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Latest Updates

Find regular updates from UVA and Darden leadership with the latest information and breaking news for all stakeholders of the Darden School: prospective, current and admitted students; faculty; staff; alumni; Executive Education learners and clients; and guests.

The updates will share policies and procedures related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, program delivery and schedules, events, and more. Degree program students and Executive Education clients seeking the latest program updates should visit the Return to Darden Grounds programs page.

2021-22 Academic Year Updates

  • 1 October: Updates on Mask Policy, Vaccine Requirement at JPJ

    On 1 October, UVA leadership sent the following message regarding updates on mask policies and vaccination requirements for attending events at John Paul Jones arena.

    To the University community:

    Now that the semester is fully underway, we continue to see encouraging signs that high vaccination rates within our community and other mitigation measures are helping to limit the spread of COVID-19, even as we get back to more “normal” ways of living, learning and working together. Unfortunately, while cases within the UVA community remain low, the high prevalence of the Delta variant in Central Virginia is straining health care resources in the Charlottesville-Albemarle region.

    For that reason, University leaders and public health experts agree that the most prudent course of action is to continue to require all people, whether they are vaccinated or not, to wear masks while inside University-owned or ‐leased spaces, with the exception of residence halls, private residences, or when actively eating or drinking.

    In response to the increased risk of viral transmission at large indoor events, we have also decided to require all people who attend a ticketed event at John Paul Jones Arena to provide proof of vaccination, or of a negative COVID-19 test before entering the venue. This new policy will take effect Oct. 18.

    This requirement, along with our indoor mask requirement, will provide added assurance that UVA basketball games, concerts and other events at JPJ will not be sources of significant community spread. The University will contact ticketholders for upcoming events directly with additional information about this requirement.

    As conditions improve, we are eager to modify or lift this indoor mask requirement as soon as we can safely. We will spend the month of October monitoring the progression of the virus and will offer another update on public health policies no later than Nov. 1.

    As always, we are grateful for the ways this community has acted to keep each other and the people around us safe throughout this pandemic. We look forward to continuing to work with all of you to make this year together as rewarding and safe as possible, for all of us.


    Liz Magill
    Executive Vice President and Provost

    J.J. Davis
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

  • 2 September: Update on Masking Policy, Saturday Football Game

    On 2 September, UVA leadership sent the following message regarding issues related to the University's response to COVID-19, including an extension of the mask policy.

    To the University Community,

    We write today to update members of the community about our indoor mask requirement and our public health guidance for the upcoming UVA football game on Saturday, Sept. 4.

    University public health officials are actively monitoring conditions around COVID-19 in the Charlottesville area and across the commonwealth, including case positivity rates and the hospital capacity in our region and statewide. Unfortunately, case numbers in our area and around the commonwealth are higher than we’d like, and the contagiousness of the delta variant is creating cause for concern and the need for ongoing precautions. We remind you that the most effective way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated if you have not already done so.

    Given these concerns, we have decided to maintain our current policy requiring all people to wear masks when they are indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. We continue to view this as a temporary measure that we will lift as soon as conditions permit. We will continue to monitor those conditions and offer another update on our masking policy no later than Oct. 1.

    These requirements and expectations are an important part of our ongoing efforts to keep everyone here learning, living, and working in-person safely. However, we have to recognize that the delta variant presents challenges that we have to work together to mitigate.

    In addition to continuing the indoor masking policy, we would like to remind anyone who is planning to attend the UVA football game on Saturday against William & Mary that masks will be required for everyone in indoor spaces at Scott Stadium, including restrooms, elevators, and the inside space of hospitality suites. Under University policy, unvaccinated individuals are required to wear a mask whether indoors or out. While we are not currently requiring all attendees to wear masks outdoors, we strongly encourage everyone – vaccinated or unvaccinated – to do so in order to limit opportunities for the virus to spread at the game.

    Masks are a simple and highly effective way to protect both yourself and others from viral transmission. Please strongly consider wearing a mask during the game. Doing so will protect you and the entire community. Finally, please remember that masks work to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but only when they are worn properly. Your mask should be made of multiple layers, such as a disposable 3-ply medical grade mask, and it should fit tightly over the nose and mouth unless you are actively eating or drinking.

    In the coming days and weeks, University leaders will continue to monitor the virus carefully, advised on a daily basis by our public health experts. We will continue to make adjustments as needed to protect public health and our ability to live, learn, and work together in-person this year.

    As we have said previously, the virus remains unpredictable and we must be ready to adjust our response to it. The measures we are announcing today are critical in helping us reach our goal of responsibly continuing in-person experiences.

    We remain grateful to this entire community for your role in making this semester a success.

    Liz Magill
    Executive Vice President and Provost

    J.J. Davis
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

  • 20 August: Update on COVID-19 Issues and Policies

    On 20 August, UVA leadership sent the following message regarding issues related to the University's response to COVID-19.

    To the University Community: 

    As we kick off the new academic year together in Charlottesville, we would like to update you on a few key issues related to the University’s response to COVID-19. If you have questions about other elements of UVA’s health and safety plans, you can review Frequently Asked Questions and previous communications at the University’s coronavirus website.

    University Events

    Unlike last year, we will be able to return to a typical calendar of events. We will, however, be required to observe the following rules:


    • Masking policy at outdoor events:
      • People who are vaccinated will not be required to wear masks while attending large outdoor events like UVA football games or outdoor concerts. Masks, however, will be required at these events in enclosed spaces like restrooms, elevators, or the indoor portion of hospitality suites, unless guests are actively eating or drinking. As noted below, we encourage eating and drinking to occur outdoors if possible.
      • Unvaccinated people will still be required to wear masks whenever they are around other people, whether inside or outside. 
    • The University’s indoor masking requirements for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people remain unchanged. Click here to review UVA’s current policy on masks. 
    • As masks cannot be worn while actively eating and drinking, we encourage all events that involve eating and drinking to take place outdoors if possible.  


    Gather Outdoors Whenever Possible

    UVA community members are strongly encouraged to gather outdoors as much as possible in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus, including the highly contagious Delta variant. That encouragement extends to social gatherings as well as events, particularly those where food or drink are served. While masks are not required in residence halls or private homes, we encourage community members to exercise sound judgment when gathering around others in an indoor setting, particularly with people from outside of their living arrangement. All guests to the University are expected to comply with masking requirements as outlined in University policy.

    Testing, Isolation, and Quarantine

    UVA’s high vaccination rates will allow for a more normal residential academic experience this year. We do expect members of our community to test positive over the course of the year, either because they are unvaccinated or as a result of a rare breakthrough infection.  

    As has always been true from the beginning of this pandemic, any student, faculty, or staff member who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested immediately through Student Health and Wellness or UVA Employee Health

    In addition to that guidance on symptomatic testing, we have worked with University public health officials to develop protocols for testing, contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine. To review those protocols, which include next steps for students who test positive, are experiencing symptoms, or have been in close contact with an infected individual, click here

    Student Health and Wellness has also produced this infographic to help students identify if they have been a close contact of an infected person and what to do next if they are.

    Employees who believe they may be a close contact should contact UVA Employee Health (434-924-2013). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides useful guidance on when individuals should isolate and when they should quarantine.


    More to Follow on Masking Policy

    University leaders and public health experts continue to monitor the progression of the pandemic. As we said on Aug. 6, we will review the University’s indoor masking requirement over the coming weeks with the hope that conditions will permit us to modify or lift it. We will update you on that policy no later than Sept. 6.


    Liz Magill
    Executive Vice President and Provost

    J.J. Davis
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

  • 6 August: Updates on Semester Plan and Temporary Masking Policy

    On 6 August, UVA leadership sent the following message to the the community regarding a temporary change to masking policy.

    To the University Community, 

    We hope you have enjoyed your summer and that you are as excited as we are to be so close to the beginning of a new academic year together on-Grounds. We are writing you today to respond to growing concern, in our community and around the world, about the new Delta variant of the coronavirus and to update you on a temporary revision to our masking policy that will allow us to start our semester safely. 

    First, and most important, thanks to high vaccination rates in our student and employee communities, we are planning for the full residential and academic experience that is at the heart of our University’s mission. Classrooms, residence halls, dining and recreation facilities, and other key facets of University life will be operating at full capacity from day one. Gathering limits and physical distancing protocols have been lifted. Major events like Wahoo Welcome and UVA football games are on the schedule, and we are looking forward to seeing you there. 

    As we prepare for the semester, we have been monitoring the Delta variant and considering the advice of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Virginia Department of Health, and UVA’s own world-class public health experts – all of whom are concerned about the threat the variant poses. 

    In recognition of this new and evolving situation, and the fact that UVA students are arriving from many places all over the nation and the world, we have decided to begin the year with a mask requirement for all people, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, who enter UVA properties, effective Monday, Aug. 9. This does not include dorms or private housing, including common areas within those spaces. Those spaces will be largely full of vaccinated people and easier for the University to monitor and respond if cases do arise. The temporary mask requirement also does not apply outdoors. 

    The policy does include University-owned or leased public spaces like academic or administrative buildings, libraries, labs, dining halls, IM/Rec facilities, and all UVA Health properties. Masks are not required when actively eating or drinking, or when alone in a closed space like an office. Specific course-related exemptions to this policy will be handled by the schools, in consultation with the Provost’s office, as fall courses get underway. We are also developing a list of FAQs that will address limited additional exemptions in non-course settings.

    This policy will allow us to start the year at full capacity and reduce the likelihood of a spike in cases driven by the Delta variant and a coming together of students from many places. Over the next few weeks we will be monitoring case counts, hospitalizations, and other conditions, with a goal of modifying or lifting this masking policy for fully vaccinated people by Sept. 6.  

    People who are not yet vaccinated will continue to be required to wear masks when they are around others indoors or outdoors and appear for weekly COVID testing even after the temporary masking requirement is lifted, in accordance with University policy. We continue to urge every member of our community to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect yourself and others against the virus. 

    Finally, we are evaluating additional mask requirements for certain large outdoor gatherings and will follow up soon with any new information.

    We are planning a virtual Town Hall with University Leadership for Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 2 p.m. that will offer the opportunity to hear from our public health experts and ask questions that may be on your minds. If you’re interested in attending, you can register here.

    Throughout this pandemic, people in this community have continuously gone the extra mile to keep themselves and those around them healthy and safe. We recognize that this change may pose an inconvenience as the semester begins, but we believe it is the best way to bring everyone back safely and begin a successful year together here on Grounds. 

    We are looking forward to having you back.

    Liz Magill
    Executive Vice President and Provost

    J.J. Davis
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

  • 15 June: Updates on UVA Vaccination and Travel Policies

    On 15 June, UVA leadership sent the following message to the community regarding expectations for University employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and updating travel policies.

    Dear University Academic Division Faculty and Staff, 

    We write today to update you on the following: Faculty and staff vaccinations; required prevalence testing for people who are not vaccinated; and important new policy on international travel. This communication is a follow-up to our communication from last month outlining what members of our community can expect in the coming semester. 

    Faculty and Staff Vaccinations, Prevalence Testing: The University expects all members of our community to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Faculty and staff who are not vaccinated will be subject to weekly prevalence testing to help keep them and the people around them safe from the virus. Below is a memo from UVA Human Resources outlining how employees can share their proof of vaccination or prepare to comply with the University’s prevalence testing program if they are unvaccinated. If you wish to be vaccinated, you can make an appointment here

    International Travel: Tomorrow, June 16th, the University will lift the previous prohibition on University-related international travel for faculty and staff and replace it with a new policy requiring employees to register all such travel on the University’s International Travel Registry no later than 7 days before departure. University faculty and staff no longer need to seek prior approval for international travel from the Vice Provost for Global Affairs, and the COVIDTravel@virginia.edu email address for requesting such approval will close. University employees who have already received approval for international travel under the previous policy will be contacted soon for additional information to complete their registrations and will not need to take any further action.  

