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A&S RTG Emails and Announcements

AUGUST 4, 2020 – FACULTY AND STAFF MESSAGE REGARDING PHASED REOPENING FROM DEAN BAUCOM

Dear Colleagues, 

As you have likely seen, President Ryan and the University’s senior leadership team announced earlier today that the University will delay the start of in-person undergraduate classes and the opening of residence halls by two weeks. In response to the latest public health conditions, UVA is adopting this phased approach to the fall semester to help keep the University community and our Charlottesville neighbors safe—and to give all of us the best possibility of a successful return to Grounds.  

What does this mean for faculty currently planning to teach in person on Grounds? In short, your course is still scheduled to begin on August 25. However, it will begin solely online, whether synchronously or asynchronously, for two weeks before meeting with your students in person.  

I know that this announcement will raise important questions for you about the fall. I want to confirm that we have honored all faculty requests not to teach in person and will continue to do so. I want to also affirm the transformative nature of in-person learning. We educate students and we change their lives. It is at the heart of what we do; it is one of the great joys of what we do.  

As of now we are offering very few in-person courses this fall, fewer than we have classroom space to accommodate. There are clearly many reasons for that: health, family care—particularly following the recent decisions by the local public schools—and pedagogical reasons. As you finalize your teaching preferences for the fall, I fully trust you to balance all of those crucial reasons with the good, when possible, of being with our students as they pursue their education in this vital and extremely complex moment of their lives. And, I affirm again that we will honor all your requests. 

To help as you think this through, there will be an A&S faculty town hall at 11am on Monday, August 10 (details to follow soon) to provide further information on the health steps the University is taking to enhance the safety of our classrooms (with the goal of making them among the safest of places on Grounds) and to answer any questions you have about teaching in person. Dr. Mitch Rosner, Chair of the Department of Medicine, will be joining us. 

For A&S faculty not planning to teach in person, today’s announcement does not change the plans we have already put in motion, nor does it change the Return to Grounds (RTG) plans for faculty and staff that departments have already submitted. 

I know many faculty have already taken advantage of the range of additional resources available to you—from our digital pedagogy interns to the instructional partners working with Judy Giering and her Learning Design & Technology (LDT) team—and I am amazed by the innovation and progress I see everywhere. As a reminder, the LDT team has workshops and resources that can help you to continue to develop plans for your classes as our situation evolves. Also, on the LDT website, you will find a FAQ for faculty members teaching in person, and as always, updates will continue to be posted to the A&S Return to Grounds website.  

As noted in the email from President Ryan, graduate and professional school programs will begin as planned. Many of our graduate students and researchers are already in Charlottesville. All graduate-level (and other) research activities—as previously approved by the Provost and the Vice President for Research via the research ramp up process—will also continue as previously planned.  

I know that this Fall semester will present significant challenges. The pace with which you have responded to these challenges over these past months (as new information continues to arrive) has been truly remarkable, and I am deeply grateful.

Thank you for all you are doing to provide the best possible programs and courses, to conduct compelling research, and to support your colleagues across the A&S community and the University.  

Sincerely, 

Ian 

Ian Baucom
Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts and Sciences
University of Virginia 

 

AUGUST 4, 2020 – MESSAGE REGARDING UPDATES TO FALL 2020 PLAN FROM UVA PRESIDENT RYAN AND UVA SENIOR LEADERSHIP

To the University Community,

We hope this note finds you and your loved ones healthy and well during what continues to be an incredibly difficult time for our nation and the world. When we wrote to you in June to share our plans for the upcoming academic year, we said that our top priority would always be keeping our community safe—and that we would let you know if circumstances required us to adjust. Today, we write to update you with one change: We are delaying the start of in-person undergraduate classes and the opening of undergraduate residence halls by two weeks. To be specific:

  • Undergraduate courses will still begin on Tuesday, August 25th, but all courses will begin online.
  • In-person courses for undergraduates will begin on September 8th, and students will be able to move into residence halls several days before then. More details will be forthcoming about the revised move-in schedule.
  • Graduate and professional school programs are unchanged and will start as planned, and students in those programs will hear directly from their school leaders with additional information.

