as soon as possible and to take and submit the tests in accordance with the instructions provided when they are about seven days away from returning to Grounds. The testing program is one part of the UVA’s COVID-19 Prevention, Detection, and Response Plan.
HOOS Health Check Launches Monday, Aug. 10
Beginning Monday, Aug. 10, HOOS Health Check will help members of the UVA community remain aware of their health and any possible COVID-symptoms before they come to Grounds. This new tool will replace daily health attestations that UVA Health team members, researchers, and other groups on Grounds have used this summer. Students, faculty, staff, and UVA Health team members will complete a daily health check each day that they are coming to Grounds through the free HOOS Health Check app (available Aug. 10 in the Apple and Google Play stores) or the HOOS Health Check website. More details are available in FAQs on the Return to Grounds and Students on Grounds websites.
Two-Week Delay to In-Person Instruction, Move-In for Undergraduates
Students who complete the newly posted COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Requirements can expect to see a hold in their SIS portal. For students who indicate that they do not plan to live or learn on Grounds in the fall, the hold will remain throughout the semester to indicate that they will not be physically present this semester. The hold will not prevent a student from completing or engaging in anything online, and they will still be able to enroll through SIS or participate in courses via Collab or Canvas.
For students who indicate they will be living and/or learning on Grounds this fall, the hold will remain until all requirements are met, including the required submission of COVID-19 test results. The hold will not prevent a student from completing or engaging in anything online, including enrolling through SIS or participating in courses via Collab or Canvas.
SIS Updated with Instruction Modes
Instruction modes have now been updated in the Student Information System (SIS). This helpful guide offers detailed instructions on how and where in SIS students can see instruction modes for classes.
Please remember that courses currently listed with an in-person instruction mode may, if circumstances change for the instructor or the University, move entirely on-line, either before the first day of classes or during the semester. Likewise, classes that don’t currently offer an in-person option may add one before the first day of classes (an added in-person option would not be mandatory). Please pay close attention to your UVA email and to the UVACollab or Canvas site for each of your courses.
Want to know when you can make changes to your schedule? Undergraduates can start making changes next week. Go to Important COVID-19 Announcements to see the July 24 email from the registrar with all the enrollment appointment details.
Work Continues to Prepare Grounds for Fall Semester
Staff from across Grounds have been working throughout the summer to prepare for the return of students, faculty, and staff. Changes include installing hundreds of plastic barriers, dividers, and signs in spaces across Grounds, thousands of new hand sanitizer stanchions, new cleaning protocols, and much more. All of these steps are designed to reduce the spread of the virus and make our return to Grounds as safe as possible this fall.
RETURNING TO WORK ON GROUNDS
Reminder: Mandatory Employee Training Modules
Thank you to the many UVA employees who have completed the Return to Grounds training module. All employees are required to complete the training as well as the acknowledgement that they have reviewed the content and agree to abide by the safety conditions outlined prior to the start of the Fall 2020 semester. More information on these modules is available on UVA HR’s Return to Grounds site.
University Engages Students about Decisions and Responsibilities this Fall
On Wednesday, UVA students and parents received a message detailing the expectations the University will place on students who elect to return to Grounds this semester. Student responsibilities include complying with policies around masks, physical distancing, social gatherings, and other behaviors, taking a training module on COVID-19 rules and norms, and signing an agreement committing to following them. Students who do not feel comfortable with these requirements have the opportunity to take their classes remotely.
Student-Produced Video Urges Responsible Actions to Fight Virus Spread
As part of the agreement to return to Grounds, students will be required to watch a video produced by a group of fellow students detailing the changes in behavior that members of the University community will be expected to demonstrate on and around Grounds this fall. You can view the video here.
Deadline to Withdraw from On-Grounds Housing Contract Extended to Aug. 24
In order to give students and parents adequate time to consider their options, UVA has extended the deadline to withdraw from on-Grounds housing contracts. Students who wish to withdraw from their contracts may do so with no penalty by writing email@example.com by August 24.