Returning to Grounds - HR Guidance

Return To Grounds - Academic Faculty & Staff, HR Operations

As we prepare to return to Grounds, UVA Human Resources’ guiding principle is to help put the necessary measures in place to safeguard the health of UVA employees. To accomplish this, we have engaged expertise from across Grounds and beyond to modify practices, policies, and workspaces. Grounds may look and feel a little different, so we will need to work together and be flexible as we embark on this uncharted territory.

Below you will find human resources related information in the form of FAQs and support resources to assist Academic Division employees in returning to Grounds. This page will be updated continually as new information becomes available so please check back frequently.



Return to Grounds Guide for details and guidelines to safely return to Grounds.

UVA Return to Grounds website for the central resource of universal information.

UVA Operations Status Board for updates on the University's various department operations.

Research Ramp-up Guidance for the UVA VP for Research information. 


Return to Grounds Training Video Modules - Mandatory Completion

All Academic Division faculty and staff are required to complete a “Return to Grounds” training module prior to the start of the Fall 2020 Semester. This module explains basic safety standards and behavioral expectations of working on Grounds.  At the end you will be required to acknowledge that you have reviewed the content and agree to abide by the safety standards as outlined. There is also a supplemental module available to managers that provides additional details necessary to support your team. We strongly encourage managers to review this video as well.

The modules can be accessed by logging into Workday, clicking the links below, or through the HR Return to Grounds website.

Training Module Links: 

FAQs - Safety & Operations

  • What will the University’s COVID-19 testing policy be for students, faculty and staff?

    We are creating, in concert with the Virginia Department of Health, a comprehensive COVID-19 testing plan that will include students, faculty, staff, and members of the community.  We have settled on some of our plans (outlined below), and we continue to evaluate others.  In the latter category, we are still evaluating the options for testing our students for COVID-19, including whether we will test all students upon arrival. We will make an announcement on that in the coming weeks.  Below, however, are the elements of testing strategy that are settled:

    • Students, faculty, and staff will be required to track their symptoms daily using an app.
    • We are and will continue to offer testing to anyone who exhibits symptoms.
    • In addition, we will make available voluntary testing for faculty, staff, contract employees, and students who are concerned and may not exhibit symptoms.  These tests will be available through an online schedule.
    • In partnership with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), UVA will help support voluntary testing of community members.
    • We are working closely with the Virginia Department of Health to effectively trace contacts of anyone who contracts the virus.
    • Once classes start, we will perform testing and other monitoring to assess the prevalence of viral infections; we will be monitoring Grounds closely and respond with increased testing to detect any asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic cases anywhere where our examinations suggest there might be a cluster of cases.


  • Will UVA require employees to wear face masks on Grounds?

    Yes. See Policy SEC-045  which governs face coverings on Grounds during the declared emergency. Face coverings must be worn by all faculty, staff, and students while inside a University facility or otherwise inside a building on University Grounds or on any University property when in the presence of others (e.g., common work spaces, meeting rooms, etc.). Face masks must also be worn on University transit buses.

    Note that both federal and state law allow employers to direct employees to wear face coverings. The CDC currently recommends face coverings for all employees while they are in public spaces. The Governor’s Executive Order requires masks unless an exception applies.

  • Will the University provide face coverings?

    Yes, see Policy SEC-045, The University will provide two cloth face coverings per faculty, staff, and student working or studying in a University facility or on University Grounds. A disposable mask will be provided by the University should the faculty, staff, or student forget to bring their own. Individuals are responsible for laundering the face covering as necessary (as outlined in the policy). Disposable masks must only be worn for one day and then disposed of in the trash. Individuals may provide their own face covering for their personal use.


  • How will face covering rules under Policy SEC-045 be enforced?

    Compliance for these policies will be difficult to enforce and will rely heavily on social norms campaigns, active bystander engagement, and University community ownership. While informal compliance will be the primary method of enforcement and is vitally important to the University’s success in maintaining a safe working and learning environment, a more formal reporting and response process is available to managers.

  • Are there any exceptions to the face covering requirement?

