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Finishing the year strongly and safely

May 13, 2021

As you finish up an especially challenging year, I am writing with a few reminders about general safety.  Whether you are headed home, somewhere for a brief vacation, a graduating fourth-year experiencing “Beach Week” or headed to yet another destination, I hope you will keep personal safety in mind.

COVID-19 Risks:  Although lessened in many aspects, the risks of COVID-19, including new variants, remain with us.  For now, it’s important to keep up the routines familiar to all of us:

  • Get vaccinated if you have not already done so.
  • Wear a mask where required and when in close proximity to others.
  • Maintain physical distancing in public situations whenever possible, especially indoors.
  • Avoid large indoor crowds.
  • Prepare ahead of time for travel.
  • Learn more about activities once you are fully vaccinated.

Uploading Your COVID Vaccination Record:  Before leaving for the semester or before graduating, please be sure your HealthyHoos account includes documentation of your COVID vaccination. 

Testing Prior to Graduation:  If you will be graduating with the Class of 2021, you should plan to participate in prevalence testing on May 17, 18 or 19.  More information about the testing schedule and locations is available at besafe.virginia.edu.  (If you are fully vaccinated or tested positive in the past 150 days, you do not need to be tested.)  Students who test positive will not be able to participate in graduation ceremonies due to the potential for creating a super-spreader situation.  All five Final Exercises ceremonies will be livestreamed for those who cannot attend in person.

Alcohol Usage:  If you plan on celebrating with alcohol, you should be aware of the effects alcohol may have on your memories, judgment, and physical capabilities.  Some safety tips for consuming alcohol include:

  • Determine your number of drinks for the day -- and partner with friends to not go over that number.
  • Pace your drinks and alternate with water.
  • Eat protein throughout the day.
  • Watch your drink being made and do not leave it unattended.
  • Do not drink and drive.  Be an active bystander in urging the same of others.
  • Call 911 if you see signs of medical distress in an individual.  PUBS is a helpful mnemonic to check for these signs: Puking while passed out; Unresponsive to pinching or shaking; Breathing is shallow, slow, or not present; Skin is blue, cold, or clammy.

Gasoline Supply.  Virginia is among several states experiencing recent gasoline shortages stemming from operational disruptions to the Colonial Pipeline last week.  Gas Buddy is a recommended website providing information on the availability of fuel by area.  Be sure to consider how this recent development may have an impact on any upcoming travel you have planned.

University Transit Services:  UTS is now operating on the Summer 2021 schedule.  Check the website for details and any changes in the operating schedule.  Safe Ride provided by Yellow Cab is available, when in service, from 10 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. seven days a week. Call 434-242-1122.

Move-Out from On-Grounds Housing.  In light of the news about fuel availability, Housing & Residence Life has announced student-residents can write housing@virginia.edu with an emergency late-stay request if they anticipate travel complications.

Securing Your Residence.  Whether leaving or staying in your off-Grounds residence, please be sure to lock your doors and windows.  Take valuables with you or lock them in a secure location.  Lock your vehicle as well, and do not leave valuables in your car.

Community Mindedness:  As you leave the area, please think about your neighbors who are year-round residents.  This includes celebrating responsibly, keeping noise at reasonable levels, disposing of all litter, and otherwise being a good neighbor.

Best wishes to each of you for a safe conclusion to the semester.  You have met any number of challenges since the pandemic changed life for all of us.  Please continue to stay on track for both a strong and safe finish.

Sincerely,

Allen W. Groves
University Dean of Students