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Update on Gatherings and Testing

October 13, 2020

Today I am writing to share that University leaders, in consultation with physicians and public health experts, have decided to raise the permitted maximum size of gatherings on and off-Grounds from five to ten individuals. The other restrictions, however, will continue. Please continue to wear masks, maintain physical distance of at least six feet, and limit visitors and unnecessary travel.

When first announced on September 22, these enhanced restrictions were a necessary response to worrying trends in the University’s viral metrics. When we announced them, we asked for your help in observing them, and you responded. Today our metrics are much better, and we are confident that members of this community can gather in slightly larger numbers without risking the health of each other or our community.

Throughout this unique semester, UVA’s goal has been to find the right balance between protecting public health and creating safe opportunities to learn together and from each other in a residential academic environment. As the progression of the virus has shifted (either positively or negatively), so has our approach -- and that will continue to be the case into the future.

We have heard from many of you about the strain these new restrictions have added to an already challenging semester. I hope this change will make it a little easier to make the most of the remainder of this academic term. However, as we’ve seen firsthand over the past few weeks, our behavior can impact the trajectory of this virus – for better or worse. Finishing this semester strong will require everyone to consistently follow current policy and advice to limit gathering size, visitors and unnecessary travel, wear masks, and maintain physical distancing

Finally, on-Grounds residents recently received notice of UVA’s ongoing expansion of our testing program. These new resources, along with expanded testing of off Grounds students, are a powerful tool to help us detect and eliminate cases within our community. It is also true that an increase in testing will likely yield an increase in the number of positive cases on the UVA COVID Tracker. I want to assure you that University leaders and public health experts are monitoring these metrics closely and any future policy decisions will be informed by the totality of the situation regarding the virus and our capacity to respond to it.

On behalf of President Ryan and the entire University administration, I want to thank you for your continued patience and perseverance. Your efforts are making a difference. We will continue to keep you informed going forward.

Sincerely,

Allen W. Groves
University Dean of Students