The Department of Computer Science is committed to fulfilling our teaching, research, and service mission in a manner that protects the health of our community.


Visit our Rice Hall Building Ramp-Up page for details on returning to Rice Hall. We also encourage you to visit the UVA Engineering Novel Coronavirus Resources page which includes University resources, UVA Engineering's Novel Coronavirus News Digest, messages from the Dean, online course delivery resources for Engineering Instructors, and more. 

Computer Science Department support staff availability/contact information: 

Administrative Staff Email: cs-office@virginia.edu 
From the CS-Office portal we are able to triage your message and re-direct it to the appropriate person(s) for more immediate assistance. 

Administrative On-Site Hours: Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. a CS administrative staff member will be located in Rice 527. Anyone wishing to visit the office should first call 434-982-2200. 

CS Virtual Information Desk: Students who are on-Grounds can visit the Engineering Help Desk located in Thornton Hall Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. with questions that will be directed to staff via Microsoft Teams. 

Below is a list of who to contact if you have questions specifically related to the Computer Science Department in certain categories. The contacts are listed in order of who to contact first.

Again, we strongly urge you to to begin with emailing cs-office@virginia.edu.    

CS Department Contact Information (by category)

  • 3.30.20: Summer Session 2020 - Liz Magill, Provost

    To the University community,

    I had planned to write to you today just about our summer programs, and information about that is below. But I realize many of you may be wondering about Governor Northam’s Executive Order, which was released this afternoon. So before I get to the summer programs, let me say a few words about the Governor’s Executive Order.

    The order requires all Virginia residents to remain at home, unless they are traveling to and from work or seeking essential services like medical care, food, or banking. Institutions of higher education, like UVA, “shall cease all in-person classes and instruction, and cancel all gatherings of more than ten individuals. For purposes of facilitating remote learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions, institutions of higher education may continue to operate, provided that social distancing requirements are maintained.”

    This order is consistent with the decisions we have made over the last few weeks and will not change the way we are currently operating. If more changes become necessary, we will let you know.

    As far as this summer is concerned, in keeping with our decisions about this semester, we have decided to cancel all in-person summer programs through June 30th, 2020. “Summer programs” include classes, conferences, camps, and other events that are scheduled to occur on Grounds through June 30th.

    This means that classes offered during Summer Session 1 and 2 will move online. You can find more information about Summer Session at https://summer.virginia.edu/. By June 1st, we will make a decision about in-person summer programs occurring after July 1st.

    As always, please visit https://www.virginia.edu/coronavirus for the most up-to-date information on our response to COVID-19 and answers to frequently asked questions. I hope that you and yours are safe and healthy.

    Sincerely,

    Liz Magill

    Provost

  • 3.27.20: Message to State Employees, Governor Ralph Northam

    Dear fellow state employees,

    I’ve just returned from briefing Virginians and the news media about COVID-19, and I wanted to take a moment to say thank you.

    As a Commonwealth, we have taken extraordinary steps to protect public health and reduce the spread of COVID-19. We have closed non-essential businesses and placed strict restrictions on open establishments. We have banned gatherings of more than 10 people across the Commonwealth, and closed K-12 schools for the remainder of the academic year. We have secured nursing homes and correctional facilities, and have shut down courts and DMV offices.

    These decisions have not been easy. They have a direct and serious impact on every single person in our Commonwealth, including you. You have had your lives disrupted, and your schedules changed. Many of you are working from home. Many of you are working overtime. I know you are worried about what the future holds for yourself and the people you love. I know you are worried about your communities, our Commonwealth, and our nation.

    But as a state government, our role is to care for each other, and for the people who are most vulnerable among us. You have met this challenge head-on.

    Together, we have eliminated all co-payments for our 1.5 million Medicaid members, and made it easier to access critical medical care. We’ve worked with childcare providers to make sure our essential employees can get to work, and that their children and families are safe. We’ve waived deadlines for unemployment insurance and tax payments, suspended eviction proceedings, secured emergency support for small businesses, and have increased access to emergency food assistance.

    And we are working around the clock to expand our hospital capacity, secure medical supplies, and protect our healthcare workers on the front lines.

    There is much uncertainty ahead. We know this will not end in a matter of weeks. But the work of the Commonwealth must go on, and you have made sure it does.

    I’m very proud to call you my colleagues.

    Governor Northam's video message >>
  • 3.26.20: Elizabeth Mather #WeAreUVAEngineering

    Here are a few things to know on Thursday, March 26, about the University’s and School’s novel coronavirus response:

    • Repairing Faculty and Staff Computer Equipment – The UVA Engineering IT team is reporting a few instances of people needing repairs to their computer equipment in order to continue working remotely. In those rare cases in which LSPs need to physically fix devices, the device owners should arrange directly with their department or dean’s office LSPs to get the equipment to them for repairs. This can happen on Grounds, as long as the individuals involved observe social distancing and limit their time in the buildings. After LSPs complete repairs, they will prepare the devices for return to their owners by disinfecting according to CDC guidance.

    • #WeAreUVAEngineering: Engineering Professor Keith Williams Highlighted on TV – Williams, an associate professor in the Charles L. Brown Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is doing his part to help parents everywhere keep their kids engaged in learning while schools are closed – and helping reinforce lessons about clean hands. Williams posted a video on YouTube showing the potency of soap versus viruses such as novel coronavirus. NBC29 covered it in this story.

    • Reminder about Blood Donations – Due to the cancelation of blood drives in response to the coronavirus outbreak, many regions are experiencing severe blood shortages. If you are healthy and able to do so, please consider donating blood. Visit the Red Cross website for more information and to find a blood drive in your area.