    Faculty and staff who undertake international travel will be responsible for assessing the safety of their planned itineraries in consultation with their supervisors, drawing on resources provided in the policy. They will also be responsible for abiding by the University’s regulations governing international travel, especially regarding export controls and travel to sanctioned countries. In addition, University employees are required to abide by Center for Disease Control guidelines for international travel during COVID-19 before, during, and after such travel, including by being fully vaccinated before undertaking travel. More information on the University’s travel policy is available here. An update on the University’s approach to UVA-related student travel can be found here


    Thank you for your incredible contributions to our University, we hope you are enjoying a restful summer. 

    Liz Magill

    J.J. Davis

    TO: Academic Division Faculty and Staff


    RE: Important Update on Employee Vaccinations and Prevalence Testing

    Per President Ryan and the Executive Vice Presidents’ communication on May 20, vaccination of our University community members is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 and the safe return to regular, in-person experiences and normal operations. 

    The University expects all UVA faculty and staff to be vaccinated unless they have a medical or religious reason not to do so. Faculty and staff unable to provide proof of vaccination will be subject to mandatory saliva PCR testing once each week or as otherwise directed by the University. 

    As such, all faculty and staff working on Grounds will be required to provide proof of vaccination through Workday prior to the start of the Fall semester. If proof of vaccination is not provided, individuals will be required to be tested for COVID-19 once per week on an indefinite basis. 

    The following procedures for providing proof of vaccination apply to members of the Academic Division only. UVA Health will communicate directly with team members soon regarding UVA Health including Medical Center, UPG, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, HS Library procedures and related policies. 

    Proof of Vaccination Procedure:

    • Look in Workday to see if you have an announcement (on the upper left side) regarding proof of vaccination.
    • If you did not receive an announcement that means your vaccine data was automatically populated in Workday because you received your vaccine from UVA Health. No action is needed on your part. 
    • If you did receive a notification, follow the directions to document your proof of vaccination.

    Detailed information on this process including job aids and FAQs is provided on the HR proof of vaccination webpage.

    Non-Vaccinated Faculty and Staff Prevalence Testing

    Prevalence testing exceptions will be granted for faculty and staff who meet any of the following:

    • Are fully vaccinated with a WHO's Emergency Use Listing (EUL) vaccine (currently approved vaccines)
    • Have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 150 days
    • Are working remotely 100% of the time indefinitely

    More information about when mandatory testing will begin, how to participate, and consequences of non-compliance will be provided by mid-July.  

    Thank you for your participation in this important effort in continuing to help keep our University community members safe and healthy. If you have questions, please contact the HR Solution Center at AskHR@virginia.edu.

  • 27 May: Changes to UVA Health Policies

    On 27 May, UVA leadership sent the following message to the the community regarding changes in health and safety policies.


    To the University Community: 

    We write today to update you on additional changes we have made to the University’s health and safety policies, in order to reflect Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive order lifting many of the restrictions he put in place in the early phases of the pandemic. The Governor’s order will take effect Friday, May 28, at midnight. All of these changes are another sign of the progress we are making as a community and a Commonwealth to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and get back to more normal ways of life. As we have said before, we urge all members of this community to treat each other with respect as we enter this new phase together. 

    Effective at midnight, May 28, University policy will change in the following ways: 

    Physical Distancing: Students, faculty, and staff will no longer be required to maintain six feet of physical distance. University facilities, including classrooms and dining facilities, will be modified to reflect this change over the coming weeks. 

    Gathering limit: University policy will no longer limit the size of gatherings. In order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure, our public health experts continue to advise members of this community to conduct events virtually when possible and to keep in-person gatherings outdoors as much as possible. Even as we lift the gathering limits, it is important to remember that some University units continue to work with operational constraints and will ramp up in the coming weeks and months, meaning that some events or gatherings may not be approved until the capacity to support them is restored. 

    Visitors to the University: University policy will no longer restrict visitors from outside the University. Consistent with University policy, all visitors should follow University face covering requirements if they are unvaccinated. 

    Remaining mask requirements: Consistent with CDC guidance and Gov. Northam’s Executive Order, those who are not vaccinated must continue to wear masks when around other people. Those who are vaccinated do not have to wear masks, except under the following circumstances, which apply to students, faculty, staff, contractors, and visitors:

    • When in specified areas of the UVA Health Medical Center, clinics, and academic/administrative areas, as indicated in UVA Health guidance (for faculty, staff and contractors and for visitors)


    • When in the Student Health and Wellness Center


    • When in saliva testing facilities


    • When engaged in any activities involving K-12 students


    • When using public transportation (University Transit System)


    Hoos Health Check: Academic Division faculty, staff, and students (with the exception of those in the School of Medicine, School of Nursing, or Health Sciences Library) will no longer be required to use Hoos Health Check before they come to Grounds, and email notifications will be turned off. We continue to encourage all students, faculty, staff, and visitors to consider whether they have any symptoms of COVID-19 before coming to Grounds and to stay home if they are feeling ill. Any Academic Division employees who are entering the Medical Center space to work or provide services will still need to complete the Hoos Health Check in advance, in compliance with federal regulations.

    Summer Camp Update: Beginning May 28, camps and youth programs seeking to host summer youth programming on Grounds or under the authority of the University off-Grounds may request approval to operate. Camps and youth programs seeking to operate must be approved by the Office of Youth Protection. Only camps and youth programs serving children ages 5+ operating during the day (no overnight camps) will be approved. For questions, please contact youthprotection@virginia.edu.

    Moving forward together

    As these changes make clear, widespread vaccinations have made it easier for all of us to live, learn, work, and gather together in ways that would have been unsafe just a few months ago. 

    What has not changed, however, is the responsibility that each of us has to use good judgment and to look out for the people around us who may be more vulnerable to the virus. The most effective way to do that is to get vaccinated as soon as possible. If you haven’t already done so, please schedule your vaccine here.

    Additionally, we ask you to continue to make good decisions, particularly when you are in large groups or around people who are not yet fully vaccinated. While the letter of UVA policy or CDC guidance may not require masks or physical distancing for fully vaccinated people, you may find yourself in situations where it is prudent to observe those practices out of an abundance of caution. If you are not yet fully vaccinated, you should continue to wear your mask and maintain six feet of physical distance from others in order to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 or spreading it to others. If you are vaccinated and feel more comfortable continuing to wear your mask, we encourage you to do so with our full support.  

    These policy changes follow the announcement we made last week about how UVA will approach the coming academic year, including a requirement that all students must be fully vaccinated before they come to Grounds, and all employees who are not yet fully vaccinated will be subject to prevalence testing. 

    We will continue to provide you updates over the summer as we finalize additional details for the coming academic year. As always, we are grateful for your patience and perseverance, and we hope you have a great summer. 

    Jim Ryan

    Liz Magill
    Executive Vice President and Provost

    J.J. Davis
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

    Dr. K. Craig Kent
    Executive Vice President for Health Affairs

  • 20 May: Important Information From UVA About Fall 2021

    University of Virginia leadership provided several important updates related to the University's plan to return to more normal operations and academic life in fall 2021, including vaccination requirements for students and information for University employees related to vaccinations and travel.

    Read the full update

  • 14 May: Change in UVA's Mask Policy

    Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the state of Virginia, UVA updated its policy on wearing face coverings. Read the full update.

  • 26 April: UVA Eases Gathering Limits as Cases Remain Low

    UVA on 26 April eased limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings in response to lower COVID-19 case numbers in the local area and increasing vaccination rates. Read the full update

  • 1 April: UVA Plans to Return to In-Person Instruction, More Normal Operations in the Fall

    UVA Today on 1 April reported on plans to return to in-person instruction and "much more" normal operations in fall 2021.

  • 11 March: A Message of Thanks From Dean Scott Beardsley

    Darden Dean Scott Beardsley on 11 March sent the following message to Darden faculty and staff on the one-year anniversary of UVA moving classes online.


    Dear Darden Faculty and Staff,

    I hope you are all well and making the best of the nice weather.

    One year ago, on March 11, UVA President Jim Ryan emailed the community to announce that, due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, UVA would move classes online for the forseeable future.

    As I’m sure you recall, a head-spinning flurry of news followed in the ensuing days, including UVA and Darden instructing all staff to telecommute, if possible; the cancellation of virtually all in-person events,  including major events like Reunion and Final Exercises; the closure of all K-12 public schools; and eventually confirmation that classes would remain virtual for the remainder of the semester.

    Chaos at Darden could have ensued; instead, you brought to the challenge hard work, accomodation, determination and grace.

    I cannot begin to recite all of the ways this community came together in the following days (and then weeks, and eventually months) and know that any list will be incomplete, but here are just a few of the ways you collectively helped us get to where we are today, with the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel now shining brighter by the week.

    • You enabled us to pivot to the virtual realm in a matter of days without missing a beat. You designed and redesigned classes, our learning environment, and our facilities to create a new world of “hybrid” learning.
    • You modeled true leadership for our students, helping them through a deeply unsettled period and providing an oasis of something like normalcy at a time of incredible tumult.
    • You produced dozens of pieces of thought leadership that helped us make sense of the new normal.
    • You helped guide students through the uncertainty, offering the warmth, support and advice for which they are renowned — and managed to pull off a memorable virtual graduation ceremony.
    • You kept our alumni informed and engaged, channeling their questions and energy and ensuring Darden graduates knew they remained in our thoughts as they lost loved ones, jobs and a sense of normalcy.
    • You kept students, faculty and staff fed, and ensured the Grounds were as safe as possible despite so many unknowns, leveraged technology to upgrade our classrooms and revamped signficant parts of our infrastructure to meet the moment. No easy task.
    • You bent over backwards to remove obstacles for prospective students and the results were incredible. Admissions saw a surge in applications, international accolades for flexibility and accomodation and creative solutions instead of dead-ends. (The January cohort of First Year students went from idea to execution in what seemed like days.)
    • You ensured our students had opportunities and Plan Bs, and even Plan Cs, when Plan A disappeared. You designed and launched an Impact Internship program to ensure our students would all have meaningful work. When the smoke cleared, the career picture remained bright: 100 percent internship rates for First Years, record salaries and strong placement for Second Years.
    • You kept critical resources flowing to support Darden, with an Annual Fund that helped the School meet new and pressing needs, and fundraising in FY21 that will exceed FY20. 
    • You kept us all informed and in the loop even as we found ourselves working from bedrooms, kitchen tables and makeshift offices of all manner.
    • You continued to take care of each other, and our neighbors in Charlottesville and Rosslyn. You provided over 35,000 free meals to our Darden community and innovated lunch options for students, and although we couldn’t visit each other in person, you used Zoom, phone, email and text to reach out, check-in, lift and support each other.
    • You kept us open with some in-person instruction on a continuous basis this academic year, making us perhaps the only top B school in that categoy. And while doing so, you kept each other safe and the number of Covid cases at Darden were quite limited.

    Of course, the work to push through the pandemic didn’t stop last spring, and it goes on now. I’m mindful of the incredible lift involved in bringing students safely back to Grounds in the fall, and the Safe Return to Grounds Task Force, led by Laura Hennessey and David Drab, put forth heroic efforts to make good on our goal of returning to Grounds safely. Subsequently, the Spring Safe Return to Grounds work, superbly led by Rachel Dudzik and Ed Warwick, has carried us through the Winter months and we we are now seeing the warmth and positive renewal of the Spring.

    Thanks to the commitment of our students, faculty and staff, we have navigated in-person operations in Charlottesville and in Rosslyn since last August in ways that kept people safe while allowing us to bring people together. At a time of isolation, this was more critical than ever.

    This is not an exhaustive list, and there are obviously many omissions here. Beyond all of the actions this community has taken at work to keep Darden going, I know that each person has navigated their own personal challenges through the pandemic: supporting loved ones, taking on new caregiving, serving as in-home teachers for children, living through periods of isolation, and more. The truth is I’ll never know the thousands of ways each of you came together to help us get through the pandemic. But please know I thank you all, deeply.

