Coronavirus Information and School Operations

About - Return to Grounds - Staff FAQ

FAQ for Staff

As Darden prepares for a more normal start to the 2021-22 academic year, this webpage provides answers to frequently asked questions relevant to Darden School staff.

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].

General Information

  • 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.
    • Students:
      • 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.
  • Will vaccines be required for faculty and staff?

    The University expects all UVA and UVA Health faculty and staff who do not have a need for a medical or religious exemption to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Vaccination of employees is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 and the return to regular, in-person experiences. Current UVA employees should upload proof of vaccination through Workday if you were vaccinated outside of the UVA Health System; you will see a notification on the left side of the Workday dashboard. Any UVA or Foundation employee who is not vaccinated will be subject to mandatory weekly prevalence testing, which will begin this summer. School employees should visit the UVA HR COVID Prevalence Testing website for more information on testing requirements and procedures.

    UVA Darden School Foundation Employees 

    Darden School Foundation employees should submit proof of vaccination to Shea Rainey, Human Resources Generalist, at [email protected]. The Darden School Foundation has partnered with a national independent testing organization to provide confidential COVID-19 prevalence testing for Foundation staff members. The process includes direct interaction with medical providers to provide a rapid and effective testing regimen. Rainey can provide Foundation employees who need it with the information on how to begin the prevalence testing as well.

    Going forward, University leaders will monitor employee vaccination rates and, in consultation with public health experts, consider whether to require vaccines for all employees. Neither Darden staff (with the exception of one staff member of the Foundation HR team who is collecting proof of vaccinations) nor senior leadership will have access to any individual employee’s vaccination status.

    UVA Health's FAQs about COVID vaccines, and an opportunity to schedule an appointment, are available here.

  • Will vaccines be required for visitors?

    No, but everyone coming to Grounds will be required to follow current UVA health guidelines, including wearing a mask if not fully vaccinated.

  • Will those who have received vaccines be asked to indicate that visibly in some way?

    No. Vaccination, like other personal healthcare decisions, is a private matter and no one is expected to disclose his or her vaccination status. As a community of mutual care we know that all members of the Darden community, vaccinated or not, will be following appropriate health protocols to keep each other safe.

  • What kinds of questions can staff and managers ask of others? Can you ask if a coworker is vaccinated?

    Within Darden’s community of care, we ask that you respect each individual’s privacy and refrain from making any inquiries related to any individual’s vaccination status. We will ask all members of our community and trust them to follow appropriate public health protocols to keep each other safe within these frameworks. No one at Darden (with the exception of HR) will have access to any individual employee’s vaccination status.

  • How can I ask a question that is not answered in this FAQ?

    For most questions, reach out directly to your Darden HR representative, manager or program leader.

    To send a question to the Dean's Office and Darden leadership, faculty and staff can share them through this form. Questions will be addressed as they arise during regular, ongoing town halls for the Darden community.


Working Remotely and On Grounds

  • How do I approach a hybrid work request?

    The Darden HR team is currently in the process of reviewing return plans with Dean’s Staff members, who will work with managers and their teams on a review of detailed return plans and timing within the framework below. Employees can expect more conversations with their managers and guidance on each team’s plans and return timelines by the week of 6 July, 2021. If there is a concern for privacy about your request, including health concerns, please contact Human Resources first. Otherwise, discuss your request with your Department Manager who will coordinate with Human Resources and senior leadership as we implement Return to Grounds work protocols. We anticipate that generally members of the Darden community will be working largely on-site, with flexibility based on work requirements, department needs and individual needs through conversation with managers and department leaders.

  • Where can I find information about technology to work remotely?
    • Visit Darden’s Technical Support for Remote Learning and Work website, which includes Zoom best practices such as video and audio tips and general etiquette.
    • 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.
    • Refer to UVA’s Faculty/Staff Technology Checklist for Working Remotely webpage for a technology preparedness checklist and a consolidation of valuable links to ITS resources.
    • If you identify new or ongoing technology needs for teleworking, please let your manager know.
    • For technology assistance, the UVA Help Desk is available 24/7/365 and can be contacted in a variety of ways. You can also contact the Darden Help 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 is the framework for telecommuting?

    Senior leadership and managers are in the process of defining this with Human Resources.

  • For units that travel, what will be the policy for them when they return from trips? Will they have to quarantine after flying? After returning from another country?

    Currently, the CDC recommends domestic and international air travel only for those who are fully vaccinated. Employees will need to register all international travel on the University’s International Travel Registry no later than 7 days before departure. Faculty and staff who undertake international travel will be responsible for assessing the safety of their planned itineraries in consultation with their supervisors, drawing on resources provided in the policy. More information on the University’s travel policy is available here. Recommendations for quarantine will be in accordance with current CDC and UVA Health & Safety recommendations.

  • Will we be required to share office space?

    Yes. HR and Facilities will work with department managers to decide which offices will be shared, rotated, etc. Office sharing will be dependent on departmental needs for space. Given the limited space available it is likely that people will need to share.

  •  I am not comfortable coming to  Grounds. Can I continue to work remotely? If so, for how long? 

    In line with University guidance, Darden staff who are not comfortable returning to Grounds should discuss this with their manager, who can contact HR to explore conditions for working remotely. Staff may also contact Mary Jones or Gayle Mapstone directly at [email protected] or [email protected].  

