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Important Health and Safety Information

November 19, 2021

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I hope you will enjoy a restful break wherever your plans take you. In preparing to leave (or perhaps remain in Charlottesville) please make note of these important health and safety measures:

  • Need a COVID Test Before Thanksgiving?
  • Get Your Flu Shot Now
  • Reminders on Masking and Gatherings
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters
  • Virtual Mental Health Support During Breaks
  • Securing Your Possessions and Residence
  • Thanksgiving Hours
  • Lighting of the Lawn 2021

Need a COVID Test Before Thanksgiving?
Given the continuing threat of COVID, it is important to plan ahead for testing before traveling for Thanksgiving or Winter Break: 

  • If FLYING, check with your airline on requirements and use a community provider (such as UVA Riverside) for testing. UVA’s Be Safe saliva testing CANNOT guarantee test results in time.
  • If proactively testing to ensure the protection of family and loved ones, Be Safe is a good option. Check hours, make an appointment, and remember, all locations will be closed Nov. 24-28. Any test taken on Tuesday will be processed by the Saliva Testing Lab on Wednesday, and you will receive your results sometime between November 23-26. 
  • More details: see Preparing for Travel and Travel Health Resources.

Get Your Flu Shot!
Student Health and Wellness (SHW) is diagnosing a steadily increasing number of flu cases on Grounds, and concern is growing nationally that the flu will be widespread this year. The flu vaccine is the most effective way to prevent the flu and lessen the severity for those who still get the flu even if vaccinated. Important tips:

  • Find a nearby flu shot location or schedule a flu shot appointment at SHW. 
  • If you are traveling, check with your local pharmacy or your primary care physician about getting the vaccine.
  • Healthy preventative habits also include:
    • Frequent hand-washing
    • Staying home if you are sick
    • Proactive mask-wearing, and 
    • Covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. 

It takes about two weeks after receiving the flu vaccine for antibodies to develop and provide protection, so it’s important to get vaccinated now to protect loved ones who may be at higher risk (children, grandparents, and others) during the winter break.

Reminders on Masking and Gatherings
University requirements on masking and gatherings, which were communicated in an October 22 message, remain in place through the end of the semester:

  • Regardless of vaccination status, all individuals entering a University-owned or -leased space must wear a mask. This requirement does not apply to residence halls or personal residences, or when people are actively eating or drinking.
  • Exceptions apply to users of IM-Rec facilities, and to students enrolled in for-credit drama, dance, and instrumental music activities.
  • To reduce the risk of the potential spread of COVID-19, gatherings and events should be conducted outdoors if possible, and individuals should follow CDC guidelines for safe in-person gatherings and events.

COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters
According to the Virginia Department of Health, UVA students are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine boosters due to congregate living settings. Keep in mind that side-effects are common 24-48 hours after receiving a booster shot, so think about getting a booster when you have appropriate time to recover. If you decide to get your booster shot in Charlottesville, the Blue Ridge Health District currently has a high availability of appointments, and some local pharmacies may have available appointments.

Virtual Mental Health Support During Breaks
Before heading home for break, download the TimelyCare app and register using your UVA student email address. TimelyCare has licensed counselors available in every state in the U.S., and TalkNow provides 24/7 on-demand mental health support, so you can easily access mental health support virtually even when you are away from Grounds.

Thanks to a partnership with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), TimelyCare services are free for all UVA students who pay the comprehensive health fee with tuition. Learn more. If you are in Charlottesville, in-person CAPS services are available during normal business hours (see Thanksgiving Break 2021).

Securing Your Possessions and Residence
University Police note that thefts and break-ins often increase during holiday periods. Whether you will be leaving town or remaining in your residence during the upcoming break, remember to:

  • Take valuables with you if you leave.
  • Lock the doors and windows of your residence, and pull the curtains or shades.
  • Lock or otherwise properly secure your scooter and park it in a designated and well-lit area. Do not store gas-powered vehicles inside.
  • If your car will remain in Charlottesville, lock it and do not leave valuables inside.

Thanksgiving Hours
If you plan to remain in Charlottesville over Thanksgiving, remember many services will be limited or curtailed. Please check the webpage with detailed information about residence halls, UVA Dine, Student Health and Wellness, the libraries, Parking & Transportation, student spaces, and recreational facilities.

Lighting of the Lawn 2021
In closing, I would like to remind you that this year’s Lighting of the Lawn will take place in person on Monday, December 6, from 7-9:30 p.m. Watch for more information soon from this year’s student leaders.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

Julie I. Caruccio
Interim Dean of Students