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U.Va. to eliminate all restrictions pertaining to social distancing, gathering limits and visitors Friday

The announcement brings University policy in line with the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 restrictions, which will be relaxed Friday at midnight

<p>Those who are not fully vaccinated yet must continue to wear masks, which is consistent with both Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and Northam’s executive order.</p>

Those who are not fully vaccinated yet must continue to wear masks, which is consistent with both Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and Northam’s executive order.

University leadership announced that the University will no longer limit gathering sizes and that students, faculty and staff are no longer required to social distance beginning Friday at midnight in a University-wide email sent Thursday afternoon. Visitors from outside the University will also no longer be restricted, and students, academic division faculty and staff are no longer required to use Hoos Health Check app before coming to Grounds. Email notifications for the Hoos Health Check app will also be turned off.

The changes to University policy are consistent with new guidance from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam — including Executive Order 79, which goes into effect Friday — that will officially end many of the restrictions that were instituted at the beginning of the pandemic. The order brings the state’s mask guidelines in tandem with the CDC’s recommendations, and Northam will also eliminate all capacity limits for sports and entertainment venues and ease social distancing restrictions. 

Those who are not fully vaccinated yet must continue to wear masks, which is consistent with both Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and Northam’s executive order. Individuals are fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose.

While the University lifted its mask mandate for fully vaccinated individuals May 14, it still plans to require masking in a limited number of settings, including when in the Student Health Center, in saliva testing facilities, when engaged in activities involving K-12 students, in specified areas of the U.Va. Health Medical Center and when using public transportation services, including the University Transit System.

University leadership urged those who have not yet received the first dose of the vaccine to do so as soon as possible.

“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,” University administrators said. “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.” 

Last week, University leadership announced that students who live, learn and work on Grounds will need to provide proof of full vaccination before returning to Grounds. Beginning April 12, students were able to register to receive both doses of the vaccine at U.Va. Health’s Community Vaccination Center in the Seminole Square Shopping Center. Students who do not receive their vaccinations through U.Va. Health must upload proof of vaccination to the HealthyHoos portal by July 1 if they do not receive a medical or religious exception.

Currently, Virginia is in phase 2 of vaccinations, meaning that every individual above the age of 16 is eligible to receive a vaccination, and the Commonwealth has started to vaccinate those 12 to 15 following the approval of the Pfizer vaccine for those 12 and above. According to the Virginia Department of Health, 66.1 percent of Virginia’s adult population has received at least one dose of the vaccine and 43.2 percent of the adult population is fully vaccinated.

Over the past 15 days, there has only been one record positive case of COVID-19 in the University community, and as of Thursday, there are only two active cases within the University community. Over 11,000 students have received at least one dose of the vaccine as of May 6, according to University President Jim Ryan.

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