Latest Updates on UVA’s Response to the Coronavirus

ARTICLE DATEARTICLE AUTHOR AUTHOR EMAIL
March 19, 2020

Find the latest information on the University’s response to the coronavirus here.

 

Below are archived communications that were distributed to the University community regarding the coronavirus.

 

May 28: Message to the University Community

To the University Community,

With the semester over, the degrees awarded, and summer break officially underway, we want to thank all of you for helping us bring this difficult, memorable, and truly extraordinary year to a close. It was only possible due to your hard work and resilience under incredibly challenging circumstances, so please accept our deepest thanks.

Beyond thanking all of you, the purpose of this email is to update you on the topic that is foremost on all of our minds: planning for the fall. We are still planning to announce our final framework for the fall in mid-June, but we would like to take this opportunity to share some of our planning assumptions, in part to seek your feedback.

First, a brief note about the process to date. We have been guided by our desire to offer an exceptional experience for our students and, at the same time, to safeguard the health and safety of the UVA and Charlottesville community. Just over a month ago, we created a committee charged with identifying – and proposing answers to – the major questions needed to determine when and how we can safely welcome students to Grounds in the fall. The committee is chaired by our provost, Liz Magill, and includes faculty, staff, students, and a member of the Board of Visitors. We recently added some new members to the committee, including Ellen Bassett, the outgoing chair of the Faculty Senate and faculty representative to the Board of Visitors for next year; Kevin McDonald, our vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion; and Tre Tennyson, chair of the Graduate and Professional School Council.

The committee’s work has been focused on several areas: 1) Determining the date by which we must make a decision about the fall semester; 2) Identifying the safest date on which we could resume classes on Grounds and what conditions might apply; 3) Thinking about alternative academic calendars and options for classes; 4) Looking at ways to support faculty in creating an amazing online experience; and 5) Considering the impact of these decisions on the University’s finances and operations.

Around each of these topics, committee members have fanned out across the University and in the community to seek input and expertise. We have asked many to participate in this work – faculty, staff, students, University leaders, public health experts, and members of the Charlottesville community. We have also been in close contact with our counterparts at colleges and universities in Virginia and across the country. In order to bring as many student voices into the process as possible, the committee has conducted several surveys, including separate surveys of undergraduate and graduate and professional students. Seventy-three percent of undergraduate students responded to the survey. With the Faculty Senate, we held a virtual town hall on Wednesday, May 27th, and we launched a faculty survey earlier this week. We plan to conduct staff town halls, polls, and surveys as well.

The committee’s work is not yet finished, and, as mentioned, we will announce a framework for next academic year in mid-June. We nonetheless want to share our current thinking, both in the interest of transparency and in the hope of continuing to draw on the collective wisdom of our community.

To begin, our current plans are to start the fall semester as planned, with undergraduate courses starting on Tuesday, August 25th (start dates for graduate programs are available here). Assuming state and federal public health guidelines allow, we are planning to have students back on Grounds and to hold in-person classes this fall. We are still trying to determine how many students we can have safely back on Grounds and living in dorms, and how many in-person classes we can host, given social distancing restrictions.

What we do know for sure is that larger classes will remain online all semester, as will classes taught by faculty who have health concerns. Classes that are offered in-person, with the exception of some practicums, will also be available remotely, since some students will not be able to return to Grounds. Most students will have the option to remain home in the fall and participate in classes remotely. Most students will also have options to defer or take a gap year, as always.

To increase student options even more, and to make sure that all undergraduate students can earn a full year’s worth of credits no matter how they start, we are looking into expanding our January Term course offerings. This will allow students a chance to take a lighter load of classes in the fall, whether in person or online. We are also considering additional ways to allow students to stretch their classes across a longer period of time than the traditional academic calendar. More details will be forthcoming, including from programs and professional and graduate schools that may have unique requirements and different constraints.

While the fall semester will start on time, we are planning to finish in-person instruction by Thanksgiving. Students will not return until the new year, which will minimize the inevitable risk associated with travel back and forth to Charlottesville. We are still determining if we can host exams before Thanksgiving or whether they will be offered remotely.

To keep students, faculty, staff, and members of our community safe, we are developing protocols for testing, tracing, and isolating anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, as well as identifying spaces to quarantine on-Grounds residents exposed to those who have contracted COVID-19. We are also acquiring personal protective equipment – including masks – for students, faculty, and staff. And we are developing social distancing guidelines, as well as norms and rules around these guidelines. This includes making plans for managing dining halls, libraries, and recreational facilities, as well as for ramping up scholarship and research – which we are preparing to do now.

This fall will not be a normal fall, even with some students back on Grounds and some classes being held in person. There inevitably will be greater risk in having students return, and we will be placing a good deal of trust in our students to look out for the safety and well-being not just of each other, but of our faculty, staff, and community members. In some ways, it would be easier simply to be online all fall, or perhaps all year if the risk presented by the virus is not materially different in January than it is in August. But there are risks to that route as well, including obvious financial risks, but also less obvious but equally important educational and health risks.

We also believe we should do our best to be open for students, for several reasons. One of UVA’s greatest strengths is our world-class residential learning experience – something that, as all of you know by now, cannot be fully replicated online. We also appreciate that learning remotely is much harder for some students than others, given different living arrangements, family circumstances, and family obligations. There is also no end in reasonable sight for this virus, which makes it even more imperative that we do our best to adapt.

Finally, we emphasize that these are our current planning assumptions and that we are still in a fairly rapidly evolving situation. We will continue to adapt to new information, as we must in a pandemic of this nature. We also realize that no decision we ultimately make will be universally popular. Some will think UVA is moving too quickly or aggressively, while others will think we’re being too slow or cautious. What we can promise you is that we are working night and day to rely on the best information we have to make the best choices we can – not only for the health of UVA and our community, but for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of going to college. We are still in this together, and we are all going to need to draw on the collective creativity, flexibility, patience, and selflessness that we saw on full display this spring. It really was UVA at its very best, and we are going to have to be even better this fall.

Thank you, and we hope you and your families stay safe and well. We’ll be in touch with more information in mid-June.

Best,

Jim Ryan
President

Liz Magill
Provost

K. Craig Kent
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs

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

May 5: End-of-Semester Notice to International Students and Scholars

Dear UVA International Student and Scholar:

As we have grappled with the public health emergency associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Virginia has made a number of important decisions about the University’s operations. These changes have affected the entire community in dramatic ways; they have had especially significant effects on our international students and scholars. We write to assure you that you are an integral part of our community, and we are committed to supporting you through these unprecedented challenges.

This has been a rapidly changing situation with new information emerging almost every day. The single most important goal remains doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19, while continuing our missions as best we can, and making certain that our own community is cared for, supported, and remains safe.

The coronavirus continues to spread nationally and in the Charlottesville area as well, but mitigation efforts fortunately have helped to “flatten the curve.” For those of you who have returned to your home countries, I hope the transition to a virtual academic environment has gone relatively smoothly and you have found assistance when needed. We will also help you access summer courses remotely, as they become available, so you will be able to continue your instruction if you wish to do so.

For students who remain in Charlottesville in our residence halls, the University is pleased to extend University housing on Grounds from May 9 to May 24 at no additional cost. You can read the detailed housing message here. As noted in this message, if you are unable to return home when you leave on-Grounds housing in May, you are encouraged to begin thinking now about your housing plans for the summer. You may wish to check the University’s off-Grounds housing partners’ website, offgroundshousing.student.virginia.edu. There you can create an account and search for short-term rentals and summer sublets, according to your needs and plans.

As the U.S. continues to deal nationally with the pandemic, we cannot predict the complications that may arise from policy changes in the U.S. and other countries, including visa delays, border closures, and reduced travel options. Before undertaking any travel in connection with your enrollment at UVA, please continue to look for information from UVA’s International Studies Office and refer to your local U.S. embassy’s website through the U.S. Department of State for updates.

The International Studies Office remains available to work with you in considering options for managing the challenges connected with your enrollment during this difficult time. Please reach out to issp@virginia.edu with any questions or concerns.

Regardless of these challenges, one thing is certain: we are absolutely committed to continue providing a high-quality education to all of our students, including our international community, and overcome the pandemic-related obstacles we face together. Recently, President Ryan charged a planning committee to develop recommendations for the upcoming fall semester. Provost Magill is chairing the Fall 2020 Planning Committee, and it includes representation from across the University. The committee will consider a number of topics about the fall, including multiple scenarios around the academic delivery of courses. Additional information about the committee can be found here.

We would also like to take this opportunity to affirm our commitment to international diversity at UVA. Xenophobia and racism (bias) have no place in our community. As we work together and care for each other in this time of crisis, here are some resources you might find helpful: Community Care Statement and Resources. You should promptly report any acts of bias by using the Just Report It website.

We will continue to reach out to you with updates and information as needed. Please reach out to us with any questions or if you need support during this time.

Sincerely,

Stephen Mull
Vice Provost for Global Affairs

Allen W. Groves
University Dean of Students

April 29: Board of Visitors Statement on UVA’s Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

The University of Virginia Board of Visitors released the following statement today regarding the University’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic:

“On Monday evening, the Board of Visitors participated in a virtual meeting to discuss the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our discussion included the actions UVA leadership has already taken to move the University online and to support students, faculty and staff in this period of unprecedented difficulty. We discussed the uncertainty around the progression of the virus in Virginia and the need to prepare for multiple scenarios for how the University may operate in the upcoming fall term. We also received an update on the major financial toll this crisis has taken on the University, particularly on UVA Health, as much of its operations have been suspended during this time. Additionally, we took preliminary steps to ensure that the University has expanded capacity to borrow funds if needed in the future.

“This pandemic has disrupted every element of University operations and changed life for members of this community in ways too numerous to count. The creative, compassionate and resilient response of the UVA leadership, student body, faculty and staff to this crisis is the clearest expression of what President Ryan means when he talks about a University that is great and good. We commend the steps the administration has taken to help mitigate the extraordinary strain this crisis has placed on the most vulnerable members of our community, including establishing new emergency funds to support people struggling with lost income. We recognize the difficulties many people in the UVA community are experiencing as a result of actions that were necessary to stabilize the University’s finances and will continue to evaluate the need for additional steps to help our colleagues, friends and neighbors in this difficult time.

“While no one knows how long this pandemic will last or how severe the costs will be, we are fortunate to have leaders in every corner of this University who are finding ways to deliver on our mission of excellent academic instruction, life-changing research, world-class health care and strong partnership in the Charlottesville community. The Board of Visitors is grateful for the work and the sacrifice of so many who are responding to this crisis and we are ready to continue the work of navigating this difficult period as one UVA community. We are confident the University of Virginia will endure this crisis, learn some valuable lessons about creativity and resilience, and continue its pursuit of being the best public university in the country by 2030.” 

April 27: How Students May Retrieve Their Belongings

Dear Parents and Guardians:

Many of you have been waiting patiently for this information, and today I am happy to share details on how students will be able to come back in May to retrieve their belongings from the residence halls. We are sending the message to all parents and guardians in the interest of sharing the information broadly.

Please note, this message only pertains to undergraduate students who lived on Grounds and to graduate students who lived on the Range. I am pleased to share these plans also include students who lived in Bice, Bond, or one of the three language houses (Shea, Maison Francaise, and Casa Bolivar). In response to a request from UVA Health, we prepared plans and procedures to use these five buildings to support the regional pandemic response, which Housing & Residence Life shared with students on April 5 and 6. Due to successful mitigation efforts, the University has not needed to use these buildings thus far, and we do not anticipate needing them in the near future.

Students received a message from University Dean of Students Allen Groves a short time ago. It includes the link to the message students received from Housing & Residence Life with very detailed information about the move-out process. I will highlight several key points:

  • Students will have two primary options from which they can choose. They include returning with one person to move out of their housing themselves, or designating an individual to handle move-out for them. As a last resort, if students are unable to make a move-out appointment in May, they may choose to have their possessions packed and stored at the University’s expense, or they can pay to have their belongings shipped to them at the time of packing.
  • Students will need to let Housing & Residence Life know which option they select no later than May 21.
  • The move-out period will run from Monday, May 4, through Sunday, May 24. If students choose Option 1 or 2, they will need to select an appointment time and be sure to arrive promptly.
  • Anyone feeling ill should cancel or reschedule their appointment.
  • It will be important to follow safety and social distancing directives during the move-out process. This includes following CDC Guidelines, including providing your own face coverings and maintaining a distance of six feet from others.

If your student is one of the 213 students who received permission to remain on Grounds this semester, they will receive more individualized instructions for move-out.

The pandemic has been an incredibly difficult experience for all of us. Even if we have not been directly touched by the loss of life, COVID-19 has brought stress in many forms. We recognize the added stress for you and your student with regard to move-out. We hope the options available to you and your student will ensure a combination of safety, flexibility, and resolution as we work together during this time of continuing uncertainty and sacrifice.

If you or your student has questions, please contact Housing & Residence Life at housing@virginia.edu.

Sincerely,

Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer

 

April 17: President Provides Updates for Final Exercises Options

To the Class of 2020,

I write today with an update on a topic many of you have been wondering about: Final Exercises.

I know how much all of you were looking forward to Final Exercises and how disappointed many of you are that the ceremonies had to be moved. Graduation isn’t just a chance to walk the Lawn and get your diploma. It’s a time to say goodbye to your friends; to thank your families for the sacrifices they’ve made and the support they’ve provided; to let your professors know how much you appreciate them; to have one more bagel, go on one more hike, and sing the Good Old Song one more time. It’s an incredibly special moment—and one every graduate of the University should have a chance to experience.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve heard from many of you hoping that we would be able to hold Final Exercises on a different date. That’s been our hope, too, which is why we convened a committee made up of undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty and staff to look at different options for Final Exercises. Following the committee’s recommendation, we are planning the following:

  1. We will hold a virtual ceremony on the original date of Final Exercises, May 16, 2020, to confer degrees. This will serve as the official end of the academic year and allow all those who earned their degrees to graduate on time. We are planning something memorable to mark the occasion, and will have more details to share soon.
  2. We will hold Final Exercises on the Lawn, either this fall or next spring. We are holding the weekend of October 9-11, 2020, which coincides with fall reading days. Because we do not yet know whether it will be safe to have a large gathering in October, we are also holding May 28-30, 2021 as a backup, which is the weekend after the Class of 2021 will walk the Lawn. Given the continued uncertainty about COVID-19, we recommend against making travel plans for October until we know more; we simply wanted you to know now the dates we are holding on our calendars so that you can hold them on yours. We will follow up with more definite information in June.
  3. Schools and departments are planning to hold their own in-person ceremonies as well, although details—including possible dates—are still being worked out. As more details become available, we will post them on the Class of 2020 Final Exercises website.

