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COVID-19 FAQs

Last updated 8/2/2021

Face Coverings, Masks, and Respirators

Does UVA require employees to wear face coverings on Grounds?

Unvaccinated individuals must wear face coverings at all times when indoors, except when alone in private spaces like individual offices. Cubicles are not to be considered private offices. Outdoors, unvaccinated individuals must wear a face covering at all times, even when they can maintain a physical distance of at least six feet.

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated employees should continue to have face coverings within reach at all times during the workday as certain buildings may still require them, including within UVA Health Facilities. Face coverings are also required to be worn by both driver and passenger in any UVA FM vehicle, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings must be worn on University transit buses.

Vaccinated employees may continue wearing face coverings in any setting.

For more information see UVA Policy SEC-045 which governs face coverings on Grounds, and 16VAC25-220 from the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) Program of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry.

Note that both federal and state law allow employers to require employees to wear face coverings as necessary steps to protect public health.

How will face covering rules be enforced?

Pursuant to the Policy, failure to comply with requirements of UVA Policy SEC-045 may result in disciplinary action in accordance with relevant University policies.

Are there any exceptions to the face covering requirements?

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

  • EATING, DRINKING, PERSONAL HYGIENE: People may remove masks, of course, when eating, drinking, showering, brushing teeth, etc
  • EXERCISING: Certain exceptions to masking requirements apply to those who are exercising indoors — e.g., for those who are swimming or on exercise equipment. Details on these exceptions will be posted at IM-Rec and athletic facilities. To be on the safe side, always bring your mask with you.
  • TEACHING: Instructors may remove masks when teaching behind plexiglass barriers as long as they can maintain physical distance of at least six feet from students.
  • AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) ACCOMMODATIONS: Some members of the University community may have pre-existing conditions that preclude them from wearing a mask; the relevant UVA office will evaluate requests for accommodation to determine whether there is a qualifying disability-related condition under ADA and a reasonable accommodation. Students with qualifying disability-related conditions can contact the Student Disability Access Center (SDAC) to seek accommodations related to masking requirements. Employees with qualifying disability-related conditions can seek accommodations related to masking requirements by following the Procedures for Employees with Disabilities to Request Workplace Accommodations.

If you are unable to wear a face covering due to a medical restriction must let your supervisor and FM’s UVA HR Business Partners know immediately.

Where can we report non-compliance with face covering requirements?

If this is a one-off mistake, we encourage folks to practice kindness and remind your colleague about the importance of using a face cover for the health of the community.

It is the supervisor’s responsibility to ensure everyone remains in compliance with UVA Policy SEC-045 and UVA FM COVID-19 On Grounds Work Guidelines. If you’re comfortable asking the supervisor to enforce, please do.

If this is a significant, ongoing violation that intentionally or recklessly threatens the health or safety of the University community, and you’ve already done as much as you feel like you can, you can submit a report through Just Report It. There is a link at the top right for COVID-19 Compliance Reporting. Netbadge login is required.

What are differences among different types of face coverings: cloth face coverings, respirators, surgical masks, dust masks, etc.?

Respirators are designed to reduce a worker's exposure to airborne contaminants. Respirators come in various sizes and must be individually selected to fit the wearer's face and to provide a tight seal. Respirators MUST be certified by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and users must receive specialized training. If you need to be trained on a respirator, contact FM-OHS@virginia.edu.

Surgical masks are used as a physical barrier to protect the user from hazards, such as splashes of large droplets of blood or body fluids. Typically, surgical masks are not allowed to be used at UVA FM. COVID-19 EXCEPTION – Surgical masks are permitted as a face covering to prevent spread of the virus.

Dust masks can be worn for comfort against non-toxic nuisance dusts during activities like mowing, gardening, and household dusting. Dust masks are not NIOSH approved and do not have two straps. Dust masks ARE NOT NORMALLY ALLOWED TO BE USED AT UVA FM. COVID-19 EXCEPTION — Dust masks are permitted as a face covering to prevent spread of the virus.

See more on the different varieties of face coverings.

What is the difference between N95 masks and KN95s?

N95 filtering facepiece respirators are certified by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) but KN95 filtering facepiece respirators are certified under China standards. KN95s are NOT NIOSH certified and are not to be used as a substitute for N95s.

Are we eligible to wear KN95 at UVA-FM?

