Coronavirus Information and School Operations

About - Return to Grounds - Health, Safety and Community of Care

Health, Safety and Community of Care

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. Visit UVA’s Coronavirus Information website for guidance on policies and measures related to COVID-19 vaccination, testing, contact tracing, quarantining, cleaning protocols and more.

Visit UVA's Site


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.

As the community prepares for a return to more normal operations on Grounds for fall 2021, 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 increased vaccinations and careful behavior will increase the likelihood we can maintain normal operations starting in fall.

Darden has developed 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

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

    Based on the advice of University medical experts, the CDC and the Governor of Virginia, UVA community members who are fully vaccinated can forego masks both indoors and outdoors. This 15 May change in mask guidance does not apply to the UVA Health medical center, clinics, and other health-care settings where personnel should continue to follow existing University guidelines, requiring everyone to wear masks at all times in UVA Health locations.

    People who are not yet fully vaccinated are still required to wear masks when they are around others, indoors or outdoors. 

    Types of PPE: 

    • Students, faculty, staff and program participants who have not been vaccinated 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. 
  • 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. 

    Visit UVA's Coronavirus Information website to learn more details.

  • Disease Conditions

    The Safe Return to Grounds Committee continually monitors 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 and UVA may adjust rules for in-person programs, work, gatherings and events at any time.

  • Facilities

    The following facility modifications have been made in Charlottesville and Rosslyn: 

    • 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 important reminders.

    Parking garages and parking lots will be open and available for use. 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.

  • 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. 
    • 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.
    • Hand sanitizer stations will be available.
    • Designated trash and dish disposal areas will be available.   
  • Staff

    Darden staff members will return to Grounds in a phased approach, lowering building density. 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? 

    Community members who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should follow 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.  

  • When will faculty, staff and students be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

    All Virginia citizens aged 16 and up are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and appointments are widely available. Visit the Virginia Department of Health's website to learn more and sign up for an appointment. 

  • Am I required to wear a mask if I have not been vaccinated? 

    Simple cloth face coverings must be worn by all stakeholders who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 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. 

    Face coverings must be worn on Darden Grounds unless you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or 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.   
  • 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?

    Please review the Charlottesville UVA HVAC FAQ and Rosslyn Monday Properties HVAC FAQ for information about Charlottesville and Rosslyn HVAC, air circulation and filtration. 

More FAQ

For answers to frequently asked questions for students, faculty, staff and other members of the Darden community, visit the Return to Darden Grounds FAQ webpage


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