The University has extended spring break by three days and will begin remote instruction March 19, according to an announcement from University President Jim Ryan Wednesday afternoon.
The announcement said on-Grounds classes will be suspended for the "foreseeable future" due to the threat of coronavirus exposure, and all students are advised to remain at home or return to home if possible. The University will reassess the situation after April 5 and is prepared to hold online classes through the end of the semester.
In addition, the University is suspending all events that involve more than 100 people. These restrictions do not apply to athletic events or events at John Paul Jones Arena.
“Our approach is guided by three goals: (1) to protect the health of our students, faculty, staff, and Charlottesville neighbors; (2) to help slow the spread of the virus in Virginia and the nation; (3) to ensure the continuity of our teaching, research, and clinical care,” Ryan said in the announcement. “All of those goals are advanced by reducing the number of people who are living and meeting on Grounds.”
Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in Virginia Thursday afternoon, following 17 Va. residents testing positive for COVID-19. Hundreds of colleges around the country have also cancelled in-person classes, including the University of Maryland, Duke University, Vanderbilt University and Harvard University.
Ryan explained that the University will continue to provide housing and dining services for students living on Grounds who cannot go home. All other students will lose access to on-Grounds housing March 18 at 12 p.m. Students in need of University housing must respond to a survey sent by Housing and Residence Life before this time.
Student Financial Services will also be offering assistance to students on financial aid who need help returning home. Students in need can submit a request by filling out the electronic form on the SFS website. In addition, Student Council launched Hoos Helping Hoos – a mutual aid platform aimed at matching students with donors for resources, including housing, transportation, storage, food, money or travel vouchers.
Wes Hester, director of media relations and deputy University spokesperson, said the University will provide an update Thursday regarding possible reimbursement of any previously paid and unused housing and dining fees.
Faculty and staff will be hearing from academic deans with more information about moving classes online, according to the announcement. University employees have been told to “continue reporting to work as usual.”
“The university – including university buildings and the Health System – will remain open, and we will bring students back to Grounds as soon as we can do so safely,” Ryan said. “While we hope to do so before the end of the semester, we may not be able to and are working on a number of contingency plans, including plans for graduation.”
This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.