Effective Monday, wearing masks will be optional in University of Virginia classrooms. Provost Ian Baucom and Chief Operating Officer J.J. Davis announced that adjustment and others related to UVA’s ongoing response to the pandemic Friday in an email to the University community.
The recent downward trend of infections and positivity rates played a key factor in the decision to make the change. Baucom and Davis noted that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recently lowered the risk of virus spread to “low” in the Charlottesville and Albemarle County areas.
“As conditions have grown safer, we believe this is an important step to offer students and faculty the best possible classroom experience for the remainder of this academic year,” the email said. “As we navigate the shift to most settings being mask-optional, we are encouraging everyone to treat each other with respect and common courtesy. Depending on the situation, this may mean being willing to put on a mask when asked, communicating masking preferences in advance, or offering to meet virtually if appropriate. UVA community members are encouraged to carry a mask in case they are asked to wear one.”
The University leaders added that faculty members who have extenuating health circumstances should consult their associate deans. Masks will still be required for passengers on University Transit Service, per federal regulations.
Friday’s message followed last week’s announcement of adjustments to the University’s pandemic approach.
The announcement also detailed a change in masking requirements for UVA Health facilities. Beginning Monday, masks will be optional in non-clinical settings within UVA Health. Masks will still be required in all UVA Health facilities where patient care is provided. UVA Health will email team members directly with more information about this change. Guidelines for patients and visitors to UVA Health will be updated in the coming days at UVAHealth.com.
Precautions for 2022 Final Exercises
Baucom and Davis also provided additional guidance for Finals Weekend 2022, to be held May 20-22. Masks are not expected to be required for indoor or outdoor celebrations. While not required, those attending Finals are strongly encouraged to be current on COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters before traveling to Charlottesville. Find more information at the Finals Weekend site.
“We are confident that these changes will permit this community to finish the academic year on a high note and to celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2022 safely,” Baucom and Davis wrote. “As always, we are constantly monitoring local, national and global viral conditions and will make changes to our policies if they are necessary to keep people safe.”