    One year since everything changed in the world and at UVA, we are still in the throes of the pandemic, but there are clear signs of light. Vaccines are here and appear to promise a return to something more like normal in 2021. We are going to get through this, and we are going to emerge stronger, because of all of you.

    Thank you.

  • 26 February: Update on University Public Health Measures

    Darden Dean Scott Beardsley sent the following note to the Darden community on 26 February following UVA's decision to ease most of the temporary COVID-19 restrictions put in place in mid-February.

    Dear Darden Community,

    As University leadership shared earlier today (below), thanks to the reduction in COVID incidence and lower overall positivity rate in the University community over the last week, UVA is lifting the restrictions put in place 10 days ago.

    I know that this has been an incredibly challenging period, on top of a very taxing year, for the Darden community. I also recognize the mental, emotional and physical toll that these additional restrictions had on our student body. Given the case levels last week, UVA leadership took the tough decision to strictly limit gatherings and fortunately that has quickly bent the curve back down to pre-surge levels. Here at Darden, the teams rallied to invest in supporting our community in the ways that we could within these new restrictions. If we have learned anything over the past year of the pandemic, it is that things remain unpredictable. We remain committed to doing everything we can within the health and safety constraints set by UVA to protect our community and to support everyone at Darden.

    As you will note below, the meeting/gathering restriction is now back to six individuals, with the request to try and keep those groups in “pods” as much as possible. This means that learning teams can meet again in person following health protocols. While indoor dining remains restricted to parties of two, parties of six can dine outdoors, and we welcome those who are in Charlottesville to take advantage of the heaters in the tent. Both Charlottesville and Rosslyn have spaces open for private eating as well for those who are more comfortable. The UVA gyms will open again tomorrow and we hope that the temporary measures with gym access taken by Darden helped in the interim this past week. The Darden library has remained open throughout this period, and we thank the library team for making that happen.

    At Darden, we are grateful to the commitment of our community to following the core health and safety protocols: staying home and seeking medical attention when you feel ill, practicing physical distancing, wearing a face covering when with others and practicing good hand hygiene. Thanks to your diligence, we have been able to maintain in-person operations in Charlottesville and Rosslyn, and we look to continuing to expand opportunities into the spring. We also know that continuing to follow the health protocols should allow us to do more as the semester progresses.

    I’m grateful to the student affairs and programs teams and the student leaders who continue looking for ways to bring us together within the guidelines set by UVA. If you have continued ideas for how we can improve the experience further, please continue to share them with us.

    If you need resources, please reach out for support. If you see someone in distress, please reach out to them and encourage them to seek support. Let us know ways we can continue to support you as we move forward from here.

  • 19 February: UVA Leaders Address Rise in Cases, Transmission Sources

    On 19 February, UVA leaders hosted a virtual town hall addressing the University's response to recent increases in COVID-19 cases in the UVA community. Read the full story.

  • 16 February: New Restrictions Take Effect

    UVA on 16 February offered the latest guidance on new restrictions across the University due to rising COVID-19 cases. Read the full update here.

    In response to the update from UVA, Dean Scott Beardsley shared the following message with the Darden community:

    Dear Darden Students, Faculty and Staff,

    This evening, University of Virginia leadership shared with the University community late-breaking policy changes outlined in the message below in response to a troubling rise in COVID-19 cases within the UVA student community.

    We at Darden received this news late this afternoon and have since been in talks with University leadership about how these policy changes impact the Darden School emphasizing the unique situation of our graduate school (learning teams, etc.) and the fact that the Darden community has a low incidence of cases thanks to your adherence to health and safety protocols.

    For now, all policy changes apply to Darden starting at 7:00 p.m. this evening until Friday, February 26.  Please read them carefully. We will come back to you later this week with more updates and responses to specific FAQs (e.g., libraries, etc.).

    You have my word that we will do what we can to support both the Darden and University communities over the next 10 days and through the spring semester given the delicate situation presented by the COVID pandemic.

    I appreciate our faculty and staff who continue to make learning possible. I do want to recognize that these changes will be particularly difficult for our students. We are in conversation tonight with student leaders for their perspectives. We also want to hear from you, members of the Darden community, and invite you to comment on what you need, what you are seeing, share your suggestions, etc., in this Qualtrics form.

    I do want to emphasize two important points tonight:

    • In-person classes will continue in all degree formats as scheduled.
    • Students may pick up meals from Darden during regular hours or dine in-person, with up to two people dining together.

    Program leaders will also arrange further communication with students. We all recognize the impact of COVID fatigue and social isolation on mental health. We urge anyone who needs them to please take advantage of the mental health resources UVA offers students and employees.

    The School’s leadership team and I are here for you. More to come.

  • 12 February: UK Variant, Mask Guidance, Restricted Operations

    UVA on 12 February offered the latest guidance on masks, new information on rising case counts and virus variants, and noted the possibility of moving to short-term restricted operations. Read the full update here.

    In response to the update from UVA, Dean Scott Beardsley shared the following message with the Darden community:

    Earlier today, UVA leadership shared an update on the current prevalence of COVID-19 in our community and ongoing health and safety measures. I wanted to call your attention to this important message and the key items shared by Provost Liz Magill, COO J.J. Davis and Dr. Mitch Rosner, chair of the Department of Medicine.

    With case counts increasing and the presence of the UK variant of the coronavirus in the UVA community, now is the time to continue our collective vigilance to protect each other by following all health protocols.

    • UVA leadership is keeping the restriction on meetings and gatherings at six people for now, but may move to even more limited operations if we see a continued increase in cases.
    • If you feel ill, please stay home and seek medical attention immediately.
    • If you believe you have been exposed to someone who tested positive, self-quarantine and contact Student Health or Employee Health, or Darden HR.
    • Continue to wear a face covering at all times when outside your home or in the presence of others, maintain physical distancing, and wash your hands frequently. Double masking is even safer.

    We appreciate the close observation of these health protocols in the Darden community. Thanks to our community’s commitment, we have continued with relatively lower case counts among our students, faculty and staff. We also continue operating our hybrid classrooms with no transmissions on Darden Grounds even as we have had members of our community contract this disease.  We are currently continuing operations and classes as planned. Remaining committed to protecting each other remains essential.

    I know that these restrictions cause hardship, and we all want to find ways for life to return to normal. If you are feeling alone or isolated, know that you are not alone. This community is here for you, even when there are limits on how we can be present with each other. Reach out if you need help, and find ways to connect with and support each other even in the face of these restrictions. For example, in the past few weeks student leaders have organized online and in-person small activities that help keep us connected, and Marc Johnson and Dean Krehmeyer share additional resources in the weekly updates to faculty & staff.

    Thank you for your attention to these measures to protect our community and the communities around us. As UVA leadership makes any further decisions on operating changes we will keep you informed on what those mean for the Darden community.

  • 4 February: Mask Update, Test Scheduling and Contract Deadlines

    UVA on 4 February offered the latest guidance on masks, new information on vaccine distribution and guidance for student clubs. Read the full update here.

  • 15 January: Spring Semester Decision

    UVA sent out the following email on 15 January:

    In This Email:

    • UVA will resume in-person undergraduate instruction on Feb. 1, as planned. Residence hall move-in will also proceed as planned. Likewise, graduate and professional programs will proceed as planned.


    • An increase in the prevalence of the virus will require stricter health and safety policies, including a limit on the size of gatherings, to begin the semester, as well as a renewed commitment from the UVA community to adhere to those policies.


    • This update features important details and reminders on testing, vaccines, and other important issues.

    We write to inform you that UVA will proceed with our current plan to begin in-person undergraduate instruction on Feb. 1, with some modifications to our health and safety protocols in response to an increase in the prevalence of the virus. Residence hall move-in will proceed as planned. Likewise, graduate and professional program instruction will also proceed as planned.

    Here are a few key reasons behind this decision:

    • The University’s knowledge about the pandemic and capacity to combat it through extensive asymptomatic testing, quarantine and isolation, and other measures have grown significantly since the academic year began.
    • Offering in-person experiences will better enable the University to monitor and govern compliance with public health measures for the many UVA students who live off-Grounds and will be in the area this spring.
    • After completing a full semester in the fall, we have not seen any evidence of transmission within the classroom, between students and UVA faculty and staff, or from UVA students into the greater Charlottesville-Albemarle community.
    • While it was challenging, this community has demonstrated that we are capable of complying with measures that limit the spread.

    As we prepare for this semester, the increase in the prevalence of the virus in Virginia and around the country, as well as reports of new, more contagious variants of the virus mean we must take an even more aggressive approach, as an institution and as individuals, to limiting the spread within our community.

    We strongly encourage all students who return to Grounds to take extra precautions to minimize risk of exposure for at least 14 days before arriving in Charlottesville. Additionally, starting on Jan. 19, and continuing at least through the first two weeks of the semester, the University will limit the size of gatherings to no more than six people. As with previous limits, this policy does not apply to classroom settings. The update below includes additional measures the University is taking to limit the spread of the virus.

    Simply put, our margin for error is narrower than it was in the fall. A successful spring semester will require even greater adherence to UVA policies around testing, masks, physical distancing, and gatherings. This includes those who have already had COVID-19, as well as those who have received a vaccine, for reasons we explain more in depth below. If you are unsure of your own ability to abide by these measures, most students have the option to study remotely from home.
    Please review the update below for important information about these policies and other important details about the coming semester. As we have said before, we continue to monitor the progression of the virus and will make changes to our approach if they are necessary to keep this community safe. Thank you for your continued patience and vigilance in this challenging moment and we are looking forward to seeing many of you when Spring 2021 gets underway.

    Jim Ryan

    Liz Magill

    J.J. Davis
    Chief Operating Officer

    Craig Kent
    Executive Vice President for Health Affairs


    New Temporary Limits on Gathering Size

    Beginning Jan. 19, gatherings on and off-Grounds will be limited to no more than 6 people, down from 10. This limitation will stay in effect through Feb. 14, at which time University leaders will reevaluate the policy. All other University public health and safety measures remain in effect including requirements around masks and physical distancing. The University continues to urge all community members to avoid unnecessary travel outside the Charlottesville region. For more information on this policy, click here.

    Click here for more information on all of UVA’s health and safety protocols for Spring 2021.

    Guidance for Community Members Who Previously Contracted COVID-19

    All UVA community members who are in the Charlottesville region this semester will be required to follow University health and safety policies around masks, physical distancing, testing, gatherings, and other key behaviors, including those who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 or who have been vaccinated. There are many reasons for this approach, including:

    • The science around whether previous COVID-19 patients or those who have been vaccinated can contract the virus again and spread it to others again is inconclusive.


    • People who contract COVID-19 may shed the virus for a period of time that extends past the alleviation of symptoms or a positive test.


    • Fellow UVA community members have no way of knowing which people previously tested positive and which are putting themselves and others at risk by ignoring health and safety standards. Universal adherence will avoid anxiety and potential conflict.


    • Most importantly, following these standards is part of the commitment people who are on Grounds make to the University and to each other.

    Executive Order on Stay-at-Home Requirements, Dining and Alcohol Sales

    Effective Dec. 14, 2020, Gov. Ralph Northam put into place temporary restrictions due to the coronavirus. His executive order requires individuals to stay at home between midnight and 5 a.m. unless they meet one of several narrow exceptions like traveling to school or work, seeking medical attention, or caring for other individuals. The order also restricts on-premise alcohol sales at bars, restaurants and other establishments after 10 p.m. and requires all such establishments to close at midnight. More information is available here.

    Prevalence Testing: Be Sure to Take Your UVA ID

    All students and employees must present a UVA ID when they arrive for asymptomatic prevalence testing. Students or UVA employees who have lost or misplaced their UVA Academic ID can schedule an appointment to obtain a replacement by submitting the ID Replacement Request Form online. For questions related to a replacement UVA Health ID, call 434-982-4009 or email idservices@virginia.edu .