This year’s Final Exercises will be different in some respects from the ones we had originally planned, and had been looking forward to. But we will do everything we can to make these ceremonies a fitting end to your time at UVA. While every class at UVA is special, yours is truly unique—and these Final Exercises will be, too. I expect it will be one of the most joyful occasions the Lawn has ever seen, and a moment all of us will remember forever. I look forward to seeing you there.

Jim Ryan
President

April 15: Message to Students Outlining Grading Options

Dear Undergraduate Students,

As you know, on March 18, 2020, Provost Liz Magill approved a new default grading option for all undergraduate classes this spring (CR/NC). In response to input from faculty and students, she recently added a third grade to the default grading option. Here is an explanation of each grade:

• Credit (CR): awarded if you meet the class’s requirements for credit (C or higher). For Spring 2020 only, CR will meet all undergraduate degree requirements, including prerequisites, general education, major, minor, etc. CR will not affect your GPA.

• General Credit (GC): awarded if you receive a passing grade below a C. GC will earn the credit hours associated with the course and will fill undergraduate requirements that can be met by a passing grade lower than C. GC will not affect your GPA.

• No Credit (NC): Awarded if you receive a grade of F. This grade will not earn credit or meet any requirements. NC will not affect your GPA.

On Friday, April 24, 2020, at 8 a.m. EDT, all of your classes will be converted to the default grading option of Cred/GenCred/NoCred Spring 2020. At that time, you may, if you wish, change any (or all) of your classes back to the standard grading option (A through F).

You will have until Tuesday, April 28, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. EDT to make this decision and you may change your mind for any class up until the deadline. You will not be able to change the grading option for any class after 11:59 p.m. EDT on April 28, 2020.

All undergraduate transcripts for the Spring 2020 term will note that CR/GC/NC grading was the default grading option for UVA undergraduate classes in response to the global pandemic.

Fall 2020 Enrollment Update

To implement the Spring 2020 default grading option and give you the opportunity to select which option you prefer for each class, we must temporarily stop enrollment for Fall 2020 classes. Fall 2020 enrollment will be temporarily suspended at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, April 23, 2020, and will resume at 8 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 29, 2020.

Spring 2020 Grading Options

To summarize, beginning at 8 a.m. EDT on Friday, April 24, 2020, you will have two options for each of the classes you are taking this semester. Each option is explained below and in this infographic.

Option 1

Take no action. All of your classes will use the default grading scheme of Credit/General Credit/No Credit (CR/GC/NC). Your grades will not impact your GPA.

Option 2

Take action before 11:59 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. For any or all of your classes, select the standard grading option of Graded (A+ through F). This grading scheme will impact your GPA. 

To make changes to the grading option for any class, follow these steps.

Deadline for Changes: You may change grading options as many times as you’d like, but final changes must be in place by 11:59 p.m. EDT on April 28, 2020, the last day of classes. You will not be able to change your grading option after the deadline passes.

In making your decision about whether to change your grading options, remember that some graduate and professional schools are updating their policies as the pandemic progresses. If you hope to apply to graduate or professional school, please consult the websites of your preferred schools for information about their policies on accepting CR/NC due to the global pandemic.

If you have questions or concerns about your grading options for this term and their implications for degree completion, please contact your school of enrollment.

We know this has been a challenging semester for you and your families. We hope you are safe and well. Those of us in the Office of the University Registrar and in your schools are here if you need us. You may reach me at ureg@virginia.edu if you have questions or concerns.

Kind regards,

Laura F. Hawthorne
Associate Vice Provost and University Registrar

 

April 14: Update From UVA Leaders to Employees on Financial Impact of COVID-19

Dear Colleagues:

First and foremost, our deepest thanks to all of you for your extraordinary efforts during this extraordinary time.  Because of your dedication, hard work, and creativity, we have managed to continue the core mission of this University—advancing knowledge and the common good through excellent teaching, research, and clinical care.  We have also served our community and the Commonwealth, largely through the heroic work of those in the health system, but also through innovative and timely research, partnerships with the City and County, and volunteer efforts made by so many of you.  Despite the pressures and significant disruptions to your professional and home lives, you have all performed exceptional work in supporting our patients, our students, each other, and the Charlottesville community. 

If there were ever a time to be both great and good, this is surely it, and that is precisely what you have been as a community.  As difficult as this period has been, it has also been a time filled with inspiring acts of generosity, ingenuity, and kindness.

All that said, the challenges presented by this crisis are difficult to exaggerate.  The pandemic has not simply made fulfilling our core mission more difficult.  It also has had—and continues to have—serious financial consequences for the University. 

We are writing today to describe those consequences, the principles that will guide our responses, and the immediate steps we are taking to meet these challenges.

The University has already suffered major financial losses in the academic division and in the health system.  As this pandemic continues, we will see additional revenue shortfalls across nearly all categories of funding, including tuition, state funding, clinical care, research grants, endowment returns, and philanthropy.  While the full costs are not yet known, they are large and will grow over the next few months, especially in the health system.  At the same time, the economy and financial markets remain volatile, and there is a good chance of a sustained economic downturn.

For all of those reasons, we are going to have to tighten our belts, just like other organizations and universities across the country.  We also have to be prepared to absorb additional disruptions to our operations and finances, especially if we cannot resume normal operations next fall.  Although we hope to restart normally in the fall, it is still too early to know if that will be possible.

As always, but especially now, we must be exceptionally good stewards of our resources so that we can continue to carry out our core mission, and in so doing be of service to the Commonwealth and beyond.  At the same time, we must never forget that the people at UVA—our faculty, staff, and students—remain our greatest asset, and will be the key to our ability to weather this crisis and recover with strength.  With that in mind, three principles will guide our actions and decisions during this challenging period, and we ask that leaders across the University follow them as well: 

1.  Maintain excellence in our core mission.
Above all else, we must strive to maintain excellence in our teaching, research, and clinical care.  This requires focusing on the essential and deferring non-essential programs or projects. 

2.  Support the most vulnerable.
We must attend most immediately to those with COVID-19.  Beyond caring for our patients, we will strive to share the burdens of any cost-cutting measures across our community.  We will also remain committed to access and affordability for our students and to meeting 100% of their financial need. 

3.  Be creative.
We must look for new and creative ways to work together efficiently and effectively, to conserve our resources, and to generate new revenue.  A silver lining of this crisis is that it has shown how nimble and innovative we can be when needed.  We must continue in the same spirit.   
 

*****

With these principles in mind, and as described more fully in a memo going to University leaders, today we are announcing the following policies:

Hiring Freeze: There will be a pause in University-wide hiring for open faculty, staff, and health system team member positions, unless an exception is approved by executive leadership. 

Salary Freeze: There will be no merit increases for the next fiscal year.

Limiting Capital Projects: The University will proceed only with capital projects that are already in design or construction and that are fully funded. 

Expense Reduction: All schools and units will cut or eliminate all non-essential expenses.

Senior Leadership Pay Cuts: The executive leadership team will take a 10% salary reduction.

We will continue to review our finances and operations over the coming weeks and months, and we will communicate with you about any additional steps we must take, as well as the rationale for those decisions.  We expect the steps we have outlined here to help us mitigate the immediate impact of the pandemic and to carry us through until we have made decisions about the fall.  Once those decisions are made, we will necessarily reassess our situation.  Consistent with our guiding principles, we remain committed to avoiding furloughs or layoffs for as long as possible and to utilizing them only if absolutely necessary.  That said, the health system may have no choice but to turn to these steps sooner rather than later given the serious financial situation they are facing because of the significant disruption to clinical care.

These are not decisions we make lightly, as we know they will be disruptive and difficult.  But we are in a period of shared sacrifice, with more challenges ahead.  We will meet these challenges by focusing on our core mission, by doing our best to support one another, and by continuing to look for creative solutions. 

We will get through this, together.  This is an exceptional community, and in exceptional communities, extraordinary challenges bring forth extraordinary responses.  We have already seen many, and we know we will see even more in the days to come.

Thank you again for all that you are doing.  It is an honor to serve alongside all of you.

Best,

 

Jim Ryan
President

Liz Magill
Provost

K. Craig Kent
EVP for Health Affairs

J.J. Davis
EVP and Chief Operating Officer

 

April 14: Financial Impact Memo to Deans, Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts and Other Leaders

Dear Colleagues:

As described in the letter from President Ryan and the three of us earlier today, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the University’s teaching, research, and clinical care activities, as well as deeply disruptive effects on the economy as a whole. In response to the dramatic changes in the University’s fiscal outlook, we must begin to address the short- and long-term financial effects on the University’s mission-critical operations.

Accordingly, we write to announce immediate actions to maintain excellence in our core mission, uphold our commitment to students, patients, faculty, staff, and team members, and advance our highest priorities – all while safeguarding the long-term health of the institution. Given the high degree of uncertainty about the future course of the pandemic and its further effect on the University, we must have a variety of options on the table.  As a first step, and effective immediately:

  • There will be an immediate pause in hiring for faculty, staff, and team member positions, with only critical searches moving forward, subject to the approval of the relevant Executive Vice President. Deans should consult with the Provost (and, for the schools of medicine and nursing, also with the EVP of Health Affairs) as soon as possible to review the status of faculty recruitment plans authorized for this year and jointly decide which positions should continue as exceptions to the general hiring freeze and which should be deferred. Details will be forthcoming regarding the process for considering exceptions for staff and team member positions.
  • Immediately and through the end of fiscal year 2021, compensation (regardless of funding source) will be frozen at current levels, with only contractually required increases allowed and those related to promotion or internal equity, which must be approved by the relevant Executive Vice President(s).
  • Across the University and in the health system, employees’ ability to cash out Paid Time Off (PTO) will be suspended, effective immediately and until further notice.  We recognize, however, that under current circumstances some staff and team members will have difficulty taking planned leave.  Accordingly, we will increase the cap on carrying forward unused PTO hours from 2020 into 2021.  Further details will be forthcoming from University HR about this policy.
  • To preserve maximum flexibility and conserve resources, we expect all schools, the health system, and all units to reduce all non-essential current expenses and use the most restricted funds first.  No new programs should be initiated unless specifically evaluated and approved by the relevant Executive Vice President.
  • Within the next few weeks, schools, departments, units, and the health system will receive further direction to re-state previously submitted FY21 budget plans. Revised planning parameters will reflect adjusted expense assumptions for compensation and central services costs, as well as projected revenue declines including, but not limited to, tuition and state appropriations, clinical care, Provost Support Fund, sales and services, philanthropy, and endowment returns. Schools will also need to evaluate the impact on sponsored research, which will vary by sponsor and grant.
  • The University will proceed only with capital projects that are already in design or construction and that are fully funded. In light of the impact of COVID-19, reevaluation and reestablishment of funding sources is necessary.  The relevant Executive Vice President(s) will reach out to schools, the health system, and units to re-evaluate all plans in light of the current situation before moving forward. New feasibility or design studies will be deferred.
  • The health system team will be meeting with various stakeholders over the coming days to develop a specific plan for the health system.

These are initial steps to help the University begin to address the unprecedented fiscal issues facing us. Under the University Financial Model used in the Academic Division, we will also look to the Deans and other leaders to take the steps necessary to safeguard their units’ core mission, ensure their financial health, and seek out opportunities for reallocation and efficiencies that strengthen their strategic focus.

The global economic and public health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to have the most disruptive consequences of any downturn any of us has experienced in our lifetimes, reshaping how the University undertakes its missions of teaching, research, service, and patient care. As further implications come into focus, we may need to take additional steps.

The challenges ahead are daunting, but we are confident that if we act quickly and responsibly, and in accordance with our principles and strategic aspirations, our University – and the shared mission that gives us our collective purpose – will flourish.

April 9: Message to Faculty From Provost Liz Magill

Dear Members of the Faculty at UVA,

Let me first express my hope that you and yours are safe and healthy during this difficult period, and, second, my appreciation for the exceptional work that you, along with all of our staff, are doing to continue our core missions as we grapple with this public health emergency.

Throughout this challenging time, our actions have been guided by the desire to protect the health of our community (students, faculty, staff and Charlottesville neighbors), to help “flatten the curve,” and to ensure the continuity of our teaching, research and clinical care. Most recently, we adjusted our grading policy for this term (there will be an update sent to deans on the mechanics of this shortly), shifted our research enterprise to key functions only, and moved Summer Sessions 1 and 2 online.

Today, I write to share that, given the extraordinary challenges we are facing with the COVID-19 emergency and the resulting disruption of regular teaching, research, clinical practice and service, the University is providing an across-the-board, one-year extension to the tenure clock for tenure-track faculty who meet certain eligibility criteria (details are here). Faculty may opt out of this automatic extension. We have adopted this provision for extension of the tenure clock pursuant to the Provost’s Promotion and Tenure Policy (PROV-017).

The reason for this action is straightforward. Our faculty have had to reinvent their courses to be taught online and struggled to preserve research programs, with labs closed, conferences canceled and research assistants gone. Our UVA Health faculty have found themselves at the front line of this emergency as they are working to provide clinical care. The consequences of this pandemic are continuing to unfold and will be experienced differently across the University. This is a challenge for all faculty and staff, but particularly for our tenure-track faculty in their probationary period. Such tenure-seeking faculty have an ambitious set of expectations that they must meet within a short period, including demonstrated excellence in teaching, research/scholarship, clinical responsibilities; the development of a national reputation; and performance of University and professional service. While individual extensions of the tenure clock are permitted under University policy, given the current circumstances, we are extending the tenure clock across the board to support the success of our tenure-track faculty by compensating for the time lost due to the current crisis.

Other faculty members who are experiencing disruption of their efforts to prepare for promotion or renewal due to the present public health emergency are encouraged to discuss this with their supervisor or dean. Members of our Academic General Faculty may have questions about their efforts to prepare for promotion or renewal, and those questions should be addressed to their school dean or associate dean. The schools retain flexibility to respond to such requests with provost approval, as described in our University-wide policy, linked here.

Eligibility criteria and implementation details of the tenure clock extension are available, as noted above, here. We recognize that faculty may have questions regarding their individual cases. If so, please reach out to your department chair or dean, or you may write to vpfa@virginia.edu and we will follow up with you.

I am grateful to each of you for the work you are doing in support of the University of Virginia. It is an honor and privilege to work with you.

Sincerely,

Liz Magill
Provost, University of Virginia

 

April 7: Letter to Parents and Guardians

Dear Parents and Guardians:

These are hard times for everyone. As we experience a global pandemic that is expected to worsen in coming days in our area of the country, the University is joining with entities at the local, regional and state level to share resources that may be needed for the health and well-being of our fellow citizens.

