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Public Health Measures

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Every student, faculty, and staff member who will be on Grounds this Fall will have to meet certain health and safety requirements designed to keep members of the UVA and broader community safe. While parts of our plan are evolving, they include the basics we all know well by now: social distancing, the wearing of face coverings, encouragement of frequent hand washing, and enhanced cleaning of the environment. We are also modifying our facilities to operationalize these essential elements that help prevent the spread of the virus. We have made and will make every single decision about our plans in close consultation with physicians and public health professionals. More information can be found in the sections below.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

We are taking a variety of precautions, developing new policies and procedures, and working with local vendors to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to protect those on Grounds as we reopen the University for in-person education. Requirements for wearing face coverings on Grounds are detailed in University Policy SEC-045: COVID-19 Health & Safety Requirement - Face Coverings. We will provide two cloth face coverings for each employee in the Academic division. For students, we will provide two cloth face coverings, two 2-ounce containers of hand sanitizer and a touch-tool, which are meant to assist in tasks such as opening doors and punching keypads, hands free. If preferred, employees and students may wear their own face coverings that meet policy standards.

In addition, we will place 2,600 free-standing hand sanitizer stands that will go in high-traffic common areas, such as Newcomb Hall and the John Paul Jones Arena, plus additional 1,000 one-gallon containers to go in those spaces that don’t receive the free-standing units. The University has also purchased a supply of sanitizing wipes for use on surfaces such as desks and chairs and disposable face coverings that can be offered to students, faculty, staff, and others who might arrive without one.

Social Distancing

All returning to Grounds are required to wear face coverings and observe strict social distancing. This means maintaining a minimum of six-feet separation, judged from head to head, for any contact longer than 10 minutes, unless closer proximity is allowed by physical barriers. Separation is recommended even for more brief interactions. This rule applies in classrooms, labs, dining halls, lounges, and other communal spaces. Ten-feet separation is required during exercise. It is not negated by the wearing of face coverings, which are required in any event except for while dining or while exercising with 10-feet separation between people. Please note that this guidance is subject to change as public health conditions evolve.

Meetings and Spaces

Limited occupancy with rotational schedules will be used to maintain social distancing in public spaces. Dining, for example, is planning to reduce seating capacity by 50 percent, provide markings for social distancing, maintain counts at entrances and exits to control occupancy, and add outside locations for food pick-up. Physical barriers will be provided in library study-spaces, at public-service locations (such as dining hall cashiers, help desks, and customer-service points of access). The University is currently assessing all institutional spaces to determine new capacities and will release further guidelines in the coming weeks.

Testing and Contact Tracing

We are creating, in concert with the Virginia Department of Health, a comprehensive COVID-19 testing plan that will include students, faculty, staff, and members of the community. We have settled on some of our plans (outlined below), and we continue to evaluate others. In the latter category, we are still evaluating the options for testing our students for COVID-19, including whether we will test all students upon arrival. We will make an announcement on that in the coming weeks. Below, however, are the elements of testing strategy that are settled:

  • Students, faculty, and staff will be asked to complete a daily health check through an electronic tool, indicating that they are symptom-free before coming to Grounds.
  • We are and will continue to offer testing to anyone who exhibits symptoms.
  • In addition, we will make available voluntary testing for faculty, staff, contract employees, and students who are concerned and may not exhibit symptoms. These tests will be available through an online schedule.
  • In partnership with the Virginia Department of Health, UVA will help support voluntary testing of community members.
  • We are working closely with the Virginia Department of Health to effectively trace contacts of anyone who contracts the virus.
  • Once classes start, we will perform testing and other monitoring to asses the prevalence of viral infections; we will be monitoring Grounds closely and respond with increased testing to detect any asymptomatic or presymptomatic cases anywhere where our examinations suggest there might be a cluster of cases.
Quarantining and Isolation
We have plans to isolate students living on Grounds who test positive for the virus, and to quarantine students living on Grounds who have been exposed.
Cleaning Protocols

Keeping our Grounds clean and safe is our priority. Facilities Management has begun training staff and implementing new, enhanced cleaning protocols. High-touch objects (e.g., coffee pots, microwave, copy machine buttons) should be cleaned after each use. Since it is not possible for the housekeeping staff to clean each classroom between uses, faculty members and students are asked to wipe down podiums, surfaces, desks, chairs, and tabletops before and after use with disinfecting supplies stocked in the room.  In addition to these efforts, we ask that you follow CDC guidelines to disinfect personal living and office spaces. By working together, we can create a safer environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will the University’s COVID-19 testing policy be for students, faculty and staff?
We are creating, in concert with the Virginia Department of Health, a comprehensive COVID-19 testing plan that will include students, faculty, staff, and members of the community.  We have settled on some of our plans (outlined below), and we continue to evaluate others.  In the latter category, we are still evaluating the options for testing our students for COVID-19, including whether we will test all students upon arrival. We will make an announcement on that in the coming weeks.  Below, however, are the elements of testing strategy that are settled:
  • Students, faculty, and staff will be required to track their symptoms daily using an app.
  • We are and will continue to offer testing to anyone who exhibits symptoms.
  • In addition, we will make available voluntary testing for faculty, staff, contract employees, and students who are concerned and may not exhibit symptoms.  These tests will be available through an online schedule.
  • In partnership with the Virginia Department of Health, UVA will help support voluntary testing of community members.
  • We are working closely with the Virginia Department of Health to effectively trace contacts of anyone who contracts the virus.
  • Once classes start, we will perform testing and other monitoring to assess the prevalence of viral infections; we will be monitoring Grounds closely and respond with increased testing to detect any asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic cases anywhere our examinations suggest there might be a cluster of cases.
Will UVA require employees to wear face masks on Grounds?

Yes. See Policy SEC-045 which governs face coverings on Grounds that adhere to the Governor’s Executive Order 63. Face coverings must be worn by all faculty, staff, and students while inside a University facility or otherwise inside a building on University Grounds or on any University property when in the presence of others (e.g., common work spaces, meeting rooms, etc.). Face masks must also be worn on University transit buses.

Note that both federal and state law allow employers to direct employees to wear face coverings as necessary steps to protect public health.

Will the University provide face coverings?
Yes, see Policy SEC-045. The University will provide two cloth face coverings per faculty, staff, and student working or studying in a University facility or on University Grounds. A disposable mask will be provided by the University should the faculty, staff, or student forget to bring their own. Individuals are responsible for laundering the face covering as necessary (as outlined in Policy SEC-045). Disposable masks must only be worn for one day and then disposed of in the trash. Individuals may provide their own face covering for their personal use.
How will face covering rules under Policy SEC-045 be enforced?
Pursuant to the Policy, failure to comply with requirements of Policy SEC-045 may result in disciplinary action in accordance with relevant University policies.
Are there any exceptions to the face covering requirement?

Yes, UVA Policy SEC-045 contains a provision that outlines exemptions to the face covering policy:

  • A person eating and drinking at a food and beverage establishment on University Grounds.
  • A person seeking to communicate with a hearing-impaired person, for which the mouth needs to be visible.
  • Anyone with a health condition that keeps them from wearing a face covering.
  • Any person who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.
  • A person in need of medical or related services may temporarily remove the face covering.

Questions?

  • Domestic - 833-454-6902
  • International - +1 202 800-2408