Online Learning, University Guidance and Health and Safety Information

UVA Engineering Undergraduate Students:

On Wednesday, you received this message from UVA President Jim Ryan about our need to move all classes online, with courses beginning March 19. Please fill out this one-minute survey as soon as possible to let us know about any needs you might have to support your online learning.

President Ryan’s message also strongly urged students to go home and stay home, if possible, until we know more about the spread of the novel coronavirus. We hope you have already heeded this message and made arrangements.

This is of course disappointing to all of us. We look forward to the instruction, events, activities and milestones that happen at UVA Engineering - and the University as a whole - each spring. Most of all, we miss having you here at the School, because you give this place its meaning and purpose.

However, our top priority is the health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff. This is at the core of everything we are doing in response to this pandemic, and we must follow the best guidance for protecting our community.

To that end, here are a few important things we want our UVA Engineering undergraduate students to know right now:

1. Get ready for your online classes.

  • Courses will begin online on Thursday, March 19. We will not have any classes until March 19, though some faculty may hold optional practice sessions.
  • The University will have online resources ready for you first thing Monday morning, March 16, to help you with your transition to online learning. These resources, which will be linked from the UVA novel coronavirus website, will include:
    • Self-service technical support to help you be prepared for this transition.
    • The ability to contact someone if you run into difficulties.
    • Strategies to create an environment at home that will be helpful for online learning.

For making this transition, you will need to make sure you have access to a computer and an internet connection. If obtaining this access imposes a financial hardship for you, the website will have information about a technology support fund that is available.

  • You will hear from your UVA Engineering professors by Tuesday, March 17, at 5 p.m. with information about how your course will be conducted online. Please be patient until then as our faculty are working diligently on a tight timeline to convert their courses to an online format.
  • Please be patient also during the first week of your online classes, as technical difficulties are likely for you and for the faculty alike. Trust us to be suitably flexible. 
  • Before Thursday, please ensure you can access Collab and Zoom. Download and install the Zoom app on your computer and mobile device since it is highly likely that you will need it for your coursework. You may also need to access on-grounds resources like journals. To enable this, set up the UVA Anywhere virtual private network on your device. Only use it when needed because bandwidth is limited.
  • UVA Engineering is committed to your academic success. We will do everything we can to help you meet course requirements remotely, with special attention to graduating students. We will be flexible for students who may have technical issues, and we anticipate that lectures will be recorded and made available even if they were also delivered synchronously through Zoom.
  • Please remember to fill out this survey as soon as possible to tell us about any resources you might need for online instruction. It will only take about one minute.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your instructors or advisor first. If you still have questions, you may contact
  • Engineering Career Development plans to continue supporting students virtually. You will receive additional details soon.

2. Please follow expert guidance and seek help if you need it.

  • If you have not already done so, we implore you to follow the University’s instructions for going home and staying home, if you can. You may not believe you are at risk, but all of us risk unwittingly transmitting the virus to others if we do not follow expert guidance, such as that issued by the University and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have a responsibility as University citizens to do everything we can to protect others in our community who may become very ill or worse if they catch the virus.
  • We echo the message sent to parents by UVA Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer Patricia M. Lampkin: “The COVID-19 health crisis is forcing each of us to make sacrifices and changes none of us wants to make. In the end, however, it is not about us. It’s about our responsibility to our fellow human beings.”
  • Please see the University’s message to all undergraduates who live in University housing, and please be sure to notify Housing & Residence Life before Wednesday, March 18, if you have a circumstance that makes it impossible for you to leave.
  • If you are one of the few undergraduates who will remain in Charlottesville, please do not seek to meet in person with your instructors or advisors, and please note that laboratories, design spaces and classrooms are closed to undergraduates.
  • The few students who are in Charlottesville and need emergent mental health care can walk-in to UVA’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office at the Elson Student Health Center, 400 Brandon Avenue, and be seen by a clinician M-F, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CAPS counselors also are offering services by phone, including connecting students with mental health resources in their hometowns. You may call 434-243-5150 24 hours per day, seven days per week, to speak to a counselor.
  • Students with financial aid who need financial assistance in returning to their homes should follow this link to learn how to request these funds from UVA Student Financial Services.

3. Stay informed about health and safety,

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.

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


N. Scott Barker, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs


Will Guilford, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education


Julia Lapan, Director of Engineering Career Development