    New students obtaining their first ID should follow guidance they are receiving from their school or from Housing & Residence Life.

    Student Pre-Arrival and Prevalence Testing Requirements

    All students planning to return to Grounds or live in Charlottesville or Albemarle County this semester must submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test. For more information on pre-arrival testing click here.

    As of Jan. 11, all students who have returned to Grounds or are currently living in Charlottesville or Albemarle County are required to resume weekly testing. More information on student testing requirements is available here.

    Reminder: Voluntary Saliva Testing Available for UVA Employees

    University employees are eligible for voluntary asymptomatic testing through UVA’s saliva testing program. For more information click here. For information on prevalence testing sites and hours, visit the Be SAFE site. General questions about prevalence testing should be directed to  prevalence-test@virginia.edu.

    Vaccination Update

    COVID-19 vaccinations are underway in Virginia, with phasing and eligibility determined by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control.

    Groups at greatest risk of contracting COVID-19 or suffering serious cases of it have been given top priority, and as part of the first phase, VDH has charged UVA Health with distributing vaccines to health care personnel. Only UVA Health team members and individuals from select partnerships and programs are being vaccinated at this time. COVID-19 vaccines are not available for the general community.

    If you are not in a category listed in Phase 1A, please do not sign up for a vaccine appointment or show up at a vaccine clinic. You can learn more about vaccination efforts and future phases here.

    Symptomatic Testing: Available at SHW

    Students who are in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area and experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should call Student Health and Wellness (SHW) at 434-924-5362 or make a COVID-19 screening appointment online via the HealthyHoos Patient Portal.

    If you are in the area and think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please call the SHW Exposure Call Center at 434-924-5362 and press option 2 for further guidance.

    It’s Not Too Late for a Flu Shot

    Even though COVID-19 is in the front of our minds, influenza remains a concern well into the spring. Student Health and Wellness encourages you to get a flu shot to protect yourself and others. If you are currently in the area, you can make an appointment with SHW to receive the shot. Pharmacies in your hometown and in the Charlottesville area may also have an available supply of the flu vaccine. More information is available here.


    Continued Telework Guidance

    Remote work plans developed for Fall 2020 remain in effect. Academic Division school and unit leadership has the discretion to amend their respective plans or to develop alternative work plans to accommodate critical needs in support of the delivery of instruction and research over the course of the Spring semester. Teleworking is strongly encouraged for employees who are not required to be on Grounds to perform their core job duties. UVA Health team members should follow guidance provided by Health System leadership.


    Reminder: Update Spring 2021 Plans in SIS

    All students are required to complete the Spring 2021 Activity Guide in SIS to communicate plans for the spring 2021 term. If you are an undergraduate student who receives University grants as part of your financial aid, please visit the SFS website and see the “Undergraduate Financial Aid for Spring 2021” section for more information about possible impacts to your financial aid based upon your response to the questions about housing in the activity guide.

    Keep Your Address Updated in SIS

    As part of the requirement around weekly prevalence testing, students are reminded to keep their mailing address updated in SIS. Only students who are living in the area of Charlottesville or Albemarle County will be subject to prevalence testing.

  • 14 December: Spring Testing, Key SIS Requirements, New Health Guidance

    UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis sent an update on preparing for the spring semester on 14 December.

  • 19 November: Holiday Testing, Flu Shots, Town Hall

    The weekly UVA Return to Grounds Update from UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis published 19 November is now available online.

    Read the update.

  • 12 November: Home Stretch, Safe Holidays, Key Departure Details

    The weekly UVA Return to Grounds Update from UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis published 12 November is now available online.

    Read the update.

  • 5 November: Pre-Departure Testing, Grading Options, J-Term

    The weekly UVA Return to Grounds Update from UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis published 5 November is now available online.

    Read the update.

  • 29 October: Stay Focused, Halloween, Spring Break Days

    The weekly UVA Return to Grounds Update from UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis published 29 October is now available online.

  • 22 October: An Update on the Spring Semester at Darden

    UVA Darden Dean Scott Beardsley on 23 October sent the following message to the Darden community.

    I write to make sure you saw today’s UVA Return to Grounds Update from UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis, below, with important announcements about UVA plans for the spring semester. Since most of their message focuses on decisions for undergraduates, I write to provide additional details as they relate to Darden. In some cases, we are still developing plans based on this latest guidance.

    As they note, all students — including Darden students — will have access to a COVID-19 test prior to leaving for Thanksgiving. More details on how to access this testing will come in the near future. There will be pre-testing again for students prior to the start of the spring semester, similar to the protocols this fall.

    In all Darden degree formats, we will continue with our planned mix of hybrid and virtual course offerings through the spring. Thank you again to the Darden faculty for your leadership in the transition to virtual and hybrid, to Joanne Meier and the team working to enable this, and to all of the staff who have stepped up to provide virtual course support and other resources.

    In the Executive MBA program and MSBA, we will keep our current calendar for the spring semester with no changes. As these populations have different requirements, travel, and are primarily based in Rosslyn, the University is allowing us to maintain the schedule we have planned. Yael Grushka-Cockayne and the team will communicate this detail to these students.

    In the full-time MBA, we currently plan to operate according to the current start and end dates for J-term and spring semester with adjustments within the term to eliminate spring break. Tom Steenburgh and the MBA Program Committee will review changes with the team in the coming weeks and provide updates prior to Thanksgiving.

    • J-term for the Second Years will operate as scheduled. All classes in that period are currently scheduled to be all virtual.
    • Our Section J students will start their Darden coursework as planned on January 4, with virtual classes and in-person orientation activity.
    • Jeff McNish and the Career Center will provide an update soon on plans for internship interviews in the January period for our First Years. We are hearing from many employers that they plan to continue with virtual recruiting into the spring.
    • We plan to start spring semester classes as scheduled on Tuesday, January 19.

    In terms of spring break, UVA has asked all schools to forgo the traditional, one-week spring break and instead balance having several shorter breaks in the semester when students can rest and recharge. This new decision aligns with the ongoing guidance to avoid non-essential travel during the semester. This is to protect public health and the risks that come with travel and return to Charlottesville in potentially spreading the virus.

    The team is actively reviewing the spring calendar and will share more soon about what this will mean for changes to the spring academic schedule; we will try to minimize disruption. We will ensure there are still breaks for students during the term, including between Q3 and Q4. We heard from our students about the strains brought on this semester by going straight into Q2, and we will ensure that we do not repeat that schedule. However, we will not have a full week off per University guidelines. Tom Steenburgh, Marc Johnson and the teams are working on some minimally disruptive changes to the calendar to accomplish this, and we will finalize and share the plans before Thanksgiving. Please reach out to them with any ideas.

    As the University leaders noted, we should expect that the spring will continue public health protocols including physical distancing, masking, limits on gatherings and other restrictions. The Safe Return to Grounds Phase 2 committee, led by Rachel Dudzik and Ed Warwick, is evaluating plans for our faculty and staff from January forward. You will hear more from them in the coming weeks.

    I also hope you saw the news that the University has added three additional days off for employees at the end of the year, so that we will be closed from December 21 – January 1. I hope that everyone can find time between Thanksgiving and the start of the New Year to recharge after an intense year.

    The University is carefully monitoring the progression of the virus, with health and safety as the priorities, and we will continue to keep you informed. Thank you as always for your commitment and support as we navigate these ever-changing and challenging times.

  • 22 October: Spring Updates, Departure Testing, J-Term

    The weekly UVA Return to Grounds Update from UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis published 22 October is now available online.

    Read the update.

  • 15 October: Positive Trends, Group Restrictions, Grading Policy

    The weekly UVA Return to Grounds Update from UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis published 15 October is now available online.

    Read the update.

  • 8 October: Student Testing, Course Enrollment, Outdoor Activities

    The weekly UVA Return to Grounds Update from UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis published 8 October is now available online.

  • 1 October: Saliva Testing, Contingency Plans, Student Activities

    The weekly UVA Return to Grounds Update from UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis published 1 October is now available online.

  • 22 September: UVA President Jim Ryan Announces Policy Changes to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

    The new policies, announced 22 September, limit gatherings to no more than five people, call for wearing masks at all times except when in your home, eating or exercising outside, and ask students not to leave Charlottesville or invite visitors over the next two weeks.

  • 17 September: Prevention, Detection, Response

    The weekly UVA Return to Grounds Update from UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis published 17 September is now available online.

    Read the update.

  • 10 September: Expanded Testing, Academic Hints, Dining Options

    The weekly UVA Return to Grounds Update from UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis published 10 September is now available online.

  • 3 September: Visitors Policy, Testing Protocols, Student Move-In

    The weekly UVA Return to Grounds Update from UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis published 3 September is now available online.

  • 28 August: A Message From UVA's Senior Leadership Team

    The weekly UVA Return to Grounds Update from UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis published 28 August is now available online. In this edition, UVA leaders confirmed plans to begin in-person instruction as-planned on 8 September.

  • 20 August: Shared Effort, Compliance Reporting, COVID Testing — Update From UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis

    The weekly UVA Return to Grounds Update from UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis published 20 August is now available online.

    Read the update.

  • 13 August: Covid Resources, Move-in Dates, Employee Testing — Update From UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis

    The weekly UVA Return to Grounds Update from UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis published 13 August is now available online.

    Read the update.


  • 6 August: Health App, Student Expectations, Virus Testing — Update From UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis

    The weekly UVA Return to Grounds Update from UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis published 6 August is now available online, including three major updates on the approach UVA is taking heading into the fall semester:

    • Details about the student COVID-19 testing program
    • UVA's decision to delay for two weeks the start of in-person classes for undergraduates and the opening of residence halls for undergraduates (Note: Darden degree programs will begin on time as scheduled)
    • Steps that students and all members of the UVA community will be required to take to keep each other and the Charlottesville community healthy and safe, including a series of requirements students must fulfill before returning to Grounds

    Read the update.

  • 4 August: Darden and UVA Phased University Reopening Update From Dean Scott Beardsley

    I hope that you have been able to get a bit of a break this summer to recharge, and that you and your families are staying well and healthy through these challenging times. Thank you for all you are doing. I write concerning the beginning of the new academic year, which is almost upon us. Today, UVA leadership wrote to the University community about the phased reopening of the University — with a notable change for undergraduate students. I write to forward UVA leadership’s note to ensure that you received and read the email message (below), and to share an update on Darden’s plans for reopening in August. 

    As President Jim Ryan and team write, graduate and professional school programs will start as planned. The important change they announce is that in-person undergraduate courses and the opening of undergraduate residence halls will be delayed by two weeks to enable a gradual, phased approach to the return to UVA Grounds.  

    As President Ryan notes, the phased reopening of the University started over the summer. Graduate schools including the Schools of Medicine and Nursing have already been conducting in-person courses for some time, and much of UVA’s research enterprise restarted several weeks ago. Darden has already begun — starting last week — to re-open and to deliver limited Executive Education programming in both Rosslyn and Charlottesville. 

    A core part of the phased reopening process is our essential health protocols, including testing, daily health attestation, and agreement by participants to follow the “Big 4” when on Grounds: wearing a face covering, physical distancing of at least six feet, regular hand hygiene, and staying home if you feel ill.

    Looking ahead, Darden plans to continue reopening in-person instructional activities on the following timetable via a process that supports the safety and health of our stakeholders:

    • 9-14 August: The Executive Education and Lifelong Learning Management Development Program convenes for its second module in Charlottesville.
    • 14-16 August: The MSBA Class of 2021 meets for classes in Rosslyn.
    • 17 August: The Full-time MBA Class of 2022 starts its opening orientation week, which is largely virtual. 
    • 21-23 August: The Executive MBA Class of 2021 has a residency in Rosslyn with hybrid/in-person delivery for students enrolled in two electives; other courses remain virtual.
    • 24 August: The Full-time MBA Class of 2021 and Class of 2022 begin classes for the fall semester through hybrid/in-person and virtual delivery.
    • 11 September: The Executive MBA Class of 2022 has a residency in Rosslyn with some hybrid/in-person delivery and virtual classes (they will start with an all-virtual Leadership Residency in August).

