More Information for UVA Engineering Faculty About Graduate Students - COVID-19 Changes

Dear UVA Engineering Faculty:

Earlier we shared with you a message sent to UVA Engineering graduate students. Here are some additional important notes for all faculty who advise, supervise or otherwise interact with graduate students and other research staff:

For faculty advising graduate teaching assistants:

  • GTA obligations remain in place for the semester. Therefore, please consider how you will integrate your GTAs into your alternative course delivery. Please reach out to GTAs with at least preliminary updates about your course plans ASAP. As information about technology platforms becomes available, please share with GTAs as appropriate. 

For faculty advising graduate student researchers and other research staff:

  • Yesterday those listed as Office of Sponsored Programs PIs received additional guidance from the UVA Vice President for Research, attached, and all faculty received the link to the research continuity guidance at  See especially the section “Recommended actions for mitigating the impact on your research” and “Safety Considerations.”
  • If faculty advisors and researchers agree that their work can be done effectively by remote means, they should work remotely and limit in-person interactions. No graduate students should feel pressured to work on site if they are concerned that it puts them, or their peers and colleagues here on Grounds, at risk. Advisors should discuss reasonable accommodations with their students and researchers. 
  • Since remote work is strongly encouraged, please work with your students/researchers to determine and prepare for research-related tasks that may be appropriate for remote work. Depending upon the nature of your research, you might consider prioritizing work that can only be carried out in your research facility, and collect all data and analyze remotely later. As the VPR noted, at this time, it is difficult to predict the scale and extent of the disruptions, so we encourage you to plan ahead. 
  • Faculty have responsibility for safety of their labs. Therefore, if a researcher in your lab is not complying with the University’s travel guidance or health guidance, please insist they do so and reiterate the self-reporting requirements.  
  • For those researchers who need access to labs and facilities, thought should be given as to how to minimize close contact. This may include working in shifts, for example, to reduce the number of people working in a close space, while also being mindful of safety and ensuring at least two people are present. Laboratories should also implement disinfection of commonly touched areas (e.g., doorknobs, sink handles, freezer doors, fume hood sashes, telephones) with effective disinfectants.
  • We are awaiting guidance from the VPR’s office and federal agencies with regard to any accommodations that may be made to sponsored awards, including cancelled travel.
  • For remote work, please help researchers prioritize work that is aligned with the researchers’ funding sources.

Any additional information will be shared as soon as it is available. Please send any research-related questions you have to Susan Barker.

Thank you for your patience, flexibility and support.

Craig H. Benson, Dean

UVA Engineering


Susan Barker, Associate Dean for Research

UVA Engineering


N. Scott Barker, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

UVA Engineering


Amy M. Clobes, Director of Graduate Programs

UVA Engineering