You and your student already are making personal sacrifices that none of us fully envisioned even a month ago. I’m writing today to thank you for all you are doing and to share more information about plans that will have an impact on a small contingent of students and their families. Although this does not affect all of you, I believe it’s important for all of our students and families to understand what – and why – certain decisions have been made in recent days.

As a state institution with a public trust and mission, we have a duty to share our resources in times of crisis. Our facilities are owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia. It’s our good fortune that the UVA Hospital, a nationally renowned, level one trauma center, is part of our extended Grounds. We offer major resources that can help those suffering from COVID-19 and other illnesses, as well as assist the many doctors, nurses and staff members who are caring for them. Our resources are part of the bigger picture that emergency planners are reviewing to determine a comprehensive, joint response to aid the Central Virginia area.

At the same time these plans are evolving, we must adhere to medical guidance and concerns for the safety and health of you, your families, our staff members and people in Charlottesville. Many of you have understandably wanted to return to the Grounds to pick up your students’ belongings if they lived in a residence hall. That simply is not possible given all the current concerns about the spread of COVID-19. We will be determining a date and process for you to return in the future, but only when consistent with public health and safety.

The residence halls currently are accessible only to those students who received permission to remain on Grounds. We are in contact with the some 250 undergraduate students who remain so they are aware of how to access services if they need help.

Emergency Use of Bond, Bice, Shea, French and Spanish Houses. As part of the overall efforts addressing the COVID-19 crisis, the University recently was asked to provide housing in residence halls near the hospital. The buildings include Bice, Bond, Shea, and the French and Spanish houses. This weekend, eight students who had remained in those five buildings were relocated to vacant rooms in Lambeth and Copeley, located on the opposite side of Grounds.

As part of this process to answer the call of projected emergency needs, we now must carefully pack up and store all the possessions of students who had lived in those five buildings. The residents of those buildings received an email with details on Sunday and are being asked to complete a questionnaire to help direct the vendor we have retained for packing, moving and storage. A second email further clarifying the process was distributed yesterday. Students who received the questionnaire need to complete it by tomorrow, April 8, so the vendor can handle students’ possessions as carefully as possible and in accordance with their preferences.

The University is covering the full cost of packing and storing items from these five buildings. Students only need to pay if they want to go to the storage warehouse and pick up their belongings before some point in the future when conditions are safer and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has lifted the stay-home order issued last week. Once a timeframe is set, the vendor will deliver everyone’s packed belongings to a central area of the Grounds where students and parents can pick them up. A range of dates and times for pick-up will be available.

Governor Northam’s Executive Order. If you live in Virginia, then you know Gov. Northam issued an Executive Order last week directing Virginians to stay at home until June 10. This order, and previous guidance from the governor and other officials, has guided our decisions since mid-March about students returning to Grounds.

The majority of our students are no longer in Charlottesville. A significant number, however, remain in off-Grounds apartments or houses. By and large, they are following social distancing guidelines and not gathering in groups larger than 10. I have seen exceptions, however, most notably on the UVA Lawn. Enjoying the beautiful spring weather is certainly not a problem, but if you think your student needs a reminder about not gathering in groups larger than 10, please help us out. It’s for their own safety and that of others. The asymptomatic spread of the novel coronavirus poses major concerns.

Withdrawal Deadline Extended. For students only in the College of Arts & Sciences, the date to withdraw from the spring term has been changed to May 8 (it had previously been April 14). All College students now have until May 8 to withdraw from the spring 2020 term and return in fall 2020 (or summer). Students in the College have received a notification about this.

Message from Dean Groves. All students received a message yesterday from University Dean of Students Allen Groves. He reminded students of the importance of social distancing and covered several other important topics, including the possibility of unemployment benefits for students who had part-time jobs and are now having difficulty paying rent or other major expenses. He also listed the many services available remotely, including the services of Student Health and Counseling & Psychological Services. I encourage you to read his message and ensure your student reads it.

The University is committed to sharing updates with you as information is available, but we remain in a fluid situation marked by numerous uncertainties. Thank you for all you are doing to support your student as they finish this semester remotely. I hope you and your families are weathering this crisis as well as possible.

Sincerely,

Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer

 

April 6: Ryan Announces Emergency Fund to Assist Contract Workers, UVA Employees

The following email was distributed to members of the University community on Monday:

To the University community:

I am writing to let you know about efforts we are making to support workers furloughed by our contractors and about a contribution to the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation.

A core aspiration of our strategic plan is to be a university that is both great and good. Toward that end, we have committed to doing our best to be a good neighbor and to live our values. That means, among other things, doing what we can to support our most vulnerable community members.

We have kept our employees on our payroll, and we will continue to do so for as long as we can. Some of our contractors, including Aramark, have furloughed their employees. More may do so in the future. These workers are entitled to state and federal unemployment benefits, as well as some benefits being offered directly by their employers.

It has become clear that these benefits are not flowing as quickly as any of us would like, and that our contract workers need immediate assistance. It is also clear that there may be a gap between the relief available from unemployment benefits and meeting the necessities of life. Our own employees may also be facing unexpected costs due to the crisis we are all facing.

For these reasons, we are devoting $2 million to create an emergency assistance fund for UVA contract workers and employees. We cannot provide a salary or wages to those who have been furloughed, because doing so would make them ineligible for the state and federal benefits that exist for those who are unemployed. But we can provide funding to help meet an array of needs related to the crisis. Our primary focus will be to help those who have been furloughed, but this fund will also be available for those still employed and facing unexpected costs.

We will also be providing assistance to furloughed contract workers who need help in applying for state and federal unemployment benefits, and we expect this fund to be a helpful bridge to those who are awaiting benefits. We will keep this fund operational until June 1, and we will reassess at that point.

We will have more details to share by mid-week, including a timeline and process for accessing the funds. A number of you have contacted me about helping out your colleagues, and I’m grateful for your interest and compassion. To facilitate that help, we are setting up a process for employees to donate directly to this fund.

We are also committed to being a good neighbor to the Charlottesville region. For that reason, we are also contributing $1 million to the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation to support their efforts to stabilize households during this pandemic. The Foundation has already raised over $2.3 million to support these efforts, and they are doing great work and deserve our support. For anyone who needs immediate assistance, please call their Community Resource Helpline at 434-234-4490.

We will have more to say later this week about additional steps we are going to take to support our community, but I did not want to wait to get this information out. We face challenges ahead. We will only get through them by working together and doing what we can to support each other. Thanks for all of your efforts in that regard.

Jim Ryan
President

April 5: Update from the Dean of Students

Dear Undergraduate, Graduate and Professional School Students:

I’m writing today to offer updates on a few subjects, and also to check in on you. As April begins, it’s still somewhat difficult to fully grasp all that has occurred over the past few weeks. I imagine you are feeling a range of emotions. I hope as you deal with this upheaval in your life you will take some time for self-care and reflection. If you are spending major portions of your day in front of a computer instead of in a classroom or research lab or library with the friends, advisors, colleagues, and the routines you had come to enjoy, social isolation can be a real problem. Feelings of distance, loneliness, and even depression can result. Many of us feel a bit of “cabin fever” and that’s quite natural. Things as simple as taking a long walk and enjoying nature can help in dealing with the uncertainty everyone is feeling now.

I urge you to stay connected with your friends and whoever else lifts your spirits. Prioritize your health, including getting adequate sleep, moving your muscles, and eating nutritiously. If you would like to speak with a counselor at any point, we continue to offer services through CAPS and Student Health remotely. Please see the end of this message for resources and contact information.

If you are having difficulty with your courses, either because of the material, online delivery, or other issue, please reach out for help. If you are an undergraduate student, please call on your professor, teaching assistant, academic advisor, association dean (if in the College), or perhaps engage with a tutor or peer. Graduate and professional students should reach out to their professor, advisor, research director, department chair, or academic dean.

• Governor Northam’s Executive Order. The warm spring weather can be a soothing antidote to stress, but it carries a risk as well. It remains very important to practice social distancing and abide by local directives. While it will be tempting to gather outside in groups, it is essential that you follow orders like those issued by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to maintain social distancing and only go out for essential needs. The Governor’s most recent Executive Order directs Virginians to stay at home through June 10. This does not preclude going out for a walk, for example, but if you go with a few friends, you should be mindful of keeping a distance of at least six feet between you. No groups of 10 or more can gather outside or elsewhere in Virginia, on public or private property. Many other states have similar restrictions aimed at “flattening the curve” and avoiding larger scale COVID-19 infections that may overwhelm our health care system.

Doing Our Part. We know the COVID-19 crisis is worsening in most of the country, including in Virginia. University leaders are responding by turning significant attention to our health system and standing ready to support the consolidated, joint efforts of emergency teams in the Charlottesville community and larger central Virginia area. As a state institution with a public trust and mission, it is our duty to respond to requests for use of our facilities and resources at the local, regional, state, and national levels.

Emergency Use of Residence Halls. Within the past few days, we have responded to requests from emergency planners to make residence hall space available near the UVA Hospital. The 15 undergraduate students who still resided in Bond, Bice, Shea, and the French and Spanish language houses have been relocated this weekend, with help from the teams in Housing & Residence Life and Facilities Management, to vacant rooms in Lambeth and Copeley. Additionally, students who had been living in Bond, Bice, Shea, and the French and Spanish language houses – but had left Charlottesville previously – have been notified that the University will be carefully packing and storing their belongings at no cost to students, so the buildings can be used to support needs arising from this crisis. (Students can also choose to have their belongings shipped to them at their expense.)

This crisis bears similarities to war efforts of the past when citizens had to make sacrifices and pull together for the greater good. I regret some decisions have come very quickly with little advance communication, but the situation is exceptionally fluid right now and the University is part of larger efforts with new priorities emerging daily. Whenever possible, we are committed to communicating with you in advance and as fully as possible. We will always endeavor not simply to tell you what action is being taken, but also why.

• Retrieving Belongings from the Residence Halls. Given medical guidance and concerns for the health of you, your families, and people in Charlottesville, it will not be possible for students who were living in residence halls to come back to the Grounds at this time to retrieve personal possessions from on-Grounds residences. We will be determining a date and process for you to return in the future, and only when consistent with public health and safety. The residence halls currently are accessible only to those students who received permission to remain on Grounds.

• Support for International Students. Of special note is that many of the undergraduate and graduate students remaining on Grounds and in our Charlottesville community are international students. We recognize the special challenges they face being far from home. We communicated last week with all students remaining on Grounds and emphasized how they can access needed services. For our international students in particular, we want to underscore our condemnation of, and resolve to combat, any acts of bias or xenophobia against them. If you have been the target of such an act, please report it through the University’s Just Report It system. Of course, if you believe you are ever in immediate danger, you should always call 911.

• Financial Hardships. Without question, the coronavirus crisis is taking an economic toll on many, including our students, faculty and staff, and their families. The University is examining how costs and losses are affecting our operations. This includes the recognition that some families who have been hit especially hard may need to update their financial information with Student Financial Services for purposes of calculating institutional aid and access to other resources.

Many students have expressed considerable concern about losing their wages from part-time jobs, affecting their ability to pay rent and other major expenses. Please note, the Student Legal Services office, which is staffed by attorney Lester Wilson and funded by the Student Activity Fee, may be a resource to assist you. More information is available on the Student Legal Services website.

New federal legislation may also grant part-time student workers eligibility for unemployment benefits through the Virginia Employment Commission. Students who had part-time jobs, but are currently unemployed, can apply now on the VEC website. Applicants will need to renew their claims weekly, preferably Mondays through Wednesdays. The VEC website states VEC is still awaiting guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, so the timing of funding is uncertain. If you are a part-time student worker who lost your job in another state, you should apply using that state’s website to seek unemployment benefits.  

We are grateful to our graduate students for the support they continue to provide to the University’s core missions of teaching and research. For those students who are serving as Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) and Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs), the University’s policy on continuity of pay is noted on the Human Resources website. During the spring term, GTAs continue in their roles of working with faculty in teaching remotely for the remainder of the semester, while GRAs and research fellows continue to work with their faculty advisors and supervisors to engage in the activities of their research groups, including continuing research remotely to the extent possible. We know how disruptive this pandemic has been to the academic careers of our graduate students. The Provost and the Vice President for Research continue to work with the deans and faculty to find ways to ensure the success of our graduate students during this time of disruption in their education and research.

Emergency funding continues to be available for all students in need. As a reminder, three forms of funding are available:

• Final Exercises. Having walked the Lawn myself as a graduating student, I fully recognize the importance of walking the Lawn for our graduating students and their families. Last month, President Ryan asked Pam Higgins, Executive Director for Major Events in the President’s Office, and me to lead a working group of undergraduate and graduate students and representatives from the schools to recommend ways for a meaningful celebration still to occur on the Lawn. We hope to present recommendations soon to President Ryan and his senior leadership team. You should expect to hear directly from President Ryan on this topic in the coming weeks, as he is committed to seeing this through for you.

• Providing Support. Many of you have expressed interest in supporting the University Health System and our local community, and we have seen many gestures of generosity. If you would like to learn more about how you can support the care needs of the Health System, please visit their website.

With six weeks remaining in the semester, I hope to communicate several more times before everyone finishes the term. I personally want to stay connected with you, and I feel it is important for you to receive regular updates about important student topics and how the University is responding to the coronavirus crisis.

I wish the best to each of you and your families.

 

Sincerely,

Allen W. Groves
University Dean of Students

Student Affairs Services Available Remotely

Student Health & Wellness
Medical Services: 434-924-5362 during business hours (M-F, 8:00-4:30)
    For urgent care after hours: 434-297-4261
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): 434-243-5150 available 24/7
Student Disability Access Center (SDAC): SDAC@virginia.edu
Office of Health Promotion (Wahoo Well, Nutrition, Recovery): 434-924-1509

General Needs and on-Grounds Housing
Office of the University Dean of Students: 434-924-7133 or odos@virginia.edu 
Office of the Vice President & Chief Student Affairs Officer: vpsa@virginia.edu
Housing & Residence Life: housing@virginia.edu

Urgent Student Needs
Dean-on-Call: 434-924-7133 during the day; 434-924-7166 after hours

March 30: Provost Address Governor’s Executive Order, Summer Session

To the University community,

I had planned to write to you today just about our summer programs, and information about that is below.  But I realize many of you may be wondering about Governor Northam’s Executive Order, which was released this afternoon.  So before I get to the summer programs, let me say a few words about the Governor’s Executive Order.   

The order requires all Virginia residents to remain at home, unless they are traveling to and from work or seeking essential services like medical care, food, or banking.  Institutions of higher education, like UVA, “shall cease all in-person classes and instruction, and cancel all gatherings of more than ten individuals.  For purposes of facilitating remote learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions, institutions of higher education may continue to operate, provided that social distancing requirements are maintained.”