    Darden Faculty & Staff

    For Darden faculty and staff, we are now in Darden Phase I of our reopening. This means that select individuals are authorized to be on Grounds when required to support delivery of educational programming and research. Before arriving on Grounds, authorized individuals are encouraged to complete an Employee Wellness Attestation each day and required to complete a Return to Work on Grounds Training Module. All other faculty and staff continue working remotely. Please contact Mary Jones or Gayle Mapstone of HR if you have questions.

    Darden Students

    Looking ahead, Darden plans to resume selected in-person instruction according to the schedule above.  For our students, access to the Darden Grounds in Charlottesville and Rosslyn will not resume until classes begin. Today, we will forward the note below from UVA leadership to degree program students with an update on their specific program. Students will also hear more in the coming days from their specific program leadership regarding policies and procedures for Grounds access this fall. Given significantly reduced space capacity to accommodate social distancing and ensure delivery of the in-person portion of hybrid classes, access to facilities will be reduced for the fall semester. 

    This week, students received an email from UVA Dean of Students Allen Groves providing information on how to request a free, self-administered coronavirus test kit. A negative test result is mandatory for students before returning to Grounds. More details can be found in this UVA Today article or on the UVA Student Resource Site. For faculty and staff who will be on site, we expect that testing will be available on a voluntary basis in the last weeks of August (details to follow).  

    UVA is planning to introduce a new health attestation and exposure tracing app at the start of  next week, and members of the Darden community are currently beta testing the app. Working with the Virginia Department of Health, UVA has developed the app with the local tech company WillowTree. The app, which has links to the Apple and Google contact tracing function, was discussed at the UVA Board of Visitors meeting last Friday (please see attached materials from the meeting for more details). Tomorrow, students will be asked to sign a stringent “contract” in SIS before completing registration, which outlines expected health behaviors and norms to be able to stay on Grounds and acknowledges risk.

    We will discuss the detailed protocols and policies developed at UVA and by the Darden Safe Return to Grounds Committee at our Town Hall next week on Wednesday, 12 August at Noon. I would like to extend my thanks to everyone on the committee and subcommittees and all those who have been hard at work preparing us for the year ahead with health and safety a top priority as we seek to meet our mission.

    At this stage, the good news is that we are expecting a fully enrolled class across our degree formats thanks to a surge in applications from strategic actions early in the pandemic by our Admissions team, although last-minute melt should be expected and international student uncertainty persists in a very challenging environment for our students. We look forward to the start of the new academic year and the ability to resume some of our in-person education and research activities, while ensuring the health and safety of our community. 

    The unfortunate truth is that COVID-19 pandemic is not going away anytime soon. I am sorry for the uncertainty, anxiety, health and financial issues COVID-19 may be causing you. To keep our community safe, the Grounds and its facilities must operate very differently, and we will all have to adopt new norms and behaviors to create a community of mutual care and concern. I am confident that we can do it and have a successful semester. I take heart in the fact that education is a critical service to society along with healthcare, and that we are doing our part to serve. Thanks again for all that you do.

  • 30 July: Hospital Capacity, Class Registration, Childcare Needs — Update From UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis

    The weekly UVA Return to Grounds Update from UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis published 30 July is now available online, including information on important changes to the undergraduate course registration period, the reopening of some IM-Rec facilities, a reminder for all University staff to complete the mandatory Return to Grounds training modules, and other important updates for students, parents, faculty, and staff.

    Read the update.

  • 23 July: Updates on UVA Operations and Returning to Work — Update From UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis

    In last week’s update we announced the University’s comprehensive public health and safety plan to limit the spread of coronavirus when we welcome students back to Grounds in August. That plan, along with many other resources and FAQs, is available on the University’s Return to Grounds website and student portal.

    As has been true from the beginning, the progression of this virus is unpredictable, and, like all of you, we know that situation right now is cause for some concern. On a daily basis, a team of experts and University leaders are monitoring the progression of the virus and our operational readiness to handle it.  While our plan is designed to return to Grounds in a way that limits risks to the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and Charlottesville neighbors, if public health conditions require a change in our approach, we will take action to continue to deliver on our University’s mission safely.

    This week’s Return to Grounds Update includes links to mandatory “Return to Work” education and training modules that every UVA employee must take before returning to an in-person setting. We also provide new information on changes to Parking and Transportation services due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Finally, this week’s update includes information about resources the University is offering for our frontline staff as they work on-Grounds. We recognize the enormous contribution these employees make to UVA and we are working hard to support them and keep them safe.

    In future communications, we will announce more specific guidelines about social gatherings and how and when to wear masks. We will also distribute mandatory training modules for students and describe how the University will hold all members of the UVA community accountable for doing the right things to keep each other and our neighbors safe.

    As Dean Groves said in a message to students last week, our confidence in the ability of our students, faculty, and staff to respond to this moment is the foundation of our plan to return to Grounds. We are working hard to make sure you have what you need to meet that expectation and make our return to Grounds a success.

    Liz Magill

    J.J. Davis
    Chief Operating Officer

    Academic Life

    Academic Calendar and Exam Schedule

    Undergraduate classes will begin on Tuesday, Aug. 25. The last day of regularly scheduled classes will be Tuesday, Nov. 24. Final exams will be held online from Wednesday, Dec. 2, through Friday, Dec. 11. Check the updated exam schedule and the Fall 2020 academic calendar for more information. Many of UVA’s graduate and professional schools have their own exam schedules. Visit your school’s website for details.

    Updated Information on In-Person vs. Online Courses

    The University plans to release updated information about which courses will be in-person and which will be online in the Student Information System (SIS) by Aug. 1, in time for students to decide their plans for the fall. Students and instructors will be able to see the updated instruction mode for each class and search for additional classes based on the instruction mode. See the instruction modes used at UVA..


    Parking and Transportation Modifications

    Parking options and transit routes will be modified in Fall 2020. Visit the Parking and Transportation website for the most up to date information. The following summarizes operations for Fall 2020:

    UTS bus loading protocols, service hours, and routes have been significantly altered. See Fall 2020 routes and the UTS Rider Guide for details.

    Employees who hold annual permits expiring on Aug. 15 will receive parking permit renewal information in the coming weeks. New options will be available to accommodate those who continue to work remotely and may not need to park on Grounds every day. Monthly fees are increased slightly in 2020-21 in most central, west, and north Grounds lots ($3-$5/month), but because parking fees were not charged for June, July, and the first half of August, the net annual impact on employees is below 2019-20 annual fees. See the P&T website for information.

    Details on student parking are posted on the P&T website.

    Returning to Work

    Return to Grounds Training Video Modules

    All Academic Division faculty and staff are required to complete a “Return to Grounds” training module prior to the start of the Fall 2020 semester. This module explains basic safety standards and behavioral expectations. Those completing the module will be required to acknowledge that they have reviewed the content and agree to abide by the safety standards as outlined.

    The module is now available through Workday and can be accessed by logging into Workday or by clicking the links below. A supplemental module available to managers provides additional details necessary to support team members. Managers are strongly encouraged to review this video as well.

    Support for Frontline Staff

    The University values the contribution of frontline staff such as bus drivers, emergency health workers, and custodial service workers and is taking steps to keep them healthy and safe as they work on Grounds. We are making changes to physical spaces and staffing plans, providing masks and sanitizing stations, making symptomatic COVID-19 testing available for staff and asymptomatic testing as available, and providing many other resources to support our frontline staff in this challenging moment. More information on these actions and resources is available here.

    Student Life

    Student Information About Fall Housing and August Move-In

    Students planning to live on Grounds for the upcoming academic year received communication this week from Housing & Residence Life, outlining move-in activities for next month. First-year students will move in Wednesday, Aug. 19, through Saturday, Aug. 22. Upperclass students will start the move-in process on Monday, Aug. 17, and continue through Monday, Aug. 24. 

  • 16 July: Student and Public Health Information and Resources — Update From UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis

    This week’s edition of the University of Virginia “Return to Grounds Update” is devoted to the University’s highest priority: Keeping our students, faculty, staff, and Charlottesville neighbors healthy and safe.

    As we have seen over the past few weeks, the virus that causes COVID-19 is unforgiving and takes hold in communities where vigilance around public health measures begins to falter. The plan we share today is comprehensive, but its message is simple: Tackling COVID-19 is a challenge, but we will have a successful return to Grounds if we pull together and take the individual steps necessary to keep ourselves and the people around us safe.

    This plan is the product of months of work by University experts in medicine and public health, and it reflects the latest state and federal guidance for higher education. We also worked closely with representatives from the faculty, staff, and student communities, as well as the Virginia Department of Health and local community leaders.

    Here are a few highlights about our health and safety plan, with details and links in the subject headings below to more information on the UVA Return to Grounds website and student hub. You can find a printable version of the whole plan here.

    The University has developed a comprehensive testing plan for students, faculty, staff, and contract employees. It includes mandatory testing for all graduate and undergraduate students who will be on Grounds and significant voluntary testing resources for University employees and contractors. We are also continuing to assist the Virginia Department of Health with community testing in Charlottesville and the surrounding area.

    Our plan includes details about our symptom tracking app, the distribution of personal protective equipment, changes we are making to spaces all over Grounds, and updates regarding isolation and contact tracing in the event of positive cases.

    As useful as these steps are, we want to emphasize two aspects of this plan that will determine our success. First, we will all have a responsibility to comply with public health measures that prevent the spread of COVID-19. The science is clear – widespread wearing of masks, physical distancing, regular handwashing, and staying home if you are feeling ill are the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Every member of the UVA community will be accountable for following these practices both on and off Grounds.

    Second, the success of our plan relies on your cooperation so that we, in concert with the Virginia Department of Health, can rapidly respond to any positive case of COVID-19 in our UVA community, advise those infected to seek medical attention and self-isolate, and notify those exposed to quarantine themselves.

    In the coming weeks we will provide additional updates on our expectations for students, faculty, and staff. This plan will only work if we commit, together, to act in the best interests of the people around us. That’s what President Ryan means when he talks about being a good and great University and that’s the standard we believe this community will meet as we make our Return to Grounds a success.

    Liz Magill

    J.J. Davis
    Chief Operating Officer

    Student Health And Safety

    Students Strongly Encouraged to Self-Quarantine
    All students intending to return to Grounds in August are strongly encouraged to self-quarantine 14 days prior to returning to Grounds. This measure protects public health by limiting exposure to individuals who may be infected with COVID-19 and can transmit the virus.

    Mandatory Testing for Students Returning to Grounds
    All undergraduate and graduate students who plan to be on Grounds this fall will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 viral PCR test result to the University prior to their return. UVA will send testing kits for students to administer at home at no cost to the student. Students will receive additional instruction in the coming weeks about testing and test results.

    Public Health Measures

    Every member of the University community who studies or works on Grounds this year will be required to adhere to policies and behaviors that protect themselves and the people around them from contracting COVID-19. Those measures include:

    Daily Health Checks Through an App
    All students, faculty, and staff planning to be on Grounds will complete a daily check on symptoms related to COVID-19 through the “HOOS Health Check” app or by email. Instructions for downloading “HOOS Health Check” will be provided in mid-August.

    Simple Steps to Take Care of Each Other
    Every person who studies, works, or visits UVA Grounds will be required to wear face coverings and observe strict physical distancing procedures. These rules apply in classrooms, labs, dining halls, lounges, and other communal spaces.

    Face Coverings and Other Resources
    The University will provide two cloth face coverings for each employee in the Academic division. For students, the University will provide two cloth face coverings, two 2-ounce containers of hand sanitizer and a touch-tool, which is meant to assist in tasks such as opening doors and punching keypads, hands-free.

