UVA will resume in-person undergraduate instruction on Feb. 1, as planned. Residence hall move-in will also proceed as planned. Likewise, graduate and professional programs will proceed as planned.
An increase in the prevalence of the virus will require stricter health and safety policies, including a limit on the size of gatherings, to begin the semester, as well as a renewed commitment from the UVA community to adhere to those policies.
This update features important details and reminders on testing, vaccines, and other important issues.
We write to inform you that UVA will proceed with our current plan to begin in-person undergraduate instruction on Feb. 1, with some modifications to our health and safety protocols in response to an increase in the prevalence of the virus. Residence hall move-in will proceed as planned. Likewise, graduate and professional program instruction will also proceed as planned.
Here are a few key reasons behind this decision:
The University’s knowledge about the pandemic and capacity to combat it through extensive asymptomatic testing, quarantine and isolation, and other measures have grown significantly since the academic year began.
Offering in-person experiences will better enable the University to monitor and govern compliance with public health measures for the many UVA students who live off-Grounds and will be in the area this spring.
After completing a full semester in the fall, we have not seen any evidence of transmission within the classroom, between students and UVA faculty and staff, or from UVA students into the greater Charlottesville-Albemarle community.
While it was challenging, this community has demonstrated that we are capable of complying with measures that limit the spread.
As we prepare for this semester, the increase in the prevalence of the virus in Virginia and around the country, as well as reports of new, more contagious variants of the virus mean we must take an even more aggressive approach, as an institution and as individuals, to limiting the spread within our community.
We strongly encourage all students who return to Grounds to take extra precautions to minimize risk of exposure for at least 14 days before arriving in Charlottesville. Additionally, starting on Jan. 19, and continuing at least through the first two weeks of the semester, the University will limit the size of gatherings to no more than six people. As with previous limits, this policy does not apply to classroom settings. The update below includes additional measures the University is taking to limit the spread of the virus.
Simply put, our margin for error is narrower than it was in the fall. A successful spring semester will require even greater adherence to UVA policies around testing, masks, physical distancing, and gatherings. This includes those who have already had COVID-19, as well as those who have received a vaccine, for reasons we explain more in depth below. If you are unsure of your own ability to abide by these measures, most students have the option to study remotely from home.
Please review the update below for important information about these policies and other important details about the coming semester. As we have said before, we continue to monitor the progression of the virus and will make changes to our approach if they are necessary to keep this community safe. Thank you for your continued patience and vigilance in this challenging moment and we are looking forward to seeing many of you when Spring 2021 gets underway.
Jim Ryan President
Liz Magill Provost
J.J. Davis Chief Operating Officer
Craig Kent Executive Vice President for Health Affairs
PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES
New Temporary Limits on Gathering Size
Beginning Jan. 19, gatherings on and off-Grounds will be limited to no more than 6 people, down from 10. This limitation will stay in effect through Feb. 14, at which time University leaders will reevaluate the policy. All other University public health and safety measures remain in effect including requirements around masks and physical distancing. The University continues to urge all community members to avoid unnecessary travel outside the Charlottesville region. For more information on this policy, click here.
Click here for more information on all of UVA’s health and safety protocols for Spring 2021.
Guidance for Community Members Who Previously Contracted COVID-19
All UVA community members who are in the Charlottesville region this semester will be required to follow University health and safety policies around masks, physical distancing, testing, gatherings, and other key behaviors, including those who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 or who have been vaccinated. There are many reasons for this approach, including:
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 previously tested positive and which are putting themselves and others at risk by ignoring health and safety standards. 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.
Executive Order on Stay-at-Home Requirements, Dining and Alcohol Sales
Effective Dec. 14, 2020, Gov. Ralph Northam put into place temporary restrictions due to the coronavirus. His executive order requires individuals to stay at home between midnight and 5 a.m. unless they meet one of several narrow exceptions like traveling to school or work, seeking medical attention, or caring for other individuals. The order also restricts on-premise alcohol sales at bars, restaurants and other establishments after 10 p.m. and requires all such establishments to close at midnight. More information is available here.
Prevalence Testing: Be Sure to Take Your UVA ID
All students and employees must present a UVA ID when they arrive for asymptomatic prevalence testing. Students or UVA employees who have lost or misplaced their UVA Academic ID can schedule an appointment to obtain a replacement by submitting the ID Replacement Request Form online. For questions related to a replacement UVA Health ID, call 434-982-4009 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
New students obtaining their first ID should follow guidance they are receiving from their school or from Housing & Residence Life.
Student Pre-Arrival and Prevalence Testing Requirements
All students planning to return to Grounds or live in Charlottesville or Albemarle County this semester must submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test. For more information on pre-arrival testing click here.
As of Jan. 11, all students who have returned to Grounds or are currently living in Charlottesville or Albemarle County are required to resume weekly testing. More information on student testing requirements is available here.
Reminder: Voluntary Saliva Testing Available for UVA Employees
University employees are eligible for voluntary asymptomatic testing through UVA’s saliva testing program. For more information click here. For information on prevalence testing sites and hours, visit the Be SAFE site. General questions about prevalence testing should be directed to email@example.com.
COVID-19 vaccinations are underway in Virginia, with phasing and eligibility determined by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control.
Groups at greatest risk of contracting COVID-19 or suffering serious cases of it have been given top priority, and as part of the first phase, VDH has charged UVA Health with distributing vaccines to health care personnel. Only UVA Health team members and individuals from select partnerships and programs are being vaccinated at this time. COVID-19 vaccines are not available for the general community.
If you are not in a category listed in Phase 1A, please do not sign up for a vaccine appointment or show up at a vaccine clinic. You can learn more about vaccination efforts and future phases here.
Symptomatic Testing: Available at SHW
Students who are in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area and experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should call Student Health and Wellness (SHW) at 434-924-5362 or make a COVID-19 screening appointment online via the HealthyHoos Patient Portal.
If you are in the area and think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please call the SHW Exposure Call Center at 434-924-5362 and press option 2 for further guidance.
It’s Not Too Late for a Flu Shot
Even though COVID-19 is in the front of our minds, influenza remains a concern well into the spring. Student Health and Wellness encourages you to get a flu shot to protect yourself and others. If you are currently in the area, you can make an appointment with SHW to receive the shot. Pharmacies in your hometown and in the Charlottesville area may also have an available supply of the flu vaccine. More information is available here.
OPERATIONS AND HUMAN RESOURCES
Continued Telework Guidance
Remote work plans developed for Fall 2020 remain in effect. Academic Division school and unit leadership has the discretion to amend their respective plans or to develop alternative work plans to accommodate critical needs in support of the delivery of instruction and research over the course of the Spring semester. Teleworking is strongly encouraged for employees who are not required to be on Grounds to perform their core job duties. UVA Health team members should follow guidance provided by Health System leadership.
Reminder: Update Spring 2021 Plans in SIS
All students are required to complete the Spring 2021 Activity Guide in SIS to communicate plans for the spring 2021 term. If you are an undergraduate student who receives University grants as part of your financial aid, please visit the SFS website and see the “Undergraduate Financial Aid for Spring2021” section for more information about possible impacts to your financial aid based upon your response to the questions about housing in the activity guide.
Keep Your Address Updated in SIS
As part of the requirement around weekly prevalence testing, students are reminded to keep their mailing address updated in SIS. Only students who are living in the area of Charlottesville or Albemarle County will be subject to prevalence testing.