Dean of Students Allen Groves announced that the University has decided to extend its new COVID-19 restrictions by two weeks – until Oct. 21 – in an email to students Tuesday afternoon.
The restrictions, first announced two weeks ago in a video message to the community from University President Jim Ryan, require that students not gather in groups greater than five, adhere to mask wearing rules and not travel outside the Charlottesville community.
“We have seen some encouraging signs that case numbers within our community may be leveling off as a result of these efforts,” Groves said.
However, the University remains concerned that the number of positive COVID-19 cases are “still a little high,” Groves wrote. Over the weekend, the University reported 55 new cases of COVID-19. Last week, the daily average of new cases ticked up to 26 cases per day from the previous week’s average of 23. There are currently 247 active cases in the University community, as first-year residence areas continue to be selected for prevalence testing following new positive cases and indicators of possible outbreaks from wastewater testing in dorms. Lile-Maupin is the latest dorm to be selected for prevalence testing, joining Balz-Dobie, Bonnycastle-Hancock, Echols-Humphreys, Kellogg, Page-Emmet, Metcalf-Lefevre, Gooch, Dillard, Watson-Webb, Kent-Dabney and Woody-Cauthen.
“We have no intention of leaving them in place any longer than our medical experts believe necessary, and the best way to ensure they are ultimately unnecessary is for each of us to continue to follow them closely at all times,” Groves said of the restrictions.
In his email, Groves recognized that the continuation of these restrictions makes life at U.Va “more challenging.”
“Each of us needs to make a conscious effort for self-care, both mental and physical,” Groves said.
Groves mentioned a litany of potential activities for students, including going on hikes or tubing trips, events organized by IM-Rec Sports, and working and eating outdoors under University-constructed tents and more. Student groups may also apply for an exception to the five-person gathering limit for a specific activity through the University two weeks prior to the event.
On Saturday night, the University hosted more than 100 students at Palmer Park — Virginia’s outdoor softball stadium — to watch Virginia football take on Clemson. Attendees had to be socially distanced and masked. On Sept. 26, around 1,000 fans – family members of athletes and the coaching staff – attended Virginia football's home opener against Duke.
Groves also briefly discussed fraternity and sorority recruitment, which typically occurs in January, as a possible way for students to get involved in the community. The Inter-Sorority Council announced that all recruitment events will be conducted virtually next year.
“It is expected at this point in time that much of this will need to be done virtually; additional information will be available later this fall,” Groves said.