    • Reminder for Students about the Virtual Center for Diversity in Education – Students and staff of the CDE have created a virtual space for student community on Slack. There are a variety of channels, including:

    • Daily_challenge

    • Pets

    • Pro_tips

    • Study_buddies

    • Virtual_cde

    To join, simply click here (URL: https://join.slack.com/t/centerfordive-jlx7164/shared_invite/zt-cs4bo8fp-_55EOh6pvnj~jLENc~G9NA). This is very much an experiment, and students should not be concerned if they are not familiar with Slack. Student associates are available to help. This is an organic, evolving space, and the CDE team welcomes feedback.

    • Reminder for Students about Financial Assistance – The University is committed to assisting students with emergency travel expenses and technology needs with funds administered by Student Financial Services. In addition, all students are eligible to apply for Honor Loans for other personal emergency expenses not covered in the above categories. Such expenses can include rent/housing and lost wages. Honor Loans are short-term, interest-free loans and can be issued via mail to the student’s address on file in SIS. If students need a check mailed to a different location, they must update their address in SIS before the check will be sent. Federal Work Study Students who are currently employed in Work Study roles will continue to receive their wages.

    • #WeAreUVAEngineering – Don’t forget we’re looking for positive-news stories including:

            Stories you could share about fellow students, faculty or staff doing something interesting or great or supportive for online instruction or for remote teamwork.

            Stories about people going the extra mile to help each other.

            Personal stories of what are you doing to make life fun and interesting for yourself or your families at this challenging time.

    Send us your stories on this online form. You can upload photos or short (20 seconds or less) videos. (Yes, photos and short videos of the quality time you’re spending with your cats and dogs are welcome!) We’ll share your stories on our social media channels (#WeAreUVAEngineering) and on our website.

    Where to Find and Keep Track of News and Information – UVA Engineering’s novel coronavirus web page archives our school mass e-mail communications related to COVID-19 and includes links to the University’s sites. You can find this page from the Engineering School’s homepage at engineering.virginia.edu. We’ve also got a new blog with updates, news and tips: https://engineering.virginia.edu/uva-engineering-novel-coronavirus-news-digest

  • 3.18.20: Kevin Skadron - message to CS PhD students

    Dear PhD students,

    I’m sure you feel inundated with messages from the university, and shocked by how rapidly circumstances have changed.  In these challenging times, our priority is the health, safety and well-being of our community - students, faculty and staff, as well as others with whom we normally interact like visitors and vendors.  We must also try to do our part to slow the spread of this disease, not only for our sake but for those in Charlottesville who are more vulnerable.  For this reason, President Ryan announced a new set of steps last night (see the university’s coronavirus site for the latest announcements and a variety of other resources).  Since his message, we’ve gotten clarification on a few points that I wanted to pass along.  As we get new information, I will try to add clarification where appropriate, while trying to minimize over-messaging.

    First of all, rest assured that this does not affect your status in the PhD program or your funding, nor your ability to stay in Charlottesville, but everyone is mandated to work remotely, ie from home. Exceptions include faculty and TAs who can only meet their teaching responsibilities on Grounds, and maintenance of critical equipment or long-running experiments.  I am not aware of any equipment in CS that meets these criteria, but please let me know if I am overlooking something.   Access to equipment to conduct experiments is not sufficient justification to work on Grounds; faculty and students whose research depends on specific equipment should either find a way to move it to their residence (*with proper documentation for inventory tracking,* as explained by Paul Henderson earlier today), or work with their advisor to develop alternate research plans for the time being.  If you need to get supplies or equipment to be able to work remotely, you should arrange to do so no later than the end of the day, Friday, March 20. Although you will continue to have key-card access after Friday (eg, in case you forgot something), employees who are not required to be on Grounds for a critical function will not be allowed to work on Grounds.  If you feel that you cannot work from home, please discuss with your advisor.

    If you have further questions, please let your advisor and/or me know, and we will try to get answers for you or consult School leadership. The University and School are working as quickly as possible to address all questions and concerns, so your patience is greatly appreciated.  Please also note that, in addition to the University coronavirus site linked above, the department has posted its own site with information regarding departmental operations, and this in turn links to a School of Engineering site with additional information.  We are doing our best to maintain department administrative and IT support.

    This is a very challenging time for all of us, so we must all be patient and flexible.  We will get through this, and your advisors, the department staff, and myself are here to help as much as possible.

    --Kevin

  • 3.18.20: Dean Benson

    Dear UVA Engineering Students, Staff, and Faculty:

    University of Virginia President Jim Ryan has informed all of us about a heretofore unimaginable alteration in the University’s operating status, with all classes confirmed to be online through the end of the semester, Final Exercises and all other events through May 15 canceled, telecommuting mandated for all faculty and staff who are not required to report in person to carry out key functions, and more information expected tomorrow about how we will carry out the research mission.

    If last week’s UVA announcement did not sufficiently demonstrate the unprecedented dimensions of the novel coronavirus pandemic, this newest set of changes has brought the reality forcefully home.

    Over the next days, as we absorb the shock and shifts to our work, study and family routines, please remember this: UVA Engineering community members do not give up. We are courageous, resilient, and accustomed to making sacrifices in service to society. Our core values, knowledge, and skills are relevant – both now, as we participate remotely in support of UVA’s critical mission for education and research, and later when society needs us to rebuild, learn from these experiences, and prevent future global health disasters. UVA engineers are already well equipped to help, and we have every confidence we will.

    Throughout the days and weeks ahead, we will continue working together and supporting each other, even though we cannot do so in person. What we said last week holds today: We can do this. Please watch your e-mail for further information from the University and School, and above all, please prioritize your and your families’ health.

    We are all part of the UVA Engineering family, and we value each and every one of you. You will be in our thoughts as we work through this challenging time.

    Sincerely,

    Craig H. Benson, Dean

    Pamela M. Norris, Executive Dean

  • 3.17.20: James E. Ryan, President and M. Elizabeth Magill, Provost

    To the University community,

    We write with some important updates across a range of issues.  As you know, this is an unprecedented and very rapidly changing situation, and all of us are learning more every day.  At this point, it seems imperative that we do our very best to slow the progression of this virus in order to “flatten the curve” of those infected and avoid overwhelming our health system, which would ultimately risk our patients, our community, and our Charlottesville neighbors.  This requires taking some significant, additional steps at this point.  