We are making this change because, in the weeks following our June 17th message, virus indicators locally and across the country have moved in the wrong direction. In Charlottesville and Albemarle County, we have seen an uptick in viral prevalence and transmission rates, and there has been some volatility in the supply-chain for testing materials. In response to these conditions, and based on the advice of UVA public health experts, we have decided to adopt a phased approach to the fall semester, which we believe will best safeguard the health and safety of our University community and our Charlottesville neighbors and give us the best chance of a successful return to Grounds. We still plan to welcome all students back to Grounds, but out of caution, we will do it a bit more slowly than originally intended. This will not only provide us additional time to track the progression of the virus and make doubly sure that we will have adequate testing capacity throughout the semester, but it will also help us ensure that the health and safety protocols we have in place are continuing to work.

We are already in the first phase. The promising news is that we have successfully ramped up research activity, launched select graduate and professional programs in-person, welcomed student-athletes back for pre-season training, and resumed in-person work for staff assisting with fall preparations – collectively bringing thousands of people back to Grounds, including nearly two thousand students. These early steps have shown that, by following proper precautions, we can resume in-person activity safely. In the second phase, we will continue to welcome additional graduate and professional school students as planned – many of whom are already in Charlottesville. Our third and final phase will be to welcome undergraduate students to our residence halls and begin in-person undergraduate classes.

We strongly urge undergraduate students who plan to live off-Grounds and have not yet returned to Charlottesville to delay their return until shortly before in-person classes begin on September 8th. Although undergraduate residence halls will not be open, we know that some students with extenuating circumstances may need to return to Grounds as originally planned, and we will work to accommodate these students with alternate arrangements over the course of the two-week delay. International students who plan to attend the University in person this semester should plan to arrive in the United States by August 25th in order to comply with quarantine and immigration requirements. We will soon be in touch with international students with additional guidance.

In the coming weeks, we will continue to implement our health and safety plans, which include providing training modules, implementing a student behavioral contract, and testing all students who will be in Charlottesville this semester. We have outfitted classrooms for in-person instruction by adding plexiglass barriers to lecterns, revising space capacity to comply with physical distancing, and developing enhanced cleaning protocols. Our public health experts are confident that, with these measures in place, our classrooms will be low-risk environments for our faculty and students.

University services such as recreational and dining facilities, libraries, and transportation will be available on a limited basis, continuing to ramp up as we bring more students back to Grounds. Students, faculty, and staff will be hearing from various University leaders with additional details in the coming days, and we will provide ongoing updates on our Return to Grounds website and Fall 2020 Student Resource site. We have also planned a virtual town hall for Friday, August 7th, at 11 a.m. for students, faculty, and staff who would like to hear more about our plans, and we will be hosting similar virtual gatherings for parents and for members of the Charlottesville and surrounding communities next week.

The unfortunate truth is that COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon, and we must adapt to changing conditions in order to deliver on our missions of teaching, research, service, and patient care. At the same time, the health and safety of our community remain paramount. We will continue to track closely key criteria such as viral prevalence rates, hospital capacity, compliance with health and safety measures, and the availability of testing materials necessary to our plans for the fall. If we need to change plans again due to the progression of the virus, the guidance of our public health experts, or guidelines from the Virginia Department of Health, we will. For now, we believe that this is the best plan to pursue in the face of the information we have, and we are optimistic that it will enable us to have a safe and productive semester on Grounds. We plan to share another update no later than Friday, August 28th.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented extraordinary challenges to us all, and we recognize that this change will disrupt plans and will come as a disappointment to our undergraduate students eager to return to – or, in the case of our first years, begin – life on Grounds. It will also require additional flexibility from our faculty and staff, who have already been remarkably flexible and understanding.