NO. FM employees are not to wear KN95s when the job or tasks requires the user to wear a N95 filtering facepiece or when they wear it according to their Voluntary Use of Respiratory Protection Agreement. Filtering facepieces that can be used for work-related tasks must be approved by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). COVID-19 EXCEPTION — KN95 are permitted only as a face covering to prevent spread of the virus.

Are all FM employees required to wear a NIOSH approved N95?

NO. Only employees who are medically approved and pass their respirator fit test and who may be exposed to airborne contaminants (including Coronavirus) are required to wear a NIOSH certified N95.

If I am wearing my respirator, am I also required to wear a face cover?

YES. To protect others, you must wear your face cover at all times, including when you wear your assigned respirator.

If you are assigned to a tight-fitting air purifying respirator, a tight-fitting powered air purifying respirator, or a filtering facepiece respirator with exhalation valve, you must wear your face cover on top of your respirator and make sure it covers the exhalation valve of the respirator.

If you are assigned to loose fitting powered air purifying respirator, you must put on your face cover then put on your assigned respirator.

See Respirator Use Precautions during COVID-19.

What do I need to do to become qualified to wear a NIOSH-certified N95 filtering facepiece respirator?

Your supervisor/manager must email fm-ohs@virginia.edu and describe your tasks and the reasoning for needing an N95 filtering facepiece respirator. FM-OHS will then send you a link to the Respiratory Medical Evaluation Questionnaire. You must complete the questionnaire within 48 hours of receiving it. When FM-OHS receives the medical approval, FM-OHS will schedule you for your respirator fit test. When the employee passes their respirator fit test, the employee can wear their assigned N95.

What do I need to do to wear a NIOSH approved filtering facepiece to protect myself under the Voluntary Use of Respiratory Protection Agreement?

Inform your supervisor/manager about your concern to exposure to airborne contaminants. You may eligible to wear a NIOSH approved filtering facepiece under Voluntary Use of Respiratory Protection Agreement. Email FM-OHS@virginia.edu for more information.

Can I use any model, manufacture, and size of N95 respirator after I passed my respirator fit test?

NO. You MUST continue to wear the same N95 respirator that you were fit tested on. For example, you passed your respirator fit test and were assigned to a 3M, N95 filtering facepiece respirator with exhalation valve, Model #9211 and Size: Standard. You MUST wear the same the manufacture, model, and size.

What if I ran out of my assigned NIOSH certified N95 filtering facepiece respirator?

You must inform your supervisor and arrange to get fit tested with the NIOSH certified filtering facepiece respirator which is available for you to use.

Can Supervisors/ Managers provide KN95 respirators for their employees who are required to wear a N95 respirators or their employees who are wearing a N95 under their Voluntary Use of Respiratory Protection Agreement?

NO. KN95 filtering facepiece respirators are certified under China’s standards. KN95 respirators are NOT certified by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). At UVA-FM, filtering facepiece respirators must be NIOSH approved. NIOSH approved filtering facepieces are labeled with NIOSH on the box, respirator surface, or on respirator straps. NIOSH approved respirators have two straps.

KN95 Respirator Voluntary Use Form

Are Supervisors/Managers able to order any manufacturer, model, and size of NIOSH certified filtering facepiece for their employees after they are assigned to a specific NIOSH certified filtering facepiece?

NO. Supervisors/Managers must provide the manufacture, model, and size of the NIOSH-certified filtering facepiece with which their employees passed their respirator fit test. If the employee must be fit tested, contact FM-OHS@virginia.edu.

What can I do to stop my glasses from fogging up when I wear my face cover?

  • Clean your glasses well with dish soap & dry with a lint-free cloth.
  • Our safety vendors (Northern Safety, Grainger, Jireh) carry antifog cleaning spray and cleaners. Check with them before you order: Some cleaners may interact with coatings your lenses might have.
  • Use a face cover that has a nose wire — a tight fit on the bridge of your nose can push your breath away from your glasses.
  • The tissue trick.

I am sick/I was exposed/Quarantine and Isolation

What do I do if I feel sick?

If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and are feeling unwell:

  • Notify your supervisor by phone immediately.
  • Stay home or go home.
  • Quarantine yourself away from others.
  • Contact UVA Employee Health for next steps.
  • Be aware of the symptoms and emergency warning signs of COVID-19.
  • Wear a face covering any time you are around others.
  • Sanitize frequently touched areas in your home to reduce the chance of spreading the virus.
  • Leave home only to seek medical care.
  • Answer the call: VDH contact tracers are working across Virginia to notify people who may have been exposed. The call could come from any Virginia area code.

