Every student, faculty and staff member who will be on Grounds this fall will have to meet certain health and safety requirements designed to keep members of the Darden, UVA and broader community safe. Darden’s health and safety guidelines are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the University of Virginia.
Here are “The Big Four” guidelines:
Wear a face covering.
Keep a social distance of six feet or two meters.
Wash and sanitize your hands.
Stay home if you feel sick.
Darden’s Culture of Mutual Care and Concern
The Darden Culture and Connectivity Committee, led by Professors Lili Powell and Barbara Millar, was formed with a mission to maintain and enhance Darden’s culture, connectivity and resilience during and after the coronavirus pandemic. The committee asks the entire Darden community to join it in this mission and to ensure all members of the community feel connected. Every person at Darden should feel like they matter, and to accomplish this the committee welcomes ideas that:
- Foster relationships
- Promote inclusion and equity
- Create mutual support and respect
- Enhance transparent and clear communication
Health and Safety at Darden
Health and safety are paramount as the Darden community navigates the challenges presented by COVID-19 this fall. First and foremost, all members of the community should follow “The Big Four” health and safety guidelines.
As the community returns to Grounds in Charlottesville and Rosslyn, Darden seeks to create a culture of mutual care and concern. It will take the efforts of us all to protect the health of community members. While some individuals may be at lower risk from the virus, we must act in ways that ensure the health of all members of our community and the community around us. A healthier and safer environment resulting from careful behavior will increase the likelihood we can maintain or expand the range of in-person instruction and activity. The inverse is also true.
While we know we will never be able to eliminate all risk, Darden is developing stringent protocols and practices to mitigate health risk as much as possible. Darden’s Safe Return to Grounds Committee is focused on ensuring that the School remains open safely throughout the academic year. The group is developing detailed health and safety protocols for Darden in line with UVA policy and guidance. Below, please read the latest health protocols and planning for Darden developed by the Safe Return to Grounds Committee, and read UVA’s guidance on measures being taken to ensure public health.
Visit the UVA COVID Tracker to track public health information and key metrics about the virus. This tracker is updated daily and is intended to provide students, staff, faculty, parents and community with up to date information from the University of Virginia.
Health and Safety Details
Daily Health Checks
Faculty, staff and students will be required to attest to symptoms in an app daily prior to coming to Grounds.
Download the HOOS Health Check app to phones from the Apple App Store or Android Google Play Store, or access the website via personal computer. The app helps the University community prevent the spread of COVID-19. It will help individuals be aware of their symptoms, encourage personal responsibility, and provide resources and next steps for testing for individuals who report symptoms.
Darden community members are also encouraged to download the COVIDWISE app from the Virginia Department of Health to help protect the broader UVA, Charlottesville and Virginia communities. COVIDWISE uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to quickly notify users who have likely been exposed so you can reduce the risk of infection for your friends and family and help Virginia stop the spread.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) has been provided by the University of Virginia and will be distributed upon your arrival on Grounds. See UVA Policy SEC-045 for details regarding various face coverings and their proper use, care and laundering.
Types of PPE:
- Students, faculty, staff and program participants are required to wear cloth face coverings.
- Certain units requiring specific CDC and OSHA-approved PPE such as Hospitality, Housekeeping, and Facilities and Maintenance will receive PPE from their unit managers.
Distribution of PPE:
- On the first day of arrival, all faculty, staff, students and program participants are asked to wear their own personal face covering until receiving Darden-issued PPE onsite.
- Students will receive a UVA Safe Return to Grounds kit containing two cloth face coverings, hand sanitizer, a touch key tool and a drawstring bag. Student Safe Return to Grounds kits will be waiting for students in their classrooms.
- Faculty and staff will receive two cloth face coverings each, which will be placed on desks prior to arrival.
- Program participants will receive face coverings onsite, which will be placed on desks before they arrive.
Additional PPE Information:
- A disposable face covering will be provided by the University should you forget to bring back your own. Only wear disposable face coverings for one day and then dispose of them.
- Individuals are responsible for laundering reusable face coverings as necessary to maintain their effectiveness (as outlined in UVA Policy SEC-045).
- Individuals may use their own personal face coverings. To be effective, simple cloth face coverings must fully cover the mouth and nose and have no exhaust valves or defects (e.g., holes).
Testing and Tracing
In partnership with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the University of Virginia has created a comprehensive COVID-19 testing plan that includes students, Executive Education learners, faculty, staff and all other members of the community. The University of Virginia will partner closely with the VDH to conduct contact tracing. The Darden School will not implement contact tracing on its own.
UVA will provide additional details, but initial plans include:
- Students, faculty and staff who come on Grounds will be required to track their symptoms using an app for the days they come on Grounds. UVA will provide students with information on how to request a free test to be mailed to their home on the Fall 2020 Student Resource Site.
- UVA is and will continue to offer testing to anyone who exhibits symptoms.
- UVA will make available voluntary testing for faculty, staff, contract employees, and students who are concerned and may not exhibit symptoms. These tests will be available through an online schedule.
- In partnership with the Virginia Department of Health, UVA will support voluntary testing of community members.