Thanks to all of you for your continued understanding as we navigate these difficult and uncharted waters. As much as we can plan, we must also approach this virus with humility, as its progression remains unpredictable. Rather than promise complete confidence about the future, the best we can do is create the conditions to succeed and pledge to adapt as necessary. We continue to have faith in this extraordinary community’s ability to make the year ahead a success.

Best,

Jim Ryan
President

Liz Magill
Provost

K. Craig Kent
EVP for Health Affairs

J.J. Davis
EVP and Chief Operating Officer

 

JULY 8, 2020 – FACULTY AND STAFF MESSAGE REGARDING FALL 2020 CALENDAR UPDATES FROM DEAN BAUCOM 

Dear Colleagues,

In consultation with the Deans, Provost Magill has provided additional information regarding the academic calendar for the fall 2020 semester that I want to share with you.

  • Undergraduate courses will begin on schedule on Tuesday, August 25, 2020.
  • There will be no Fall Reading Days.
  • For all students in Arts & Sciences (undergraduate and graduate), the last day of classes will be Tuesday, November 24, 2020 (the Tuesday before Thanksgiving).
  • Exam Reading Days will be Monday, November 30 and Tuesday, December 1, 2020.
  • Exams will begin on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 and end on Friday, December 11, 2020.
  • After Thanksgiving, there will be no in-person activities—all exams and other final assessment activities need to be held online.
  • The Associate Deans and I expect to hear more information soon about the revised examination schedule from Laura Hawthorne, Associate Vice Provost and University Registrar, and we will share timely updates.

As a result of the modifications listed above, a total of five instructions days will be lost for Fall 2020 compared to a normal fall semester—for most courses, this is two class days.

I know this adds a layer of complexity to your fall course planning and am truly grateful for your willingness to make these changes for our students and for the health of our community.

If you need assistance, please remember that there are resources available including the instruction partners who are working with Judy Giering, her Learning Design & technology (LDT) team, and the digital pedagogy interns to help ensure that faculty and departments are supported in their instructional planning for the upcoming year.

As a reminder, the LDT team is offering an array of workshops and consultations on topics including transitioning your course to online delivery, teaching remote students in an in-person classroom, tools for student engagement, and the advanced features of Collab. You can sign up for a workshop or consultation by visiting the LDT website.

If you need additional, specific guidance for your area, please reach out to your chair/director/associate dean. We’re also asking that general questions that affect the organization broadly be submitted through our A&S Return To Grounds (RTG) website through the FAQ page.

Thanks for the hard work you are putting in and for your flexibility—I know it will help make this challenging start to the academic year as smooth as possible for our students and I’m deeply thankful for all you are doing.

Sincerely,

Ian

Ian Baucom

Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts and Sciences

University of Virginia

LDT Website

FAQs

JUNE 30, 2020 – ACADEMIC DIVISION MANAGERS MESSAGE FROM LIZ MAGILL AND J.J. DAVIS

Dear Academic Division Managers,

Thank you for all that you are doing to support the University throughout this period of unprecedented change and uncertainty. As we prepare for the return of students and greater numbers of faculty and staff to Grounds, we write to provide information and ask for your help in navigating this new path. As has been the case since early spring, all decisions are provisional and instructions may be updated as state and federal public guidelines evolve.

1. Staffing Plans – As we prepare for our students to return to Grounds and to resume University operations, managers should develop return-to-work staffing plans. You know the needs of your area and are in the best position to determine who must physically return to Grounds in order to support the student population and the University’s core missions. As you develop your staffing plan, please keep these points in mind.

a.    Faculty and staff are encouraged to continue telecommuting (remote work) at least through July 31st if agreed to by their deans and managers.

b.    Managers are asked to determine which functions and roles should be performed on Grounds and may consider a phased approach for return to in-person work. Managers should develop return-to-work plans so that we can meet the business needs of the University for the fall term.

c.    Managers may consider Alternative Work Schedules in an effort to stagger schedules and maintain appropriate social distancing.

d.    Telecommuting will continue to be supported beyond July 31st in areas where work can be performed remotely. Remote work is a key component to reduce density and limit the spread of COVID-19, and managers are strongly encouraged to continue remote work, if remote work is appropriate for the position in accordance with the University’s remote work policy. Any arrangement for remote work must have manager approval and may be done on a full or partial day/week schedule as appropriate.

e.    Staffing Plans will require alignment and approval of local leadership, so please consult with your Dean’s office or respective vice president/vice provost to ensure a coordinated effort.