What do I do if I have been exposed to someone that has COVID-19?

Exposed means you have been within 6 feet (2 meters) of someone with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

If you are not yet fully vaccinated against COVID-19:

  • Notify your supervisor immediately. Go home or stay home until you speak with a doctor.
  • Contact your healthcare provider, Teladoc, or UVA Employee Health for help determining your level of exposure and risk of infection. You may be a carrier of the virus without displaying any of the common symptoms.
  • Monitor your own symptoms and body temperature closely.
  • You may be instructed to quarantine, which means stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school. Do not take public transportation such as buses, trains, taxis, or ride-shares, if possible. Leave home only to seek necessary medical care. Self-quarantine separates someone who might have been exposed to the virus from others. A note from your doctor can ensure you can use UVA’s Public Health Emergency leave (PHEL) until test results are received.

If you are fully vaccinated:

  • Monitor yourself closely for symptoms. It is unlikely for you to become infected with COVID-19, but not impossible.
  • Follow any instructions given to you by the Health Department to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

What do I do if someone I live with has symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19?

  • Notify your supervisor immediately. Consider staying home until you speak with a doctor.
  • Contact your healthcare provider, Teladoc, or UVA Employee Health for help determining your level of exposure and risk of infection. You may be a carrier of the virus without displaying any of the common symptoms.
  • Monitor your own symptoms and body temperature closely.
  • You may be instructed to quarantine, which means stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school. Do not take public transportation such as buses, trains, taxis, or ride-shares, if possible. Leave home only to seek necessary medical care. Self-quarantine separates someone who might have been exposed to the virus from others. A note from your doctor can ensure you can use UVA’s Public Health Emergency leave (PHEL) until test results are received.

What do I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

  • You will need to isolate (stay home, away from others in your household) if you test positive for the virus.
  • Notify your supervisor immediately.
  • Contact Employee Health at 434-924-2013 to notify them of your positive status.
  • Be sure your supervisor gets a copy of your doctor’s note excusing you from work due to your COVID-19 infection.

The health department may contact you to determine the required length of time needed for isolation and who may have been exposed. Be sure to answer their questions clearly and honestly. (Your employer will not have access to any of your health information you do not provide directly.)

According to the CDC, most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. However, Be aware of the symptoms and emergency warning signs of COVID-19. If you must see a doctor, call ahead and make an appointment. Leave home only to seek medical care. Do not make any extra stops on your trip.

What is the difference between self-isolate and self-quarantine?

Self-quarantine means: Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school. Do not take public transportation such as buses, trains, taxis, or ride-shares, if possible. Leave home only to seek necessary medical care. Self-quarantine separates someone who might have been exposed to the virus from others.

Self-isolate means: Separate yourself from people who are not infected, even in your own household. Stay in a separate room, use separate bathrooms if possible, and avoid contact with other members of the household — including pets. Do not share personal items, like cups, towels, and utensils. Wear a face covering when around people and monitor your symptoms for emergency warning signs of COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines and prevalence testing

Where can I sign up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

If you have not received a link through UVA for sign up, register yourself and family members at https://vaccinate.virginia.gov/ or by calling 877-829-4682.

Where can I find more information on how the vaccines work?

The most reliable sources are:

Is it a mandatory requirement for UVA Facilities Management employees (both Academic and HSPP) to be vaccinated to perform my job responsibilities?

The University expects all UVA and UVA Health faculty and staff who do not have a need for medical or religious exemption to get vaccinated as soon as possible. We know that many UVA and UVA Health employees are fully vaccinated and others are in the process of completing their doses. Vaccination of our employees is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 and the return to regular, in-person experiences.

If vaccination is required for employees, employees may seek a medical or religious exemption. Email AskHR@virginia.edu for more information.

Unvaccinated FM employees who support UVA Health will be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 prevalence testing starting August 2.

Vaccinated team members who did not schedule their vaccinations through UVA should provide proof of vaccination via Workday by July 12.

Why is UVA requiring prevalence testing?

