Two days after lifting a vaccination booster requirement for students, University of Virginia administrators on Wednesday dropped another COVID surge-related restriction to allow food and drink inside school facilities, including including at sporting events.
Administrators are also directing all faculty to return to in-person classes by Feb. 21 unless they receive an exception.
With the increase in COVID cases due to the omicron variant at the start of the spring semester, authorities banned food and drink at educational facilities, including the John Paul Jones Arena, to help stem the spread. spread of the virus.
The school has also made it possible for teachers whose family members may have health problems or a family with fragile health to teach their classes virtually.
“Through these and other mitigations, including indoor masking requirements and reminders, we have been able to avoid a significant increase in cases and continue to enjoy many elements of normal university life.” , the administrators wrote in an emailed message to the university community. “These changes reflect our stable number of cases and the expectations of our public health experts that the omicron wave will continue to subside.”
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The message was signed by President Jim Ryan, Provost Liz Magill and UVa Chief Operating Officer JJ Davis.
The temporary restriction on eating and drinking will end from Saturday. The university’s indoor mask requirement remains in effect. Everyone present must wear a mask at all times, unless “actively eating or drinking”.
“We continue to recommend that events be held virtually or outdoors where possible, particularly for events where masking enforcement may be difficult, where the vaccination status of attendees is unknown, and/or where the venue and the size of the crowd makes physical distancing a challenge,” they wrote.
All instructors who can should start teaching in person from February 7 and no later than February 21.
On Monday, school officials dropped the requirement for students to receive vaccine boosters by February 1. That was lifted following the ruling by recently elected Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares that schools could not legally impose the requirement.
Miyares, a Republican, overturned the ruling by former Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat.
Miyares’ decision came after the recall deadline.
UVa in January lifted the requirement for employees to receive vaccine boosters following Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order prohibiting state agencies from requiring COVID vaccinations as conditions of employment.
Youngkin’s order also came after the recall deadline had expired.