Dear Parents and Guardians:
The University’s Critical Incident Management Team has been meeting daily to plan for potential impacts of the coronavirus on the University community. Below is President Jim Ryan’s statement from this evening. It was sent to all students, faculty, and staff.
We will continue to respond to questions and concerns from you and your student as quickly as we can, although you may experience some delays given the number of inquiries we are receiving. Please know we are listening to your concerns and placing a priority on the safety of everyone in the community.
Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief
Student Affairs Officer
From: Jim Ryan
To: University Community
Subject: Important Coronavirus Updates on University Preparedness, Travel, and Operations
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:
- 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.
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.