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Update on Outdoor Gatherings

March 23, 2021
All Parents and Guardians
Susan M. Davis, Acting Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer

Dear Parents and Guardians:

I am forwarding the below message, which University Dean of Students Allen Groves sent earlier today to students. We are pleased students can now gather outside in groups up to 25 as long as they continue to follow all public health measures.

While we are hopeful about easing other restrictions, we must recognize the pandemic continues to pose health and safety risks. For this reason, I want to re-emphasize that students should not be leaving the area for travel unless it is critically necessary. Leaving for “spring-break-like” trips is a high-risk activity that potentially allows greater transmission of the virus for both the destination visited as well as the UVA and Charlottesville communities upon returning. A large number of UVA students and local citizens still have not been vaccinated. For more information, please see coronavirus website.

Thank you for your continuing support as we work together for the health and safety of all.


Susan M. Davis
Acting Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer

Dear Undergraduate, Graduate and Professional Students:

Thank you for the many sacrifices you have made this year to keep our community safe.  With viral prevalence rates now at a low point, University public health officials have approved an increase in the size of outdoor gatherings from 10 to 25 people, effective immediately.  Public health measures, including wearing a mask and physically distancing, must still be observed. The indoor gathering size remains at six (6) individuals.

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.

You may continue to request use of outdoor University spaces for groups larger than 25.  To make a request, please go to the Event Planning website where you will find more information and the exception request form.  A team in Student Affairs meets weekly to review each request on an individual basis and has approved many exceptions this year.  So far, approved events for this spring include cultural programming and concerts for up to 300 individuals, where detailed plans show strict observance of all public health measures.

It’s important to remember the pandemic is still not behind us.  Concerning variants continue to emerge, including in the Charlottesville area.  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.

I hope this increase in the outdoor gathering limit will allow you to enjoy more outdoor time with friends as spring weather arrives.  Thank you again for everything you are doing in what remains a challenging time.


Allen W. Groves
University Dean of Students