    We realize and regret that these additional steps will cause more disappointment and call for more sacrifice, but we see no other way to do our part to help confront this public health crisis.  We must also be mindful of the need for our students, their families, and our faculty and staff to plan, and we need to be mindful of protecting our faculty and staff, who make this place run.  For all of those reasons, today we are announcing the following changes, including adjustments to classes, research, and events; guidance for employees; and modifications to services.  These changes will go into effect immediately wherever possible, though we recognize that some may take a bit of time to implement fully, as explained below.

    ADJUSTMENTS TO CLASSES, RESEARCH, AND EVENTS

    Classes will remain online throughout the semester.  It is exceedingly unlikely, based on all that we know at this point, that this virus will have abated by the end of April.  In light of the need for faculty, staff, and students to make plans, we are making the decision now—rather than waiting until April 5—to not hold any classes on Grounds this semester.   For students who do not have the technology needed to complete their classes online, please visit our technology support fund page and read the instructions and guidelines completely.  We are in active discussions about what changes we might make to our normal grading system this semester.  We will be back in touch soon once we have made a decision.   

    Final Exercises will not proceed as planned.  In light of the evidence about the likely progression of the virus over the next couple of months, and when it will peak, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Final Exercises as currently planned.  We do not make this decision lightly, as we know how disappointing it will be to graduating students and their families.  That said, a team is already focused on developing creative alternatives to mark this important occasion, and we will communicate updates as we have them. 

    All events on Grounds are cancelled, no matter the size, until at least May 15.  We had originally cancelled events over 100, but on Sunday the CDC suggested no groups larger than 50, and just recently the White House and the Governor of Virginia suggested gatherings of no more than 10 people.  Rather than continue to chase the ever-shrinking size limitations, we want to be clear that all events should be cancelled this semester.  These restrictions include events that are not University-sponsored but are planned to occur on Grounds, including conferences, symposia, and social gatherings.  This does not preclude small internal meetings, where social distancing should be the touchstone.

    Research. Like our teaching mission, we are committed to continuing our research mission while making sure we take steps to keep members of our community safe.  We will provide guidance on this by mid-day tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18.

    GUIDANCE FOR EMPLOYEES

    All faculty and staff who can work remotely should be told to do so.  We are mandating telecommuting for all faculty and staff except those who must report in person to carry out key functions for their units, schools, or UVA Health.  The latter includes, among others, faculty who need to come to their classrooms or offices to teach online and UVA Health faculty and staff who need to care for patients and support patient services.  The traditional categories of “designated” and “non-designated” are helpful but not entirely relevant here, given that those categories envisioned short delays due to weather problems.  School leaders, unit supervisors, and managers have the authority to identify those who must report and those who can work remotely and should share direct guidance with their faculty and staff.  We understand that some staff may need to consult with their managers to better understand how to conduct their work under the changed circumstances, and some may need to return to Grounds to collect items necessary to work remotely.  We expect these plans to be fully implemented no later than the end of the day, Friday, March 20.

     

    Employee Compensation and Benefits.  We are committed to our employees.  We are determined to ensure that the modifications to our operations caused by the coronavirus will not impact our existing commitments to compensate and continue existing benefits for UVA employees, whether part-time or full-time.  We will therefore honor all existing commitments for the foreseeable future.  The length of this crisis is difficult to predict at this point, as are the economic ramifications.  There may come a point where we need to reassess in light of the length of time of the crisis or significantly changed circumstances, but our hope and plan is to weather this crisis together.

    To be clear, those who must report for work will have to do so.  Those who can work remotely will have to do so.  Those who fall into neither category may be asked to perform other functions for their units or schools or to take on tasks elsewhere at the University.  Whether or not these employees are able to be re-deployed, we will honor their existing employment commitments for the foreseeable future. 

    Contract Employees.  We have relationships with a wide range of contractors across the University, which present a variety of situations.  We are in active conversations with these contractors and hope to be able to provide an update fairly soon.

    Student Employees.  This change in operations will have an impact on our student employees as well.   Students who are teaching assistants or working on research will continue to be paid if they continue their work.  Student employees who are able to complete their duties remotely can do so with the approval of their supervisor.  Students should submit time sheets and be paid at their normal hourly wage.  Students in the Federal Work Study program (FWS) will continue to be paid an average of their current wages bi-weekly through the end of the semester.  Students on FWS who will continue to work remotely should submit time sheets and be paid at their normal hourly wage. 

    For the safety of students and the others with whom they may come into contact, non-FWS student employees who cannot work remotely will not be eligible to continue working while the University’s operating schedule is modified due to COVID-19.  We understand that this will cause some students financial hardship, and we will do whatever we can to help.  If you are in need of financial support, please connect with your supervisor, who has received a list of emergency financial resources available to displaced student employees.

    MODIFICATIONS TO SERVICES; CREDITS OR REFUNDS FOR HOUSING AND DINING 
    On-Grounds Housing Will Be Further Restricted.  As our resources and on-site staffing levels diminish due to social distancing directives, and due to increasing emphasis on the importance of social distancing, we will only be able to provide on-Grounds Housing for a very limited number of residents. Only students who have no other option will be permitted to remain on-Grounds.  As a reminder, students who are returning solely to collect some of their belongings still have until Wednesday, March 18 at noon to do so.  If you are not able to collect your belongings before then, please do not return to Grounds until you hear from us with guidance, which will be coming soon.  We will provide details about when and how students will be able to gather all of their belongings.