    Yes, UVA Policy SEC-045 contains a provision that outlines exemptions to the face covering policy:

      • A person eating and drinking at a food and beverage establishment on University Grounds.
      • A person seeking to communicate with a hearing-impaired person, for which the mouth needs to be visible.
      • Anyone with a health condition that keeps them from wearing a face covering.
      • Any person who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.
      • A person in need of University or medical services may temporarily remove the face covering.
    • Please note that the Virginia state guidelines require equipment and people to be 10 feet apart while exercising. You are not required to wear a mask while actively exercising (e.g. running on a treadmill).
  • What is the procedure when an employee is feeling sick in the workplace?

    If an employee is feeling sick or experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms, they should focus on taking care of yourselves immediately. UVA is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace for all. Academic Division employees should first speak with their manager, and then should go home immediately and seek appropriate medical attention, per CDC guidelines. Once their medical status is determined (infected or not with COVID-19), see the UVA HR website for leave policy guidance.

    If an employees does not have a primary care physician (PCP) they should contact UVA Employee Health at 434-924-2013. Employee Health will triage, screen, and contact the COVID Clinic to set up an evaluation if needed. Employees who work outside of the immediate Charlottesville/Albemarle area should contact their PCP rather than Employee Health.

  • Where can Employees find more information on changes to Parking and Transportation?

    Due to social distancing requirements, University Transit System capacity will be reduced by more than half. In addition, some parking designations and prices will be modified to create more flexible options. Detailed information will be available on the Parking & Transportation website in July.


Remote Work and Leave Considerations

  • When will faculty and staff return to work on grounds?

    Although there is no fixed date for individuals to return to Grounds, we anticipate that most of the safety standards will be implemented and essential supplies will be available by the end of July. Therefore, late July or early August is a target period for employees to begin returning to the physical workplace, provided state and public health guidance allows.

  • What are the current plans for faculty and staff to return to work on grounds?

    • Faculty and staff are encouraged to continue telecommuting (remote work) at least through July 31st if agreed to by their deans and managers.
    • Managers will determine which functions and roles should be performed on Grounds and may consider a phased approach for return to in-person work. Managers will develop plans to meet the business needs of the University for the fall term.
    • Managers may consider Alternative Work Schedules to stagger schedules and maintain appropriate social distancing.

    Telecommuting will continue to be supported beyond July 31st in areas where work can be performed remotely. Remote work is a key component to reduce density and limit the spread of COVID-19, and managers are strongly encouraged to continue remote work if it is appropriate for the position in accordance with the University’s remote work policy

  • What Approvals are necessary for remote or alternate work schedules?

    • Any arrangement for remote work must have manager approval and may be done on a full or partial day/week schedule as appropriate.
    • Staffing plans require alignment and approval of local leadership. Managers will coordinate with the respective dean/vice president/vice provost to ensure a coordinated effort.
  • How will the University handle faculty and staff requests for accommodation or modifications in light of COVD-19?

    We will make every effort to grant requests from faculty, graduate teaching assistants, and staff requests to work or teach remotely or for other reasonable accommodations or modifications in light of COVID-19. We are mindful that individual circumstances make some individuals more vulnerable than others to the effects of this disease. As always, employees entitled to reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act will receive them. Beyond that, we will prioritize requests for modifications from faculty and staff who are at higher risk for severe illness, as well as anyone with a household member at higher risk. Outside of those categories, we will make every effort to grant reasonable modification requests. As deans, department chairs, and managers plan for the fall, they will work with Employee Relations and Business Partners to honor faculty and staff requests while considering the impact on and constraints of research, curricular, student, and workplace needs. We are keenly aware that each individual and unit of the University is as unique in our needs, constraints, and opportunities for flexibility as we are united in the common goal of excellence in teaching, research, and patient care.

    Just as faculty and staff may currently request modifications directly from their dean, department chair, or supervisor, those comfortable making COVID-19-related requests through those channels are free to do so. Anyone concerned about privacy may instead submit this Request for Workplace Modification Form to Employee Relations. Schools and units will follow up with additional details about implementation and timing.

  • What types of leave may I take during the University’s modified status?