This order is consistent with the decisions we have made over the last few weeks and will not change the way we are currently operating.  If more changes become necessary, we will let you know.

As far as this summer is concerned, in keeping with our decisions about this semester, we have decided to cancel all in-person summer programs through June 30th, 2020.  “Summer programs” include classes, conferences, camps, and other events that are scheduled to occur on Grounds through June 30th.  

This means that classes offered during Summer Session 1 and 2 will move online.  You can find more information about Summer Session at https://summer.virginia.edu/.  By June 1st, we will make a decision about in-person summer programs occurring after July 1st.

As always, please visit https://www.virginia.edu/coronavirus for the most up-to-date information on our response to COVID-19 and answers to frequently asked questions.  I hope that you and yours are safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

Liz Magill
Provost

March 23: Provost Clarifies the State of Research and Warns of Potential Shutdown

Dear UVA Faculty and those involved in the research enterprise:

Thank you for your patience as we work together to tackle this fast-moving and complex public health crisis. We understand this has been a difficult period, including for those engaged in the important task of research, whether they do their work in a lab or in an office or in the field. As you know, last week, the University announced extraordinary measures to “flatten the curve” even as we work to continue our missions of teaching, research, and clinical care. The following day, the University announced that these measures apply to the research enterprise.

This message follows up on this March 20 communication from our Vice President for Research, Ram Ramasubramanian. I write to: i) provide two reminders; ii) to clarify the University’s approach to the engagement of graduate students in research during this period; and iii) to emphasize that all engaged in the research enterprise should be preparing for the possibility of a shutdown of ongoing research and resorting only to the maintenance of key laboratory assets.

First, two reminders:

  • I want to reaffirm the University position on research: As announced last week, the research enterprise should be shifting to key functions only – and that task should be complete by tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24, close of business. Our research enterprise is highly heterogenous, so what constitutes a “key” task will vary across the institution, but the already-announced guiding principles are linked here. In addition, please consult your school and research dean for advice that is appropriate to the context of the research efforts in your school.
  • In keeping with the University-wide approach to “flattening the curve”: All employees, including those engaged in the research enterprise, who can work from home, must work from home and their supervisor (here, PI) must require that they do so. Like all managers, a PI can “designate” a category of employees who must report in person to perform key functions. In keeping with efforts to “flatten the curve,” this category must be as small as possible to perform those tasks and the PI must assure that the safest practices are followed.

Second, regarding the role of graduate students in the days ahead:

  • As a matter of principle, the University position is that graduate students are – first and foremost – students. We understand that in many research programs – conducted in a lab, from an office, or in the field – graduate students are essential to the research enterprise, and that work is part of graduate students’ own aspirations for their future.
  • Given their status as students, the rule is this: a faculty member is not permitted to “designate” a graduate student, which would mean that the graduate student must report in person to perform key tasks. This rule is subject to narrow exceptions (decided through a process described below) if the PI/Research Leader and graduate student jointly request an exception.
  • Exceptions: I will, after consulting with others (the relevant school dean, the VPR, and the EVPHA) determine whether an exception to this rule will be granted. Petitions to permit a graduate student to continue in-person work should be submitted by the PI and as the form indicates with the consent of the graduate student to the Provost’s Office by using this form.

Third, it is critical that all PIs/Research Leaders plan for a shutdown of ongoing research. We do not know if or when that might occur; as has happened in some other states, it is possible that the decision will be required by a government order over which we have little control. Given this, it is crucial that researchers have a plan to preserve the vital material that is essential for research (for example, animals, cells, continuously run instruments and machines, special materials, and reagents). This task of preservation and planning will assure that, if we must pause our ongoing research, we will be positioned to return to this important endeavor whenever the pause is over. Believe me, all of us wish we could predict if and when we might have to shut down ongoing research; but we do not yet know. I assure you that we will continue to keep the UVA research community up to date in the days ahead.

Thank you for your patience and generosity of spirit during this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Liz Magill, Provost

 

March 19: New Cases of COVID-19 Includes UVA Student

The following message was delivered to the University community on March 19:

Dear University community:

Earlier today the Virginia Department of Health confirmed three new cases of COVID-19 in the Charlottesville area.

One of those cases is a UVA student who lives off Grounds in Albemarle County. The student, who is believed to have contracted the virus during recent international travel, is in isolation and receiving care following protocols from the Virginia Department of Health. We wish this student a speedy recovery during this difficult time. 

The Virginia Department of Health is leading the effort, with the assistance of University officials, to identify people who were in contact with this individual, reaching out to those individuals and arranging for their self-isolation, if necessary.  

The health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority. We realize a case of COVID-19 within our student body creates a heightened sense of anxiety and concern. The University coronavirus page offers a number of resources to help community members stay healthy and to cope with the strain this period is placing on all of us.

As a reminder, as we work together to mitigate the spread of this disease, it is important that you continue to practice healthy habits:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.
  • Additional information is available from the CDC.

If you have questions, please respond to this email at covidinformation@virginia.edu or call 877-685-4836 (domestic) or 1-202-800-2408 (international).

We have posted notification of this recent case on the UVA Coronavirus website. As a result of the expected spread of the coronavirus and the development of additional testing capacity, there will likely be additional cases in the coming days. We will not be emailing about each of them, but our default will be to post notifications of new cases to the coronavirus website and to email about new cases sparingly.  

Thank you all for your continued support and compassion during this challenging time.

Christopher P. Holstege, M.D.
Department of Student Health & Wellness

Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer

 

March 18: Provost Outlines Undergraduate Grading Policy for Online Courses

Dear UVA faculty, students, and staff:

We are facing extraordinary challenges as a result of COVID-19. As the letter President Ryan and I shared yesterday made clear, this has required rapid and consequential decision making. In seeking to fulfill our academic mission, our guiding principles are clear: We will work to protect our University community and our neighbors, and we will do all we can to continue educating our students and pursuing our research. The effort to sustain our educational mission has required enormous effort and creativity by thousands of faculty and staff. As we launch tomorrow into our rapid transition from in-person to online instruction for the remainder of this semester, I am writing to provide direction on how we will handle grading for undergraduate students.

For this semester, for our undergraduate schools, credit/no credit (CR/NC) will be the default grading system for all classes where the work is not yet completed; students will also, however, have the option to receive a letter grade. Students must decide whether to receive a letter grade by the last day of spring semester classes, Tuesday, April 28th. We will be in touch about the process for making that choice as soon as possible.

Several other details are important:

  • Courses taken for CR/NC during Spring 2020 will count toward curricular, major, and graduation requirements. Such grades are not factored into a student’s GPA. Students who remain in the CR/NC option must complete the class with a grade of C or better to receive credit. 
  • This policy applies only to undergraduate level courses. The deans of the graduate and professional programs are considering how they will approach this question, and they will soon announce their decisions to their schools.
  • UVA will include a designation on students’ transcripts to indicate that the CR/NC option was created in the midst of an extraordinary crisis and as part of the University’s effort to manage the transition to online instruction.

These are not ordinary times. Every day, I am struck anew by the enormity of the challenges and the enormity of the effort being brought to bear to meet those challenges. As we resume the semester with online courses tomorrow, I want to thank all of you for your ingenuity, understanding, and patience. I remain confident in our collective ability to navigate this difficult time.

Best,
Liz Magill, Provost

 

March 18: Provost Outlines Guidance for Maintaining Research Continuity

Dear Colleagues,

I write to provide an update on our approach to research, as promised in yesterday's University message. In consultation with President Ryan, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Craig Kent, and Vice President for Research Ram Ramasubramanian, the following principles are guiding our efforts on research. Research, like education, is central to the University's mission. Similar to our extraordinary effort to move classes online, we are taking dramatic steps to respond to this public health crisis while continuing our research mission.

  1. In keeping with, and directly quoting, yesterday’s message: “All faculty and staff who can work remotely should be told to do so. We are mandating telecommuting for all faculty and staff except those who must report in person to carry out key functions for their units, schools, or UVA Health.” This directive applies to all University employees.
  2. Like managers across Grounds, Principal Investigators/Lead Researchers “have the authority to identify those who must report and those who can work remotely and should share direct guidance with their faculty and staff. We understand that some staff may need to consult with their managers to better understand how to conduct their work under the changed circumstances, and some may need to return to Grounds to collect items necessary to work remotely. We expect these plans to be fully implemented no later than the end of the day, Friday, March 20.”

We all remain grateful for your patience and partnership as we face these unprecedented times. In addition to the University’s coronavirus website, please visit the Vice President for Research website for specific resources and detailed guidance. Principal Investigators/Lead Researchers can find detailed research continuity guidelines here.

Liz Magill, Provost

 

March 17: COVID-19 Causes Sweeping Changes to University Operations

The following message was delivered to the University Community on March 17:

To the University community,

We write with some important updates across a range of issues. As you know, this is an unprecedented and very rapidly changing situation, and all of us are learning more every day. At this point, it seems imperative that we do our very best to slow the progression of this virus in order to “flatten the curve” of those infected and avoid overwhelming our health system, which would ultimately risk our patients, our community, and our Charlottesville neighbors. This requires taking some significant, additional steps at this point.

We realize and regret that these additional steps will cause more disappointment and call for more sacrifice, but we see no other way to do our part to help confront this public health crisis. We must also be mindful of the need of our students, their families, and our faculty and staff to plan, and we need to be mindful of protecting our faculty and staff, who make this place run. For all of those reasons, today we are announcing the following changes, including adjustments to classes, research, and events; guidance for employees; and modifications to services.

These changes will go into effect immediately wherever possible, though we recognize that some may take a bit of time to implement fully, as explained more below.

ADJUSTMENTS TO CLASSES, RESEARCH, AND EVENTS

Classes will remain online throughout the semester. It is exceedingly unlikely, based on all that we know at this point, that this virus will have abated by the end of April. In light of the need for faculty, staff, and students to make plans, we are making the decision now – rather than waiting until April 5 – to not hold any classes on Grounds this semester. For students who do not have the technology needed to complete their classes online, please visit our technology support fund page and read the instructions and guidelines completely. We are in active discussions about what changes we might make to our normal grading system this semester. We will be back in touch soon, once we have made a decision.

Final Exercises will not proceed as planned. In light of the evidence about the likely progression of the virus over the next couple of months, and when it will peak, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Final Exercises as currently planned. We did not make this decision lightly, as we know how disappointing it will be to graduating students and their families. That said, a team is already focused on developing creative alternatives to mark this important occasion, and we will communicate updates as we have them.

All events on Grounds are cancelled, no matter the size, until at least May 15. We had originally cancelled events over 100, but on Sunday the CDC suggested no groups larger than 50, and just recently the White House and the Governor of Virginia suggested gatherings of no more than 10 people. Rather than continue to chase the ever-shrinking size limitations, we want to be clear that all events should be cancelled this semester. These restrictions include events that are not University-sponsored, but are planned to occur on Grounds, including conferences, symposia, and social gatherings. This does not preclude small internal meetings, where social distancing should be the touchstone.

Research. Like our teaching mission, we are committed to continuing our research mission while making sure we take steps to keep members of our community safe. We will provide guidance on this by mid-day tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18.

GUIDANCE FOR EMPLOYEES

All faculty and staff who can work remotely should be told to do so. We are mandating telecommuting for all faculty and staff except those who must report in person to carry out key functions for their units, schools or UVA Health. The latter includes, among others, faculty who need to come to their classrooms or offices to teach online, and UVA Health faculty and staff who need to care for patients and support patient services. The traditional categories of “designated” and “non-designated” are helpful but not entirely relevant here, given that those categories envisioned short delays due to weather problems. School leaders, unit supervisors, and managers have the authority to identify those who must report and those who can work remotely and should share direct guidance with their faculty and staff. We understand that some staff may need to consult with their managers to better understand how to conduct their work under the changed circumstances, and some may need to return to Grounds to collect items necessary to work remotely. We expect these plans to be fully implemented no later than the end of the day, Friday, March 20.

Employee Compensation and Benefits. We are committed to our employees. We are determined to ensure that the modifications to our operations caused by the coronavirus will not impact our existing commitments to compensate and continue existing benefits for UVA employees, whether part time or full time. We will, therefore, honor all existing commitments for the foreseeable future. The length of this crisis is difficult to predict at this point, as are the economic ramifications. There may come a point where we need to reassess in light of the length of time of the crisis or significantly changes circumstances, but our hope and plan is to weather this crisis together.

To be clear, those who must report for work will have to do so. Those who can work remotely will have to do so. Those who fall into neither category may be asked to perform other functions for their units or schools or to take on tasks elsewhere at the University. Whether or not these employees are able to be re-deployed, we will honor existing employment commitments for the foreseeable future.

Contract Employees. We have relationships with a wide range of contractors across the University, which present a variety of situations. We are in active conversations with these contractors and hope to be able to provide an update fairly soon.

Student Employees. This change in operations will have an impact on our student employees as well. Students  who are teaching assistants or working on research will continue to be paid if they continue their work. Student employees who are able to complete their duties remotely can do so with the approval of their supervisor. Students should submit timesheets and be paid at their normal hourly wage. Student in the Federal Work Study program (FWS) will continue to be paid an average of their current wages bi-weekly through the end of the semester. Students on FWS who will continue to work remotely should submit time sheets and be paid at their normal hourly wage.

For the safety of students and the others with whom they may come into contact, non FWS student employees who cannot work remotely will not be eligible to continue working while the University’s operating schedule is modified due to COVID-19. We understand that this will cause some students financial hardship, and we will do whatever we can to help. If you are in need of financial support, please connect with your supervisor, who has received a list of emergency financial resources available to displaced student employees.

MODIFICATIONS TO SERVICES; CREDITS OR REFUNDS FOR HOUSING AND DINING

On-Grounds Housing Will Be Further Restricted.  As our resources and on-site staffing levels diminish due to social distancing directives, and due to increasing emphasis on the importance of social distancing, we will only be able to provide on-Grounds Housing for a very limited number of residents. Only students who have no other option will be permitted to remain on-Grounds.  As a reminder, students who are returning solely to collect some of their belongings still have until Wednesday, March 18 at noon to do so.  If you are not able to collect your belongings before then, please do not return to Grounds until you hear from us with guidance, which will be coming soon.  We will provide details about when and how students will be able to gather all of their belongings.

Any students who stayed in on-Grounds Housing following our initial request to return home must make plans to leave by Friday, March 20 unless they meet one of the following criteria: 1) international students who are unable to secure travel to return home; 2) persons for whom their on-Grounds residence is their only home (including graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and staff for whom their on-Grounds residence is their permanent address); or 3) students for whom traveling home would present a severe health or safety risk.  Housing & Residence Life will contact students who completed the original survey to remain on Grounds, and work with them to transition back home.  As before, students currently receiving financial aid with questions related to financial resources for departing Grounds should contact UVA Student Financial Services at sfs@virginia.edu or 434.982.6000. 