    Any students who stayed in on-Grounds Housing following our initial request to return home must make plans to leave by Friday, March 20, unless they meet one of the following criteria: 1) international students who are unable to secure travel to return home; 2) persons for whom their on-Grounds residence is their only home (including graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and staff for whom their on-Grounds residence is their permanent address); or 3) students for whom traveling home would present a severe health or safety risk.  Housing & Residence Life will contact students who completed the original survey to remain on Grounds, and work with them to transition back home.  As before, students currently receiving financial aid with questions related to financial resources for departing Grounds should contact UVA Student Financial Services at sfs@virginia.edu or 434.982.6000.  

    We are urging undergraduate and graduate students who live off-Grounds to follow these guidelines as well.  
     

    Dining. Dining options will be very limited.  Effective immediately, Observatory Hill Dining Hall will serve as the only major dining facility in service, apart from those necessary to support UVA Health.  Those using O-Hill can obtain their meals there but will not be able to eat inside the facility.  Please visit the University’s Dining website for hours of operation and real-time updates.  Wherever possible, we encourage students who have kitchens in their place of residence to prepare their own meals.

    Credits or Refunds for Housing and Dining.  We will provide pro-rated credits to student accounts for on-Grounds Housing and UVA dining contracts.  We will send additional information on the mechanics of this process in a later communication, but students will have the ability to either request a refund or allow the credit to remain on their student account to apply to future bills.  As long as students remain enrolled through the end of the spring semester, financial aid will not be impacted.

    We are making a number of modifications to various services.  Dining services, as described above, will be limited to take-out/grab-and-go only.  All libraries will be closed, except to faculty and staff who need to use them for teaching online classes or clinical care.  Student activity spaces, like those in Newcomb Hall, 1515, and the Student Activities Building, will be closed.  All gyms and fitness facilities on Grounds will be closed. University venues such as the museums, the McCormick Observatory, and the Rotunda will be closed to the public.  Bus service will be reduced.  More details will be forthcoming with respect to all of these topics and will be posted on the University’s coronavirus website.

     

    This message covers sweeping changes that would usually be made only after months of consideration and discussion.  In the face of this rapidly evolving public health crisis, however, we have been called to make the best decisions we can in a limited amount of time in order to look out for the health and safety of our community, both at the University and in the surrounding Charlottesville region.  Implementing these changes will no doubt be difficult, and we know further questions will arise, but we remain as confident as ever in our community’s ability to navigate this unprecedented set of challenges together.  In the meantime, our profound thanks to everyone in this community for your dedication, creativity, and compassion.

    Sincerely,

    Jim Ryan
    President

    Liz Magill
    Provost

     

     

     

  • 3.16.20: James E. Ryan, President and Craig Kent, M.D., Executive VP for Health Affairs

    Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

    As you know from the notification received earlier today, the University has confirmed a case of COVID-19 within our community.  The individual who is ill, a staff member at the UVA Women’s Center who lives off Grounds, is receiving care and in quarantine at home following protocols from the Virginia Department of Health.  We wish her a speedy and full recovery.  

    The Virginia Department of Health is leading the effort to identify individuals who were in contact with the staff member, reaching out to those individuals, and arranging for their isolation.  University staff are also working to support potentially impacted students, faculty and staff.  In addition, the UVA Women’s Center is being vacated and deep-cleaned with products that kill the coronavirus in accordance with CDC guidelines.

    Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.  If you exhibit these symptoms, please contact your health-care provider and follow their instructions before leaving your home and potentially putting others at risk:

    • Students: Contact Student Health 434-982-3915, or 434-297-4261 after hours.

    • Faculty and Staff: Contact your primary care physician via telephone or email.

    • If you do not have a primary care physician you may call the Virginia Department of Heath hotline at 877-ASK-VDH3 (877-275-8343).

    As we work together as a community to mitigate the spread of this disease, it is important that you continue to practice healthy habits:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

    • Avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments.

    • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

    • Additional information is available from the CDC.

    Thank you for all you are doing during this challenging time to safeguard your own health and that of others. If you have additional questions about the University’s efforts regarding COVID-19, please contact the UVA COVID-19 Response Line at 1-877-685-4836 (domestic), +1-202-800-2408 (international), or covidinformation@virginia.edu. You can also consult the University’s Novel Coronavirus website.

    Given the progression of the virus, it is not a surprise to discover a local case, but we know it will heighten anxiety.  We will be in further touch to announce any additional changes we are making as the situation unfolds, and we will continue to update the website.  Now, more than ever, is the time to treat each other with kindness and compassion.  We are beyond grateful to everyone who has been working so hard on behalf of our community.

    Sincerely,

    James E. Ryan
    President
    University of Virginia

    Craig Kent
    Executive Vice President for Health Affairs
    University of Virginia

  • 3.15.20: Dean Benson - clarifying message to Grad students

    UVA Engineering Graduate Students:

    Recent communications from the University to students and parents regarding the novel coronavirus may have caused confusion for our UVA Engineering graduate students, and we apologize for that. Those communications were primarily intended for undergraduate students and parents, but that was unclear.

    We ask that our graduate students, particularly those engaged in research and teaching, closely read and rely upon guidance from the University and UVA Engineering that are directed at graduate students and their advisors:

     

    If you have any questions or concerns that are not answered here, please direct those first to your faculty advisors and instructors. If you still have questions, you may write to the Office of Graduate Programs at gradengineering@virginia.edu.

    This is a very challenging situation, but we will work together and prioritize our community’s health, safety, well-being and resilience. Thank you for your flexibility and patience.

     

    Craig H. Benson, Dean

    Pamela M. Norris, Executive Dean

    N. Scott Barker, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

    Susan Barker, Associate Dean for Research

    Amy M. Clobes, Director of Graduate Programs

  • 3.12.20: Dean Benson
    Dear UVA Engineering Graduate Students:
     
    On Wednesday, March 11, the University announced that all graduate and undergraduate classes will be held online beginning March 19, among other measures in response to the novel coronavirus. More information about online courses will come soon. This message is to clarify some very important points, particularly for our graduate students who are engaged in research and teaching.
     
