Dear Parents and Guardians of Returning Students:
I hope you and your loved ones are doing well. In an effort to keep you informed about plans for the fall semester, I am writing as a follow-up to the message you received yesterday from UVA President Jim Ryan and his leadership team. If you haven’t already done so, I invite you to visit the Return to Grounds student website, which will serve as a resource over the summer for changes and updates regarding the new academic year.
Earlier today, University Dean of Students Allen Groves sent the below message to all returning students. His message details several topics, including upcoming deadlines. An important deadline for undergraduate students who signed an agreement to live on Grounds is July 1. By then, the Housing & Residence Life staff will need these students to confirm whether they still plan to live on Grounds. It’s vital for the Housing team to receive this information by July 1 so they can begin to make residence hall and room assignments.
Decisions about the fall resulted from countless discussions with members of the University community, including many students, and with medical and health professionals, state officials, and a host of others. Teams involved in the decision-making looked at a range of data regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, including survey data from students who overwhelmingly indicated they would like to return to Grounds. We ultimately share their excitement about returning but also recognize everyone’s usual routines and patterns will have to change to accommodate a laser-like focus on safety and health.
Uncertainty continues to mark this pandemic and the course it may take in coming months. Of greatest importance is the personal responsibility each individual must assume not only for their own safety but also for that of others. Much will be asked of students in this regard, beginning with a requirement to sign an agreement and if they plan to live on Grounds, a Housing Addendum. I hope you will help them, and us, in preparing for a semester that will be very different from the norm. Student leaders already are working on ways to bring the community together around these challenges, and I have great faith in their ability to lead their peers in remarkable ways during this critical time.
I wish you and your student well as you prepare for the fall. Please do not hesitate to call on a member of my team or me if you need help. We are here to help your students be responsible members of a resilient, caring academic community.
Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer
Yesterday, you received a message from University leadership about plans for the fall semester. I am writing today with some additional information.
Before I share those details, I would like to speak generally about the fall. At this point we know the fall semester will be different from the norm. Like never before, safety will become a personal and collective responsibility of everyone in our entire community – students, faculty, staff, area residents, and visitors. The COVID-19 pandemic remains a very serious threat, and each of us will need to commit to take actions to safeguard ourselves and others. Personally "owning" this responsibility as the right thing to do for others who may be more vulnerable or at risk will require a high degree of selflessness, discipline, and community care, but these times are unlike any we've seen in our lifetimes. It will take a sustained commitment from each of you if we are to be successful in protecting one another, including our neighbors in the surrounding community and our employees working to keep the University open and operating. This is a heavy lift, but I am confident you will rise to the occasion.
Many details about the fall continue to evolve. In order to stay up to date on the latest information, please visit the Return to Grounds website where you will see a link to a Student Hub with student-specific information and links to related websites.
The following summarizes upcoming tasks in preparation for the fall, some of which you may or may not need to complete.
Commitment to Safety
As part of our shared responsibly to one another during this unusual time, everyone who works or studies on Grounds will be asked to sign an agreement committing to follow established safety protocols. These protocols, which may change over time based on evolving public health orders and directives from the Governor of Virginia, include things you likely are already doing, including maintaining social distance, gathering only in small groups, wearing facial coverings, and following good hygiene habits.
If you will be living in University housing, you will also need to sign an addendum related to enhanced public health rules and protocols that will be in effect in all the residence halls for the 2020-21 academic year.
You will hear more about signing the agreement later in the summer. If applicable, you will need to sign the Housing Addendum as part of a requirement you will receive soon from our staff in Housing & Residence Life.
If you are an undergraduate student who signed a Housing Agreement to live on-Grounds during 2020-2021, we now need you to confirm that you indeed plan to return to Grounds and live in your assigned housing. Since all classes will have an option of being offered virtually (except for a small number of clinically based courses), we recognize you may now prefer to remain at your family home or other residence away from Grounds. Our staff in Housing & Residence Life will contact you soon to ask about your plans. You must respond by July 1 through the Housing portal so we can ascertain how many spaces may be available in upperclass housing.
If you are a graduate or professional student who currently lives in University housing or has applied to do so, you will hear later this summer from Housing & Residence Life.
Unlike previous years, move-in for on-Grounds housing will occur in a staggered fashion over a period of days beginning in mid-August. Housing & Residence Life staff will provide you with complete details on their website and via email in the weeks to come.
The online dining contract will be available on the Dining website July 1. Upperclass students can sign up for any meal plan at any time. Dining Services will be providing you with complete details on their website and via email. See UVA Dining's Meal Plans 101 page for more information.
Financial Aid Update
If your personal or family financial situation has changed as a result of the pandemic, we encourage you to reach out to Student Financial Services at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about the appeals process for fall 2020 need-based financial aid decisions.
The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to pose challenges in the coming months, but as a community, I am confident in our ability to meet those challenges. None of us can change the course of this pandemic and the uncertainty it continues to bring. However, as President Ryan has said, we can adapt our response to it and do our best to move forward, keeping safety foremost in our minds.
Best wishes for the coming weeks, and please stay safe.
Allen W. Groves
University Dean of Students