Although there is no fixed date for individuals to return to Grounds, we anticipate that most of the safety standards will be implemented and essential supplies will be available by the end of July. Therefore, late July or early August should be a target period for employees to begin returning to the physical workplace, provided state and public health guidance allows.

2. Health Check App – The University, including UVA Health, is developing a single app for use by all members of the community. All faculty, staff, and students will be asked to complete a daily health attestation through an electronic tool, indicating that they are symptom-free before coming to Grounds. Watch your email for a separate announcement with more information and instructions.

3. Employee Health – If someone who reports to you becomes ill, they should go home immediately and seek appropriate medical attention. If an employee does not have a primary care physician (PCP), they should contact UVA Employee Health at 434-924-2013. Employee Health will triage, screen, and contact the COVID Clinic to set up an evaluation if needed. Employees who work outside of the immediate Charlottesville/Albemarle area should contact their PCP rather than Employee Health.

4. Training – In early July, staff and faculty will be required to complete a “Return to Grounds” training module, which will be available for access through Workday. This module will explain basic safety standards and set behavioral expectations for returning to Grounds. Please ensure that all staff and faculty who report to you complete the learning module prior to returning to Grounds. At the end of the module each employee will be required to acknowledge that they have reviewed the content and agree to abide by the requirements as outlined. Adherence to the new safety standards is a shared responsibility and each of us should hold our co-workers and colleagues accountable. A separate learning module will be available for managers, which will include additional information designed to assist planning during this transition period. 

5. Transportation – Due to social distancing requirements, University Transit System capacity will be reduced by more than half. Staff and faculty who ride the bus from their parking areas should allow extra time for their commute. Everyone should anticipate that trips that are walkable in 10 minutes or less will not be supported by transit.

6. Parking – Employees who want to retain their annual parking permit will have the option to do so. In addition, some parking designations and prices will be modified to create more flexible options. Detailed information will be available on the Parking & Transportation website in July.

7. Personal Protective Equipment – The University has purchased two cloth face coverings for each staff and faculty member. Employees are responsible for washing them between uses. Face coverings will be provided to designated area coordinators for distribution based on school/unit plans. Requirements for wearing face coverings on Grounds are covered in University Policy SEC-045: COVID-19 Health & Safety Requirement – Face Coverings. If preferred, employees may wear their own face coverings that meet policy standards.

8. Supplies – Supplies such as cleaning products and hand sanitizer can be ordered through a central COVID-specific supply site. Additionally, 2,600 free-standing hand sanitizer stands have been ordered and will be placed in high-traffic common areas, such as Newcomb Hall and the John Paul Jones Arena, near entrances to buildings, and at elevators. These stands will be monitored and managed by Facilities Management. Additionally, 1,000, one-gallon containers of hand gel are available to be placed in those spaces that do not receive the free-standing dispensers.  

9. Signage/Barriers – A team led by Facilities Management will evaluate common and functional spaces across Grounds to implement University-approved safety standards that include signage and barriers. Sign and barrier locations for common areas will be managed in coordination with designated area coordinators and are targeted for completion by July 31st. After these areas are complete, you may order additional signs and barriers for your spaces through the COVID-specific supply site.

10. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Facilities Management has begun training staff and implementing new, enhanced cleaning protocols. It is important to recognize that the housekeeping staff cannot clean all high-touch surfaces continuously. Local protocols should be put in place for staff to clean high-touch objects (e.g., coffee pots, microwave, copy machine buttons) after each use. Also consider removing items like pens, magazines, and markers that might be shared regularly. By working together, we can create a safer environment.