    Note: If you are a graduate student who is enrolled in coursework only, then you should follow the guidance given here. That is, please remain “home,” whether that is in Charlottesville or elsewhere.  This applies to many of our Master of Engineering or Master of Computer Science students.
     
    Here is what we want our UVA Engineering graduate students to know right now:
     
    Meeting Your Needs
     
    • Our top priority is the health, safety and well-being of you and our undergraduate students, faculty and staff. This is at the core of everything we are doing. Please see more information later in this message about health precautions and travel guidance.
     
    • The directive in President Ryan’s message for “students” to “return home” acknowledges that “home” may well be Charlottesville, which is particularly relevant to graduate students. As such, graduate students are not being instructed to leave Charlottesville and return to, for example, their families’ home town.
    Clarifying Responsibilities
     
    • Our graduate students who are engaged in teaching and research should continue to complete those responsibilities in accordance with the University’s guidance for travel and health, and with their faculty advisors’ and instructors’ direction. We are committed to continuing your assistantship wage or stipend for the duration of the semester. Those responsibilities may include work on grounds.
    • The University’s research and teaching operations will continue, although adjustments will be made. Our faculty value their teaching assistants for help with instruction and graduate researchers for research projects.
    • If graduate students engaged in research and teaching have questions about how their labs will operate for the near future, or how the courses they support will operate, they should first talk to their advisors and course instructors. Please remember that faculty are still figuring things out too, in accordance with the evolving University guidance, so we ask that everyone be as patient and flexible as possible. Many faculty are already considering/communicating modifications to their office and lab schedules.
    • If graduate students and their faculty advisors agree that their work can be done effectively by remote methods, they should work remotely and limit in-person interactions. No graduate students should feel pressured to return if they are concerned it puts them, or their peers and colleagues here on Grounds, at risk. Grad students should discuss reasonable accommodations directly with their advisors. If necessary, questions and concerns should be directed to the program’s director of graduate studies. The names of those directors can be found here.
    • Graduate students who live in on-Grounds housing are welcome to stay in their residences, and the University is making dining services available. You can see the University’s message for grad students in UVA housing (except Range residents) here, and the message for Range residents here. Note that the message for Range residents says they must complete the survey provided to them by Housing & Residence Life as soon as possible; access to the rooms for those who have not completed the survey will be cut off at noon on March 18
     
    Protecting Our Community’s Health and Safety
     
    • We know many graduate students, along with faculty and staff, have questions or concerns about health and safety in our labs and offices. All of us must follow the University’s guidelines for travel, which are issued in accordance with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of State and the Virginia Department of Health. Please monitor the University’s travel guidance website to stay informed about the latest recommendations.
    • We appeal to you, in light of your responsibility as a University citizen, not to return to Grounds if you meet any of the CDC guidance for exposure to the coronavirus. This includes recent travel to a CDC Level 2 or 3 affected area, exposure to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is suspected to have had exposure to the virus, or your own symptoms (fever, cough or difficulty breathing).
    • Adhering to health precautions is critical for all us.  They can be found on the University’s health precautions website, in accordance with recommendations from the CDC, the Virginia Department of Health and UVA Student Health and Wellness. These precautions involve avoiding contact with people who are sick, staying home when you are sick and washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. In your work/lab and study spaces, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions.
    • Precautions to minimize contact with people include holding group/lab meetings via conference call or videoconferencing; staggering the times when people work in labs; limiting lab/facility work to only what must be done there, with activities such as data analysis being conducted remotely; and maintaining physical distance from other people when you are in the same spaces. The UVA research continuity website has multiple suggestions. 
    • The CDC is one of the most highly regarded authorities in the world, and the agency has an excellent FAQ and risk assessment document According to the CDC: “For the majority of people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. There is not widespread circulation in most communities in the United States.” Furthermore, the CDC advises that severe symptoms are extremely rare except in people who are immunocompromised or have specific health conditions such as diabetes, or who are elderly. This means that it is important not to panic, but we all must adhere to health and prevention recommendations to do our part to stop the spread of this virus and protect those who are most vulnerable.
    • The CDC also cautions against stigmatizing any person or group due to perceptions that the novel coronavirus is associated with any particular country or region. The CDC states: “Diseases can make anyone sick, regardless of their race or ethnicity;” “Stigma hurts everyone by creating fear or anger towards other people;” and “Stopping stigma is important to making communities and community members resilient,” because communities need to focus on facts in order to combat disease. We agree wholeheartedly with the CDC on this.
    • If you have any questions or concerns that are not answered here, please direct those first to your faculty advisors and instructors. If you still have questions, you may write to the Office of Graduate Programs at gradengineering@virginia.edu.
     
    The novel coronavirus poses a significant challenge for our entire University community and well beyond. However, our UVA Engineering students, faculty and staff are proactive, resilient and dedicated to overcoming challenges of all kinds. We will get through this together.
    We anticipate more communications coming out from the School and University to address specific issues. Please watch for additional messages.
     
    Thank you for your support and patience while we work through the next days and weeks.
     
    Craig H. Benson, Dean   
    UVA Engineering
     
    Pamela M. Norris, Executive Dean
    UVA Engineering
     
    N. Scott Barker, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
    UVA Engineering
     
    Amy M. Clobes, Director of Graduate Programs
    UVA Engineering
  • 3.11.20: Dean Craig Benson
    UVA Engineering Faculty and Staff:
     
    As you read today in the below message from UVA President Jim Ryan, the University has made the difficult decision to move all undergraduate and graduate classes online for the foreseeable future due to concerns over the novel coronavirus. Instruction will resume next Thursday, March 19, all online. At UVA Engineering, we are planning for this alternate course delivery to continue for the rest of the semester.
     
