This webpage provides answers to frequently asked questions relevant to students in the Darden School's degree programs as UVA and the School prepare for more normal operations starting fall 2021.
The FAQ provides answers based on the latest plans and information available. Information may change based on the spread of COVID-19, the advice of public health experts or an order by the Virginia Department of Health. The top priority will always be keeping our community safe — and we will continue to update FAQ pages and other communications to inform you as circumstances require adjustments. Questions for leadership? Fill out this form. For communication questions or to offer suggestions related to the Return to Darden Grounds website, please write to [email protected].
How are Darden and the University of Virginia keeping students, parents, faculty and staff informed?
Darden is communicating regularly with our community through email, alerts and this website. The University is communicating on a broad array of topics for students, student families, faculty and staff, and managers and supervisors on its Coronavirus Information website.
Please direct specific questions NOT addressed through these resources as follows:
- Staff: Refer specific questions to your immediate manager or supervisor.
- Faculty: Refer questions to program or faculty leadership.
- If you need medical attention, contact UVA Student Health at +1-434-982-3915 or +1-434-297-4261 after hours.
- For housing-related questions, student groups or general safety, contact a member of Darden’s Office of Student Affairs or UVA’s Office of the Dean of Students at +1-434-924-7133.
- For issues related to advising, credits or course registration, contact the relevant dean for your program or Darden Registrar Terri Smith.
- Questions about accommodations because of physical or mental disabilities would go to SDAC in Student Health at +1-434-342-5188.
What do I need to do prior to arriving on Grounds?
All students who live, learn, or work in person at the University during the next academic year must be fully vaccinated before returning to Grounds, starting 1 July. Students were required to upload proof of vaccination to the HealthyHoos Patient Portal by 1 July. This approach enables students to return to a residential academic setting where they can live, study, and gather together safely. Students may seek a medical or religious exemption to the vaccination requirement. If such exemption is granted, they will be subject to weekly prevalence testing requirements and likely other public health measures. Students who are not vaccinated and do not qualify for an exception are not permitted to come to Grounds.
Visit UVA's Coronavirus Vaccination webpage for more information.
Do Darden students need to review and agree to UVA's risk mitigation requirements?
The University will communicate any requirements for the 2021-22 academic year during summer 2021.
Are there any restrictions to visitors coming to Grounds?
There are currently no restrictions for visitors to Grounds or sizes of gatherings and events. Social distancing is no longer required. Those who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine are required to wear a cloth face covering while on Grounds.
How can I ask a question that is not answered in this FAQ?
Students should contact a member of the Office of Student Affairs with questions.
Academic Programming & Support
Will classes in fall 2021 be in person?
According to the latest guidance from UVA, Darden expects a return to more normal operations in the 2021-22 academic year, including in-person classes at full capacity.
Where can I find information about technical support?
- Increased use of Zoom creates new security threats to your computer and Darden. All faculty, staff and students are asked to authenticate to https://darden-virginia.zoom.us before class or meetings. Authentication will provide access to Darden’s Pro version of Zoom. In addition, the Darden community should stay up-to-date with the latest software updates from Zoom. Due to the severity of Zoom security risks, you should verify that you are running the latest version of Zoom and download any missing updates manually. Click here to learn how to check what version of Zoom you have and how to initiate the update process manually.
- For technology assistance, contact the Darden Service Desk team.
- If you would like technical support for a virtual event or meeting, please reach out to the IT team ([email protected] or at +1-434-924-3276), Joanne Meier or Jarrod Tibbs. They can point you to resources that you can use to meet your needs.
What will happen to Darden Worldwide courses and other global academic experiences?
The Darden School continues to firmly believe in the transformational experiences that global academic opportunities provide students. The School also places a priority on the health and well-being of students. Darden is committed to continue offering global learning opportunities, as long as there are no perceived significant health or safety risks in the locations planned for students to visit. Over the next few months, Darden will continue monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation around the world and how this pandemic is impacting each country’s entry/exit requirements, travel restrictions and openness to foreign visitors.
If the COVID-19 situation abates and if it is deemed safe for students to travel internationally, the School plans to offer a robust portfolio of Darden Worldwide courses. The School’s goal of every student having at least one global experience by graduation remains.
Will recruiters require students to travel for in-person interviews?
The Darden Career Center will share regular updates with students about plans and expectations for the 2021-22 academic year.
I do not feel safe being in a classroom. Can I take my classes virtually?
Widespread vaccinations within the UVA community will allow for a return to in-person academic instruction, without the strict limitations on spacing and capacity that we have had to employ this year. UVA expects that most classes will be offered in-person only, without a concurrent virtual option. Some small number of students or instructors may have unique circumstances that will make it impossible to return to in-person instruction on Grounds. The Provost’s Office is working with schools to develop accommodations for those unique situations
Do I need to wear a face covering in the classroom? What about outside?
UVA on 6 August announced a new, temporary indoor mask policy. Under the policy, all people, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, must wear a mask on UVA property. The policy covers University-owned or leased public spaces like academic or administrative buildings, libraries, labs, dining halls, IM/Rec facilities and all UVA Health properties.
Masks are not required while eating or drinking, or when people are alone in a closed space like an office. There is currently no masking requirement outdoors.
Officials will continue to monitor case counts, hospitalizations and other conditions, and hope to modify or lift the masking policy by 6 September.
Why did Darden install plastic barriers at reception desks, the IT desk and cashier stations?
This is now a standard precaution for staff who interact with multiple different people every day. Such partitions protect against droplet spread from sneezing, coughing and talking. Placing physical barriers in public spaces, such as reception areas, IT desks and at cash registers, reduces the risk of spread for staff who frequently encounter numerous individuals throughout the day.
How will Darden clean its facilities?
Darden will comply with all CDC cleaning guidelines, which can be found here.
Currently used facilities and equipment will be cleaned by designated Darden staff at least once a day and the beginning and ending of group sessions in a space, following CDC guidance for cleaning and disinfecting. This is in addition to cleaning high-touch surfaces at the end of daily work.
Additionally, when group sessions of any kind begin and end, designated Darden staff will clean work areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant or disinfecting wipe. This includes shared items located in shared spaces.
Will Darden offer food and beverage services?
Darden continues to offer modified food and beverage services. Self-serve buffet lines and communal food and beverage supplies will not be in use. Food will be prepared and served by hospitality staff. Use of self-serve beverage stations will require wearing disposable gloves, which will be provided at the beverage station.
Moreover, Darden will observe the following protocols:
- Food services will be boxed and sealed for safety, including no open buffet lines, self-serve, shared containers, etc.
- All service staff will wear gloves and masks.
- Hand sanitizer stations will be available.
- Designated trash and dish disposal areas will be available.