11. More information –Please visit the new Return to Grounds website and explore the FAQs and links so that you can assist your staff in finding answers to their questions. Many areas – such as dining, libraries, and IM-Rec – will have modified schedules and limited services. General information and links to departmental sites are posted on the Operations Status Board
As a manager, we rely on you to convey these messages to your team. Please share relevant information with your staff so that they know what to expect as they return to the workplace. In addition to the guidance included in this memo we have developed for your reference a set of Planning Assumptions and a detailed set of Facility/Space Safety Standards and Recommendations.

Thank you again for everything you do to keep the University running. HR Business Partners and the HR Solution Center (AskHR@virginia.edu and 434-243-3344) stand ready to assist you with questions. We look forward to having students, faculty, and staff back on Grounds in greater numbers and to working with you as we adjust to new ways of learning and working together.

Sincerely,
J.J. and Liz

M. Elizabeth Magill
Executive Vice President and Provost  

Jennifer (J.J.) Wagner Davis
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

JUNE 24, 2020 – FACULTY PREFERENCE FOR FALL TEACHING MESSAGE FROM JUDY GIERING

Dear Faculty,

In Dean Baucom’s June 17 email, he addressed the question of whether faculty would be required to teach on Grounds this fall. As he indicated, we have developed a process to communicate your intentions for in-person teaching.

If you have or expect to have teaching responsibilities in the fall, we ask that you visit this page to submit your preference regarding in-person teaching. We request that you complete the form by Wednesday, July 1. If your situation changes, you will be able to re-submit the form with your new preference.

As you complete the form, please consider the following:

  • While we will make every effort we can to accommodate in-person teaching preferences, given the required social distancing standard we will have limited classroom capacity. 
  • Your completed form will be shared with my office and the Associate Deans to help determine the course delivery mode for each class.
  • We expect to have final determination of course delivery identified in SIS by August 1st.

Please contact me with any questions you may have.

Best,

Judy

Judith A. Giering, Ph.D.
Director, A&S Learning Design & Technology
University of Virginia
434-243-9933

jgiering@virginia.edu

JUNE 17, 2020 – FACULTY MESSAGE FROM DEAN BAUCOM

Dear Colleagues,

As you have seen from the email sent by President Ryan and the University’s Executive Vice Presidents earlier today, the University has announced its plans for the fall semester with details available on the new UVA Return to Grounds website.

I am writing now to provide some additional information on planning within A&S, to address key questions you must have, and to ask for your input. Over the coming weeks we will continue to provide further updates, which will also be posted to the A&S website.

Will I be required to teach in person this Fall?

No. As President Ryan’s message indicated, in addition to our standard process for ADA accommodations, all faculty will be able to request that they not teach in person.  It is my intention that we will grant all such requests. I also wish to be clear that a request not to teach in person will have no impact on any evaluation, renewal, or promotion decision. We will share more information about the in-person teaching exemption request process within the next two weeks.

How will courses be delivered?

First, all courses larger than 40 students will be taught online, due to reduced classroom capacity with social distancing. These courses may be synchronous or asynchronous, as best fits the needs of the instructor and the course objectives.

A number of courses with enrollment numbers at or below 40 may be offered in person by faculty who prefer to teach this way (with few exceptions, these courses should also allow remote participation by students who cannot be on Grounds or in the classroom). My colleagues in the Dean’s Office are working closely with the Provost and her team, with Facilities Management, and with the University Registrar (UREG) to determine the capacity each classroom will hold with social distancing measures in place. We expect these numbers to be fairly low.

The following examples illustrate this situation:

The Chemistry Auditorium (402) can normally hold 495 students; with proper social distancing, it will hold approximately 40 students.
Nau 101 normally has a capacity of 245 students; with proper social distancing, it will hold approximately 25 students.

Last week, Judy Giering from our A&S Learning Design and Technology (LDT) team sent a course delivery plan to all Chairs/Directors and DUPs asking for input on the best approaches for teaching A&S courses.