    We recognize you may have many questions about how this will work from instructional, advising, and technical standpoints. We also recognize that students are likely already contacting you with their own questions.
     
    Here are the most important things we want our UVA Engineering faculty and staff to know today:
    • Our top responsibility is to reassure our students that the University has their health, safety and well-being at the core of everything we are doing. To that end, UVA will continue to provide housing for students living on Grounds who will not return home, and will continue to provide dining services, though they will be modified. The University also will offer assistance to students on financial aid who need help in returning to their homes.
    • Students who will spend the rest of the semester away from Grounds and Charlottesville are allowed to come pick up their belongings.
    • As President Ryan mentioned, the University has plans in place to allow research operations to continue. More details will be forthcoming. You can find information now on the University’s research continuity website. Labs remain open.
    • Graduate students who are involved with research on Grounds should know that research is ongoing until further notice. Graduate students who are in Charlottesville and are in alignment with the University’s travel guidance are welcome at UVA and are not being encouraged to leave. More information on graduate students who are away is forthcoming.
    • The University and School of Engineering are committed to students’ academic success, and working together, we will ensure students are able to meet their course requirements remotely, with special attention to graduating students.
    • Staff and particularly faculty, as advisors and instructors, are the first line of support for students; we ask all to focus on reassurance, support and timely responsiveness. Please try to be the first to help students get accurate answers to their questions. You should visit the University’s novel coronavirus website for answers and resources to familiarize yourself with information available to students, and encourage them to visit that website too.
    • If an undergraduate student has a concern or question you cannot answer, please contact or direct students to contact the UVA Engineering Office of Undergraduate Programs at engineering-undgrad@virginia.edu.
    • Graduate students involved in research should visit the University’s research continuity website and communicate with their advisors, but may contact gradengineering@virginia.edu with any questions an advisor cannot answer.
    • If faculty advisors have students with special cases, or have special concerns about particular students, please contact Will Guilford, assistant dean of undergraduate education, and Scott Barker, associate dean for academic affairs, as soon as possible on a confidential basis. Graduate advisors may contact their department chairs and Amy Clobes, director of graduate programs.
    • For students, more information about online courses and other resources/support will be forthcoming as soon as possible before instruction resumes next week.
    • For UVA Engineering faculty and staff, we want you to know we are committed to ensuring you have the information, resources and support you need to successfully transition your courses to the online environment.
    • In addition to any resources and support the University communicates for online instruction, more information about school-level resources and technical support will be forthcoming as soon as possible.
    • A committee made up of UVA Engineering Dean’s Office leaders, IT personnel and designees from each department/program is working together to ensure that all faculty have the necessary information, resources and support for online course delivery. You are welcome to begin contacting your department/program designee with any questions and concerns the committee should consider, and please let your designee know if you have experience with online instructional delivery tools and would be willing to share your knowledge with colleagues:
     
            BME - Shannon Barker, sb3xk
            ChE - Eric Anderson, ewa3a
            CS - Aaron Bloomfield, asb2t
            ECE - Harry Powell, hcp7ad
            APMA - Stacie Pisano, sp7h
            STS - Peter Norton, pdn2p
            ESE - Lindsay Ivey Burden, li6n
            MSE - Leo Zhigilei, lz2n
            MAE - Natasha Smith, nls5m
     
     
    As President Ryan also mentioned, all University facilities remain open and, for the time being, faculty and staff should continue reporting to work as usual and take the recommended steps to prevent illness. A full list can be found here.
     
    This is a significant challenge for our entire University community. However, our UVA Engineering faculty, staff and students are proactive, resilient and dedicated to overcoming challenges of all kinds. We can do this.
     
    We anticipate more communications coming out from the School over the next few days to address specific issues. Please send all concerns or questions on UVA novel coronavirus communications, including those you hear from students, to Elizabeth Mather. 
     
    Please be on the lookout for additional messages in the near future.
     
    Thank you for your support and patience while we work through the next days and weeks.
     
    Craig H. Benson, Dean    
    UVA Engineering
     
    Pamela M. Norris, Executive Dean
    UVA Engineering
     
    N. Scott Barker, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
    UVA Engineering
  • 3.11.20: James E. Ryan, President
    To the University Community,
    I write to share an update on our response to the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, and our plans for the remainder of the Spring semester.

    To begin with the basic and important news:

    • We will be moving our classes online.  We will not be holding classes on Grounds for the foreseeable future, quite possibly through the end of the semester.  We will reassess after April 5th at the earliest and periodically after that date.
    • Online classes will begin Thursday, March 19.
    • Students who are away on Spring Break are strongly encouraged to return home or to remain home if they are already there.
    • Students on Grounds and in Charlottesville are strongly encouraged to return home by this weekend.
    • University events with more than 100 people are prohibited for the foreseeable future and should be postponed, cancelled, or offered virtually.
    These are obviously significant steps that will cause disruption and disappointment, which we all regret.  We nonetheless feel compelled to take these steps in light of the most recent evidence.  The virus continues to spread nationally and in Virginia.  We still do not yet have a confirmed case of COVID-19 on Grounds or in the greater Charlottesville community, so our risk remains relatively low.  Given that fact, the easiest and least disruptive option would have been to bring all students back to Grounds as planned and hope to make it through the rest of the semester without a confirmed case.  We also considered bringing students back and moving only large classes online.  

    After talking more with medical experts, however, and as the evidence of the spread here and abroad mounts, we believe that these approaches would not be sufficient and would create too much risk, especially for our health system and the medical center, which is a Level 1 trauma center and may be stretched to the limits in the coming weeks and months.  Experts have also told us that the best time to take steps to prevent that spread is now, before the first case arrives.

