Skip to main content

Masks, social distancing, personal symptom tracking will mark return to school in August

The Rotunda and Lawn at sunset in early fall
Sanjay Suchak

UVA is still set to open on August 25 with health and safety requirements including face coverings and symptom tracking, according to a June update from President James E. Ryan (Law ’92). Ryan also discussed offering remote learning options for those who cannot or choose not to return to Grounds, whatever the precautions.

In a June 17 message to the UVA community, Ryan detailed policies pertaining to public health, academics, and student life, among other areas, while noting that much of the plan is subject to change depending on conditions and the advice of health officials. Updates can be found at UVA’s Return to Grounds website.

Public health

  • All students, faculty and staff will be provided with masks and required to wear them in common spaces. A complete list of health and safety requirements—a condition of returning—will be sent to students over the summer.
  • Students, faculty and staff will be required to track virus symptoms daily using an app.
  • The University will enhance its cleaning of classrooms, labs, dining halls, lounges and other common spaces, and will provide hand-sanitizing stations around Grounds.
  • Testing will be available to anyone who wants it, though a decision whether to test students upon arrival has not been made. Students who test positive will be isolated and those who have been exposed will be quarantined. The University will be working with the Virginia Department of Health to trace contacts of anyone who contracts the virus.


  • As previously announced, the semester will end by Thanksgiving.
  • The University will try to maximize the number of in-person classes, with decisions made based on format, classroom capacity and faculty availability. Large classes will all be online. In-person classes will have a remote option for students not on Grounds.
  • Undergraduate students can spread out their course load by taking classes in the January and summer terms, with no increase in tuition.

Student life

  • Students will be able to choose their roommates and will be assigned specific sinks, stalls and showers in residence halls, with limits on the number of students allowed in a communal bathroom at any given time.
  • Dining facilities will operate at 50 percent seating capacity and will provide more takeout options.
  • Sporting events will be held on Grounds, although no decision has been made on fan attendance.

Ryan also announced that final exercises for the Class of 2020 will be held May 28-30, 2021. Dates in October coinciding with Fall Break had been set aside, but with the break canceled and uncertainty over the spread of the coronavirus, May was deemed a safer option.

“We know this may be disappointing news for some of you, but our primary goal—beyond keeping you and everyone on Grounds safe—is to give you and your families the celebration you deserve, and one that reflects the special place the Class of 2020 will always hold in the history of this university,” Ryan wrote in a message to the class.