    Hand Sanitizer Stations and Cleaning Protocols
    In order to promote good hygiene when soap and water are unavailable, the University will place 2,600 free-standing hand sanitizer stands in high-traffic common areas, plus an additional 1,000 one-gallon containers in spaces that don’t receive the free-standing units. Additionally, UVA Facilities Management has trained custodial staff on new enhanced cleaning protocols based on industry standards and best practice guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control to keep spaces around the University as clean and disinfected as possible.

    Modified University Transit Services
    All passengers on University Transit Services will be required to wear a face covering at all times. Capacity on buses will be reduced from 50 to 20 and services hours will be modified to accommodate enhanced cleaning and sanitation of vehicles.

    Dining Service Changes Promote Physical Distancing
    Dining halls will be open for students with a meal plan, but dine-in options will be limited in all dining halls and retail dining facilities.

    Ongoing Testing and Resources

    Once students and employees return to Grounds, testing for COVID-19 will occur in a number of ways to help maintain the safety of the UVA community and the surrounding Charlottesville area. Please note that this guidance is subject to change as public health conditions evolve.

    Continued Testing for Symptomatic Individuals
    Anyone with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 will be asked to get tested immediately as well as to self-isolate while the test result is pending. UVA Health will continue to offer testing services for all patients who present with COVID-19 symptoms.

    Expanded Testing to Prevent Outbreaks
    In the event that multiple members of the UVA community contract COVID-19 in the same area, we will ask those who have spent time in these areas to be tested because they will have been at higher risk for contracting COVID-19.

    Efforts to Monitor Potential Outbreaks
    The University is considering several strategies to detect possible COVID-19 outbreaks including testing the wastewater in certain University buildings or residences, and conducting random tests of people in a particular area of the University.

    Voluntary Testing Resources for Asymptomatic Individuals
    UVA students, faculty, staff, and contract employees who do not exhibit symptoms but would like to be voluntarily tested will have the option to do so no more than once every 60 days, unless prior authorization is obtained from Employee Health or Student Health.

    Community Spread Prevention

    Effective Contact Tracing Requires Community Engagement
    If a member of the UVA community (students, faculty, or staff) is identified through contact tracing as having had close contact with an infected individual, they will be referred for testing by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) or their health care provider. Limiting the spread of the disease will require everyone in the UVA community to be ready to engage with UVA and VDH contact tracing teams.

    Ongoing Resources and Procedures for Isolation and Quarantine
    For Students – UVA has plans to isolate students living on Grounds who test positive for the virus, and to quarantine students living on Grounds who have been exposed to someone with a positive diagnosis of COVID-19. Students living off-Grounds will be expected to quarantine or isolate at their off-Grounds housing or at home, if they can travel safely.

    For UVA Employees – Employees will need to isolate if they test positive for the virus, and to quarantine at home if they have been exposed.

    Current guidance from the Virginia Department of Health on isolation and quarantine can be found here.    

    Community Testing

    For much of the pandemic, UVA Health, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health and Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, has been providing on-site testing in the community as the need arises in particular parts of the local area. Beginning in late July, UVA Health will offer community testing on a regular basis in fixed locations as well as at sites that rotate based on need.  In addition, depending on need, other locations will be served, including by the mobile testing unit.


  • 9 July: Return to Work, Class Registration, Travel Policy ⁠— Update From UVA Provost Liz Magill and COO J.J. Davis

    Welcome to the first edition of the University of Virginia’s “Return to Grounds Update.” This new communication will offer updates on the upcoming fall semester and the ways we can all work together to make a safe and successful return to Grounds.

    As we reported in an email on June 17, the University is planning to welcome students back to Grounds in August and to hold many courses in person. Large classes and gatherings will be held virtually and all students, faculty, and staff will be expected to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by maintaining physical distance, tracking symptoms with an app, and wearing masks in common spaces.

    This weekly update will be the primary source for information about the decisions we are making and how they will affect students, faculty, staff, and our Charlottesville neighbors. Our Return to Grounds website and student hub will continue to be the home for all of the information we have provided to date, as well as answers to many frequently asked questions.

    This week’s Return to Grounds Update features a new guide for employees on returning to work safely, new information on first-year orientation and course registration, and the latest on how faculty and staff with special health considerations can request and receive accommodations. In the coming weeks we will provide an update on the University’s health and safety plans, including COVID-19 testing, and other steps we are taking to deliver on the mission of our University as safely as possible.

    On behalf of President Ryan and the leadership here at UVA, we want to thank you for your continued patience and perseverance during this challenging time.

    Liz Magill

    J.J. Davis
    Chief Operating Officer

    Returning to Work

    New Guide Provides Key Information for Academic Division Faculty, Staff on Safely Returning to Work

    A Return to Grounds Guide available on the UVA Human Resources website provides Academic Division faculty, staff, and student-workers with general information they need to know as they prepare to return to on-Grounds workplaces, as well as links to additional resources.

    Required Training Videos for Faculty and Staff

    Faculty and staff will be required to complete a Return to Grounds training module prior to their return. The module will explain basic safety standards and set behavioral expectations for returning to Grounds. A second training module for managers will provide additional details necessary to support team members. More information and links to the training modules will be included in future editions of the Weekly Update.

    Request for Work Accommodations or Modifications

    Individual circumstances make some members of the University community more vulnerable than others to the effects of COVID-19, and UVA will make every effort to grant requests for reasonable accommodations or modifications from faculty, staff, and graduate teaching assistants. For information see the UVA HR Return to Grounds website.

    Additional Details on Return to Work for All Employees

    For Academic Division faculty and staff, returning to work safely includes multiple considerations and options. In addition to the resources above, the University continues to develop and post guidance and information on issues such as telecommuting options, teaching and research, a new health check app, parking and transportation, cleaning protocols, and other topics. Find additional information and resources at the UVA Human Resources site.

    Academic Life

    Virtual Orientation and Course Registration Begin for New Students

    Virtual orientation for new undergraduate students began July 6 with individual course enrollment appointments, which are scheduled by each student’s school and continue through July 29. Appointments for incoming transfer students take place July 27 and 29.

    Engagement Opportunities Offer Resources and Advice

    New students may choose from a diverse lineup of virtual engagement sessions that include advising help, free exercise and yoga classes, advice on buying a new computer, and other topics. Online Bingo Nights, hosted by the UVA Alumni Association, an E-Sports Tournament, and a Virtual 5K are among the options. Sessions continue through mid-August.


    Travel Restrictions Extended

    Restrictions on travel that were implemented in the spring have been extended. For more information and instructions about how to request exceptions to the policy, see the Return to Grounds website.

  • 17 June: Update on Plans for Fall 2020 and Start of Academic Year

    This afternoon, UVA President Jim Ryan, EVP and Provost Liz Magill, EVP for Health Affairs K. Craig Kent and EVP and COO J.J. Davis wrote to the University community to clarify plans for the upcoming year at UVA.

    The announcement (recapped on UVA Today) builds on the letter the UVA leadership team sent to the community on May 28 to outline their decision-making process and early thinking, and covers a significant amount of information. Topics include: academic plans, residence and student life, public health measures, and the focus on equity during this process. As Darden’s dean, I was involved in the very collaborative process that led to these recommendations and leadership guidance, and I fully support the announcement.

    Since much of the information applies to undergraduate schools, here I will provide some initial points on how the recommendations pertain to Darden. Over the coming days and weeks, the Enterprise Team and I, in concert with the various working groups at Darden that are planning for return to Grounds, will continue to prepare for Darden’s unique situation.

    Students will hear from the program leadership over the coming weeks on what it means for their specific format for the fall. A full update on the plans with further detail on items such as course planning, orientation and further health updates will be shared by leadership with the community by Monday, July 6. Darden remains committed to working hard to uphold our mission and aspiration to deliver the most transformational educational experience possible, within the constraints of the pandemic and our desire to care and protect those with health issues.

    Degree Programs:

    • Darden is planning to start degree program classes on-time and as planned in August, in a mix of in-person and virtual instruction. Students will hear from their program leadership what this mix will look like and next steps. Class start dates are:
      MSBA 8/15
      Executive MBA 8/17
      Full-time MBA 8/24
    • We will offer as many in-person classes as we can, and there will be a remote option for students who are not on Grounds. We will also have other in-person engagements outside of the classroom to support the Darden community and student experience. Regardless of where students are, our aim will be to provide all of them an engaging and enriching academic experience. Some classes may be entirely virtual, but many will have in-person content (simultaneously offered in hybrid format). The degree program leadership, the faculty and Darden Instructional Design and Media have been hard at work learning from our rapid transition to virtual this spring and outfitting all of our facilities with new technology and approaches to our virtual and hybrid options.
    • In-person student activities, such as learning teams, club events, section events and use of the library and study spaces, will be enabled — subject to established public health and university guidelines. We will work with student leaders as the fall approaches to clarify these guidelines and make plans that will advance our community in a safe way.
    • Social distancing restrictions, currently six feet as set by the Commonwealth of Virginia, will determine the number of students that can be in person in a room at any one time, and may influence a given course’s overall class size. Any course that is taught in person will have a hybrid virtual synchronous delivery option.
    • The fall schedule will be condensed: residential MBA students will conclude instruction by Thanksgiving with exams following; executive MBA students may still have instruction after Thanksgiving and will hear more from program leaders.
    • To protect student health and well-being, remote delivery options will be made available to any student. Residential MBA Students will not be required to live in Charlottesville, although we expect many will live near Darden if they are able to. Students not living in Charlottesville during the academic year should familiarize themselves with how and when non-class activities that may be of interest to them will work.

    Darden Executive Education:

    • Darden’s Executive Education will re-start in Charlottesville and at UVA Darden DC Metro in Rosslyn, in accordance with UVA advice and subject to the guidance provided by Governor Northam (which may vary by region). Non-degree programs will be delivered in-person (and subject to social distancing guidelines) and virtually. We will adopt additional health and safety measures and ensure separation of these participants from students in the Darden degree programs.

    Public Health Measures:

    • As we return to Grounds (to Charlottesville and Rosslyn), we must create a culture of mutual care and concern. It will take the efforts of us all to protect the health of our community members. While some individuals may be at lower risk from the virus, we have to act in ways that ensure the health of all members of our community, and the community around us. To be clear, a healthier and safer environment resulting from careful behavior will increase the likelihood we can maintain or expand the range of in-person instruction and activity; the inverse is also true.
    • Every student, faculty and staff member who will be on Grounds this fall will have to meet certain health and safety requirements designed to keep members of the UVA and broader community safe. At Darden, the COVID-19 Working Group and our Return to Grounds Committee are hard at work evaluating the best available health guidance and practices to inform our approach within the guidance provided by the Commonwealth and UVA. These measures will include:
      • Social distancing (currently six feet) at all times on Grounds
      • The requirement to wear a face covering (see UVA policy). UVA will provide personal protective equipment to all students, faculty and staff.
      • Daily reporting of symptoms through an app provided by UVA prior to coming to Grounds and possible temperature checking upon arrival on Grounds.
      • Regular hand washing, and when not possible, the use of hand sanitizer that will be provided throughout Ground
      • Enhanced frequency of cleaning of buildings, classrooms and frequented areas.
    • Darden will adhere to UVA’s protocols for testing, contact tracing and quarantine for those who may have been exposed or infected. Please read carefully UVA’s testing strategy in the note, which the University is creating in concert with the Virginia Department of Health.
    • At Darden, buildings will be open based on health guidance, but we are modifying facilities in Charlottesville and Rosslyn to operationalize the essential elements that will help prevent the spread of the virus.
      • Meetings will be limited to meeting rooms and adhere to social distancing (allowing offices to be kept “single individual”).
      • We will have modified scheduling and cleaning protocols for meeting spaces and classrooms.
      • Signage on Grounds will help guide individuals on social distancing, entry and exit points and flow in the buildings. Different groups may be limited to specific entry points and have scheduled arrival times at the building to limit density.
      • Outdoor spaces will be used in new ways.
      • Hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout the facility.
      • Temperature checking may be required when arriving on Grounds.
    • In-person dining on Grounds will be provided consistent with social distancing requirements and will include more options for takeout. 