- UVA is working closely with the Virginia Department of Health to effectively trace contacts of anyone who contracts the virus.
- Once classes start, UVA will perform testing and other monitoring to assess the prevalence of viral infections. UVA will monitor Grounds closely and respond with increased testing to detect asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic cases where investigations suggest there might be a cluster of cases
The Safe Return to Grounds Committee will continually monitor the level of the disease within the Darden, UVA, and surrounding Charlottesville and Washington, D.C., area communities. If there is an increase in incidence of the disease, Darden may return to fully remote instruction and work at any time. The committee is working with UVA on these monitoring protocols, tied to the testing plan noted above.
All classrooms and spaces will have capacity limits to maintain social distancing. Students will have staggered arrival times and designated entrances to limit density and to minimize cross-interaction. There will be periodic temperature checks on arrival at Darden Grounds as reinforcement to individual symptom checking.
The following facility modifications have been made in Charlottesville and Rosslyn:
- Room capacities have been decreased to maintain social distancing. Revised room capacity signage has been posted near each space.
- Workspace and classroom layouts and seating arrangements have been revised to allow for social distancing.
- Plexiglass barriers have been installed in public spaces such as reception desks, cashier stations, IT desk and food/beverage areas, and open office spaces.
- Hand sanitizer stations have been installed throughout all buildings.
- HVAC systems and air filters have been inspected and upgraded.
- Signage has been installed throughout each facility to provide reminders on how to prevent the spread of germs, maintain social distancing and provide instruction on operational changes.
- Entrances and exits have been designated to minimize contact between stakeholders and to maintain social distancing.
Parking garages and parking lots will be open and available for use. However, even when in the garage or parking lot, individuals are expected to maintain six feet (two meters) of distance and follow other health and safety precautions. At UVA Darden DC Metro in Rosslyn, Monday Properties parking attendants are closely monitoring guidance from industry leaders, such as the International Parking & Mobility Institute (IPMI) and other parking operators. The onsite parking attendants at 1100 Wilson Boulevard are adhering to social-distancing guidelines and are wearing PPE such as face coverings.
Food and Beverage Service
Food and beverage preparation and hospitality services are a critical part of keeping our stakeholders safe while on Grounds. The Hospitality teams in Charlottesville and Rosslyn have been working diligently with Darden’s hospitality provider FLIK and Darden management to revise all food and beverage services in accordance with strict Virginia Department of Health, CDC and OSHA regulations. In order to maintain the health and safety of the Darden community, the following changes have been implemented:
- Darden will 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.
- To maintain appropriate social distancing, meal and break times will be staggered and specific food and beverage areas will be designated, utilizing outdoor seating when possible. Common-area surfaces will be wiped down with disinfectant after use.
- Café 67 in Charlottesville will be closed until further notice due to the inability to social distance in this small space.
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.
- Signs will be installed to promote social distancing.
- Social distancing cues will be installed on floors.
- Hand sanitizer stations will be available.
- Designated trash and dish disposal areas will be available.
Darden staff members will return to Grounds in a phased approach, lowering building density. Departments that are required to have staff members on Grounds will adopt a rotation approach to minimize cross-interaction, time on Grounds and density. Most staff will continue working remotely through Phase 1 of returning to the workplace.
Requests to return to Grounds made by faculty and staff who are working remotely will be made on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by the Dean’s Office.
Health and Safety FAQ
What are the key health and safety requirements that I should always keep in mind?
The “Big Four”:
- Wear a face covering on Grounds at all times in buildings or outside except when you exercise or eat.
- Maintain a distance of six feet (two meters).
- Practice regular handwashing, hand sanitizing and safe hand hygiene.
- Stay home if you are exhibiting any symptoms of sickness.
The Darden School will follow the University of Virginia’s policies and guidance on health and safety. Please continue to monitor UVA’s Public Health Measures website for the most up-to-date information.
Do I need to adhere to all health and safety protocols if I am not part of a high-risk population, have previously had COVID-19 or have received a vaccine?
Yes. The safety of all of us depends on every member of our community practicing mutual care and concern by following all the health and safety requirements. Asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic carriers of the coronavirus can transmit the virus to others unknowingly. For those who have recovered from COVID-19, there can be wide variances in how long antibodies last to prevent another occurrence. For those who have received vaccines, there remains uncertainty regarding whether vaccinated people can still spread the virus.
It is important for all of us to practice these health and safety measures at all times. Doing so will help keep our entire community safe, as well as those we care about at home and our broader community.
Do I need to get tested before coming on Grounds?
Darden will adhere to the University of Virginia’s protocols for testing. The University is working with the Virginia Department of Health to create a comprehensive COVID-19 testing plan that will include students, faculty, staff and other members of the community.
- For students: All UVA undergraduate and graduate students who are planning to return to Grounds, including those living in UVA residence halls and those living in Charlottesville or Albemarle County who will attend classes or labs, either in-person or fully online, must submit COVID-19 test results to the University before they are allowed to return. Students who do not complete the test and submit their results will not be allowed to return. UVA has contracted with Let’s Get Checked, a commercial medical testing laboratory, to provide the test kits and process them in their lab. Students are encouraged to order a free kit through the vendor’s site by end of day on Wednesday, 5 August to ensure that it can be shipped in time. Students may still order after 5 August, but should be prepared for a potential delay in delivery. Students should open the test kit, take a sample and return the kits when they are about seven days away from returning to Grounds.
