Thursday afternoon, the University of Virginia announced vaccination guidelines for students, UVA and UVA Health faculty and staff, as well as additional public health measures to continue to mitigate spread of COVID-19.
The new guidelines state that all students returning to UVA Grounds for the 2021-2022 academic year must be vaccinated against COVID-19, starting July 1, with a few exceptions, or they “will not be permitted to come to Grounds” after that date, state the guidelines as shared with the UVA and broader Charlottesville communities in an email co-signed by UVA President Jim Ryan; Executive Vice President and Provost Liz Magill, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer J.J. Davis; and Dr. K. Craig Kent, executive vice president for health affairs.
University faculty and staff do not fall under Herring’s opinion, so instead, “the University expects” those “who do not have a need for medical or religious exemption to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” the email stated.
The stated guidelines assume that many faculty and staff are fully vaccinated or will be fully vaccinated in the near future, and state that “University leaders will monitor employee vaccination rates and, in consultation with public health experts, consider whether to require vaccines for all employees.”
Students, faculty, and staff can seek a medical or religious exemption, and those who are not vaccinated but living, learning, and working on campus will be subject to regular prevalence testing beginning this summer.
The school’s decision comes a few weeks after Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring issued an opinion stating that colleges and universities can mandate vaccinations for students returning to Virginia campuses for in-person learning. UVA announced its plans for an in-person fall semester earlier this spring.
UVA promises to release more information about requirements and exemption processes no later than June 15.
Charlottesville’s other institution of higher learning, Piedmont Virginia Community College, should have a decision soon. Last month, PVCC President Frank Friedman said they’ll notify the community once the Virginia Community College System analyzes its options.