    For Faculty and Staff:

    • The success of every aspect of these plans depends on the dedicated and talented faculty and staff. Their health and well-being is of paramount importance.
    • We acknowledge that even with the extensive precautions we will take, not all faculty and staff will be in a position to resume in-person work and teaching. In line with University guidance, Darden faculty and staff who are not comfortable returning to Grounds for health reasons will have an option to remain remote. Jim Ryan’s memo outlines mechanisms available to faculty and staff to request changes; in addition, we at Darden will conduct outreach, as outlined below.
    • Darden faculty will hear from Maureen Wellen soon about how to express their preference/availability for teaching in person or virtually in the fall. Based on this, Venkat will work with Tom Steenburgh, Yael Grushka-Cockayne and the program committees on the model for our course delivery this fall.
    • Darden staff will hear from Mary Jones soon about how to express their preference/availability for working virtually or working on Grounds. Staff will follow a phased approach that will return individuals to Grounds only as required for supporting our mission and in rotations, set by Darden HR. The HR team has been working with managers to understand what staffing would be required at different phases. As we consider this approach, we will survey staff in the next week to better understand their insights, potential questions and concerns about what that phased return can look like.

    I want to reiterate that it will take a culture of mutual care and concern for one another to ensure community safety. As part of the group convened by President Ryan to study these issues, I can attest that there are no easy answers, and we are all going to have to do our part.

    Consistent with the University’s strong tradition of self-governance, UVA has convened a group of undergraduate, graduate and professional students to develop a set of expectations that will govern student behavior on and off Grounds. We are fortunate that rising Second Year Darden student Tre Tennyson will represent Darden. At Darden, we are working with student leaders to discuss the community norms we all want to create in line with our values.

    There is no doubt that this semester will bring unprecedented challenges, require a new way of thinking about risk tolerance and tradeoffs, and will not be a “normal fall,” but I am confident that the Darden community will step forward to make the best of this difficult situation — as you have done so far.

    We will share more information by early July. If you have questions in the meantime, please contact Marc Johnson on behalf of the various COVID-19 working teams. I am grateful for your creativity, resilience and determination to have an unparalleled and transformational learning experience. We can do this.

Spring 2020 Coronavirus Updates

  • 28 May: Message From Dean Beardsley on UVA Updates on the Fall

    This afternoon, UVA President Jim Ryan, Provost Liz Magill, EVP and COO J.J. Davis, and EVP for Health Affairs K. Craig Kent wrote the University community to share current thinking on planning for the fall. I urge you to read the message

    While a final framework for the fall will be announced in mid-June, the University’s leadership — in a spirit of transparency and to seek feedback — wanted to share some of the planning assumptions and the process by which they have arrived at them. Darden is active in the University working groups that are exploring and recommending solutions.

    We should recognize that as the University and Darden prepare over the summer for the next academic year, we anticipate receiving additional information and data that may influence plans, and we will continue to keep you informed. 

    The highlights of the announcement, as they pertain to Darden, are:

    • UVA is planning to start classes in August. 
    • Some classes will be held in-person, though class size will be determined based on social distancing restrictions. (Larger classes may remain online all semester, and there will be additional guidance on social distancing restrictions.) 
    • For students who are not able to return to Grounds, and for faculty and staff with health concerns, there will be options for remote learning, teaching and working.
    • In-person instruction will conclude by Thanksgiving.
    • There will be protocols for testing, contact tracing and quarantine for those infected to protect community health.
    • Students will also have the option to request a deferral, as always.
    • Social distancing and masks will be the norms in the classrooms and across Grounds. 

    This is early information as the University works to respond to the situation presented by the pandemic, and I want to reiterate that the University will present a final framework by mid-June. Once we have this information, we will consider how best to implement the plan for next year at Darden based on our principles of protecting health while also meeting our educational mission.

    At Darden, the degree program leadership will share this information with the students. We are hard at work designing and testing what an outstanding academic experience should look like in these challenging times. The degree program leadership teams have been working hard to plan for next year with planning committees focused on the start of school for each degree program. Just yesterday, we held a successful pilot class led by Tom Steenburgh, Joanne Meier and the instructional design team to test hybrid live classroom delivery and new classroom technology in Charlottesville, and we are working on options for Rosslyn. There are also two task forces working tirelessly at Darden to scenario plan: the Covid-19 working group led by Marc Johnson and the Return to Work task force, led by Laura Martens and David Drab. 

    Overall, the information presented today is largely consistent with the assumptions and plans we at Darden have been making. The announcement that in-person instruction will conclude by Thanksgiving is new and will require creative thinking. We will continue to fine-tune our plans and keep you informed.  

    Thank you for your partnership, patience and flexibility as we work through this evolving situation. I am grateful for this community. 

  • 23 April: Dean Beardsley Announces Innovations for Students in Response to Global Uncertainty

    Dear Darden Faculty and Staff,

    Good afternoon. I hope you are all healthy and safe during this beautiful time of year in Charlottesville. This has been a spring like no other, and I cannot thank each and every one of you enough for your courage, hard work, innovative ideas and good energy in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The collaboration and innovation the Darden community has shown these last several weeks is inspirational.

    Today, we announced that we are on track to start the school year in August for the classes of 2021 and 2022 on schedule, pending a final decision by the University on how the fall semester will unfold. We are hopeful this will be in person and on Grounds, but given the inherent uncertainty of the pandemic, we are prepared to deliver the Darden experience virtually, at first, if needed. In that event, Darden would be prepared to offer a live, synchronous remote experience and/or a hybrid solution. 

    The University of Virginia, consulting with health experts at UVA Health, the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will make the final decision on whether courses will start in person or virtually over the summer. We will share any news as soon as we receive it, but please know that we plan to kick off classes in August. We will continue to work with University leadership to monitor changes to our operations, and when and if we are able to return to operations in our facilities after the Governor lifts the stay at home order. 

    We also announced today a series of steps intended to make Darden as accessible and inviting as possible to incoming students joining the full-time MBA Class of 2022: 

    • For select students in the Class of 2022 who are unable to start in August, we will offer a start option in January. These students will begin other Darden activities such as career support ahead of their arrival and will complete their First Year in June. They will take part in an abbreviated summer internship or field project, and merge schedules with the remainder of the Class of 2022 at the start of Second Year.
    • We are planning additional support to safeguard and bolster the student experience for First and Second Years in areas ranging from housing to financial aid to meals on Grounds. This announcement provides more details.

    It’s important to note that we are taking these steps for our students in a time of unprecedented disruption to be flexible, innovative, compassionate, fair and student-centric — in the words of UVA President Jim Ryan, to try to be “good and great.” 

    The Admissions team has been doing incredible work in a turbulent environment, with applications up over last year, and the Class of 2022 is shaping up to be incredibly strong. 

    Offering additional flexibility to incoming students will clearly impact many in the Darden community — especially our faculty — and I cannot thank you enough for your flexibility and sacrifice to support our students. 

    We will hold a Darden Faculty and Staff Town Hall next Tuesday, April 28th, from Noon-1 p.m. (calendar invite forthcoming) and can talk more about this and other recent developments as a community. Tom Steenburgh, Marc Johnson and the MBA program team will continue to be in touch with additional details as we implement these plans.

    Thank you for all that you are all doing. I am grateful for your efforts and proud to be a part of this incredible community.

  • 14 April: Message From Dean Scott Beardsley on University Financial Update

    Dear Darden Faculty and Staff:

    This afternoon, University of Virginia executive leadership — President Jim Ryan, EVP and Provost Liz Magill, EVP for Health Affairs K. Craig Kent, and EVP and Chief Operating Officer J.J. Davis — sent a financial update to the community. 

    I urge you to read this memo, which recognizes the extraordinary efforts of the University community during this time and describes some of the serious financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for the University. We should also recognize that while Darden enters this crisis in a relatively strong financial position, we also face unprecedented financial pressures as the rest of the University. The uncertainties around philanthropy, enrollment revenues, endowment returns, and other major resource drivers will have a significant impact on Darden operations for the near future.

    University leadership presents some immediate belt-tightening measures that we across the University must undertake now to mitigate the short-term impact of the pandemic. These measures apply to the Darden enterprise. They also urge preparation for other possible disruptions to our operations and finances, depending on what happens at the start of the next school year.

    A second memo to Deans, Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts and Other Leaders provides more details on the outlined actions that must be taken immediately to safeguard the University’s long-term health. I urge you to read that memo as well.

    As for how this new information pertains to Darden, we are working diligently through the details and liaising with the University for further guidance. We will share updates with leaders, budget managers and the enterprise as we know more. We can provide the following information today:

    • The University policies apply to the Darden enterprise — to both the Darden School and the Darden School Foundation.
    • The following policies are effectively immediately: a hiring freeze, a salary freeze and expense reductions per University policy. Current outstanding offers will be honored; any hiring freeze exceptions must be approved by the Dean’s Office and the Provost. These changes do not affect the faculty tenure and promotion timeline and process.
    • We will adhere to the three guiding principles outlined in the memo: to maintain excellence in our core mission, support the most vulnerable and be creative. 
    • In light of the new guidelines regarding a hiring freeze, we will look to creatively deploy the talents of Darden’s staff who may, because of business disruption, have time to give to other projects. Mary Jones and Gayle Mapstone are already in conversation with Darden managers to understand this opportunity. The Dean’s Office and HR will work with managers to redeploy talent as required through this crisis. We appreciate your flexibility in helping us meet urgent needs in the organization.       
    • As per the announcement, we remain committed to avoiding furloughs or layoffs for as long as possible and using them only if absolutely necessary.
    • Over the past few weeks, the Finance Team, led by Dean Krehmeyer, along with Kirby Armentrout, Beth Van Hook, Heather Enos, and Megan Winter, have been working with budget managers to identify non-essential expenses and to plan for contingencies.
    • Degree program teams are working on contingencies for the start of school and will provide more information in the coming weeks. 

    While we do not have all of the answers today, we are confident that if we act quickly and responsibly and seek out opportunities for creativity and innovation, we will come through this crisis in a position of strength. 
    If you have suggestions or see opportunities to improve Darden while managing through this period of cost reductions, please let us know. I will continue to share information we receive from the University, and the regular emails from Marc Johnson and Dean Krehmeyer to faculty and staff will share ongoing updates. 

    I thank you for your commitment to our mission and to our community. 

  • 20 March: Dean Scott Beardsley Shares Important Update on COVID-19 Cases

    Dear Darden Faculty, Staff and Students:

    Last evening, Dr. Christopher P. Holstege of the Department of Student Health & Wellness and Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer Patricia M. Lampkin sent the following note to the UVA community. I ask that you read it and all university communications carefully. 

    From here forward, UVA will update confirmed cases in the community on this webpage of the novel coronavirus website. Please continue to review the Darden coronavirus information website for the latest information as well.

    I would also like to draw your attention to the UVA Today story published this morning that describes how UVA Health now is now administering its own COVID-19 tests.

    If you have travelled to an affected area, have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with, or is suspected of having COVID-19, or are experiencing symptoms (fever, cough, or have difficulty breathing), please self-isolate until you are able to obtain medical advice, as follows:
    •    Students: Contact Student Health at 434-982-3915 or 434-297-4261 after hours.
    •    Faculty and Staff: Either call your local health provider, call Employee Health at 434-924-2013, or consult a primary care physician remotely through Teladoc

    I appreciate everyone’s leadership in protecting the health of our broader community by avoiding non-essential gatherings larger than 10 people and following public health guidance in these challenging times.  

    We are grateful to our colleagues in the UVA Health System and other healthcare professionals who are working tirelessly to ensure our community is prepared as best they can be to deal with this health event. Please stay self and well and reach out to the Darden community for support.

  • 17 March: Important Updates From Dean Scott Beardsley and Changes in Response to COVID-19 Progression

    Dear Darden Faculty and Staff:

    I hope you are hanging in there and that you, your families and loved ones are weathering the storm. I have been thinking a lot about you. I write this evening with two important updates.