    Our approach here is guided by three goals:  (1) to protect the health of our students, faculty, staff, and Charlottesville neighbors; (2) to help slow the spread of the virus in Virginia and the nation; (3) to ensure the continuity of our teaching, research, and clinical care.  All of those goals are advanced by reducing the number of people who are living and meeting on Grounds.  We cannot eliminate all risks, of course, but we believe at this time these steps will help mitigate the risks we face.  

    To be clear, the university—including university buildings and UVA Health—will remain open, and we will bring students back to Grounds as soon as we can do so safely.  While we hope to do so before the end of the semester, we may not be able to and are working on a number of contingency plans, including plans for graduation.

    A few notes for specific groups:

    Students
    • If you are currently away on Spring Break, we strongly encourage you to stay home or return to your home.  Those who need to return briefly to collect crucial belongings, such as computers or books, will be permitted to do so, and details about how to do so will be forthcoming.
    • If you are currently in Charlottesville, we strongly encourage you to return home.
    • This strong request applies to all students regardless of where you are living—whether on Grounds or off.
    • We recognize that some students cannot go home, for a variety of reasons, ranging from the fact that their hometowns or countries are not safe to the fact that their only homes are in Charlottesville.  We will continue to provide housing for students living on Grounds who genuinely cannot return home, and we will continue to provide dining services, though they will be modified.  We will also offer assistance to students on financial aid who need help in returning to their homes.
    • With the help and creativity of faculty and staff, we will make sure you are able to meet your academic requirements remotely, and we will pay special attention to graduating students.  You will be hearing from deans and professors over the next week with details about your classes, including any clinical, experiential, performance-based, or studio learning that may require alternative arrangements.
    Faculty
    • All faculty will be hearing from their deans soon with more details about moving classes online.
    • We are standing up a team to provide the necessary training and technology to move courses online.
    • While some research will be put on hold, we have plans in place to allow core research operations to continue.  Those of you who are conducting research will be hearing from our Provost, Liz Magill, and our Vice President for Research, Ram Ramasubramanian, with more details soon.
    Staff
    • For the time being, staff should continue reporting to work as usual and take the recommended steps to prevent illness.  A full list can be found here.
    • Staff with questions or concerns about their workplaces and the possibility of telecommuting should speak with their supervisors.  We ask that staff who are feeling sick to please remain at home.
    Events
    • Effective immediately and until further notice, we are suspending all university-sponsored events that involve more than 100 people.
    • For events that involve fewer than 100 people, we strongly recommend alternatives to having an in-person event and, if that is not possible, taking all necessary precautions to mitigate the risk of infection.  We also ask that those hosting events that involve visitors traveling to Grounds, of whatever size, consider alternatives or cancelling those events, depending on the risks involved.
    • At this time, these restrictions do not apply to athletic events or events at JPJ, both of which remain under discussion and consideration.
    I would also like to thank all of you for your patience and understanding.  Put simply, UVA has never encountered something quite like this.  There is no roadmap for trying to put most of the University curriculum online in a week.  But I have enormous faith in this community—in your resilience, your willingness to do your part to keep others safe, and your ability to make the most of a very difficult situation.  
    I have special faith in our students, for whom the health risks are generally low and for whom the disappointments are high, but who I know will recognize that now is the time to think first of the well-being of others.  

    We are in this together, though I recognize that the impact will be uneven.  As the father of a graduating senior at another university who has been asked to return home, I know this decision will hit our fourth-year students especially hard.  It will also create economic challenges and hardships for some in the Charlottesville community whose livelihoods depend on our students.  We will make it through this together by supporting each other, thinking creatively, and staying connected even if physically separated.  I cannot pretend, obviously, that this is how I hoped this semester would unfold.  No one can.  But I eagerly await the ingenuity, compassion, and kindness that this common challenge will surely unlock within our community.  If there were ever a time to be both great and good, this is surely it.

    Sincerely,

    Jim
    --
    James E. Ryan
    President
    University of Virginia

     
     
  • 3.3.20: Liz Magill, Provost
    Dear members of the UVA community:

    Since our last University-wide communication on February 28, the number of national coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continues to rise. While we are not aware of any cases in Virginia, the safety of the UVA and Charlottesville communities is our primary concern.  I write to share with you the proactive steps we are taking.  Note that this guidance is subject to change as the situation is rapidly evolving. You can find updates and resources on the University’s website

    Spring Break Study Abroad

    • The University has canceled all outbound study abroad programs scheduled over spring break.  We notified affected faculty program directors and students today.  Schools will work directly with students to arrange for completion of coursework through alternative means.
    • Our decision on spring break trips was guided by the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) March 1st recommendation that Universities should reconsider study abroad travel. It is in everyone’s best interest that students avoid unnecessary travel through crowded transportation hubs for short visits to uncertain environments before they return to Grounds.  We feel this is the best decision to protect our students and our local community where students will return after their travel.
    • We are in close, regular communication with those students who are currently abroad on exchange and other programs, regarding how to monitor and assess their current situations based on conditions in the country they are visiting.
    Travel Guidance
    • The CDC maintains a Travel Information website related to COVID-19, and specifically recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to countries at Warning Level 3.  Note that these ratings can change rapidly.
    • We urge faculty, staff, and students who have personal or professional plans to travel either internationally or to affected areas in the U.S. to reconsider their travel.   In doing so, we ask each of you to take into account the possibility of travel delays, future quarantines, or prolonged self-isolation when returning from travel to the UVA and Charlottesville communities.
    • If you have travel insurance, you should closely review your plan to assure it does not exclude pandemics in the case of need for medical evacuation.  
    • We strongly encourage faculty and staff to share any travel plans with your department chair, dean, or manager in order to facilitate University assistance if the need arises.
    • We strongly urge student organizations (CIOs) to share any travel plans with the Office of the Dean of Students.
    The decisions we are making rely heavily on the guidance we are receiving from the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health and are intended to protect the health and welfare of our faculty, staff, students, and local community. We recognize the uncertainty this global health issue is creating and are committed to keep you informed and up to date as this situation evolves. You may find updates and current information on the University’s website and FAQ.

