Newsletter: Spring Updates, Departure Testing, J-Term
This week’s update is full of information UVA community members need to know about concluding this semester safely, making the most of J-Term, and preparing for Spring 2021.
As Thanksgiving break approaches, UVA is planning to offer every student a COVID-19 test before they leave the Charlottesville-Albemarle region. On-Grounds students will take pre-departure tests through the student population testing program. UVA will provide off-Grounds students with the same Let’s Get Checked kits used for pre-arrival testing over the summer. We may offer some off-Grounds students saliva tests as capacity allows.
We are also ready to announce that all undergraduate J-Term courses will take place online. Every undergraduate student’s regular tuition covers one J-Term course this year. This virtual offering is intended to help students stay on track academically and safely without incurring additional tuition costs.
In Spring 2021, UVA will look and feel much like it does now. All students who wish to study on Grounds will be welcome and we will offer as many in-person experiences as we safely can. Every course will have an online component, with the exception of a small number of labs or practicums. Every person who comes to Grounds will be required to follow policies on wearing masks, avoiding large social gatherings, practicing physical distancing, and adhering to testing requirements.
On the advice of UVA’s public health experts we are adjusting the Spring 2021 academic calendar for undergraduates. The number of teaching days will be very similar to the Fall semester, but we will push the start date back to reduce the time students are living and learning together during flu season. Undergraduate courses will begin on Monday, Feb. 1, instead of on Jan. 20 as originally planned, and we will end the term on Thursday, May 6. Graduate and professional students will hear from their schools about their specific plans for J-Term and the spring semester.
In order to limit travel to and from Charlottesville, the traditional week-long spring break will be replaced by multiple, shorter breaks for students to rest and recharge in the midst of a stressful semester. Students will be encouraged to stay in the area in order to limit the spread of the virus. We will announce the dates of these breaks soon for undergraduates. Graduate and professional students will hear directly from their schools about their specific plans.
It is important to note that all of this could change if the course of the virus changes. Thanks to you, we have seen case counts fall in our community and our region recently – but other regions of the country are experiencing surges. We are monitoring the progression of the virus closely and will make changes if necessary.
The plans we are announcing today reflect the need to remain cautious in the face of a historic pandemic. They also reflect our confidence in the capacity of this university and its people to continue to limit the spread and keep each other safe. As we finish this semester strong and look to the future, we are ready to put those lessons to work to advance the mission of this University as safely and effectively as we can.
Liz Magill Provost
J.J. Davis Chief Operating Officer
SAFELY FINISHING FALL 2020
Student Testing Prior to Departure
Students who live on-Grounds are tested at least once every nine days via a nasal swab test or saliva screening. This will continue until students depart for Thanksgiving. Students who live off-Grounds will have an opportunity to be screened prior to Thanksgiving travel with either Let’s Get Checked kits or UVA’s saliva testing program. Find more at UVA Today.
Students exhibiting symptoms should seek guidance by contacting Student Health.
Testing Resources for UVA Employees and Contract Workers
The University continues to offer testing via Let’s Get Checked to asymptomatic Academic Division employees and contracted workers who are working on-Grounds and completing their required daily health check. Asymptomatic Medical Center employees are offered the opportunity to test at a UVA Health satellite testing center located at the Student Activities Building. Employees exhibiting symptoms should contact Employee Health for guidance. For more information, please see UVA Today.
On-Grounds Housing Update
All current residents of undergraduate on-Grounds housing will receive an email from Housing & Residence Life next week asking them to complete a Winter Break/Spring Intent form. Although students who go home for Thanksgiving are expected to remain there until the start of second semester, all residence halls will stay open through the exam period. Upperclass and graduate housing will remain open between the end of first semester and the start of second semester, but first-year residence areas (Alderman Road, Gooch/Dillard, and McCormick Road) will close from noon on December 12 until they reopen for the spring semester. Students living in first-year areas may apply for Winter Break Housing on their Winter Break/Spring Intent form.
The application process for undergraduate students who have lived at home this semester and who want to live on Grounds during the spring semester will begin November 2. The priority deadline will be November 9, but students can still apply after this date. More information will be posted soon on the Housing & Residence Life website.
KEY INFO FOR J-TERM
Updates on the Basics
This year, all undergraduate J-Term classes will be taught online. Enrollment appointments will be visible on Oct. 23, with classes in SIS on Nov. 6. J-Term enrollment begins the week of Nov. 9. One J-Term and one Summer Session I class are included with undergraduate tuition this academic year, with certain restrictions. See the Registrar’s FAQ page for more information on J-Term eligibility.
Signature J-Term Courses
J-Term Signature classes are here: Visit the course listing to see new Signature offerings in addition to standard J-Term classes. Topics include the science of pandemics, race and the media, designing resilient cities, global activism and democracy, and more.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT SPRING 2021
Mode of Instruction
Like this semester, UVA will welcome students to Grounds and offer as many in-person experiences as possible. All courses will include an online component, with some limited exceptions. For more information visit the Academic Life section of UVA’s Return to Grounds site.
Changes to the Academic Calendar
On the advice of public health experts, UVA will modify its academic calendar for undergraduate schools in Spring 2021. Classes will begin on Feb. 1 (formerly Jan. 20), and will end on May 6 (formerly May 5). More key dates are available here.
Changes to Spring Break
The weeklong undergraduate break originally planned for March 6-14 will not take place. UVA will announce alternative plans for multiple shorter breaks throughout the semester. Students will be encouraged to stay in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area in order to limit travel and opportunities to spread the virus.
Announcement Date for Final Exercises
The University will make an announcement about plans for final exercises for the classes of 2020 and 2021 by March 15, 2021.
More Information on Return to Grounds and in Subsequent Communications
UVA’s Return to Grounds website continues to be the best resource for updated information on Fall 2020, J-Term, and Spring 2021. Many answers to new FAQs are already available and more will be added soon. Students should expect to hear directly from Student Affairs soon with more details about transitioning away from Grounds safely at the end of this semester and returning in the Spring. Graduate and professional school students will hear directly from their schools about calendars and other plans specific to them.
CALENDAR CHANGES FOR ACADEMIC DIVISION EMPLOYEES
Flexibility on Election Day
In order to better enable UVA employees to cast a ballot in the 2020 elections, the University is asking Academic Division managers to provide employees with a reasonable period of time – typically two hours – to vote early or cast a ballot on Election Day. People who wish to volunteer at the polls can use a portion of their 16 hours of paid annual volunteer time.
Additional Holiday Time Off
UVA Employees in the Academic Division will receive an additional three days off around the holidays this year. UVA offices in the Academic Division will now close on Dec. 21 and reopen on Jan. 4, 2021.