Regular prevalence testing of unvaccinated individuals is critical for keeping the University and the local community safe. Unvaccinated students (with approved medical or religious exemptions) and unvaccinated faculty and staff are subject to a mandatory saliva PCR test once each week or as otherwise directed by the University. This is consistent with UVA Policy SEC-045 and Health System Policy OCH-002.

Who is required to complete weekly prevalence testing?

Prevalence testing exceptions will only be granted for UVA faculty and staff who:

  • Are both fully vaccinated with a WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL) COVID-19 vaccine issued and have uploaded proof of vaccination;
  • Have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 150 days;
  • Are working remotely 100% of the time; or
  • Are working in a location outside the Charlottesville-Albemarle region.

Failure to comply with testing requirements may result in disciplinary action in accordance with relevant University policies.

This is consistent with UVA Policy SEC-045 and Health System Policy OCH-002.

Are any unvaccinated employees not required to complete weekly prevalence testing?

Exceptions for the weekly prevalence testing will be granted to unvaccinated employees who:

  • Have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 150 days
  • Have been identified in VaxTrax by their managers as a 100% remote worker

What type of testing is required and where is it being offered?

  • Proctored saliva testing will be required for all unvaccinated employees unless they have been notified that they will be issued mail-in kits (see below). Saliva testing will be available by appointment at numerous locations around the region. Employees must schedule prevalence tests online using the Time2Test application. This site is being regularly updated to reflect changes in testing locations and appointment times.
  • Mail-in kits will be provided to employees who work at outlying locations and have been notified that they must use this type of testing. Employees who are designated to complete weekly mail-in testing will receive kits and compliance instructions from their supervisors.

Can saliva testing be scheduled during working hours?

Yes. Time used to complete required testing is paid time. Before scheduling testing appointments, employees are encouraged to talk with their manager to identify testing times that will not conflict with workflow and deadlines or with the availability of back up support.

Can employees get vaccinated and avoid the need for prevalence testing?

Employees who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine can make arrangements to be fully vaccinated, but must undergo weekly prevalence testing until 14 days after receiving the J&J vaccine or their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines: Employees can schedule appointments at a UVA Health vaccination site through VaxTrax or at Vaccines.gov or at any local walk in clinic.

Note: Proof of vaccinations administered at UVA Health sites will automatically be available to Employee Health; employees who get vaccinated at other sites must follow the steps for submitting proof of vaccination described below.

Where can employees get vaccinated?

Employees can get vaccinated at any COVID-19 vaccination site that is most convenient. Anyone who was previously infected with COVID-19 is encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as they are recovered from clinical illness. Employees can schedule appointments at a UVA Health vaccination site through VaxTrax or at Vaccines.gov or at any local walk in clinic.

Note: Proof of vaccinations administered at UVA Health sites will automatically be available to Employee Health; employees who get vaccinated at other sites must follow the steps for submitting proof of vaccination described below.

How can employees submit proof of their COVID-19 vaccination?

Employees who did not schedule vaccinations through UVA Health should upload their vaccination record via Workday.

What happens if an employee does not complete required weekly testing?

Employees who do not complete required saliva prevalence testing at least weekly will be subject to sanctions up to and including termination of employment. Non-compliance notifications will be sent to managers, who will initiate the sanction process.

Where can employees get more information or submit questions?

I am fully vaccinated. Do I still need to wear my face cover and physically distance?

"Fully vaccinated" means you received your final COVID-19 vaccine dose more than 14 days ago.

To protect yourself and others you work with, you must follow these recommendations:

  • Be sure to keep your mask within reach at all times while at work. UVA Health facilities and other buildings on Grounds, as well as busses and vehicles will still require face coverings.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others
  • Avoid crowds
  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces
  • Wash your hands often

It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic. See UVA Policy SEC-045 for more information.

Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19. Additional information can be found at key things to know about the COVID-19 vaccine.

I have had COVID-19 already. Do I still need a vaccine?

Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.

If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Experts are still learning more about how long vaccines protect against COVID-19 in real-world conditions. CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

I have COVID-19 symptoms, can I still go to my vaccine appointment?

No. Contact Employee Health for guidance: 434-924-2013

What side effects of the vaccine can I expect?

The most common side effects are pain and swelling in the arm where you received the shot. In addition, you may have fever, chills, tiredness, and headache. These side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection and may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Learn more about what to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Travel guidelines

Does UVA have restrictions on where I can travel?

