Newsletter: Town Hall, New Restrictions, Dates to Remember
In This Email:
Addressing frustration with COVID and new restrictions
Town hall on Friday
Changes to certain functions as a result of new restrictions
We are aware of the disappointment and frustration that many of you are experiencing as a result of climbing COVID-19 cases and increased restrictions, particularly in an environment where conditions are changing rapidly. University leaders and public health officials will hold a town hall to answer questions about the virus, these restrictions, and other issues on Friday, Feb. 19, from 3 to 4 p.m. (click here to register). In this email, we’d like to address a few key points.
Most importantly, we know and regret that these new temporary restrictions are a hardship for students who are already struggling to cope with all of the other ways this pandemic has disrupted their lives. Our goal is always to strike a balance between protecting public health and allowing people to live, learn, and work here as easily as possible. Presently, maintaining that balance requires the types of restrictions we have in place. If followed, these new policies will reduce cases and pave the way for a less restrictive approach to the remainder of this semester.
We’d also like to address questions about recruitment activities at University fraternities and sororities and whether they relate to rising cases. It is important to know that UVA’s health and safety guidelines apply to all individuals and organizations equally, including off-Grounds fraternities and sororities. Like all other students and organizations, those organizations were permitted to gather in groups of 6 or fewer as long as everyone was wearing masks and spaced at least 6 feet apart. We do not, and should not, impose different restrictions on different groups of students.
In the event that any group or individual violates our policies, we have a compliance reporting processthat enables University officials to investigate and take disciplinary action where appropriate. That process is an important tool in protecting public health as well as assuring that we know the facts before we take disciplinary action. We regularly follow-up on emails and social media posts in an effort to investigate a possible violation; many of those communications, however, lack the specific details that are necessary to initiating action. The University also regularly increases the presence of UVA Ambassadors in areas where we are seeing increased cases or reports of noncompliance. If you are have evidence of policy violations by a specific group or individual, and can provide details such as location, date and time, please file a complaint immediately.
At this point, speculation that Greek organizations, or any other single group or part of our community, are solely or primarily responsible for rising cases is not supported by evidence. Transmission and noncompliance are widespread across our community, which is why our public health experts made an unequivocal recommendation to enact the community-wide restrictions announced on Tuesday.
We know these new restrictions are especially frustrating for people who are following the rules closely. The unfortunate reality is this virus spreads quite easily when small numbers of people let their guard down, but stopping the spread requires increased sacrifice from all of us.
We use the word community so much we risk losing the meaning: “A group of people living in the same place or having the same characteristic in common.” In this moment, many of us are living in the same place and we have many characteristics in common, including a shared desire to stop the spread and keep each other healthy and safe. We are a community – and bringing our case numbers down will require all of us to sacrifice over the next eight days and keep our focus for the rest of the year. We know you are frustrated; we know you are tired – but we remain in this together. So let’s come together and get our semester back on track.
Liz Magill Provost
J.J. Davis Chief Operating Officer
Dr. Mitch Rosner Chair, Department of Medicine
PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES
Additional Temporary Public Health Restrictions in Effect
In response to rising student cases on- and off-Grounds, the University has enacted temporary restrictions to limit the spread of the virus until at least Feb. 26. See the message from University leaders for more information on these temporary additional measures and why the University implemented them. Additional audience-specific FAQ’s are available here.
Reminder: Avoid Unnecessary Travel
The University’s guidance for students, faculty, and staff to avoid unnecessary travel remains in effect during this period of enhanced restrictions.
Text Notices from VDH when You are Positive
The lab results of students who test positive for COVID-19 are automatically sent to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). If you are positive, VDH may send you a text instructing you to stay home before they call you or before you hear from Student Health and Wellness. A provider from SHW will contact you as soon as possible to confirm your test result, answer any questions, and provide information about what you need to do next. In the meantime, if you receive such a text, please stay home and isolate from others as much as possible.
Pause for Undergrads in Research Labs
To ensure the safety and continuity of our research lab activities, undergraduates will need to pause from in-person lab activities, effective immediately. We will continue to monitor the prevalence throughout this period and will revisit the decision in ten days. In the meantime, faculty, staff, and researchers should report to work, but must continue to comply with mandatory weekly Research Lab asymptomatic COVID-19 saliva testing. See research.virginia.edu for more information.
Spring 2021 Dates to Remember
Key upcoming dates in the academic calendar:
The last day to drop a class without a “W” is Tuesday, March 23.
After March 23, you may still drop a class with a W until Tuesday, April 6. The class will remain on your official transcript with a notation of W to reflect that you withdrew from the class later in the semester.
SIS is now closed for grade option changes. SIS will reopen on Friday, April 23, and remain open until Friday, April 30, to allow you to make your final decision about grading options for spring classes.
UVA Dine Operations
Dining halls remain open for students with meal plans to dine alone or in pairs. UVA Dine locations, options, hours of operation, and updates can be found at https://virginia.campusdish.com/. Follow @uvadine on social media for real-time info about which dining halls are busy and which are less crowded. Starting Thursday, Feb. 18, Chick-fil-a and Subway will move to all-mobile ordering. Download the Grubhub app to place your orders for pick up.
Open Spaces for Individuals to Exercise
UVA IM-Rec facilities are closed during this period of increased restrictions, but numerous spaces around Grounds are open for students to exercise individually including The Park, Carr’s Hill Field, Snyder tennis courts, and the sand volleyball courts. Please remember to follow all University public health guidelines while using these spaces.