As a result of declining case counts and positivity rates, University public health experts are ready to ease some additional restrictions, including changes to the gathering policy, dining restrictions, and guidelines for volunteering.
To avoid another spike, community members – including those who have been vaccinated or previously contracted COVID-19 – are urged to follow all guidelines, stick to pods, and avoid unnecessary travel.
IM-Rec Sports continues to offer safe and fun ways for students to get active and meet new people.
One year ago today, our University began a rapid, almost dizzying, shift to virtual instruction in response to the pandemic. Even as we took that unprecedented step together, none of us could have grasped the profound impact that COVID-19 would have on our institution and our daily lives, or the remarkable response the community would muster to keep this University running and protect the people around them.
It hasn’t been easy, but the effort, ingenuity, patience, generosity, and compassion of UVA students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni has made it possible to continue our missions safely in the face of a global pandemic. We should all be proud of and grateful for that.
As we look back on year one of this pandemic, year two begins with real reasons for optimism. Warmer weather has arrived, more people are receiving vaccines, and cases in our community and across the country are falling from concerning peaks.
As a result of falling case numbers and positivity rates in our community, University leaders and public health experts are ready to ease some COVID-19 restrictions, in an effort to make it a little easier for people to live, learn, and work here safely and enjoyably. As you can read in the update below, changes include a new limit of 10 for outdoor gatherings, a limit of 4 for indoor dining, new guidance for people who volunteer in our community, and changes to attendance limits for outdoor athletics events.
These changes are good news and a direct response to the much-improved conditions at UVA. They are not a sign, however, that we are completely out of the woods. The threat of another spike in cases remains real, and if trends worsen, we will have to impose more strict public health measures again. That is why it is critical that we all continue to adhere to all public health measures, including mask requirements, gathering limitations, travel restrictions, and physical distancing guidelines, even if you have been vaccinated or have previously contracted the virus.
As we’ve said before, the reasons for that approach are simple:
The science around whether previous COVID-19 patients or those who have been vaccinated can contract the virus again and spread it to others again is inconclusive.
People who contract COVID-19 may shed the virus for a period of time that extends past the alleviation of symptoms or a positive test.
Fellow UVA community members have no way of knowing which people have been vaccinated or have previously tested positive. Universal adherence will avoid anxiety and potential conflict.
Most importantly, following these standards is part of the commitment people who are on Grounds make to the University and to each other.
Your continued vigilance is the only thing preventing another spike, particularly as we are still learning about new variants and whether people who have been vaccinated can transmit the virus.
After a difficult year and a difficult start to the semester, we are heading in the right direction. Thank you for everything you’re doing to keep us on track and to keep the people around you healthy and safe.
Jim Ryan President
Liz Magill Provost
JJ Davis Chief Operating Officer
Dr. Mitch Rosner Chair, Department of Medicine
PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES
Updated University COVID-19 Policies
In response to low case counts and positivity rates within the University community, the following changes will be made to University COVID-19 policies:
Gatherings: Effective today, community members can now gather outdoors in groups of 10 or fewer. The University’s gathering limit of 6 will remain in place for all indoor gatherings. Every attendee must be masked and spread at least 6 feet apart whether gatherings are inside or outside. Community members are strongly encouraged to stick to pods or social bubbles and to avoid intermingling groups.
o While gathering limits do not apply to students living together in a single living arrangement, they apply when any members of a household gather with individuals beyond their living arrangement. In other words, eight people who live together in a house may only gather outdoors with 2 others who do not live in the house.
Dining: Effective tomorrow, March 12, University Dining facilities will operate at 30% capacity. Students may sit and eat in groups of 4 per table, provided there is adequate space for all 4 to maintain six feet of physical distancing. Students may also eat together indoors in groups of 4 in other settings, like their residences.
Volunteer Service: Students, faculty & staff may volunteer with a community organization operating within Virginia’s Blue Ridge Health District, provided that organization has a COVID-19 risk mitigation plan in place. The organization’s plan does not need to be provided to the University in advance of the service activity; however, the University may restrict activity with a particular organization and require review of its risk mitigation plan if public health concerns are reported.
Attendance at NCAA Athletic Events: The University will follow Gov. Ralph Northam’s Executive Order #72 with respect to outdoor intercollegiate sporting events. That means the total number of spectators at outdoor athletic events will be 30 percent of the venue’s occupancy or 1,000, whichever is less.
All other University policies remain in effect, including masking, physical distancing and prevalence testing requirements and limitations on visitors and travel outside the Charlottesville/Albemarle region.
Using Your ID Card for Prevalence Testing
A reminder for students: Both your computing ID and your student ID number (the 9-digit number on the back of your UVA ID under the bar code) are needed for prevalence testing. Your test results are matched to your medical record using your student ID number, so it’s important for this number to be correct on your saliva sample. A typo in the number means you won’t get your test result or credit for your weekly test. And if you use someone else’s ID to check in, your results will be attributed to them. Be sure to bring your ID with you and keep a copy of your student ID number in your phone. Taking a photo of the back of your ID is fine.
Blue Ridge Health District Vaccinations
The Blue Ridge Health District this week received over 3,000 first dose COVID-19 vaccines and is seeing its supply increase weekly, though it is still limited at this time. Last week, the health district received its first shipment of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine and will receive more later this month. By the end of April, BRHD anticipates a significant increase in vaccine supply and availability among area providers.
As a reminder, the University is not making determinations on who may be vaccinated. The VDH and BRHD provides guidance on who is eligible to be vaccinated and makes all decisions on prioritization for vaccine distribution.
Sign up for Hoos Well
Hoos Well, UVA’s award-winning employee well-being program, helps you live better and achieve your health goals with a fun and engaging mobile experience that delivers powerful resources right to your fingertips. Delivered by our new partner, Virgin Pulse, the portal offers many enhancements including new ways to earn rewards, customizable challenges, and more. Employees and spouses enrolled in the UVA Health Plan or UPG Anthem Health Plan are invited to join. Check out the Hoos Well webpage for details, registration instructions, and demos to learn more about the portal.
UVA Dine News
On March 15 we are hosting a C-ville Pop Up with local favorite Poke Sushi Bowl at FFC in Newcomb starting at 5 p.m. Just swipe into the dining room, find the C-ville Pop Up station, and enjoy the local menu items!
Make the most out of the spring weather by visiting our food trucks located on Grounds and enjoying a meal outside. See the food truck schedule for locations, times, and offerings.
Are your flex dollars running on empty? Fuel up for the rest of the semester with this special promotion. Have you picked up your reusable to-go box yet? Play a part in reducing waste by opting into our reusable to-go program! Find out more here.
IM-Rec Sports Update
IM-Rec Sports continues to offer fun and safe ways for students to stay active and meet new people. Upcoming events include:
Weightlifting 101 - Join our personal training staff for an introduction to resistance training, weight room equipment and lifting techniques on Friday, March 12, from noon to 4 p.m. This semi-personal instruction will help you feel comfortable with the foundations of weight training. This is offered in partnership with the Office of Health Promotion & Well-being as part of healthy Masculinity Week.
Kickball League Starting! – Today is the entry deadline to join UVA’s Kickball league. Join the fun.
Esports – Madden 21 entry deadline today. Calling all competitors! Now is your chance to reign supreme.
Nutrition Walk & Talk starting March 16 – Take a walk with our registered dietitian, Amy, and discuss food, diet and trends.
Adult Tennis Lessons starting – Get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Learn the basics of this sport you can enjoy for life.
Bouldering for Beginners – Discover the sport of bouldering and join members of a passionate community who know how to enjoy adventure.