    There are different leave types employees may take for different situations related to COVID-19 and during our modified status. These leave types, descriptions and considerations are provided and continually updated on the HR Managing Leave During the Coronavirus webpage.

  • What options will staff have if K-12 schools do not go back full-time in the fall?

    Schedule accommodations and remote work agreements are primarily addressed at the school or unit level. Managers will determine which jobs cannot be performed remotely. For those positions, managers can work with employees and UVA HR to assess the option of temporary modification and available leave options.

    For any job that can be performed remotely managers are encouraged to work with employees to assess potential options.  

    Additional information may be provided as the school year draws closer and more is known about school schedules. 

Performance Management

  • Will Performance Management reviews be extended?

    Yes. Pursuant to communications from HR, the Academic Division Performance Management deadline has been extended until June 30 for both 2019 reviews and 2020 goal setting. FY20 UVA Health system appraisals are being reviewed for possible extension of due dates.  


  • Will employees who are in a probationary period be granted an extension due to interruption by remote work or approved leave situations?

    The probationary period will not be extended due to the period being interrupted by remote working situations. Unless instructed otherwise, managers and supervisors should work with the normal timeline provided under HRM-020 to complete a probationary review.

    However, under HRM-020, any employee impacted by an approved leave of more than 10 consecutive days, whether paid or unpaid, is automatically entitled to an extension of the timeline equal to the length of the approved leave. The approved leave acts as a suspension of the 18-month time limit, with days not worked due to leave not counted against the Probationary Period timeline.

FAQs - ACD Manager Specific

  • What should managers do if an employee comes to work sick?

    An ill employee should go home immediately and seek appropriate medical attention. If an employee does not have a primary care physician (PCP), they should contact UVA Employee Health by phone at 434-924-2013. Employee Health will triage, screen and contact the COVID Clinic to set up an evaluation if needed. Employees who work outside of the immediate Charlottesville/Albemarle area should contact their PCP rather than Employee Health.


    When reporting a positive case of COVID-19 in a school, follow the detailed guidance provided by the Provost Office to school leaders. When reporting a positive case of COVID-19 in a department or business unit, managers are asked to notify UVA Emergency Management at Do not provide the individual’s name or other identifying information. Managers should also reach out to their HR Business Partners for further guidance. Emergency Management will notify Facilities Management, who will arrange for cleaning and disinfecting of the workspace, following CDC guidelines.  


    Managers have increased flexibility to approve remote work and flexible schedules in order to comply with the Governor’s directive in the State of Emergency to implement broad remote work policies to reduce the number of employees on-site at any given time.

    Managers will be determining which jobs cannot be performed remotely. All other jobs, with manager approval, can be handled from an alternate location. Employees should consult with their managers about remote work and flexible schedule options.

  • When should Managers discuss returning to Grounds with employees?

    Please begin discussing with employees how returning to work on Grounds will be different. As a manager, we rely on you to cascade these important messages throughout your team. Suggested topics include: staffing plans, the new health check app, employee health, required training, adjustments to transportation and parking, PPE, updated cleaning regimens, compliance, and associated policies.

  • What options can Managers offer employees in order to reduce density and limit the spread of COVID-19?

    As a manager, you know the needs of your area and are in the best position to determine who must physically return to Grounds. Managers are asked to determine which functions and roles must be performed on Grounds and which may be performed remotely.

    • Managers are strongly encouraged to continue remote work, whenever possible. This staffing option is available as prescribed in the University’s remote work policy.
    • Managers may also consider Alternative Work Schedules, in an effort to stagger schedules and maintain appropriate social distancing.
  • What should a Manager do in response to an employee who does not comply with the new guidelines for on Grounds?

    Managers are expected to enforce applicable policies to support the safety of our community. Failure from employees to comply with requirements may result in disciplinary action in accordance with relevant University policies. Compliance with personal safety standards is a foremost concern of everyone as we make this transition. 

  • Who can answer Managers’ questions regarding employee policies and returning to work?

    HR Business Partners and the HR Solution Center stand ready to assist you with questions. You can locate your HR Business partner online, or reach out to the HR Solution Center via email or phone: or 434.243.3344.

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