    University of Virginia President Jim Ryan and Provost Liz Magill issued an important communication that explains the next steps the University will take to respond to the unprecedented and rapidly changing situation caused by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. I ask you to read carefully their message to the University community, forwarded below and linked on UVA’s novel coronavirus website.

    UVA EVP-COO J.J. Davis has issued an alert that an employee of the UVA Biocomplexity Institute located on the 29th floor of 1100 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

    Following are further details on each.

    Message From UVA President Jim Ryan and Provost Liz Magill

    The President and Provost’s message provides updates on: adjustments to classes, research and events; guidance for employees; and modifications to services.

    As President Ryan and Provost Magill note, these decisions were not taken lightly and are based on the swift action required to do our best to slow the progression of this virus. We must “flatten the curve” of those infected and avoid overwhelming our health system, which would ultimately risk our patients and community.

    To do this, we must make significant adjustments, including telecommuting for faculty and staff, except those who must report in person to carry out key functions. Fortunately, our telecommuting pilot at Darden started today, and we are prepared to deliver on that action.

    I am certain that upon reading the announcement, you will have many questions and will experience many emotions. Please know that you have my full commitment to help the Darden community navigate these deeply troubling times and to push through this crisis with purpose and determination.

    In the days to come, we will provide forums to discuss the announcement and answer your questions about its impact on Darden – and on you as faculty and staff. There will be a Town Hall on Thursday at noon via Zoom. You will receive an Outlook invitation tomorrow. You will hear more from the COVID-19 Working Group led by Marc Johnson (*membership below) in the days ahead on the specifics of what President Ryan’s message means for Darden operations, and we can answer more questions during the Town Hall.

    I will also forward President Ryan’s announcement to students to ensure they receive it. I will speak to the students along with the program leadership on the Full-Time and Executive MBA Town Halls already scheduled over the coming days to discuss the full transition to online classes, and we will incorporate this new information.

    UVA Emergency Management Alert

    This evening, the University confirmed a second case of COVID-19 within the UVA community. The individual who is ill is a staff member at the UVA Biocomplexity Institute located in Arlington, Virginia. The Biocomplexity Institute is on the 29th floor of 1100 Wilson Boulevard. Given the Institute’s proximity to the UVA Darden DC Metro at the Sands Family Grounds, which is on the 30th and 31st floors, we at Darden are closely monitoring the situation.

    The Virginia Department of Health is leading the effort to identify individuals who were in contact with the employee of the Biocomplexity Institute, reaching out to those individuals and arranging for their isolation. University staff are also working to support potentially impacted students, faculty and staff. In addition, the Institute is being vacated and deep-cleaned with products that kill the coronavirus in accordance with guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Out of an abundance of caution, UVA Darden DC Metro will undergo the same cleaning procedure.

    Please refer to this webpage on health precautions and resources.

    Resolute in Our Mission

    As we face the unprecedented global crisis in the ongoing spread of coronavirus, let us support each other and remain resolute in our mission.

    As we receive tonight’s news, we are preparing for the launch of fully online courses. We are recruiting the next generation of students, carrying out research, and navigating the impact of the situation on our executive education and hospitality businesses. Now more than ever, we need to work together to do the very best we can – and to lead from where we are. 

    As I wrote last week, I am inspired by what the Darden faculty and staff have done in recent weeks to rise to this occasion, showing resolve, creative thinking and above all caring. I fully believe that we will see that we can be as great in the virtual classroom as in the physical classroom. This will be one of the silver linings.

    As responsible leaders, we must do our part — our duty — to ensure that health, safety and well-being are the top priorities. Please let me know if there is anything I can personally do to help you. Thank you again for the amazing work and dedication you are showing to keep the School on course.

    *Darden COVID-19 (coronavirus) working group:
    Marc Johnson (leading the group), Dawna Clarke, Shaele Culbreath, Julie Daum, Rachel Dudzik, Eric Fletcher, Anton Korinek, Laura Martens, Joanne Meier, Marc Modica, Larry Mueller, Larry Murphy, Kristen Pappas, Tom Steenburgh, Callie Thompson, Ed Warwick, Ron Wilcox

  • 12 March: Dean Scott Beardsley Update on Message From UVA Provost Liz Magill

    Dear Darden Faculty, Staff and Students:

    This evening, UVA Provost Liz Magill wrote the UVA community to provide a few updates following President Ryan’s email from yesterday about the steps the University is taking in response to the COVID-19 threat. Her full email can be found here, I urge you to read it carefully.

    Please continue to visit the University’s novel coronavirus website, which is updated regularly and provides answers to many frequently asked questions. We at Darden have set up a coronavirus information webpage that links to the UVA site and provides Darden-specific updates.

    Please continue to take steps to ensure the safety of you, your loved ones and community. Let me know if there is anything that Darden can do to help. Please stay in touch with the Darden COVID-19 Working Group led by Marc Johnson to share any insights or suggestions with that team.

    We will continue to keep you informed and are grateful to the Darden community for your support.

  • 12 March: Important Update Regarding UVA Darden Response to COVID-19 From Dean Scott Beardsley

    To the Darden alumni community:

    Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic and today Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As Darden’s global community faces this unprecedented situation, I write to share updates on the University of Virginia’s and the Darden School’s response. At this time of global uncertainty, we are thinking of our entire community and hope that you are staying well and safe. If there are ways that the Darden community can support you, please let us know.

    UVA President Jim Ryan announced yesterday that all courses will be moved online, urged students to return home and suspended major events. The University’s latest updates can be viewed on this website.

    My subsequent note, posted on the new Darden coronavirus information website, explains what the news means for Darden’s programs, people and operations. In alignment with UVA, we will move spring classes and executive education offerings (where possible) online and suspend all events involving more than 100 people, including reunion, which will be postponed to October. We expect continuity of academic operations, allowing the students to take their classes and credits as planned in Q4, albeit virtually.

    In anticipation of this moment, a Darden COVID-19 working group led by Senior Executive Director for Global Affairs and Enterprise Initiatives Marc Johnson has been contingency planning for several weeks. We are working swiftly to enact changes and innovate our operations on the Grounds in Charlottesville and at UVA Darden DC Metro in Rosslyn, Virginia. Fortunately, Darden has deep and broad experience in delivering our educational experience online through degree course content and other online courses that have successfully inspired millions of students across the globe. We will leverage those learnings, as well as the leadership of the most experienced faculty in this domain, to ensure that we deliver an exceptional online experience.

    This is a time when our community of responsible leaders can step forward. We are open to any suggestions you may have. Be well, and know that we are thinking of you and grateful for you and your support in these unprecedented times. 

  • 11 March: Spring Semester Update From Dean Scott Beardsley — Spring Classes Moving Online

    I write to follow up on the note that you received earlier today from University of Virginia President Jim Ryan (linked above), which announces UVA’s plan to transition from in-person to online classes following spring break, encourages students to stay home and restricts University events larger than 100 people. This means we will not be holding classes on Darden Grounds in Charlottesville or Rosslyn for the foreseeable future, quite possibly through the end of the semester. President Ryan communicates that the University will reassess after April 5 at the earliest and periodically after that date.

    This announcement has widespread implications for the entire University. I write to explain what this news means for Darden — and for you. I recognize this news will cause disappointment. Ensuring the health, safety and well-being of our community is our top priority, and we appreciate your understanding and flexibility as we work to enact these changes. Today, the WHO declared COVID-19 as a pandemic. We will get through this, and if there is a time for us to step up as responsible leaders, it is now.

    Darden, led by its COVID-19 working group (*see members below), will make some changes to its operations starting immediately. We at Darden take great pride in our community, and here is what this means at a high level for our community. Please note that more detailed communications and instructions will be delivered over the next few days, first from the University and then from Darden. We have provided high-level details for areas and topics below and a contact. You will hear more information this week.

    • For Degree-Seeking Students:
      • Full-time MBA students: Quarter 4 classes will start online on March 23 and take place as scheduled. As President Ryan said, we encourage you to stay at home — recognizing that for most full-time MBA students, you live in Charlottesville and many of you may not be able to travel to your family home for a variety of reasons. You will hear more from Tom Steenburgh over the next week on the resources and plans to prepare you to take online classes from home starting on March 23. Tom and the Office of Student Affairs will work with the Darden Student Association and student leaders on how to move student organizations and events online when possible, and cancel other events as necessary.
        [Contact: OSA@darden.virginia.edu]
      • Executive MBA students: All upcoming classes in Rosslyn and Charlottesville will take place online during the scheduled weekends. For the Class of 2020, you will hear more soon about plans for Leadership Residency 2. Jim Detert will reach out to you with plans.
        [Contact: ExecMBAStaff@darden.virginia.edu]
      • MSBA students: All upcoming classes in Rosslyn will take place online. The MSBA team will reach out to you soon with plans.
        [Contact: Karen Connors at the McIntire School of Commerce]
      • Ph.D. Students: Doctoral Program Director Andy Wicks will provide any updates.
        [Contact: Andy Wicks]

    • For Faculty: If you are teaching in the next two months, the degree program leadership and Joanne Meier in instructional design will be in touch with you on preparing to teach online and the resources available to you. Tom Steenburgh will reach out on preparation and next steps.
      [Contact: Tom Steenburgh]

    • For Staff: The University remains in normal operations for staff. Please continue to report to work. If there is a change in operations, we will forward information from the University. Please direct any questions on staying home when ill, working from home or other issues to your supervisor or Darden HR.
      [Contacts in Darden HR: Georgia Meyer (School); Gayle Mapstone (Foundation)].
    • For Executive Education: Darden Executive Education will follow the University practice of restricting face-to-face classes and provide updates on our hospitality operations. Ashley Williams and Larry Murphy are communicating with program partners and open enrollment participants whether the programs will be moved online, postponed or canceled. They will also communicate with faculty involved in the programs.
      [Contacts: Ashley Williams or Larry Murphy]

    • For Major Events: All University-sponsored events that involve more than 100 people are suspended. For events less than 100 people, the University recommends alternatives to having an in-person event. Students should contact the Office of Student Affairs to determine event next steps, and Darden staff responsible for an event should contact Rachel Dudzik, who will provide additional guidance.
      [Contacts: OSA@darden.virginia.edu or Rachel Dudzik]
    • For Travel: The University travel restrictions remain in effect. See the UVA site for travel guidance.

    This is an unprecedented moment in Darden’s history, and we appreciate your understanding. Fortunately, Darden has deep and broad experience in delivering our educational experience online. Through Darden’s online, hybrid, synchronous and asynchronous courses, we have successfully inspired millions of students across the globe. We will leverage those learnings, as well as the leadership of the most experienced faculty in this domain, to ensure that we deliver an exceptional online experience.


    The faculty, leadership and technology teams have been working together on this possible scenario for weeks. For classes and designated meetings, we will use Zoom technology, which we use to teach synchronous classes across our degrees today. A simple guide to Zoom will be provided, and a tech monitor will be available for all classes.

    UVA has launched a new website where you can find the latest information about UVA’s response to the coronavirus, including official messages, operational changes, travel guidance, answers to common questions and other resources: www.virginia.edu/coronavirus

    Please visit this site frequently for updates. Other sites to reference are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States Department of State and the Virginia Department of Health.

    Darden will launch a website with School-specific information and links to the UVA website this week. We will announce the site’s launch on The Darden Report and on our social media channels.


    At Darden, our mission is to improve the world by inspiring responsible leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences — whether in person or online. Our aim is to use the power of business and business collaborations to create community and solve society’s most pressing problems. We are facing a pressing problem, and I ask all of us in the community to lean on our skills as critical thinkers and problem solvers to help the School and the University achieve their aims and develop the next generation of leaders. I welcome your ideas.

    Please continue to take health precautions, and to care for yourself and each other.

    As mentioned, you will receive more information from the contacts listed above soon. Let us know how we can support you.