As the United States works to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, cancellations and postponements flashed across the news in rapid fire this week.
In an email to the University of Virginia community Wednesday afternoon, President Jim Ryan announced that UVA will move classes online and not hold classes on Grounds for the foreseeable future. Students who can return home are strongly encouraged to do so.
On Thursday, UVA Provost Liz Magill followed up with an email providing further details and next steps. (See all University communications regarding the new coronavirus.)
The decision, and nearly everything about the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, has raised many questions that University leaders, staff and faculty are working to answer as quickly as possible.
The University has launched a website dedicated to UVA’s coronavirus response, with an FAQ section that is updated continually. We have also compiled some of the most common questions below. These focus primarily on University operations. For questions related to UVA Health, as well as what to do if you are experiencing symptoms, please visit UVA Health’s coronavirus response page.
What should students do now?
Current students have many questions about how online classes will work, how they can retrieve belongings and what to do if they cannot return home, among other issues.
Students are currently on spring break, and there will be no in-person classes between now and March 19, when online classes will begin. Students are strongly encouraged to return home in that time period.
The University recognizes that some students cannot go home for a variety of reasons, ranging from safety concerns in their hometowns or countries to the fact that their only homes are in Charlottesville. University buildings will remain open and dorms and modified dining services will be available to students who need them. To receive permission to remain in their dorms, students must complete the form emailed on Wednesday by Housing and Residence Life. The form must be submitted no later than noon March 18.
- FAQs for current students: This includes questions about retrieving belongings, special circumstances requiring students to remain on Grounds, financial assistance, students living off Grounds, academic requirements, study abroad and international travel, and more.
- Reference sheet for current students
How should faculty and staff proceed?
Moving classes online and accommodating a rapidly changing situation raises many questions for faculty and staff and will require creative thinking and communication.
Deans will be in communication with faculty members with more details as classes move online. UVA is also creating a team to provide training and technology to help with the transition. Faculty and staff involved in research will receive details from UVA Provost Liz Magill and Vice President of Research Melur K. “Ram” Ramasubramanian.
For the time being, faculty and staff should continue to report to work as usual or, when possible, consider options for working from home. Managers, department chairs and deans are encouraged to consider options for faculty and staff working from home and be flexible if an employee has a compromised health situation or is caring for someone who does.
Any further changes to the University’s operating or work schedules will be communicated to faculty and staff as they happen.
- FAQs for faculty and staff: This includes questions about class disruptions, research and lab work, faculty and staff members in high-risk categories, travel and telecommuting.
- FAQs for academic instruction: This includes questions about technical support, research and lab work, office hours, online instruction, creative work and more.
- Teaching Continuity resources and information about shifting classes online.
- Research Continuity guidance for laboratories and research facilities.
- Reference sheet for faculty and staff.
Will University events continue?
University events with more than 100 people are prohibited for the foreseeable future and should be postponed, cancelled or offered virtually.
At this time, organizers should explore alternatives to in-person events of fewer than 100 people, as well as all necessary precautions to mitigate risk of infection. Those hosting events that involve visitors traveling to Grounds, of whatever size, should consider cancelling those events or developing alternatives, depending on the risks involved.
Current event updates include:
- Tours: All University tours and information sessions are cancelled until further notice.
- Athletics: As of Thursday, all UVA spring sports have been canceled. Fans who have already purchased tickets to upcoming events may contact the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office at 800-542-8821 or email@example.com.
- John Paul Jones Arena: Events at John Paul Jones Arena are postponed at least through the weekend. The University will continue to work with performers and others involved to evaluate additional upcoming events.
- Final Exercises: At this time, no changes to Final Exercises, scheduled for May 16-17, have been announced. The University will make a decision about Final Exercises by April 15 and communicate any changes accordingly.
What about incoming students?
Incoming and admitted students in the Class of 2024 will face disruptions to planned events, including Days on the Lawn events for admitted students.
All admission information sessions and tours, and Days on the Lawn open house programs, are cancelled until further notice. The Office of Admission will be in touch with admitted students in the coming weeks to offer alternatives and help introduce them and their families to the UVA community.
- FAQs for incoming students: This includes information about upcoming events, questions from international students, accommodations for school closings and more.
How should I stay informed?
UVA has also established a COVID-19 response line at 877-685-4836 (domestic); +1-202-800-2408 (international) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 12, 2020