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Updates on Mask Policies and Lighting of the Lawn

To the University Community: 

We write today to share important information about the University’s masking policies for the remainder of the Fall semester and the annual Lighting of the Lawn. 

The updates below are part of our ongoing effort to protect public health, while offering students, faculty and staff as much flexibility as possible. The threat of the pandemic remains, but our high vaccination rate and low case counts allow us to begin loosening restrictions in targeted areas that will make it easier for members of our community to pursue their studies or other activities important to them. 

The first matter we’d like to address is the University’s indoor mask requirement.

University leaders and public health experts have decided to extend the general requirement for the remainder of the semester and to add several new exceptions for activities that are particularly difficult while wearing a mask. 

As a reminder, this policy applies to all people who enter a University-owned or leased space, regardless of vaccination status. It does not apply to residence halls or personal residences, or when people are actively eating or drinking. Aside from the exceptions described below, all other policiesremain in effect at UVA and UVA Health. 

The new exceptions to this requirement are as follows: 

Effective October 27, fully vaccinated students, members, and guests at IM-Rec facilities will no longer be required to wear a mask while using cardio equipment or participating in group exercise classes.

All attendees will be required to wear masks when they are not actively using cardio equipment or participating in a group exercise class and are expected to maintain social distancing while inside the facility. IM-Rec is in the process of updating its policies and will share more information on specific protocols on its website

Students participating in for-credit drama, dance, and instrumental music activities will have more opportunities to practice and perform indoors.

As the weather turns colder, students who are participating in for-credit activities in drama, dance, and instrumental music will be permitted to rehearse and perform indoors, provided they are following certain public health requirements. Individual courses and activities will be subject to specific requirements, examples of which include wearing masks and physically distancing when not actively rehearsing, wearing clear masks at final rehearsals for drama activities, and fitting brass and wind instruments with appropriate bell covers where possible. Final drama performances will not require masks for performers as long as the audience is masked. More information about specific practices for individual activities will be available soon on the College of Arts and Sciences website. 

As a result of these changes, the Cavalier Marching Band, which is a for-credit activity, will be able to play in the stands at Scott Stadium.

The marching band is working to implement similar public health measures like obtaining bell covers for wind instruments and will return to playing in the stands during football games as soon as possible. 

The second update we have to share is good news. 

The 20th Annual Lighting of the Lawn will be in-person this year.

Following last year’s virtual Lighting of the Lawn, this year we will observe this important UVA tradition in person once again. The event will be held entirely outdoors and will be limited to UVA students, faculty, staff, and their families. More information about the date of this event and all public health measures will be available soon. 

As with all of our COVID-19 policies, these decisions are guided by our medical experts, and they are only possible because of the considerable efforts members of this community have made to limit the spread of the virus by getting vaccinated, wearing masks indoors, and staying home when they are sick. We are optimistic that the policies we have in place will allow us to finish this semester together strong, and we will continue to look for opportunities to offer even greater flexibility to members of our community as we prepare for the spring semester. 

Thank you, as always, for all you are doing to keep yourselves and others healthy and safe this year. 

Liz Magill, Executive Vice President and Provost

J.J. Davis, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer 


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