    Sincerely,

    Liz Magill, Provost
    University of Virginia

  • 2.27.20: Message about travel - Jennifer (J.J.) Wagner Davis Executive VP and COO
    Dear Colleagues:

    As the news regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus) changes daily, I write with important updates from the University on how we are preparing for any potential disruptions to our normal operations. A pan-University team coordinated by the Office of Emergency Management continues to meet regularly to share information and plan for the possibility of the virus directly affecting the UVA community, either here or abroad. This is particularly important as many of our students have spring break travel plans to destinations around the world. Similarly, many faculty and staff have travel planned at this time of year. If you are planning to travel soon, be aware that there is significant uncertainty surrounding the spread of the virus.

    Our primary concern is the health and safety of our community. We will follow advice and directives from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the U.S. Department of State. In addition to planning for potential operational impact this semester, we are planning for any contingencies that might affect summer programs. We remain committed to keeping the UVA community informed as circumstances evolve and will continue to update the COVID-19 website and FAQs, as well as answer questions at 434-297-4027.  

    Student Travel and Study Abroad

    • Dean of Students Allen Groves sent a message to students last night with information about the risks of upcoming travel, including the potential difficulty of returning to Grounds, resources available to students who need assistance while abroad, and general safety reminders.
    • The International Studies Office (ISO) has information about where UVA students are studying abroad and is coordinating with schools and partners supporting these programs. Under University policy, we will cancel any study abroad programs, even those in progress, at any location for which the CDC sets a warning level 3, or the State Department sets a warning level 3 or 4. 
    Faculty and Staff Travel
    • The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to countries at warning level 3. Currently this affects only China and South Korea, but conditions can change rapidly. Visit the CDC website for up-to-date information for travelers.
    • You should consider carefully any travel to countries with reported COVID-19 outbreaks and the possibility for delays and quarantines when returning to the United States.
    • Share any travel plans with your supervisor, in order to facilitate the University assisting you if the need should arise.
    • Employees are eligible for Travel Assistance Insurance, but there are certain exclusions regarding epidemics and pandemics. Travelers who arrange travel through Christopherson Travel, the University’s travel vendor (available through the TravelUVA app , behind Netbadge), automatically receive information on the insurance during the reservation process. If you do not arrange travel through Christopherson, you are still eligible for this insurance; please go to TravelUVA (Travel Resources) for more information.
    Countering Social Stigmatization
    Thank you for your support and patience as we continue to navigate this evolving situation.
    Very truly yours,
    Jennifer (J.J.) Wagner Davis
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
  • 2.27.20: Faculty travel - Liz Magill Provost
    Dear UVA Faculty Colleagues,

    As spring break approaches and the news regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus) changes daily, I write with important updates about how we are preparing for potential disruptions to our normal operations here and abroad. 

    Many UVA students have spring break travel plans to destinations around the world, while others are due to return to Grounds from programs abroad. Similarly, many faculty members have travel planned at this time of year, some of it associated with University programs and research. 

    If you are planning to travel in the near future, it is important to be aware that there is significant uncertainty surrounding the spread of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains a website for Travel Information related to COVID-19, and is recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to countries at Warning Level 3.  That currently includes only China and South Korea, but these ratings can change rapidly.  We advise you to consider carefully any travel to countries with reported COVID-19 outbreaks and take into account the possibility of delays and quarantines when returning to the United States. While the University has no mechanism for monitoring faculty travel, even for University-related business, we strongly encourage you to share any travel plans with your department chair in order to facilitate University assistance if the need arises.

    Faculty members are eligible for Travel Assistance Insurance, but there are certain exclusions regarding epidemics and pandemics. Travelers who arrange travel through Christopherson Travel, the University’s travel vendor (available through the TravelUVA app , behind Netbadge), automatically receive information on the insurance during the reservation process.  If you do not arrange travel through Christopherson, you are still eligible for this insurance; please go to TravelUVA (Travel Resources) for more information.

    Each year, just prior to spring break, Dean of Students Allen Groves writes to students to remind them of important safety considerations. His message to them yesterday included information about the risks of upcoming travel, including the potential difficulty of returning to Grounds, and resources available to students who need assistance while abroad. In addition, the International Studies Office (ISO) has comprehensive information about UVA students who are studying abroad. ISO is coordinating with the schools and partners supporting these programs in order to respond quickly and appropriately as conditions evolve.  Under University policy, we will cancel any study abroad programs, even those in progress, at any location for which the CDC sets a warning level 3, or the State Department sets a warning level 3 or 4.  (This approach is outlined in the University’s comprehensive policy on Student International Travel – PROV-010.) All faculty leading UVA-sponsored programs have taken pre-travel training and are prepared for this possibility.

    Finally, we are aware that stigmatization may occur around coronavirus. The CDC has developed a webpage offering guidance on countering this stigma. Please help us prevent stigmatization by becoming familiar the facts about COVID-19, and supporting community members with compassion and kindness.

    The University is committed to keeping our community informed about critical decisions and also the best ways to stay healthy.  We continue to update the COVID-19 website and FAQs, as well as answer related questions at 434.297.4027.  For any academic policy-related inquiries, please contact the Provost’s office at provost@virginia.edu.

    Our foremost concern is the health and safety of our faculty, students, staff, and our Charlottesville community.  Rest assured that a University team is closely monitoring the situation and following advice and directives from the CDC, the Virginia Department of Health, and the U.S. Department of State.  To that end, we have already begun planning for any contingencies that might affect summer programs. We will share these plans as needed in the coming days. Thank you for your support and patience.

    Sincerely,

    Liz Magill
    Provost, University of Virginia

  • 2.26.20: Allen W. Groves, University Dean of Students
    Important Reminders: Spring Break Health and Safety - message to all students from Dean Groves