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Office of Major Events

Messages from President Ryan

May 14, 2021

To the University Community:

Earlier today, Governor Ralph Northam announced that Virginia will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) new guidance, which states that people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear masks. The Governor’s order takes effect at midnight tonight.

Based on the advice of University medical experts, we are pleased to inform you that the University will follow the advice of the CDC and the Governor and update our policy so that UVA community members who are fully vaccinated can now safely forego masks both indoors and outdoors.

This 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. All other University policies on physical distancing, gatherings, and prevalence testing remain in effect. We have updated University policy accordingly.

These changes are effective at 9 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, May 15th, and will apply to the Final Exercises ceremonies for the Classes of 2020 and 2021, the first of which are this Sunday. Those who are planning to attend, and who have been fully vaccinated, do not need to wear masks. Physical distancing requirements and capacity limits on the Lawn and at Scott Stadium will remain in effect in accordance with the Governor’s guidance. University staff and RMC Ambassadors have been notified of these changes to our mask policy, as well as the continuing need to monitor and remind individuals to observe the physical distancing requirements.

These changes are a powerful example of the benefits of getting vaccinated, both for individuals and our community as a whole. If you have not yet made an appointment to get vaccinated, please do so as soon as possible.

It is important to remember that many people will continue to wear masks in various settings for the foreseeable future. Some have yet to get vaccinated, and others may simply feel more comfortable wearing a mask even after they’ve been fully vaccinated. Please continue to treat each other with respect and kindness as we take this next step forward together.

As vaccination rates continue to rise in Virginia and across the country, it is likely that federal and state authorities will continue to loosen public health measures. As they do, we will evaluate those changes and adapt them to the needs of our University community. We will also update you soon on additional details for the coming 2021-22 academic year, including our policy on vaccines for students, faculty, and staff.

Thank you, as always, for all the ways you’ve made this academic year as safe and rewarding as it has been for our entire community.

Jim Ryan

Liz Magill

JJ Davis
Chief Operating Officer

Dr. K. Craig Kent
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs

April 2, 2021

Dear Class of 2021,

In light of Governor Northam’s revised guidance on graduation ceremonies, I am thrilled to announce that we are now planning to hold in-person Final Exercises this May.  

All graduating students will have the opportunity to walk the Lawn and process to Scott Stadium for their ceremony.  Each graduate will be permitted two guests in Scott Stadium. You can find more information, including the time and date for your School’s ceremony, on the major events website, where you will also be able to check for updates as more details become available.  Please note that the Scott Stadium ceremonies will be the only in-person graduation ceremonies offered.

I hope that these plans for in-person graduation activities come as welcome news to you and your families. It has been a challenging year, and I am looking forward to the chance to formally recognize—and rightfully celebrate—all you have accomplished. In partnership with each School, we will do our best to make the events meaningful and memorable.

Thank you for your patience as this planning has evolved. I wish you a successful and healthy conclusion to your spring semester and your time at UVA.



P.S. For those of you wondering, we will also be offering the Class of 2020 the chance to walk the Lawn and attend a special ceremony in May.

March 3, 2021

Dear Class of 2021,

I am writing today with an update on Final Exercises.

I am sorry to say that, given the pandemic, we are not going to be able to hold Final Exercises as usual this May.  The challenge remains around the size of gatherings permitted by the Commonwealth of Virginia and travel advisories, both of which preclude us from being able to host a ceremony that families and friends can attend.

We are, however, considering two alternatives: (1) holding modified graduation events this spring that involve only our graduating students but no guests; or (2) postponing graduation events to a future date when we could host families as well as students.  In either case, we will confer degrees and produce a celebratory virtual event for students, friends, and families this May.  The Finals 2021 Advisory Committee, composed of students, faculty, and administrators, will be surveying graduating students to inform this decision, and we will update you as plans progress.  But for those making plans, please know that we will not be able to accommodate any guests this May, regardless of whatever option we ultimately pursue.  

I regret having to deliver this news, which I know comes as a disappointment, though perhaps not a surprise. I know this is not the way you expected to end your time at UVA, nor is it the way we would like to celebrate your accomplishments.  Still, I remain confident we will be able to celebrate and honor your class in a way that will be both meaningful and memorable.

I thank you for your patience, perseverance, and caring for one another and for the University.