  • Why is it important for me to be back on Grounds if I can handle all my job responsibilities working remotely?

    As UVA President Jim Ryan shared in May, “The University’s plans to return to in-person learning and living for students will mean that many UVA employees also will return to working in-person to support those important elements of our institution’s mission. Many who directly support our missions of teaching, research, service, and patient care will need to be physically present.”

    To enable the high touch and personalized Darden culture – with students, learners, visitors, and each other – that differentiates us and a culture focused on building our community.

    • Facilitates the informal but relevant conversations that take place in natural ways when people are together in person.
    • Provides meaningful real opportunities for team building and group socialization.
    • Supports managers in developing and supervising their teams, enhanced by closer proximity of regular in person interactions.
    • To provide inclusive excellence in both operations and staff experience.
    • To deliver the business and academic continuity which our stakeholders have come to expect.
  • Who decides if I need to be in the office, and with whom do I work out a schedule?

    Senior leadership, department managers, and human resources will define the need for in-person presence.

    Scheduling will be handled directly with department managers.

  • Will masks and social distancing be required?

    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.

    Exceptions: There are four exceptions to the requirements above:

    Eating, Drinking, Personal Hygiene: People may remove masks, of course, when eating, drinking, showering, brushing teeth, etc.

    Exercising: Certain exceptions to masking requirements apply to those who are exercising indoors – e.g., for those who are swimming or on exercise equipment. Details on these exceptions will be posted at IM-Rec and athletic facilities. To be on the safe side, always bring your mask with you.

    Americans with Disabilities Act accomodations: Some members of the University community may have pre-existing conditions that preclude them from wearing a mask; the relevant UVA office will evaluate requests for accommodation to determine whether there is a qualifying disability-related condition under ADA and a reasonable accommodation. Students with qualifying disability-related conditions can contact the Student Disability Access Center (SDAC) to seek accommodations related to masking requirements. Employees with qualifying disability-related conditions can seek accommodations related to masking requirements by following the Procedures for Employees with Disabilities to Request Workplace Accommodations.

  • How will meetings be conducted to ensure equity and inclusion for those who continue to work off site?

    Several conference rooms at Darden which are hybrid-enabled will be identified in Outlook and designated for priority use for meetings to include employees who are authorized to continue to work off-site.

    We will work with managers to consider the best ways to ensure inclusive meetings, team practices and norms, and work spaces for those who may be working on-site and off-site.

  • What provisions will be made for Darden employees for whom there are no current office spaces available?

    Hoteling spaces will be set up within different units that will include monitors with universal adapters; individuals must bring their own power cord/brick with their individual laptop.

    Hot spots for unscheduled short-term use are being discussed.

  • How will hoteling spaces be reserved?

    Facilities will set up a scheduling system for Hoteling spaces:

    On Charlottesville Grounds, contact Rachel Dudzik.

    At UVA Darden DC Metro in Rosslyn, contact Alex Lungi.

  • How will safety measures be enforced for those community members who don’t choose to follow them?

    We will rely upon our “Community of Care” and encouragement for all members of our community to observe CDC and UVA health & safety guidance.

    Concerns should be brought to the attention of Human Resources.

  • For units that hold events, what is the event policy for vaccines and masks?

    In-person events will follow all current UVA Health & Safety guidance and protocols. This includes masking for all individuals who are not fully vaccinated.

    Any events will also follow all local health protocols where the event is delivered.

    In planning events at this time please be considerate of the comfort level of stakeholders, members of the community, and the team in delivering given local conditions.

  • Has Darden assessed the air quality? Will air purifiers be provided?

    In both Charlottesville and Rosslyn, Darden has contracts to have our HVAC equipment serviced on a regular basis. Charlottesville is maintained by the University, and the Facilities Departments has been assured that the air quality is very good, with the appropriate filters are being used in the systems. Rosslyn’s facility is new and has the most up-to-date equipment installed. 

    Air purifiers are not necessary. Please review the Charlottesville UVA HVAC FAQ and Rosslyn Monday Properties HVAC FAQ for information about Charlottesville and Rosslyn HVAC, air circulation and filtration.  

  • How and where will masking and/or social distancing policies in place this fall be communicated?

    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.

    Updates to UVA Health and Safety guidance will be posted here.

  • What new safety/sanitation measures are in place and how will those be communicated?

    UVA Housekeeping is providing enhanced cleaning measures on Darden Grounds.

    Ample hand sanitizing spray units are available just inside each common entry/exit door, in restrooms, dining areas, and throughout most public hallways.

    Staff, faculty and students are required to assist in keeping public areas clean. Wipes, sanitizer spray, other cleaning supplies, and instructions have been provided in all public areas for individual use.  

    Specific cleaning recommendations and protocols are outlined on the UVA Covid-19 website.

  • What resources are available to help me manage my health and wellness?

    For those looking to do things from home, a few resources include:

    • IM-Rec Sports is offering virtual fitness classes, with live workouts via Zoom, Monday to Friday, and prerecorded options for any time.
    • Hoos Well also has a suite of virtual resources to help promote physical and emotional well-being through this time.
    • The Compassionate Care Initiative at the UVA School of Nursing offers free, public online offerings for well-being.
    • FEAP has a suite of virtual resources on their website.
  • What should I do if I see someone inside a building mask-free?

    An individual can note that masks are available at the reception desk in Saunders Hall.

HR & Benefits