Student Employment Between November 24, 2020 and February 1, 2021

Key Dates:

  • In-person instruction period: through Nov. 24, 2020
  • Remote instruction and finals: Nov. 25, 2020 – Dec. 11, 2020
  • Winter Break: Dec. 12, 2020 – Feb. 1, 2021
  • January Term: Jan. 4, 2021 – Jan. 15, 2021

Graduate Students:

Graduate Students should continue with their research and employment activities, continuing to follow all of the relevant health and safety guidelines.  Many graduate students are full-time residents of Charlottesville and will continue with their research and employment activities just as they did during the summer.

Undergraduate Students:

With certain limited exceptions, the University expects that undergraduate students will return to their homes, beginning with Thanksgiving, and that they will not return to Charlottesville until the start of the spring term. Returning after Thanksgiving break to work or conduct in-person research jeopardizes both the student’s safety as well as that of the local community due to travel-related risks.

Remote Work:  Undergraduate students who are approved to work or conduct research remotely may do so over the break.

In-person Work:  Undergraduate students who seek to work in person over the break can do so only with an approved exception.   This encompasses any paid work by an undergraduate—in the Library, in a research lab, or in IM-Rec sports.


  1. Student Affairs will authorize a limited number of students to remain on-Grounds over the break. These students may continue to work, in-person, as directed by their manager.
  2. If a manager believes that in-person undergraduate student employment is essential the unit’s continued operation, the manager should submit a request to Student Affairs in order to allow in-person work by an undergraduate. To the greatest extent possible, managers should rely on undergraduate students who are otherwise in Charlottesville-Albemarle, and the manager should not ask students to stay in Charlottesville solely for the purpose of in-person work.   

If the request is by a faculty member or lab manager for UG work in person in a lab, the request should be submitted to the associate dean of research in the relevant school and to the VPR’s office.  If approved, notification of such approval should be provided to Student Affairs.

Undergraduate Research (not paid, but for independent study or other academic purposes):  Undergraduate students who are engaged in approved in-person research through an independent study course or other academic-related activity may not continue to work in the lab once in-person instruction ends on November 24. Undergraduate students are expected to return home at this time. Prior to the conclusion of in person instruction, UG students should confer with their faculty mentors and supervisors on assignments such as data analyses and final reports that may be submitted to the faculty member and assessed for a final grade. Once students go home, they will not be permitted to resume in-person research or instructional activities until spring courses resume on February 1. 

Exception Process:

  • The faculty member or the lab PI may appeal to the school’s associate dean of research, providing a justification for why the student should be allowed to stay and work on Grounds in their laboratory. If the associate dean of research approves the UG student’s continued in-person presence, the VPR must approve as well.  Notification of such approval should be provided to Student Affairs.
  • The petition should include an explicit justification as to why the student is required to continue to conduct research in person over the break and address the consequences if the student does not do so over the break. The process may be implemented as an amendment to the ramp up plan submitted by the PI earlier in the year.


If a student employee is continuing to work on Grounds, they will be tested regularly as part of the inter-session mandatory testing plans that are being developed.

Students who undertake personal travel during the period must adhere to the guidance provided by VDH, which may include self-quarantining for 14 days after travel.


We understand the extended Winter Break and later start to the spring semester may have a financial impact on students, especially those on financial aid who may be anticipating a refund at the start of the semester. Since March, funding through the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and institutional funds has enabled the University to provide students with emergency hardship support for expenses related to the disruption of on-Grounds operations due to COVID-19.

Student Financial Services will post an application for Spring CARES Act funding in December so eligible students can request financial assistance to support winter break or J-Term needs for food or other emergency incidentals. All undergraduate, graduate and professional students who are enrolled in courses for the spring 2021 term, and who have successfully completed a FAFSA for the 2020-2021 academic year, can request funding. Those who are not eligible to complete a FAFSA may also fill out the application to be considered for limited institutional funding.

The application and additional information will be available on the Student Financial Services website in December. You may also write for more information.


  1. No additional approval is needed for students – graduate or undergraduate – to work remotely, so long as such remote work is approved and overseen by the manager.
  2. Any student who is petitioning to remain in the residence halls over the break should follow the guidance provided by the Office of Housing and Residence Life.
  3. Managers/Units who will remain open and require in-person undergraduate student employment should submit a request to Student Affairs using this exception form. This request should include:  brief summary of the need to remain open; days/hours the unit will be open and staffed by undergraduate students; and a list of the students who will be employed, in person, over the period.
  4. Requests for undergraduate students to continue in in-person research in the lab over the winter break should obtain approval from their school associate dean for research and the Office of the Vice President for Research, in accordance with the already-established research protocol.
  5. Students who need emergency hardship support over the winter break may find more information on the Student Financial Services website (which will be available in December), or by writing