The heightened restrictions that the University of Virginia put in place two weeks ago to slow the spread of COVID-19 on Grounds will continue for another two weeks, until Oct. 21, Dean of Students Allen Groves announced Tuesday in an email to the student body.
University leaders made the decision after consulting with public health experts and physicians, who reported some progress over the two-week period since President Jim Ryan first announced the heightened restrictions on Sept. 22.
“We have seen some encouraging signs that case numbers within our community may be leveling off as a result of these efforts. However, the numbers are still a little high,” Groves wrote. “By closely adhering to these standards for another two weeks, we can validate the impact of our efforts from the past 14 days and do even more to reduce the prevalence of the virus within our community.”
The restrictions include:
- Limiting gatherings to five people or less.
- Wearing masks at all times, indoors or outdoors, unless eating, exercising outdoors or in accordance with guidelines at UVA’s gym facilities, or at home in your room.
- Avoiding contact with visitors and limiting unnecessary travel.
UVA’s full policy on face masks, physical distancing, gatherings and visitors is available here, along with a list of exceptions to that policy.
UVA will also expand its new saliva testing program over the coming weeks, providing rapid virus screening results to randomly selected students. The program, called Be SAFE, supplements other testing efforts to detect asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19 cases in the UVA community, including testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic students, faculty and staff, prevalence testing with nasal swabs and wastewater analysis in residence halls.
What Students Can Do
Groves devoted the latter half of his message to activities that students can do safely, to build friendships and connections during a very difficult time.
“It is critical to take time to connect with friends in small groups and to get outside and away from the computer screen,” he said.
A number of large tents are available for students to study, eat or socialize in small groups, and the University Programs Council has virtual and in-person events planned. First-year or transfer students can check out the Involvement Calculator tool, created to help students connect with student organizations that fit their interests, and a full list of student organizations is available on @UVA.
IM-Rec Sports has announced a slate of new outdoor programs to help students take advantage of beautiful fall weather, including climbing classes, hikes and kayaking trips, as well as movie nights at the Aquatics and Fitness Center pool, a “zombie run” on Halloween, a roommate obstacle course and more. You can see a full list of IM-Rec events and register for them here. Other resources, like The Wahoo Weekender email, published by UVA Peer Health Educators, or the Fall Programming Guide prepared by the Office of Student Affairs, help make students aware of upcoming events and find ways to get involved.
The Inter-Sorority and Inter-Fraternity Councils are making plans for their annual recruitment events, typically held at UVA after winter break. Right now, those events are expected to take place virtually, along with virtual recruitment events hosted by National Panhellenic and Multicultural Greek Council chapters. Updates will be provided on the Fraternity and Sorority Life webpage.