- For Executive Education learners: Executive Education program participants must also be tested prior to their scheduled sessions. This applies to Executive Education learners participating in sessions anywhere in the Charlottesville community, as well as in Rosslyn. Please contact Jennifer Hicks for information and questions regarding Executive Education testing requirements.
- For faculty and staff: Tests are not required for UVA employees before returning to their workplace, unless they exhibit symptoms or may have been exposed during an outbreak. Please see the Ongoing Testing section of the UVA Public Health Measures website for more details.
When will faculty, staff and students be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine?
Within the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is charged with identifying priority populations and ensuring they are vaccinated. As of January, that activity has begun and is ongoing, including vaccination of personnel in the priority groups identified by VDH who are working at UVA Health at the University of Virginia.
In Virginia, VDH is charged with distributing vaccines, and it also determines priority for vaccinations. VDH’s determinations about eligibility for vaccines follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and recommendations from the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. VDH has announced its prioritization for vaccine distribution, identifying three priority groups, denoted as 1A, 1B, and 1C. Its full guidance can be found here.
Virginia started phase 1A of the vaccination program in December, vaccinating health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities. The Blue Ridge Health District, the local office of VDH, has led this program for the Charlottesville-Albemarle region. As part of this phase, VDH charged UVA Health with distributing vaccines to health care personnel.
Phase 1B includes frontline essential workers including those in childcare, K-12 teachers and staff, adults 75 years and older, and people living in certain congregate settings. Faculty and staff from higher education institutions will be part of the third group, known as 1C. Other than students who work in a health care setting as trainees, it is not yet known what phase will include the general student population.
What PPE will I be required to wear? Am I required to wear PPE at all times?
In conjunction with six-foot (two-meter) distancing and hand hygiene, simple cloth face coverings must be worn by all stakeholders while inside a building or facility on University Grounds or anywhere else on Grounds when in the presence of others (e.g., outside, common work spaces, meeting rooms, etc.). In order to be effective, simple cloth face coverings must fully cover the mouth and nose and have no exhaust valves or defects such as holes.
When outside on Grounds, wear a face covering except when you exercise or eat.
Face coverings must be worn on Darden Grounds unless you qualify for an exemption according to the UVA face covering policy. Specific exemptions include:
- A person eating and drinking at a food and beverage establishment on University Grounds.
- A person seeking to communicate with a hearing-impaired person, for which the mouth needs to be visible.
- Anyone with a health condition that keeps them from wearing a face covering.
- Any person who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.
- A person in need of medical or related services may temporarily remove the face covering.
Will Darden provide PPE to people on Grounds?
Yes. Faculty and staff will receive two cloth face coverings each. Program participants and other planned visitors will also receive face coverings. Students will receive a Return to Grounds kit containing two cloth face coverings, hand sanitizer, a touch key tool and a drawstring bag. Disposable PPE is available at the reception desk for anyone who may have forgotten to bring their face covering to Grounds.
Someone in my household has tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do?
UVA will soon issue guidance on the steps required to return to Grounds for anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19, and we will post those details here when they are available. They will likely include some period of self-isolation following a negative test result.
Does Darden plan to implement contact tracing? If so, how?
As the public health agency for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Virginia Department of Health is responsible for all contact tracing related to COVID-19 in the community. The University of Virginia will partner as closely with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) as possible to support contact tracing, but due to public health and health privacy laws, the University will not be conducting its own contact tracing or notification. The Darden School will not implement contact tracing on its own. More details are forthcoming.
- What are the HVAC, air circulation and filtration procedures that are being used in both Rosslyn and Charlottesville? Do they conform to best health and safety practices?
Is Darden in conversation with epidemiologists in order to better understand the virus?
Both Darden and the UVA administration are in constant contact with epidemiologists, health practitioners, operations experts, facility experts, communications experts, technology experts, economists, and many others to navigate the pandemic and to ensure that our planning is data-driven and guided by industry best practices.
What are the latest safety guidelines from public health authorities on the general safety of elevator use, required ventilation to make them safe, daily limits on headcount, etc.?
To accommodate a safe distance of six feet (two meters) between occupants in elevators, UVA has established guidance (see Page 3) to reduce elevator capacity on Grounds both in Charlottesville and Rosslyn:
Elevator capacity is limited by cab size. For most elevators, this will mean only one person per elevator. More than one person can use an elevator if the six-foot (two-meter) social distancing requirement is met. Please follow all elevator signage.
To avoid long wait times, program leaders will work with staff, faculty, students and program participants to coordinate staggered arrivals and departures.
Staff and faculty on lower floors are encouraged to take the stairs whenever possible.
Elevator occupants exiting on upper floors are encouraged to stand at the back of the elevator; occupants exiting on lower floors should stand at the front of the elevator.