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Important Information about Spring Start and Booster Deadline

To the University Community: 

We are writing with an update about the upcoming semester. First, and most importantly, we want to make it clear that the University’s Spring 2022 semester will begin as planned – which means no changes to move-in dates or the start of courses, and that the default for all courses will be in-person. In-person instruction is a core part of our mission as an institution and UVA public health experts have advised us that classroom spaces are low-risk environments for infection. 

That said, in response to a significant global spike in COVID-19 cases as a result of the omicron variant, and based on the advice of our public health experts, we believe additional measures are necessary to reduce the spread of the virus and to start our spring semester as safely as possible. 

The two changes we are announcing today are:

  1. We are moving up the deadline for UVA Academic Division students, faculty and staff, and students in the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing, to upload proof of a booster shot from Feb. 1, 2022 to Jan. 14, 2022. UVA Health, including School of Medicine and School of Nursing faculty and staff, will continue with the Feb. 1, 2022 deadline.
     
  2. Faculty teaching this term with extenuating health circumstances may request a temporary exception to begin their teaching this semester remotely, a practice followed in January-Term. The provost will provide additional information about this in the coming days.

We have changed the booster deadline because our public health experts are concerned that a spike in serious COVID-19 cases at the start of the semester could strain health care resources and University isolation and quarantine space. By pulling this booster deadline forward, we will ensure that the highest number of UVA community members possible are as protected as they can be from COVID-19 infection, serious illness and hospitalization as the in-person semester gets underway. In addition to the protection boosters provide against infection and serious illness, CDC guidance states that those who are boosted do not need to quarantine if they are a close contact of someone infected with COVID-19. This means the accelerated requirement will also preserve University quarantine space and enable more students, staff and faculty to continue learning and working without disruption.

Moving the booster deadline is an alternative to delaying the in-person semester until the current omicron-driven rise in cases subsides. A residential academic experience is an essential part of what it means to attend the University of Virginia, and we know how important it is to our students, faculty and staff to start the semester together in person. 

Booster shots are widely available all over the country. For those who have not yet received their booster shots, the Blue Ridge Health District offers many opportunities across Central Virginia to get boosted. 

In order to meet this requirement, UVA students attending in the spring 2022 semester must upload proof of an approved booster shot to HealthyHoos no later than Jan. 14. Those who are not eligible to receive their booster by Jan. 14, 2022 must submit proof of their booster no later than 30 days following their first day of eligibility. 

Faculty and staff will also be required to upload proof of an approved booster no later than Jan. 14, 2022. UVA Human Resources will provide additional instructions on how to upload into Workday no later than Jan. 10. More information on this requirement for employees is available here

If you previously received a medical or religious exemption from the University’s vaccine requirement, you do not need to take any further action, other than to continue complying with testing requirements and other public health policies. More information on exemptions for students is available here. Employees who have never requested a religious or medical exemption or whose circumstances have changed since their first exemption request can submit a request here.  Please note that a recent case of COVID-19 does not qualify as grounds for a medical exemption. 

As mentioned above, faculty with extenuating health circumstances may request to begin the semester remotely. We will provide faculty with additional information as soon as possible, and no later than early next week. Staff with extenuating health circumstances should work with their supervisor. 

As always, we will continue to monitor the public health conditions and the virus and make additional adjustments as necessary. We are all tired of this virus, but we must remain both vigilant and flexible in order to strike the appropriate balance – as best we can – between public health and safety measures and fulfilling our core missions of residential teaching, research and medical care. For that reason, in addition to changing the date by which boosters are required, we are also evaluating the University’s current policies on teleworking, events and gatherings, and other considerations that could help us keep the virus at bay this spring. We will provide an update on any changes to those policies by the end of next week.

Thank you, as always, for your patience and perseverance in the midst of challenging circumstances. We are eager to see all of you soon as we kick off another semester together on Grounds. 

Sincerely, 

Jim Ryan
President

Liz Magill
Provost

J.J. Davis
Chief Operating Officer  

K. Craig Kent, M.D.
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, University of Virginia
Chief Executive Officer, UVA Health

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