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University releases new details on operational changes

Provost Magill confirms that the University is looking into offsetting unused dining and housing costs for students

<p>Magill noted that the University is “open and operating” despite classes being online.&nbsp;</p>

Magill noted that the University is “open and operating” despite classes being online. 

University Provost Liz Magill sent an email to students Thursday night providing additional details on how University operations and activities will be affected due to the spread of COVID-19. The email comes one day after the University extended spring break through March 19 and cancelled in-person classes until at least April 5 amid coronavirus concerns.

Magill confirmed that the University is looking into offsetting unused dining and housing costs for students, announcing the formation of a Financial Resource Working Group that will analyze offsetting these costs, among others. All students will lose access to on-Grounds housing March 18 at 12 p.m.

Students who are part of the Federal Work Study program — which provides low-income students with part-time jobs to assist with their financial aid — will continue to receive pay even if they are unable to work. This measure will remain in effect as long as virtual instruction remains in place.

In addition, the University officially suspended all of its current study-abroad programs Thursday morning and has encouraged all students to return to the United States by this weekend. Magill also announced the suspension of all international and non-essential domestic University travel through April 15, with the possibility of extension as deemed necessary. This comes after U.S. President Donald Trump banned people who are not U.S. citizens, permanent residents or relatives of U.S. citizens travelling from 26 European countries — mainly located in central and western Europe — from coming into the U.S. 

For University employees seeking reimbursements for cancelled travel plans, Magill suggests asking for waivers and refunds directly from the airlines or hotels first. If this action fails, employees should submit expense reimbursement requests to ExpenseUVA after the date of travel.

Magill noted that the University will make a decision on holding Final Exercises — graduation weekend — by April 15. Final Exercises are currently scheduled for May 16 for the College and May 17 for all other University schools.

In adherence to the University’s policy of restricting events that will hold over 100 people, events — including the Harlem Globetrotters and the Dan + Shay tour stop — at John Paul Jones Arena are postponed through the weekend. In addition to this measure, the ACC has suspended the spring athletics season while also cancelling all winter and spring championship tournaments.  

Magill further asked that events of any size that plan to take place on Grounds or involve visiting the University be cancelled or pursue an alternative to an in-person event.

Magill also noted that the University is “open and operating” despite classes being online. Libraries will remain open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and possibly weekends, while faculty and staff should continue to report to work as usual. Employees are now eligible for an additional two weeks leave if they are impacted by COVID-19.

“This leave is available to employees who have been directed to self-quarantine by a qualified healthcare provider, have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or have an immediate family member who diagnosed with the disease,” Magill wrote.

The University Transit Service will still operate but on a holiday schedule — meaning busses will only run on weekdays and service will be discontinued on the Early Inner Loop, Northline Express and Purple Route. Dining services are also expected to be scaled back. Changes to University services will be posted on the University's operations status board and the dedicated coronavirus webpage.

The University community was reminded that the decisions made concerning the coronavirus are made in accordance with the three principles set out by University President Jim Ryan.

“These actions are all guided by the the desire (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,” Magill wrote.

In addition to providing a list of University efforts, Magill offered assurance that if the University allows students to continue the semester back on Grounds, those who cannot return to Grounds will not be penalized.

"If we resume in-person classes before the end of the semester, we will make sure any student who has gone home and cannot return to Grounds is able to complete the term," Magill wrote.