We are urging undergraduate and graduate students who live off-Grounds to follow these guidelines as well

Dining

Dining options will be very limited.  Effective immediately, Observatory Hill Dining Hall will serve as the only major dining facility in service, apart from those necessary to support UVA Health.  Those using O-Hill can obtain their meals there but will not be able to eat inside the facility.  Please visit the University’s Dining website for hours of operation and real-time updates.  Wherever possible, we encourage students who have kitchens in their place of residence to prepare their own meals.

Credits or Refunds for Housing and Dining

We will provide pro-rated credits to student accounts for on-Grounds Housing and UVA dining contracts.  We will send additional information on the mechanics of this process in a later communication, but students will have the ability to either request a refund or allow the credit to remain on their student account to apply to future bills.  As long as students remain enrolled through the end of the spring semester, financial aid will not be impacted.

We are making a number of modifications to various services.  Dining services, as described above, will be limited to take out/grab and go only.  All libraries will be closed, except to faculty and staff who need to use them for teaching online classes or clinical care.  Student activity spaces, like those in Newcomb Hall, 1515, and the Student Activities Building, will be closed.  All gyms and fitness facilities on Grounds will be closed.  University venues such as the museums, the McCormick Observatory, and the Rotunda will be closed to the public.  Bus service will be reduced.  More details will be forthcoming with respect to all of these topics and will be posted on the University’s coronavirus website.

This message covers sweeping changes that would usually be made only after months of consideration and discussion.  In the face of this rapidly evolving public health crisis, however, we have been called to make the best decisions we can in a limited amount of time in order to look out for the health and safety of our community, both at the University and in the surrounding Charlottesville region.  Implementing these changes will no doubt be difficult, and we know further questions will arise, but we remain as confident as ever in our community’s ability to navigate this unprecedented set of challenges together.  In the meantime, our profound thanks to everyone in this community for your dedication, creativity, and compassion.

 

Sincerely,

Jim Ryan
President

 

Liz Magill
Provost

 

March 17: UVA Outlines Child Care Options for Employees

Dear UVA Health Community:

To address the extensive caregiving needs created by the K-12 school closure, the University has expanded our caregiving support network. These services are either subsidized or fully reimbursed. For details and directions on how to register, visit the HR Caregiving Website.

1. Bright Horizons Back-up Care

Care is provided either at a licensed care facility or in-home by care providers who have been screened, trained and background-checked. It is strongly recommended you sign up to be eligible in advance of needing care.

2. Bright Horizons Crisis Care Assist

UVA team members enrolled in the Bright Horizons Back-up Care program (above) also have the option to source their own child and/or elder care and receive reimbursement through the Crisis Care Assist program.

3. Sittercity

UVA now has a new partnership with Sittercity.com to match team members who are unable to source their own care with professional caregivers.

Call for Caregivers!

Due to high demand of caregivers needed for child/elder care, we are asking anyone who is available to provide care to please register as a caregiver in this time of need. For more details and to register, please see the HR Caregiving Website.

We understand the tremendous impact school closure is having on you and your families, therefore, we continue to explore more services to help deal with this burden.

Kelley Stuck
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

Josh Christian
Senior Director HR - UVA Health

 

March 17: Update on University’s Telecommuting Policy

Dear colleagues,

Yesterday Governor Northam announced that all K-12 schools in Virginia will be closed for a minimum of two weeks, beginning on Monday, March 16th. At this point, some of you are probably trying to figure out how to support your family and your career while schools are closed, which is one of the reasons I’d like to share a brief reminder of our telecommuting policy.

To begin, while most students are gone and online instruction will begin on Thursday, UVA remains open and operating – meaning faculty and staff should plan to report to work as usual. That said, our telecommuting policy is designed to give employees the flexibility to work remotely when necessary and possible.

If you need to work remotely, please talk to your manager. I realize it may be difficult to take care of your families and work remotely at the same time, which is why I encourage flexibility and creativity from both employees and managers. I would also ask that managers please give your employees the option to work remotely – provided you are still able to keep your units open for business. As a reminder, any employee who is ill should go home immediately and seek appropriate medical attention.

As we announced yesterday, two weeks of additional paid leave (Public Health Emergency Leave) is available to employees who have been directed to self-quarantine by a qualified health care provider, have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, or have an immediate family member diagnosed with the disease. This leave, however, cannot be used for child care.

Employees who must stay home to care for children while schools are closed and can’t work remotely should use University Time Off (University Staff) or the equivalent for classified staff. We offer benefits to assist with care for benefits-eligible employees who need temporary care and are looking into options for providing additional care options.

We will notify you if we need to make any changes to our telecommuting policy and will post any new information in the Working Remotely section of the University’s Coronavirus website.

Thank you again for everything you are doing for UVA – every day, and especially over the last few weeks. We could not do any of this without you, and I am profoundly grateful. Lastly, updates on the coronavirus generally and our response to it will be posted regularly on our coronavirus website.

Best,

Kelley Stuck
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

 

March 16: Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in University Community

The following message was delivered to the University Community on March 16:

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

As you know from the notification received earlier today, the University has confirmed a case of COVID-19 within our community. The individual who is ill, a staff member at the UVA Women’s Center who lives off Grounds, is receiving care and in quarantine at home following protocols from the Virginia Department of Health. We wish her a speedy and full recovery.

The Virginia Department of Health is leading the effort to identify individuals who were in contact with the staff member, reaching out to those individuals, and arranging for their isolation. University staff are also working to support potentially impacted students, faculty and staff. In addition, the UVA Women’s Center is being vacated and deep-cleaned with products that kill the coronavirus in accordance with CDC guidelines.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. If you exhibit these symptoms, please contact your health care provider and follow their instructions before leaving your home and potentially putting others at risk:

  • Students: Contact Student Health 434-982-3915, or 434-297-4261 after hours.
  • Faculty and Staff: Contact your primary care physician via telephone or email.
  • If you do not have a primary care physician you may call the Virginia Department of Heath hotline at 877-ASK-VDH3 (877-275-8343).

As we work together as a community to mitigate the spread of this disease, it is important that you continue to practice healthy habits:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.
  • Additional information is available from the CDC.

Thank you for all you are doing during this challenging time to safeguard your own health and that of others. If you have additional questions about the University’s efforts regarding COVID-19, please contact the UVA COVID-19 Response Line at 1-877-685-4836 (domestic), +1-202-800-2408 (international), or covidinformation@virginia.edu. You can also consult the University’s Novel Coronavirus website.

Given the progression of the virus, it is not a surprise to discover a local case, but we know it will heighten anxiety. We will be in further touch to announce any additional changes we are making as the situation unfolds, and we will continue to update the website. Now, more than ever, is the time to treat each other with kindness and compassion. We are beyond grateful to everyone who has been working so hard on behalf of our community.

Sincerely,

James E. Ryan
President
University of Virginia

Craig Kent
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs
University of Virginia

 

March 14: Academic Division Provided Details on UVA Telecommuting Policy

The following message was delivered to UVA’s Academic Division staff on March 14:

Dear colleagues,

Yesterday Governor Northam announced that all K-12 schools in Virginia will be closed for a minimum of two weeks, beginning on Monday, March 16th. At this point, some of you are probably trying to figure out how to support your family and your career while schools are closed, which is one of the reasons I’d like to share a brief reminder of our telecommuting policy.

To begin, while most students are gone and online instruction will begin on Thursday, UVA remains open and operating—meaning faculty and staff should plan to report to work as usual. That said, our telecommuting policy is designed to give employees the flexibility to work remotely when necessary and possible.

If you need to work remotely, please talk to your manager. I realize it may be difficult to take care of your families and work remotely at the same time, which is why I encourage flexibility and creativity from both employees and managers. I would also ask that managers please give your employees the option to work remotely—provided you are still able to keep your units open for business. As a reminder, any employee who is ill should go home immediately and seek appropriate medical attention.

As we announced yesterday, two weeks of additional paid leave (Public Health Emergency Leave) is available to employees who have been directed to self-quarantine by a qualified health care provider, have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, or have an immediate family member diagnosed with the disease. This leave, however, cannot be used for childcare. 

Employees who must stay home to care for children while schools are closed and can’t work remotely should use University Time Off (University Staff) or the equivalent for classified staff. We offer benefits to assist with care for benefits-eligible employees who need temporary care and are looking into options for providing additional care options.

We will notify you if we need to make any changes to our telecommuting policy and will post any new information in the Working Remotely section of the University’s Coronavirus website.

Thank you again for everything you are doing for UVA—every day, and especially over the last few weeks. We could not do any of this without you, and I am profoundly grateful. Lastly, updates on the coronavirus generally and our response to it will be posted regularly on our coronavirus website.

Best,

Kelley Stuck
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer  

 

March 13: Students Urged to Return Home; UVA Can Assist With Moving Out

The following message was distributed to University of Virginia students March 13 by Dean of Students Allen Groves:

Dear Students:

Much has occurred in the past week since your Spring Break began. I realize you have been receiving a great many messages from the University this week, so I am going to highlight my most important points up front. First, if you can return to your home, we need you to do so as soon as possible. Second, if you are away from Grounds and only need a few essential belongings, we can help.

Now, the details:

If you live on Grounds: With your permission, we can arrange for a staff person to go to your room, retrieve essential items you need, and ship them to you. You also are welcome to have a friend do this. To make arrangements for either, please contact housing@virginia.edu.

If you live off Grounds: We have enlisted the help of primary landlords in the area. If you need items from your home or apartment, please call your landlord for help with this or other critical matters. We also hope those of you residing in fraternity and sorority houses will return home. We have been in contact with alumni house corporation officers to seek their (and your) cooperation. If you have friends still in town, please consider asking for their help in collecting your belongings before they leave.

Remember, too, some leases require that you let your landlord know, in writing, if you will be gone for a week or more. Please check your lease and make sure you follow these and other instructions. If you don't have a copy of your lease, ask your landlord to email it to you.

It is very important that you return home and be ready to start virtual classes on Thursday, March 19. We know some of you will need to stay due to unavoidable circumstances, but otherwise, you should be returning home right away. If you need to return to collect your belongings from your apartment or residence hall, please make every effort to make your trip as brief as possible. We are facing a global pandemic previously unseen by any of us. You are risking not only your own health if you continue to gather in groups and circulate in the area, but also – of critical importance – you are risking the health of others in our community who are likely to be more affected by this disease.

International students and those living a great distance from Grounds: If we resume in-person classes before the end of the semester, we will make sure any student who has gone home and cannot return to Grounds is able to complete the term.

Student Workers: Students who are part of the Federal Work Study program will continue to be paid even if they are not able to work. This flexibility applies to students who started classes this spring and earned FWS wages prior to the University moving to virtual instruction. It will remain in effect as long as virtual instruction remains in place. The employment of other student workers is under discussion by University leadership, but nothing has been determined at this point.

Financial concerns: The University is committed to assisting students in need during this unprecedented time. If you are currently receiving financial aid and have questions about resources for leaving Grounds and returning home, please contact UVA Student Financial Services through a special website for Emergency Travel Assistance.

Online resources: We recognize what an abrupt and challenging transition it will be to shift to virtual classes. Faculty and staff across the University are working hard to make the shift as smooth as possible, and you will have support from the University. You will be able to link to resources through the coronavirus website.

Thank you for all the steps you are taking to help us respond to this health crisis. This is an unprecedented situation in our lifetimes, and I respectfully ask each of you to do the responsible thing as citizens in a larger community. Your willingness to comply with what is being asked of you will help the broader community – including many at-risk individuals – minimize the impact of this crisis as much as possible. Unlike some crises we witness from afar, this is one where we can each take action that has a tangible result. Individual actions will make a huge difference in how we face and eventually spring back from this difficult challenge. In this case, a selfless decision on your part may save a life.

Sincerely,

Allen W. Groves
University Dean of Students

 

March 13: Message Urges Parents to Help Ensure Students Return Home

The following message was delivered on March 13 to UVA parents and guardians of students:

Dear Parents and Guardians:

I am writing to you as someone who cares deeply about your students' safety, health, and well-being. We are facing a public health crisis worldwide, nationwide, and here in Virginia.

On behalf of the University and larger Charlottesville community, I am appealing to you if your student has told you they want to remain here: We need your help ensuring your student returns home and is ready to begin virtual classes on Thursday, March 19. We recognize a small number of students cannot leave due to unavoidable circumstances, and we will continue to support those students, but we need all other students to return home for the foreseeable future.

We are especially concerned right now about students living off Grounds. Last night, a number of students were celebrating on the Corner, and a rumor is circulating about more gatherings this evening. We need your assistance in helping them understand the dangers posed by COVID-19. While they may not become sick or may suffer only mild symptoms, they could potentially infect residents in the local community who could contract the disease and become acutely ill.

We made the very difficult decision to move our classes to virtual instruction not only based on the health and welfare of our students, but also because we want to ensure that the UVA Health System, a Level 1 trauma center, is not stretched too thin in the coming weeks and months. We believe the fewer students in Charlottesville right now, the better for our health system and, thus, for the health and welfare of everyone in the region.

Mitigating this crisis must be a community-wide effort, and we have enlisted the help of the area's primary landlords, asking them to reiterate these concerns to their student-tenants. Yesterday, we engaged alumni who manage Greek housing, asking their help as well. If your student lives off Grounds and needs individual help with matters like retrieving their most important belongings, they should contact their landlord directly. If your student encounters difficulty after contacting their landlord, please have them email the Office of the Dean of Students at odos@virginia.edu for assistance.

Likewise, if your student lives on Grounds and they need a few essential things from their room, they can have a friend pick up the items or arrange for a staff member to enter their room to get the items and ship them. For help with this – only if your student lives in on-Grounds housing – please email housing@virginia.edu.

Your student will be hearing more from the University soon about the transition to virtual classes. We know this will be an abrupt and challenging transition, but faculty and staff across the University are working hard to make the shift as smooth as possible, and your student will have support from the University. In addition, Allen Groves, University Dean of Students, will be communicating soon with your student to further clarify a variety of questions that have arisen.

Thank you to each of you for your help and support. I know there are many whose student is already at home or planning to be at home soon. We are grateful for your partnership and quick action.

In my 40 years at the University, I have faced many crises, yet none like this. Most of our students have no memory of September 11. This, however, is a global pandemic previously unseen by any of us. We must help them understand how vital it is to unite around this crisis. The COVID-19 health crisis is forcing each of us to make sacrifices and changes none of us wants to make. In the end, however, it is not about us. It’s about our responsibility to our fellow human beings. Thank you for all you and your student are doing during this difficult time.

