The University has disenrolled 238 students, primarily undergraduates, for not complying with the University’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement, which the University announced in May and applies to all students living, learning and working on Grounds in the fall. Four students previously disenrolled came into compliance with the mandate Thursday, and the remaining have one week to comply with the mandate.
Students were required to upload proof of their vaccine status or an approved medical or religious exemption to the HealthyHoos portal by July 1 — a deadline that passed nearly seven weeks before the University disenrolled the students Wednesday.
According to University spokesperson Brian Coy, only 49 of the original 242 students had enrolled in classes for the fall, so the University expects that the majority of students who did not confirm their vaccine status were not planning to return to Grounds.
“These students received multiple communications from Student Affairs via email, text and phone calls reminding them to update their status by [the August 18] deadline,” Coy said.
The 238 students represent approximately one percent of the student population, meaning 99 percent of eligible students have complied with the University’s vaccine policy. Approximately 96.6 percent are fully vaccinated and the remainder have an approved exemption. Exempted students are required to submit to weekly prevalence testing and must wear masks indoors and outdoors.
The University also reiterated its masking policy for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals in an email sent Friday from Provost Liz Magill and Chief Operating Officer J.J. Davis. The policy, which was first announced Aug. 6, requires all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks when inside University property, including academic buildings, libraries, dining halls and IM Rec facilities.
Masks are not required when actively eating or drinking, or when alone in a closed space. The masking guidelines also do not apply to dorms or private housing given high student vaccination rates, and specific course-related exemptions will be granted by the Provost’s office.
Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear masks at large outdoor events such as sports games or outdoor concerts, but masks will be required in indoor spaces, including bathrooms or elevators, at these larger outdoor events.
Community members are encouraged to gather outdoors as much as possible, and the University specifically encouraged that any events that involve eating and drinking be held outdoors.
“We encourage community members to exercise sound judgment when gathering around others in an indoor setting, particularly with people from outside of their living arrangement,” the email read.
According to the email, while the University expects that high vaccination rates will mean a more normal semester, positive test results among community members are expected, either because community members are unvaccinated or due to breakthrough infections.
The University Biocomplexity Institute’s COVID-19 model currently predicts that if the Delta variant continues in its current trajectory and behavior does not change, a peak in positive cases could be seen during the week ending Aug. 29 — the first week of classes for undergraduate students.
The model predicts a possible 1,531 weekly cases, the greatest peak of cases in Charlottesville since February, when over 750 cases were recorded within a single week. As of Friday, the University’s COVID-19 dashboard reports 56 active cases, with 36 individuals currently hospitalized.
The University will review the masking policy over the coming weeks with the hope that it will be modified or lifted by Sept. 6 at the latest