In messages to students and parents Tuesday afternoon, University of Virginia Dean of Students Allen Groves announced that the University was raising its limit on outdoor gatherings from 10 to 25 individuals.
Indoor gatherings continue to be restricted to six individuals, and public health measures, including wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing, must be observed indoors and outdoors.
The change to outdoor gatherings, which was approved by University public health officials as viral prevalence rates are now at a low point, will take effect immediately. As Groves pointed out in his email, it will allow more students to gather for outdoor activities such as intramural sports or outdoor rehearsals and performances.
“This means you will be able to spend more time outdoors participating in club sports, IM-Rec events, outdoor theater and music rehearsals, and performances. Soccer teams, for example, will be able to scrimmage in teams of 11. Music and theater groups can rehearse and perform in groups up to 25,” he wrote.
Students who wish to request use of outdoor University spaces for groups larger than 25 can request an exception. Such requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and students must provide detailed plans for observance of all public health measures.
Though he expressed hope that the new gathering limit would allow students to enjoy more outdoor time with friends as the weather improves, Groves also cautioned against complacency.
“It’s important to remember the pandemic is still not behind us. Concerning variants continue to emerge, including in the Charlottesville area,” he wrote. “Although the number of vaccinated individuals continues to rise, the majority of local citizens and UVA students are still waiting to be vaccinated. For these reasons, it remains very important to continue wearing a mask, maintaining a six-foot physical distance, and limiting indoor gatherings to six people.
“We must continue to encourage and support one another in the days ahead. Each of us must be personally responsible for following basic public health measures and asking those around us to do so, too. Our fourth-years, graduate and professional students – as well as some third-years – who are set to graduate in two months are counting on us to be responsible in the weeks ahead and allow the opportunity for some in-person graduation events in May. To do this, we must avoid a new spike in COVID cases, so please commit to do your part.”