U.Va. to require negative COVID-19 test for returning students

Students returning to the University of Virginia for the fall semester will be required to take a mandatory coronavirus test before they are allowed back, the university said Thursday.

A free test kit will be provided to students and they will be asked to self-administer the test about a week before they head back to Charlottesville for classes.

“Results will be available 24 to 48 hours after the laboratory receives the sample,” a news release said. “Students also are strongly recommended to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to returning.”

Students who test negative will be allowed to return.

If students test positive for COVID-19, they will not be cleared to return and will be asked to self-isolate at home and consult a doctor immediately.

Students will be notified of the test availability in the coming weeks via an online portal that provides instructions for ordering and returning the tests.

All students and staff members who are cleared to return to the University of Virginia will be required to complete training that provides information about how to stay safe and limit the spread of the coronavirus.

“At the conclusion of this training, students and employees will be required to acknowledge the risks presented by the virus and agree to abide by the safety protocols,” the release said.

Last month, the university announced that face coverings would be required in common areas and that everyone would be told to stay 6 feet away from each other.

The university said there will be guidelines for communal bathrooms, including assigning students to specific sinks, stalls, and showers, and limiting the number of students at any given time.

While the university expects many students to return for the fall semester, it is keeping options open to make sure that students can learn remotely if that is with what they feel most comfortable.

Large classes will be all online, and courses offered in-person will include a remote option.

The fall semester begins on Aug. 25. In-person classes will wrap up by Thanksgiving. Students won’t return for the spring semester until 2021.

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