Finally, please continue to check our coronavirus website, which is being updated continually with new information. If you have questions, please call our Response Lines at 877-685-4836: domestic; 1-202-800-2408: international; or email covidinformation@virginia.edu.

Sincerely,

Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer

 

March 12: More details about COVID-19 changes

Dear members of the UVA Community:

I write to provide a few updates following President Ryan’s email from yesterday about the steps the University is taking in response to the COVID-19 threat.  If you have not yet done so, I encourage you to read his message closely. 

To review, President Ryan announced a series of actions yesterday—gearing up to deliver classes on-line as of March 19th, strongly encouraging students to return home if they can, and prohibiting certain events on Grounds.  These actions are all guided by the the desire (1) to protect the health of our students, faculty, staff, and Charlottesville neighbors; (2) to help slow the spread of the virus in Virginia and the nation; (3) to ensure the continuity of our teaching, research, and clinical care.  We can advance all of those goals by reducing the number of people who are living and meeting on Grounds.

Today we are providing additional updates and announcing several additional changes, some of which are relevant to the entire community, and some of which are specific to faculty and staff.

First, the more general updates:

We will be making a decision about Final Exercises by April 15th.

  • We know this is top of mind for many of you, especially graduating students, and we are working as fast as we can to give you some clarity – understanding that we don’t yet know what the situation will look like in May.

Events at John Paul Jones Arena are postponed at least through the weekend.

  • Please visit www.johnpauljonesarena.com for the latest on each event.  Ticket holders will be notified through Ticketmaster. 
  • We will continue to work with performers and others involved in events scheduled to take place at John Paul Jones arena to evaluate additional upcoming events. 

The ACC has suspended the Spring Athletics season.

  • Earlier today, the ACC announced that they have suspended all athletic related activities.  This means that all Spring sports at UVA are canceled. 
  • Fans who have already purchased tickets may contact the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office by phone at 800-542-8821 or by email at uvatickets@virginia.edu.

We are looking into offseting dining and housing costs for students.

  • We have set up a Financial Resource Working Group that is looking into, among other things, offsetting dining and housing costs for students.  More details will follow soon.
  • We also have a Student Life and Leadership fund, which is a rainy day fund distributed by the Student Affairs Office for students with unexpected expenses. 

Students who are part of the Federal Work Study program will continue to be paid even if they are not able to work.

  • This flexibility applies to students who started classes for the Spring 2020 term and earned FWS wages prior to the University moving to virtual instruction.  It will remain in effect as long as virtual instruction remains in place.

If we resume in-person classes before the end of the semester, we will make sure any student who has gone home and cannot return to Grounds is able to complete the term.

Early this morning, the University suspended all of its current study-abroad programs, and encouraged all UVA students to return to the United States by this weekend.  The International Studies Office contacted participants in these programs individually.

***

Below are more specific updates for faculty, staff, and graduate students working on Grounds.

Let me start by acknowledging how difficult this situation is for all members of our University community and express the leadership’s deep gratitude for your hard work and your dedication to UVA’s missions.

The University is open and operating.

  • Given normal operations, faculty and staff should continue to report to work as usual (you can find more detail on our human resources policies below).
  • We will begin scaling back some services, like dining and bus service, but will still meet the needs of employees and the limited number of students who will be remaining on Grounds.  Any changes in these services will be posted on the Operations Status Board, and details will be available on departmental websites.
  • Libraries will remain open from 8am to 5pm daily, with the possible exception of weekends.  Some locations that depend heavily on student workers may close.
  • We are monitoring this rapidly evolving situation closely.  A cross-university team, including medical professionals, meets daily.  If any modification to the University’s operating schedule becomes necessary, we will let you know immediately.

Human Resources: All faculty and staff should continue reporting to work, but employees will be eligible for a new leave benefit.

  • Faculty and staff should plan to report to work as usual.  However, when possible, we do encourage managers to consider options for staff and faculty to work from home.  You can find answers to questions about working remotely here.  
  • If you have an underlying health condition that necessitates working from home, please talk to your manager, department chair, or dean.  They, in turn, are encouraged to be flexible if an employee has a compromised health situation or is caring for someone who does.
  • As of today, all employees, including wage and temporary employees, are eligible for up to two weeks of leave if they have been impacted by the virus.  This includes employees in both the Academic Division and Medical Center.
  • This leave is available to employees who have been directed to self-quarantine by a qualified health care provider, have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, or have an immediate family member who diagnosed with the disease.  More details on this new policy can be found here or you can contact the or contact the HR Solution Center at AskHR@virginia.edu or 434-243-3344.

Teaching continuity: We are working to support faculty as classes move online.

  • We have an all-hands-on-deck approach to bringing our teaching on line.  Below are updates on some of the key developments from the cross-university team that is working on this.
  • We sent out a survey to faculty and instructors yesterday to determine the support needed to move classes online and we have a plan in place to provide support – either centrally or through schools.  If you received the survey and have not responded, please respond immediately.  The responses to the survey will be critical to understanding the needs and responding to them.
  • You can find general information on teaching continuity here.  More specific answers about academic instruction related to yesterday’s announcement can be found here.
  • We are working to identify and support any students who might have connectivity or other assistance needs in accessing online instruction.  As a reminder, while online classes will begin on March 19th, there will be no in-person classes between now and March 19th.  That is, we are taking a pause in classes.  Given that this is only 3 days (similar to snow days in the past), we are confident that we will complete the term with the teaching days available.

Research continuity: We have plans in place to ensure research can continue.

  • Faculty, staff, and postdocs engaged in research are permitted to continue that research. Principle Investigators can designate some of their laboratory staff and postdocs as essential to the continuity of their research.
  • Graduate students whose research takes place in the University’s labs will continue to have access to those facilities in consultation with their faculty advisors.  Graduate students with appointments as research assistants should be in touch with their faculty advisors to learn about any changes to the activities of their research group.
  • We do not know how disruptive this virus will be and encourage anyone conducting research to begin planning for what to do if that research gets disrupted.  We have created a research continuity website with information on how services might be affected and recommendations for how to plan. 
  • All PIs with an active open research grant have been reached individually.  There will be additional guidance for social and behavioral sciences, as well as for patient care-based clinical trials, shortly.

We are suspending all international and non-essential domestic University travel, effective immediately and continuing at least through April 15th.   

International Travel for University business

  • Effective immediately, we are prohibiting all University-related international travel by faculty and staff.  If you require an exception, please submit a request to the Provost’s office at COVIDTravel@virginia.edu.  Requests will require an endorsement of the employee’s dean, vice president, vice provost, or manager.

Domestic Travel for University business

  • Effective immediately, we are suspending all non-essential domestic travel.  Essential travel is defined as supporting activities that are absolutely necessary, cannot be rescheduled, and must be done in person.  If a supervisor, associate dean, or dean deems the travel essential, it will be reimbursed.  If not, it will not be reimbursed.

Return from international travel

  • If you do travel internationally, it is important to note that return may be difficult.  As a result of the U.S. Presidential Proclamation on March 11th, University faculty and staff who have been in Europe’s Schengen area (26 European countries that allow free and unrestricted travel between them) in the previous 14 days before re-entry to the United States will face enhanced screening procedures for returning to the U.S.  Please consult the Center for Disease Control for details. 
  • University faculty and staff who are not American citizens or legal permanent residents of the United States who have been in the Schengen area in the previous 14 days may not travel to the United States, even with currently valid nonimmigrant visas, for the 30 day period beginning at midnight, March 13th.  We are currently exploring whether the U.S. government may change this policy, and will share more information as we get it.

Return from personal travel

Reimbursement

  • If you must cancel travel, seek waivers and refunds directly from the airlines and hotels first.  If airlines and hotels are not issuing waivers or refunds, employees can submit expense reimbursement requests through ExpenseUVA after the date of travel.
  • For more information, please see the “Travel and Expense” website and the more specific “Travel and COVID” site.  If you have a question that isn’t covered on either of these sites, contact the travel team at travel@virginia.edu or 434-924-4121

Event restrictions remain in place for the foreseeable future.

  • To re-emphasize, President Ryan’s message yesterday announced two policies about University-sponsored events: 1)  we have suspended all university-sponsored events that involve more than 100 people and; 2) for events that involve fewer than 100 people, we strongly recommend alternatives to having an in-person event and, if that is not possible, taking all necessary precautions to mitigate the risk of infection. We also ask that those hosting events that involve visitors traveling to Grounds, of whatever size, consider alternatives or cancelling those events, depending on the risks involved. 
  • Deans, vice presidents, vice provosts, or unit heads (or their designees) will apply these rules.  Any leader with questions about a specific event should direct those questions to the Office of Major Events at uvaome@virginia.edu.

***

I want to thank all of you again for your patience and understanding.  We will continue to share as much information as possible as soon as we can, and we will do our best to answer any questions that may come up.  Please continue to visit the University’s Novel Coronavirus website, which is updated regularly and provides answers to many frequently asked questions.   

Sincerely,

Liz Magill, Provost

University of Virginia

March 11: University Moves All Courses Online, Urges Students to Return Home

To the University community,

I write to share an update on our response to the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, and our plans for the remainder of the Spring semester.

To begin with the basic and important news:

  • We will be moving our classes online. We will not be holding classes on Grounds for the foreseeable future, quite possibly through the end of the semester. We will reassess after April 5th at the earliest and periodically after that date.
  • Online classes will begin Thursday, March 19.
  • Students who are away on Spring Break are strongly encouraged to return home or to remain home if they are already there.
  • Students on Grounds and in Charlottesville are strongly encouraged to return home by this weekend.
  • University events with more than 100 people are prohibited for the foreseeable future and should be postponed, cancelled, or offered virtually.

These are obviously significant steps that will cause disruption and disappointment, which we all regret. We nonetheless feel compelled to take these steps in light of the most recent evidence. The virus continues to spread nationally and in Virginia. We still do not yet have a confirmed case of COVID-19 on Grounds or in the greater Charlottesville community, so our risk remains relatively low. Given that fact, the easiest and least disruptive option would have been to bring all students back to Grounds as planned and hope to make it through the rest of the semester without a confirmed case. We also considered bringing students back and moving only large classes online.

After talking more with medical experts, however, and as the evidence of the spread here and abroad mounts, we believe that these approaches would not be sufficient and would create too much risk, especially for our health system and the medical center, which is a Level 1 trauma center and may be stretched to the limits in the coming weeks and months. Experts have also told us that the best time to take steps to prevent that spread is now, before the first case arrives.

Our approach here is guided by three goals: (1) to protect the health of our students, faculty, staff, and Charlottesville neighbors; (2) to help slow the spread of the virus in Virginia and the nation; (3) to ensure the continuity of our teaching, research, and clinical care. All of those goals are advanced by reducing the number of people who are living and meeting on Grounds. We cannot eliminate all risks, of course, but we believe at this time these steps will help mitigate the risks we face.

To be clear, the University – including university buildings and UVA Health – will remain open, and we will bring students back to Grounds as soon as we can do so safely. While we hope to do so before the end of the semester, we may not be able to and are working on a number of contingency plans, including plans for graduation.

A few notes for specific groups:

Students

  • If you are currently away on Spring Break, we strongly encourage you to stay home or return to your home. Those who need to return briefly to collect crucial belongings, such as computers or books, will be permitted to do so, and details about how to do so will be forthcoming.
  • If you are currently in Charlottesville, we strongly encourage you to return home.
  • This strong request applies to all students regardless of where you are living whether on Grounds or off.
  • We recognize that some students cannot go home, for a variety of reasons, ranging from the fact that their hometowns or countries are not safe to the fact that their only homes are in Charlottesville. We will continue to provide housing for students living on Grounds who genuinely cannot return home, and we will continue to provide dining services, though they will be modified. We will also offer assistance to students on financial aid who need help in returning to their homes.
  • With the help and creativity of faculty and staff, we will make sure you are able to meet your academic requirements remotely, and we will pay special attention to graduating students. You will be hearing from deans and professors over the next week with details about your classes, including any clinical, experiential, performance-based, or studio learning that may require alternative arrangements.

Faculty

  • All faculty will be hearing from their deans soon with more details about moving classes online.
  • We are standing up a team to provide the necessary training and technology to move courses online.
  • While some research will be put on hold, we have plans in place to allow core research operations to continue. Those of you who are conducting research will be hearing from our Provost, Liz Magill, and our Vice President for Research, Ram Ramasubramanian, with more details soon.

Staff

  • For the time being, staff should continue reporting to work as usual and take the recommended steps to prevent illness. A full list can be found here.
  • Staff with questions or concerns about their workplaces and the possibility of telecommuting should speak with their supervisors. We ask that staff who are feeling sick to please remain at home.

Events

  • Effective immediately and until further notice, we are suspending all university-sponsored events that involve more than 100 people.
  • For events that involve fewer than 100 people, we strongly recommend alternatives to having an in-person event and, if that is not possible, taking all necessary precautions to mitigate the risk of infection. We also ask that those hosting events that involve visitors traveling to Grounds, of whatever size, consider alternatives or cancelling those events, depending on the risks involved.
  • At this time, these restrictions do not apply to athletic events or events at JPJ, both of which remain under discussion and consideration.

We realize you will likely have questions, both about this decision and about COVID-19 in general. Starting today, you can go to this website for more information, and we have set up a call center (Domestic: 877-685-4836; International: +1 202-800-2408) with staff trained to answer the most common questions. We will also be sending out more detailed communications about various elements of this plan, which we will also post on the website. As this is an evolving situation, we will also provide updates if there are significant changes to the plan outlined in this email.

I would like to thank the teams from across the University who have been working incredibly hard over the last few weeks, and who will keep working hard to make this transition as smooth as possible. I am deeply grateful that UVA is home to so many expert, capable people who are dedicated to the well-being of our community and to our critical missions of teaching, research, and clinical care.

I would also like to thank all of you for your patience and understanding. Put simply, UVA has never encountered something quite like this. There is no roadmap for trying to put most of the University curriculum online in a week. But I have enormous faith in this community in your resilience, your willingness to do your part to keep others safe, and your ability to make the most of a very difficult situation.

I have special faith in our students, for whom the health risks are generally low and for whom the disappointments are high, but who I know will recognize that now is the time to think first of the well-being of others.

We are in this together, though I recognize that the impact will be uneven. As the father of a graduating senior at another university who has been asked to return home, I know this decision will hit our fourth-year students especially hard. It will also create economic challenges and hardships for some in the Charlottesville community whose livelihoods depend on our students. We will make it through this together by supporting each other, thinking creatively, and staying connected even if physically separated. I cannot pretend, obviously, that this is how I hoped this semester would unfold. No one can. But I eagerly await the ingenuity, compassion, and kindness that this common challenge will surely unlock within our community. If there were ever a time to be both great and good, this is surely it.