This information will significantly help us model potential classroom assignments. Once we have received these preliminary course delivery plans and requests from faculty for an exemption from in-person teaching, we will work with UREG to determine the difference between classroom demand and classroom availability. As soon as that is determined, we will ask Departments to re-visit their course-delivery plans, considering both faculty willingness to teach on Grounds and the constraints we identify from our modelling process. Given our potential space constraints, we encourage those of you who wish to teach in person to consider creative alternatives: e.g. perhaps having 10 of 20 students in the classroom one week while the other 10 join the course remotely, and then switching those groups the following week.

Ultimately, if more faculty wish to teach in person than available classroom space permits, we may need to ask departments for rationales on proposed in-person courses in order to make final decisions about course delivery. We will continue to keep you informed on this process and provide ample opportunity for questions to be addressed.

What resources are available to me as I prepare for Fall teaching?

I have approved two initiatives to provide support directly to departments. The first is a digital pedagogy internship, which is providing summer employment to May 2020 Ph.D. graduates. The interns are completing a two-week boot camp, after which they will be given assignments to work with departments to assist faculty with their preparation for fall teaching.

The second is the appointment of department liaisons who will work with Judy Giering, her LDT team, and the digital pedagogy interns to help ensure that faculty and departments are supported in their instructional planning for the upcoming year. The ADs are working with department chairs to identify and appoint the people who will serve as liaisons.

The LDT team continues to offer an array of workshops and consultations on topics including transitioning your course to online delivery, teaching remote students in an in-person classroom, tools for student engagement, and the advanced features of Collab. You can sign up for a workshop or consultation by visiting the LDT website.

In addition, as you consider how to adapt your courses to this new educational environment, please be sure to include graduate student teaching assistants in your planning process, not only to maximize their pedagogical training and benefit from their insight and experience working with undergraduates, but because they will have the same freedom as faculty to request that they not teach in person. Please also be sensitive to the fact that the effort expected of graduate teaching assistants is not to expand beyond the typical parameters of their half-time or full-time appointments. As noted in University policy regarding assistantships, graduate students are, first and foremost, students. Teaching assistants contribute greatly to the excellence of our undergraduate curriculum, they are also responsible for making significant academic progress towards their own degrees.

When will we be able to return to our offices?

We recognize there are a range of reasons why you may want to return to your office, including advising, preparing course materials, and hosting Zoom sessions for your class. In concert with UVA’s central efforts, the College is working to define policies and protocols for a range of issues, including cleaning/sanitation, testing, distribution of PPE supplies, visitors, signage, telecommuting, and more. While several of these issues have been addressed within the VPR’s phased Research Ramp-up process, we must now consider them on a broader scale for the full range of activities across the A&S enterprise.

In order to protect the health and safety of our faculty and staff, we will require the submission of a Return to Grounds (RTG) plan from each A&S department/unit beginning in early July.

Similar to the research ramp-up plans implemented by the VPR’s office, our RTG planning will invite each A&S department/unit to consider a range of factors such as supply and equipment needs, scheduling preferences, and social distancing accommodations. Permission to return to Grounds will not be granted until an area’s RTG plan has been both submitted and approved. Until then, everyone should continue to work remotely. Additional information regarding RTG planning and the submission process will be communicated later this month and posted to the A&S website.

To inform the RTG planning process, I invite all faculty to complete a survey by Wednesday, June 24, 2020. I hope you will all add your voices by taking a few minutes to fill it out. We need your thoughts and concerns about returning to Grounds to improve our decision making.

Access the A&S Return to Grounds Pulse Survey for Faculty

Note: In the interim, there are a range of circumstances where permission to be on Grounds (or to briefly return to your workspaces) has already been granted for faculty and staff. As a reminder, here is the list of conditions—I ask that you continue to please honor the following:

  • You are permitted to be on-Grounds if you have been granted permission to do so through an approved research plan (or by your Associate Dean).
  • Short visits to offices to pick up materials, or conduct previously arranged tasks, are permitted.
  • If work can be conducted remotely, please continue to telecommute.
  • When on-Grounds, please follow CDC personal hygiene guidelines by wearing a mask and practicing 6-foot social distancing]

Where can I find updates?

