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