Best,

Jim
---

James E. Ryan
President
University of Virginia

March 8: Coronavirus Updates on University Preparedness, Travel, and Operations

The following message was delivered to the University community on March 8.

Dear members of the University community:

Like all of you, I am concerned about the presence of the novel coronavirus in the United States and abroad and its potential effect on students, families, employees, and community members.  I write today to share the latest information we have and some decisions we have made to look out for the wellbeing of our University community and the greater Charlottesville region.

There has not been a case of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, on Grounds or in the greater Charlottesville community, but the Virginia Department of Health has confirmed two cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, both in Northern Virginia.  Our immediate risk remains low.  The situation, however, is rapidly evolving, much remains unknown about the threats posed by COVID-19, and we take very seriously the responsibility to make prudent choices for the wellbeing of our community.  A cross-university team continues to meet regularly to share information in real-time, consider changes in approach that will best protect our community, and set plans in motion for a wide variety of contingencies.  I am in contact with them daily, and Provost Magill and I will continue to regularly update the community, through messages and on our website, about what we know and our plans.

Consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States Department of State, and the Virginia Department of Health, we have decided to enact the following restrictions and guidelines on University-related travel in order to help to mitigate our community’s risk of exposure to the virus:

International Travel

  • University-related travel to countries where the CDC has enacted level 3, or the State Department has enacted levels 3 or 4 is prohibited.CDC travel guidance related to COVID-19 is available here.
  • Faculty and staff who have exceptional reasons to travel to those countries may submit a petition to the Provost’s office via an email to COVIDtravel@virginia.edu.
  • International travel to restricted areas without an approved petition will not be reimbursed.
  • If you travel or have recently traveled to one of these countries, we expect you to follow CDC guidance about self-isolation: stay home for a period of 14 days upon your return and seek medical attention if you experience fever, coughs, or difficulty breathing.

Domestic Travel

At this point, we are not prohibiting university-related domestic travel, but we strongly discourage all University travel (both domestic and international) for non-essential purposes, particularly that by air, to large gatherings, and to areas experiencing high numbers of COVID-19 cases, as documented by the CDC.  If you must travel, please take all possible precautions before traveling, including staying up to date on the latest spread of the virus and considering difficulties you may encounter in returning home, especially when traveling internationally.

These guidelines will be effective immediately and will be in place until at least April 15.  Before April 15, we will re-assess and determine whether these policies will continue.

While these guidelines apply to University-related travel, we ask members of the community to apply similar judgment in considering personal travel commitments, both internationally and domestically.

Spring Break and Beyond

Many of our students are currently away on Spring Break, so the pace of events on Grounds has slowed for the week ahead.  Unless local conditions change, University sponsored events, programs, tours, and operations will continue as planned during Spring Break.  We will continue to monitor this issue carefully, relying on guidance from internal experts at UVA Health, the Virginia Department of Health, and the CDC. 

We will write again by the middle of the week with additional updates regarding University programming during the weeks following Spring Break.  At this point in time, we plan for students to return to Grounds and to resume classes, but we will be making some modifications to mitigate against the risk of exposure to and transmission of the virus, which we will explain in more detail by mid-week.

This is a challenging time for our community, the nation, and the world as we respond to COVID-19 and the uncertainty surrounding it.  We will do our best to stay on top of this quickly evolving situation, and to communicate with you regularly and fully as conditions change.  I am grateful to all of you for your understanding and flexibility, and for your commitment to the wellbeing of our community.  This is a time for our community to come together, and acting together, I remain confident in our ability to navigate this difficult and uncertain period.  

For more information, please consult our website, which we are continually updating. 

Sincerely,

Jim Ryan

President

March 3: Important Updates Related to Spring Break and Student, Faculty and Staff Travel

The following message to the University community was delivered March 3.

Dear members of the UVA community:

Since our last University-wide communication on February 28, the number of national coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continues to rise. While we are not aware of any cases in Virginia, the safety of the UVA and Charlottesville communities is our primary concern.  I write to share with you the proactive steps we are taking.  Note that this guidance is subject to change as the situation is rapidly evolving. You can find updates and resources on the University’s website

Spring Break Study Abroad

  • The University has canceled all outbound study abroad programs scheduled over spring break.  We notified affected faculty program directors and students today.  Schools will work directly with students to arrange for completion of coursework through alternative means.
  • Our decision on spring break trips was guided by the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) March 1st recommendation that Universities should reconsider study abroad travel. It is in everyone’s best interest that students avoid unnecessary travel through crowded transportation hubs for short visits to uncertain environments before they return to Grounds.  We feel this is the best decision to protect our students and our local community where students will return after their travel.
  • We are in close, regular communication with those students who are currently abroad on exchange and other programs, regarding how to monitor and assess their current situations based on conditions in the country they are visiting.

Travel Guidance

  • The CDC maintains a Travel Information website related to COVID-19, and specifically recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to countries at Warning Level 3.  Note that these ratings can change rapidly.
  • We urge faculty, staff, and students who have personal or professional plans to travel either internationally or to affected areas in the U.S. to reconsider their travel.  In doing so, we ask each of you to take into account the possibility of travel delays, future quarantines, or prolonged self-isolation when returning from travel to the UVA and Charlottesville communities.
  • If you have travel insurance, you should closely review your plan to assure it does not exclude pandemics in the case of need for medical evacuation.
  • We strongly encourage faculty and staff to share any travel plans with your department chair, dean, or manager in order to facilitate University assistance if the need arises.
  • We strongly urge student organizations (CIOs) to share any travel plans with the Office of the Dean of Students.

The decisions we are making rely heavily on the guidance we are receiving from the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health and are intended to protect the health and welfare of our faculty, staff, students, and local community. We recognize the uncertainty this global health issue is creating and are committed to keep you informed and up to date as this situation evolves. You may find updates and current information on the University’s website and FAQ.

Sincerely,

Liz Magill, Provost

University of Virginia

Feb. 28: Message of Solidarity from Provost Magill

The following message to Chinese faculty, students, staff and scholars was delivered Feb. 28.

Dear colleagues:

Today I’m writing to you – our esteemed faculty, staff, and scholars from China – to express the University’s concern and support for you as the coronavirus continues to spread in China and beyond. We understand how worried you must be about your family and friends who are contending with the virus and its effects. As an expression of our support, we made this video, and we have shared it widely with members of our UVA family who are in China.

UVA officials are carefully monitoring the spread of the virus and listening closely to advice and directives coming from the CDC, the Virginia Department of Health, and the federal government. We are offering online resources via the coronavirus website and through the coronavirus FAQs, which we are updating frequently. If you have questions or concerns that are not addressed in these materials, please call our faculty and staff coronavirus phone line at 434-297-4027.

We have heard that some of you feel an obligation to offer support to students from China who are here at UVA. We are grateful for your willingness to comfort and advise our students in this way; at the same time, we realize that this responsibility may feel overwhelming. In addition to using the resources above, students can reach counselors at CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) at 434-243-5150, 24 hours a day. The International Studies Office (ISO) is also available to assist students who are studying here from abroad, and we have support resources available for faculty and staff through the Faculty & Employee Assistance Program

As we continue to contend with the coronavirus, please know that we are thinking of you and your families, friends, and colleagues, and we are committed to providing the support you need during this difficult time.

Warmly,

Liz Magill, Provost

University of Virginia

 

Feb. 26: Update on Coronavirus for UVA Students

The following message to University students was delivered Feb. 26:

Important Reminders: Spring Break Health and Safety

To: All Students

From: Allen W. Groves, University Dean of Students

odos@virginia.edu

Dear Students:

Since many of you soon will be leaving Charlottesville for Spring Break, I am writing with several important reminders about health and safety.

If you follow the news, you already know the global coronavirus outbreak is a major concern for anyone considering international travel at this time. The virus has spread to areas of the world beyond China with an accelerating and unpredictable trajectory. This threat will likely grow. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced this week that the virus is expected to impact the United States in a more severe way than it has to date.

Traveling abroad – whether for study or leisure – carries a number of potential risks. Even a country not currently experiencing an outbreak could suddenly be declared a high-risk area, resulting in heightened exposure to the virus, difficulty with departure, immigration barriers in returning to the U.S., and even possible restrictions on returning to Grounds. The University strongly recommends not traveling to locations with CDC or State Department Level 3 alerts or higher. While we have not cancelled any current or existing study abroad programs, the University will cancel any such programs, even if already under way, at any location for which the CDC sets a warning level 3, or the State Department sets a warning level 3 or 4.

The seasonal flu also is present in many areas. Basic measures remain the best defense against coronavirus, flu, and other communicable diseases:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water.
  • Avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

TRAVEL PREPARATION

  • The CDC maintains a travel information website for coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • CDC Warning Level 3 is in effect for China and South Korea (as of Feb. 24).
  • CDC Alert Level 2 is in effect for Iran, Italy, and Japan (as of Feb. 23).
  • Be familiar with all aspects of the area you are visiting. The State Department’s website, studentsabroad.state.gov, offers planning tips, including links to local laws.
  • Enroll in the State Department’s STEP program and sign up for alerts for your destination(s).

The CDC has recognized stigmatization may occur around coronavirus, and in response, has developed a webpage offering guidance on countering the stigma. Please help us prevent stigmatization by becoming familiar with the facts about COVID-19.

The University continues to monitor conditions around coronavirus and maintains a website with FAQs.

PARTICIPATING IN NON-UVA-AFFILIATED PROGRAMS

  • If you are traveling as part of a CIO-sponsored program, remember the University does not oversee these programs. No UVA office maintains a record of CIO Spring Break programs or travel.
  • Be sure to let family members know how best to reach you, and share an additional point of contact if available.

OTHER HEALTH AND SAFETY TIPS

Using Taxis or Rideshare

  • If you are a rideshare user, review the safety tips provided by Uber and Lyft. Requesting and waiting for your ride inside, and having the driver confirm your name (“Who are you here to pick up?”) can help increase your safety.
  • Be familiar with legitimate taxi companies in the area(s) where you are traveling. Look for a phone number on the vehicle, and look for a taxi meter and radio, which may indicate legitimacy.

Preparing to Leave Charlottesville

  • Before leaving town, securely lock the doors and windows of your apartment, house, or room. Draw curtains or shades so valuables will not be visible. If feasible, take valuables, such as small electronics or jewelry, with you.
  • Leave an external (porch, deck, etc.) light on for security.
  • Lock your car and remove any valuables.
  • If you live in University housing, follow additional instructions from Housing & Residence Life.
  • Be conscious of what you post on social media regarding your absence from Charlottesville.

Staying in Charlottesville

  • Hours for most University services, such as UTS, Safe Ride, and Dining, will be altered during Spring Break. Please check the website for details.
  • Remain vigilant about your own safety and that of your friends and neighbors who may also be staying in the area. With fewer people on the Grounds and in nearby areas, remain aware of your surroundings, avoid walking alone at night, and don’t hesitate to call 911 if you encounter a suspicious person or situation.
  • Most University offices will be closed for Spring Break Day on Friday, March 13.

In a community as large as ours, with widely varying plans for Spring Break, it is not possible to predict all the risks you may encounter. My best advice is to take health and safety seriously, be prepared for changing conditions, and anticipate potential problems that may arise.

Despite the current uncertainties we all are facing, I hope you enjoy a safe, healthy, and rejuvenating break.

Sincerely,

Allen W. Groves

University Dean of Students

Feb. 26: Update on Coronavirus for UVA Parents

The following message to parents and guardians of University students was delivered Feb. 26:

Dear Parents and Guardians:

As Spring Break draws near, I am writing about several important topics.

The spread of coronavirus continues to be of great concern. Since January, a UVA team has been meeting regularly to prepare for potential impacts on the University. We continue to ask students to practice healthy habits such as washing their hands and not sharing drinks or eating utensils. These steps remain the best defense against coronavirus, flu, and other communicable diseases.

Given the increased spread of coronavirus in countries such as South Korea, Italy, and Japan in the past week, University Dean of Students Allen Groves sent a message to all students yesterday evening. I draw your attention to this important guidance for any students who may be thinking of traveling abroad:

The University strongly recommends not traveling to locations with CDC or State Department Level 3 alerts or higher. While we have not cancelled any current or existing study abroad programs, the University will cancel any such programs, even if already under way, at any location for which the CDC sets a warning level 3, or the State Department sets a warning level 3 or 4.

Dean Groves’ message also includes a list of safety tips you may want to reinforce with your student. Spring Break can be a prime time for crimes of opportunity, such as apartment break-ins. Please remind your student to lock their doors and windows, and perhaps take smaller valuables with them. If they are staying in Charlottesville for Spring Break, they should be aware of safety issues posed by fewer people on the Grounds and in surrounding neighborhoods, especially at night. Many services will be reduced that week, and the University will be closed on Friday, March 13, for Spring Break Day. A summary of hours and services is available on the Spring Break website.

Another important reminder is that many Spring Break programs in which students participate are sponsored by organizations independent of the University. If your student is part of a trip organized by a student group or club, such as Alternative Spring Break, the University does not have access to any itineraries or rosters for the trip. Please make sure you know how to get in touch with your student, and encourage them to give you a second point of contact.

The University will continue to actively monitor the progression of the coronavirus around the globe and take steps to keep the community safe on our Grounds and internationally. For more details, please see the FAQ website, which is regularly updated. In addition, we will communicate directly with you and your student as conditions warrant.

If a member of my staff or I can be of assistance to you or your student, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Sincerely,

Patricia M. Lampkin

Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer

Feb. 27: Update on Coronavirus for UVA Staff

The following message to University staff was delivered Feb. 27:

Dear Colleagues:

As the news regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus) changes daily, I write with important updates from the University on how we are preparing for any potential disruptions to our normal operations. A pan-University team coordinated by the Office of Emergency Management continues to meet regularly to share information and plan for the possibility of the virus directly affecting the UVA community, either here or abroad. This is particularly important as many of our students have spring break travel plans to destinations around the world. Similarly, many faculty and staff have travel planned at this time of year. If you are planning to travel soon, be aware that there is significant uncertainty surrounding the spread of the virus.

Our primary concern is the health and safety of our community. We will follow advice and directives from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the U.S. Department of State. In addition to planning for potential operational impact this semester, we are planning for any contingencies that might affect summer programs. We remain committed to keeping the UVA community informed as circumstances evolve and will continue to update the COVID-19 website and FAQs, as well as answer questions at 434-297-4027.