Next week, a new section of the A&S website will serve as the central location for key information and updates, including specific instructions for submitting RTG plans. Please stay tuned.

We know that this Fall semester will present a tremendous challenge. I was deeply inspired by how quickly you responded in the spring with the full transition to online learning, and by how you have taken up the call to find innovative ways to support and advance the College’s teaching, research, and service missions. I cannot tell you how grateful I am. With your help, I am confident we can return safely and prepare for the arrival of our students.

Sincerely,

Ian

Ian Baucom
Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts & Sciences
University of Virginia

JUNE 17, 2020 – STAFF MESSAGE FROM DEAN BAUCOM

Dear Colleagues,

As you have seen from the email sent by President Ryan and the University’s Executive Vice Presidents earlier today, the University has announced its plans for the fall semester with details available on the new UVA Return to Grounds website.

I’m writing now to provide some additional information on planning within A&S, to address key questions you must have, and to ask for your input. Over the coming weeks we will continue to provide further updates, which will also be posted to the A&S website.

Will I be required to work on grounds this Fall?

As the President Ryan’s message indicated, in addition to our standard process for ADA accommodations, staff will be able to request to continue to work remotely. While you are welcome to communicate directly with your supervisor or submit requests to Employee Relations about your preferred work location, the Dean’s Office will provide additional information on remote work requests via the A&S website in early July.

When will we be able to return to our offices?

In concert with UVA’s central efforts, the College is working to define policies and protocols for a range of issues, including cleaning/sanitation, testing, distribution of PPE supplies, visitors, signage, telecommuting, and more. While several of these issues have been addressed within the VPR’s phased Research Ramp-up process, we must now consider them on a broader scale for the full range of activities across the A&S enterprise.

In order to protect the health and safety of our faculty and staff, we will require the submission of a Return to Grounds (RTG) plan from each A&S department/unit beginning in early July.

Similar to the research ramp-up plans implemented by the VPR’s office, our RTG planning will invite each A&S department/unit to consider a range of factors such as supply and equipment needs, scheduling preferences, and social distancing accommodations. Permission to return to Grounds will not be granted until an area’s RTG plan has been both submitted and approved. Until then, everyone should continue to work remotely. Additional information regarding RTG planning and the submission process will be communicated later this month and posted to the A&S website.

To inform the RTG planning process, I invite all staff to complete a survey by Wednesday, June 24, 2020. I hope you will all add your voices by taking a few minutes to fill it out. We need your thoughts and concerns about returning to Grounds to improve our decision making.

Access the A&S Return to Grounds Pulse Survey

Please note - there are a range of circumstances where permission to be on Grounds (or to briefly return to your workspaces) has already been granted for faculty and staff. As a reminder, here is the list of conditions—I ask that you continue to please honor the following:

  • You are permitted to be on-Grounds if you have been granted permission to do so through an approved research plan (or by your Associate Dean).
  • Short visits to offices to pick up materials, or conduct previously arranged tasks, are permitted.
  • If work can be conducted remotely, please continue to telecommute.
  • When on-Grounds, please follow CDC personal hygiene guidelines by wearing a mask and practicing 6-foot social distancing]

 
Where can I find updates?

Next week, a new section of the A&S website will serve as the central location for key information and updates, including specific instructions for submitting RTG plans. Please stay tuned.

We know that this Fall semester will present a tremendous challenge. I was deeply inspired by how quickly you responded in the spring, and by how you have taken up the call to find innovative ways to support and advance the College’s teaching, research, and service missions. I cannot tell you how grateful I am. With your help, I am confident we can return safely and prepare for the arrival of our students.

Sincerely,

Ian

Ian Baucom
Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts & Sciences
University of Virginia