UVA to require vaccinations for students for fall return to in-person operation

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The Rotunda(WVIR)
Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 6:16 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WDBJ/UVA Release) - All students who live, study or work in-person at the University of Virginia during the next academic year must be fully vaccinated before returning to grounds, beginning July 1, according to an email message Thursday from UVA leadership.

“This approach will enable our students to return to a residential academic setting where they can live, study, and gather together safely,” the email read.

The message was signed by UVA President Jim Ryan, Provost Liz Magill, Chief Operating Officer J.J. Davis and Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Dr. K. Craig Kent.

Students must upload proof of vaccination to the HealthyHoos Patient Portal no later than July 1. Students may request medical or religious exemptions to the vaccination requirement, according to the university. For students whose exemptions are granted, they will be subject to weekly COVID-19 testing requirements and likely other public health measures.

Students who are not fully vaccinated and do not qualify for an exemption will not be permitted to go to grounds after July 1.

COVID-19 vaccination is strongly encouraged for UVA employees, but not required at this point.

“The University expects all UVA and UVA Health faculty and staff who do not have a need for medical or religious exemption to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” the UVA leaders wrote. “We know that many UVA and UVA Health employees are fully vaccinated and others are in the process of completing their doses. Vaccination of our employees is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 and the return to regular, in-person experiences.”

University leaders report they will monitor employee vaccination rates and consult with public health experts as they consider whether to require vaccines for all employees.

UVA Athletics is also planning to welcome spectators to the stands more fully, starting with the fall sports seasons. Decisions about capacity, physical distancing and public health requirements will be based on current guidance from the CDC and the Commonwealth of Virginia when those seasons begin.

“As we look back on an academic year where the pandemic changed every part of life at UVA, the availability and effectiveness of the vaccines will make it possible for all of us to live, learn, and work together in more ‘normal’ ways in the year to come,” Ryan, Magill, Davis and Kent said. “We will continue to provide you with updates as we finalize the details for how things like prevalence testing will work next semester. Thank you, as always, for making this extraordinary year possible.”

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