Student Travel and Study Abroad

  • Dean of Students Allen Groves sent a message to students last night with information about the risks of upcoming travel, including the potential difficulty of returning to Grounds, resources available to students who need assistance while abroad, and general safety reminders.
  • The International Studies Office (ISO) has information about where UVA students are studying abroad and is coordinating with schools and partners supporting these programs. Under University policy, we will cancel any study abroad programs, even those in progress, at any location for which the CDC sets a warning level 3, or the State Department sets a warning level 3 or 4.

Faculty and Staff Travel

  • The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to countries at warning level 3. Currently this affects only China and South Korea, but conditions can change rapidly. Visit the CDC website for up-to-date information for travelers.
  • You should consider carefully any travel to countries with reported COVID-19 outbreaks and the possibility for delays and quarantines when returning to the United States.
  • Share any travel plans with your supervisor, in order to facilitate the University assisting you if the need should arise.
  • Employees are eligible for Travel Assistance Insurance, but there are certain exclusions regarding epidemics and pandemics. Travelers who arrange travel through Christopherson Travel, the University’s travel vendor (available through the TravelUVA app, behind Netbadge), automatically receive information on the insurance during the reservation process. If you do not arrange travel through Christopherson, you are still eligible for this insurance; please go to TravelUVA (Travel Resources) for more information.

Please help us prevent stigmatization by becoming familiar with the facts about COVID-19 and supporting community members with compassion and kindness. Visit the CDC website for information on countering social stigmatization associated with COVID-19.

Thank you for your support and patience as we continue to navigate this evolving situation.

Very truly yours,

Jennifer (J.J.) Wagner Davis

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Feb. 27: Update on Coronavirus for UVA Faculty

The following message to University faculty was delivered Feb. 27:

Dear UVA Faculty Colleagues,

As spring break approaches and the news regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus) changes daily, I write with important updates about how we are preparing for potential disruptions to our normal operations here and abroad.

Many UVA students have spring break travel plans to destinations around the world, while others are due to return to Grounds from programs abroad. Similarly, many faculty members have travel planned at this time of year, some of it associated with University programs and research.

If you are planning to travel in the near future, it is important to be aware that there is significant uncertainty surrounding the spread of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains a website for Travel Information related to COVID-19, and is recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to countries at Warning Level 3. That currently includes only China and South Korea, but these ratings can change rapidly. We advise you to consider carefully any travel to countries with reported COVID-19 outbreaks and take into account the possibility of delays and quarantines when returning to the United States. While the University has no mechanism for monitoring faculty travel, even for University-related business, we strongly encourage you to share any travel plans with your department chair in order to facilitate University assistance if the need arises.

Faculty members are eligible for Travel Assistance Insurance, but there are certain exclusions regarding epidemics and pandemics. Travelers who arrange travel through Christopherson Travel, the University’s travel vendor (available through the TravelUVA app, behind Netbadge), automatically receive information on the insurance during the reservation process. If you do not arrange travel through Christopherson, you are still eligible for this insurance; please go to TravelUVA (Travel Resources) for more information.

Each year, just prior to spring break, Dean of Students Allen Groves writes to students to remind them of important safety considerations. His message to them yesterday included information about the risks of upcoming travel, including the potential difficulty of returning to Grounds, and resources available to students who need assistance while abroad. In addition, the International Studies Office (ISO) has comprehensive information about UVA students who are studying abroad. ISO is coordinating with the schools and partners supporting these programs in order to respond quickly and appropriately as conditions evolve. Under University policy, we will cancel any study abroad programs, even those in progress, at any location for which the CDC sets a warning level 3, or the State Department sets a warning level 3 or 4. (This approach is outlined in the University’s comprehensive policy on Student International Travel – PROV-010.) All faculty leading UVA-sponsored programs have taken pre-travel training and are prepared for this possibility.

Finally, we are aware that stigmatization may occur around coronavirus. The CDC has developed a webpage offering guidance on countering this stigma. Please help us prevent stigmatization by becoming familiar the facts about COVID-19, and supporting community members with compassion and kindness.

The University is committed to keeping our community informed about critical decisions and also the best ways to stay healthy. We continue to update the COVID-19 website and FAQs, as well as answer related questions at 434-297-4027. For any academic policy-related inquiries, please contact the Provost’s office at provost@virginia.edu.

Our foremost concern is the health and safety of our faculty, students, staff, and our Charlottesville community. Rest assured that a University team is closely monitoring the situation and following advice and directives from the CDC, the Virginia Department of Health, and the U.S. Department of State. To that end, we have already begun planning for any contingencies that might affect summer programs. We will share these plans as needed in the coming days. Thank you for your support and patience.

Sincerely,

Liz Magill

Provost, University of Virginia


Feb. 6: University Community Update on Coronavirus

The following message to the University Community regarding the coronavirus was updated on Feb. 6:

Dear UVA Students, Faculty, and Staff:

This email provides an update on the University’s ongoing efforts regarding coronavirus. It contains new information that is primarily important to those who have traveled from Hubei province or mainland China since Jan. 19, 2020.

The guidance below outlines requirements that have been issued by the federal government and guidance from the University of Virginia. In addition, this email also provides advice for faculty and students in the event that classroom adjustments or accommodations are necessary.

As you are no doubt aware, the federal government has announced important new policies related to coronavirus. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued temporary measures that are intended to aid efforts to detect and combat the coronavirus. These measures went into effect Sunday, Feb. 2, at 5 p.m. and include:

  • Any U.S. citizen returning to the U.S. who has been in Hubei province in the previous 14 days will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine to ensure they are provided proper medical care and health screening and to minimize the risk of spreading the disease to others.
  • Any U.S. citizen returning to the U.S. who has been in the rest of mainland China within the previous 14 days will undergo proactive entry health screening at a select number of ports of entry and up to 14 days of monitored self-quarantine to ensure they have not contracted the virus and do not pose a public health risk.
  • Foreign nationals, other than immediate family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, who have traveled to China within the last 14 days will be denied entry into the U.S. for this time.

In addition to making you aware of these federal policies, we are making the following requests of faculty, students, and staff:

If you have traveled in Hubei province, China, between Jan. 19 and Feb. 2 and returned to the U.S.:

  • STUDENTS: Contact Student Health at 434-924-5362 (434-297-4261 after hours).
  • FACULTY AND STAFF: Contact your primary care physician via telephone or email.
  • We request that you self-isolate for a period of 14 days since your return from China. During this period, we ask that you not go to work, classes or athletic events, and that you limit contact with others as much as possible.

If you have traveled in mainland China between Jan. 19 and Feb. 2 and returned to the U.S., or had close contact with someone you believe to have coronavirus:

  • We ask that you take your temperature twice a day and remain alert for fever, coughs, or difficulty breathing.

If you develop these symptoms:

  • STUDENTS should contact Student Health right away: 434-924-5362 (434-297-4261 after hours).
  • FACULTY AND STAFF should contact their primary care physician via telephone or email.
  • We ask that you self-isolate pending further instructions from medical professionals. If employees have questions about leave, they can contact the HR Solution Center at 434-243-3344 or askhr@virginia.edu.

If you are a student who self-isolates:

  • Contact your instructors via email or telephone to discuss appropriate class adjustments or accommodations.

If you are an instructor with a student who self-isolates and who asks for class adjustments:

  • We ask that you consider appropriate adjustment or accommodation.

Examples include:

  • Allowing students to Zoom into class lectures or use lecture-capture technology to record lectures.
  • Granting some flexibility with course attendance policies.
  • Helping secure a copy of course notes.
  • Modifying deadlines for assignments or exams that normally take place during the course meeting time.

Faculty members who have questions about how to make appropriate adjustments/accommodations may find assistance with the Student Disability Access Center by emailing SDAC@virginia.edu.

We recognize that many of you are receiving questions from students or have questions of your own related to the coronavirus. If so, here are some resources that will provide additional information:

For personal and general health questions:

  • STUDENTS: Email Student Health & Wellness at studenthealth@virginia.edu
  • FACULTY AND STAFF:
    • Contact your medical provider for personal health questions
    • General questions: Call 434-297-4027
    • Academic policy-related inquiries: Contact the Office of the Provost (provost@virginia.edu)

A team of University officials continues to closely monitor this evolving global public health situation. We remain committed to keeping our community informed about the University’s actions and the best way to stay healthy as events develop. Thank you to everyone who is working together to keep the University community safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

M. Elizabeth (Liz) Magill
Executive Vice President and Provost

Jennifer (J.J.) Wagner Davis
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Christopher P. Holstege, M.D.
Department of Student Health & Wellness
434-924-5362 (M-F, 8-5)
434-297-4261 (After hours)
 

Feb. 3: Update on Coronavirus for UVA Parents

The following message to parents and guardians regarding the coronavirus was delivered on Feb. 3:

Dear Parents and Guardians:

In the past 10 days, the University has sent messages to your students about coronavirus, a new virus that originated in Wuhan City, China, in December 2019. I am writing today to let you know how the University is responding to this evolving situation. While the risk remains low at UVA, a team of UVA health officials and administrators is meeting daily to ensure we are taking appropriate precautions and preparing protocols in case the virus affects our community. Like most universities, we are globally networked, and our community travels broadly.

A central website has been established where the most up-to-date information, including FAQs, is being posted 24/7. If you have questions, please refer to this website and encourage your student to do the same. Our instructions align with all guidance being issued by the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While this is an evolving situation, unless your student has traveled in or from China in the past 14 days or has come in contact with someone infected with the virus, there is little cause for concern. Symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

We have reminded everyone in the community to practice simple steps that should be part of one’s daily routine. Your student may benefit from your own gentle reminders to:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water.
  • Avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

If you or your student has questions, please continue to check the UVA coronavirus and FAQ websites. The University will continue to update these resources as new information becomes available, and we will continue to communicate with the community by email if conditions change.

Sincerely,

Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer
 

Jan. 31: University Community Update on Coronavirus

The following message to the University Community regarding the coronavirus was updated on Jan. 31:

Dear UVA Students, Faculty and Staff:

A few days ago we wrote to make sure you were aware of the global concern about a new coronavirus that originated in Wuhan City, China and to inform you about the steps the University is taking to keep the community safe. We write to provide additional information and to let you know that additional information will be posted on the University’s website at as this situation develops.

As of January 29, 2020, the the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report five confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, with another 92 pending verification by testing. While person-to-person spread among close contacts has been detected with this virus, at this time this virus is NOT currently spreading in the community in the United States.

At this point, the risk coronavirus poses to the University remains low, but this is an evolving situation. Officials from Student Health, UVA Health, Student Affairs, Emergency Management, International Studies and other key offices across Grounds are actively monitoring the situation and preparing to respond as needed. 

At this time, the University has no faculty-led or UVA-administered education abroad programs planned for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester in China. On Jan. 27, UVA students in China for University-related purposes were advised to depart after the CDC upgraded its coronavirus warning to level 3, its highest warning, to counsel avoiding travel to all of China until further notice. Students whose spring term of study in China had not yet begun are receiving assistance with revising their plan of study for spring 2020. We recommend following CDC guidance and have provided additional information below for students planning to travel abroad.

As stated in our previous communication, if you are a student who has recently been to Wuhan or who has possibly come in contact with an infected individual AND you exhibit fever, shortness of breath, or a cough, please contact the Department of Student Health & Wellness at 434-924-5362 (call 434-297-4261 after hours).

Similarly, if you are a faculty or staff member with these symptoms and you have traveled to Wuhan or may have come in contact with an infected individual, you should seek medical assistance through your primary care physician.

If you are planning travel abroad, remember to:

The best preventative steps for any communicable disease include simple but important measures to practice as part of your daily routine:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water.
  • Avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

Health officials and administrators throughout the University will continue to work closely with partners at the Virginia Department of Health to prepare for, screen, and prevent the spread of illness. As this situation continues to develop, we will provide updates and information to help you stay healthy. Please check the dedicated page on the University’s website should you have any questions.

Find more information and additional FAQs here on coronavirus and how to stay safe.

For additional questions about the University’s preparations and response, please email uvaem@virginia.edu.

For students with personal health-related questions, please email: studenthealth@virginia.edu.

Sincerely,

M. Elizabeth (Liz) Magill
Executive Vice President and Provost

Jennifer (J.J.) Wagner Davis
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Christopher P. Holstege, M.D.
Department of Student Health & Wellness
434-924-5362 (M-F, 8-5)
434-297-4261 (After hours)

Jan. 24: Message to University Community Regarding Coronavirus

The following message regarding the emergence of the coronavirus was issued to the University community on Jan. 24:

Dear UVA Students, Faculty and Staff:

In recent days, you have likely heard intensifying reports about a new coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China. This new disease has sickened hundreds and led to the deaths of 26, according to the latest official reports. The threat to the UVA community currently is considered low, but outbreaks of new viruses in humans are always a public health concern.

UVA Health, the Department of Student Health & Wellness, and other UVA offices such as the International Studies Office are monitoring this evolving situation. We are writing today to provide a general update as well as specific instructions if you plan to visit China or recently traveled to Wuhan. Since information regarding this disease is changing quickly, we advise you to check the CDC website for the most up-to-date details and guidance.

As of today, the CDC recommends deferring travel only to Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The U.S. Department of State has issued a “do not travel” advisory for all of Hubei Province. Other parts of China carry the CDC’s lowest level of alert and a recommendation to “practice usual precautions.” Chinese visitors coming to the U.S. from Wuhan are now being screened at several U.S. airports, but this process does not currently apply to visitors from other parts of China.

If you are a student who has recently been to Wuhan or who has possibly come in contact with an infected individual AND you exhibit any of the following symptoms, please contact the Department of Student Health & Wellness at 434-924-5362 (call 434-297-4261 after hours):

  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough

Similarly, if you are a faculty or staff member with these symptoms and you have traveled to Wuhan or may have come in contact with an infected individual, you should seek medical assistance through your primary care physician.

If you are planning travel abroad, remember to:

  • Visit the Student Health Travel Clinic, UVA Health’s Traveler’s Clinic or your primary care physician in advance for current travel health and vaccination recommendations.
  • For students, register all University-related travel through the International Studies Office.
  • Enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, to receive current embassy alerts and messages for your destinations.

The best preventative steps for any communicable disease include simple but important measures to practice as part of your daily routine, but especially during flu season:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water.
  • Avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

Health officials and administrators throughout the University will continue to work closely with partners at the Virginia Department of Health to prepare for, screen, and prevent the spread of illness and keep our community safe. If the situation warrants, we will follow up with additional communication.

Sincerely,
Liz, J.J., and Chris

M. Elizabeth (Liz) Magill
Executive Vice President and Provost

Jennifer (J.J.) Wagner Davis
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Christopher P. Holstege, M.D.
Department of Student Health & Wellness
434-924-5362 (M-F, 8-5)
434-297-4261 (After hours)

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