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Welcome: New Graduate and Professional Students

June 18, 2020
New Graduate and Professional Students
Allen W. Groves, University Dean of Students

Dear Student,

Welcome to the University of Virginia! As Dean of Students (and an alumnus of one of our graduate/professional schools), I would like to reiterate how happy we are you have joined our community. I know you are interested in learning more about fall activities, so I am writing as a follow-up to the message you received yesterday from President Jim Ryan and his leadership team.

At this point we know the fall semester will be different from a normal year. Students' health and safety have always been major priorities. Now, like never before, safety must become a personal and collective responsibility of everyone in our community – students, faculty, staff, area residents, and visitors. The COVID-19 pandemic remains a very serious threat, and we all can 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 all of us 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.

Many details about the fall continue to evolve, and I know your school will be communicating frequently with you. In addition, 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.

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 stating they will follow established public health and safety protocols. Those 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 rules and protocols that will be in effect in all University housing for the 2020-21 academic year.

You will hear more about signing the agreement later in the summer. If you have applied for University housing, the Housing & Residence Life staff will be reaching out to you soon with additional information.

Dining Plans

The online dining contract will be available on the Dining website July 1. If desired, graduate and professional students can sign up for any meal plan at any time. See UVA Dining's Meal Plans 101 page for more information.

UVA ID Cards

As a new student, you are required to submit a photo online for your UVA ID card. If you haven't already done so, please try to do this by July 1. Later this summer, you will learn more about obtaining your UVA ID.

Educational Modules

In July, you will hear from me again explaining the requirement to complete several important online educational modules relating to key policies and student life. They will provide valuable information, and completing them promptly will avoid receiving reminder emails from me! The deadline for completion is September 15.

Other Important Tasks

Your school has likely communicated with you about the following tasks to complete:

  • UVA Alerts: Sign up to receive emergency text alerts to your cellphone. You are automatically enrolled to receive emails. You can also add multiple email addresses, including those of family members.
  • Photo ID for your University ID. Please submit by July 1.
  • Authorized Users in UVAPay. If you elect to complete this authorization, your designees will have access to your student account to receive billing information and to make payments.
  • Pre-Entrance Health Form. Complete with your health-care provider and upload by August 1. A $100 penalty will apply if you submit it after the deadline, so please take care of this promptly.
  • Health Insurance Enrollment or Verification. The website will open on July 20 and close on August 31. Starting on July 20, you will receive reminders about this task. Even if you already have health insurance that meets the University's specifications, please don't overlook this task. Failure to verify your existing insurance coverage (possibly through a parent's plan) by August 31 means you will be automatically enrolled in the UVA Aetna plan, resulting in an annual premium of $2,980.

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 rest of the summer, and we look forward to your participation in the larger UVA community.


Allen W. Groves
University Dean of Students