Faculty and staff are no longer restricted from international travel for university related purposes. International University-related travel is subject to the University Policy on Faculty and Staff International Travel and requires registration.

What should I do if I plan or my employee plans to travel to a “hot spot” area?

  • Abide by local, state, and international travel restrictions. Research the latest and most specific advisories based on your desired travel and continue to monitor local guidance for travel updates. Resources include, but are not limited to:
  • When you speak with your supervisor/leadership to request time off, let them know your travel plans due to the potential for extended leave to address post-travel quarantine or illness.
  • Consider implementing self-quarantine for 14 days from the time you returned home and monitor your health during this time.
  • Monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 before, during, and after travel. If you begin experiencing symptoms of illness, contact UVA Employee Health at 434-924-2013 to discuss medical care, notify your supervisor to discuss absence, and stay home to protect the health of others.
  • Protect yourself and your coworkers before, during, and after travel by practicing physical distancing, handwashing, and wearing your face covering.

Vehicle usage

What is the policy for vehicle use during COVID-19?

FM employees and their managers must make every effort to avoid having passengers in any FM vehicle, including trucks, van, cars, Kubotas and Gators. If there is a situation that requires you to have a passenger in any type of vehicle, your leadership team must approve prior to proceeding. Use of alternative transportation, including walking, cycling, and driving personal vehicles (when and where permitted) is encouraged. Regardless of vaccination status, no more than one passenger is allowed in any FM vehicle, regardless of circumstances. Whenever a passenger is in an FM vehicle, both the driver and passenger must wear face covers, outside air ventilation must be maximized, and windows must be opened a minimum of 3 inches. Employees are responsible to sanitize surfaces in vehicles before and after each period of use.

For more information, see 16VAC25-220 from the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) Program of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry.

Cleaning supplies

Where can I get additional cleaning/disinfecting supplies?

Cleaning supplies and face coverings are available at the FM Materials Warehouse. Call ahead to pick up: 434-924-6160.

OHS training

Is OHS still providing training to my employees?

YES. Several courses are being conducted through in-person Zoom sessions, virtual Workday Learning modules, & some hands-on instruction (following FM COVID-19 protocols) with success. Asbestos Awareness, Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) & Bloodborne Pathogens Refresher, Electrical Safety, Forklift Operator, Hearing Conservation & Hearing Conservation Refresher, LOTO, NEST, Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR), and Respiratory Protection New User are being scheduled regularly. Additional classes like Confined Space Entry, Fall Protection Authorized Person, and First Aid/CPR/AED are coming soon (and more classes will continue to be added).

Supervisors will need to become familiar with the virtual process and assist employees who may not be familiar with computers, logging-in, Zoom, or access to Workday. Supervisors are also responsible for providing access to employees who may not have an individual device (i.e., using a shop computer). Supervisors should be aware of their employees’ enrollment and provide adequate time and space to participate in the training session.

Managers & supervisors

What are reporting guidelines for COVID-19?

Complete the notification form for any and all reports of potential exposures and/or positive cases. Review the COVID-19 Reporting & Guidance checklist for managers and supervisors.

What do I do with the equipment, workspaces, work areas, vehicles, that an infected or potentially infected employee may have been in/around?

Immediately close these areas from access. Contact the appropriate group depending on which area of Grounds the infected person was working:

  • Academic: Ryan Gumlock (rpg4r@virginia.edu; 434-989-3093) and Vibha Buckingham (vjb3d@virginia.edu 434-305-9203)
  • Housing: Rollie Zumbrunn (rz9t@virginia.edu; 434-989-0407)
  • North Grounds: Mike Merriam (mbm2h@virginia.edu; 434-531-5419)
  • FM Fleet: Mike Duffy (med7p@virginia.edu; (434) 422-6694)
  • Medical Center: Environmental Services (434-982-1555)

Who do I contact to clean and sanitize affected areas?

Immediately close these areas from access. Contact the appropriate group depending on which area of Grounds the infected person was working:

  • Academic: Ryan Gumlock (rpg4r@virginia.edu; 434-989-3093) and Vibha Buckingham (vjb3d@virginia.edu 434-305-9203)
  • Housing: Rollie Zumbrunn (rz9t@virginia.edu; 434-989-0407)
  • North Grounds: Mike Merriam (mbm2h@virginia.edu; 434-531-5419)
  • FM Fleet: Mike Duffy (med7p@virginia.edu; (434) 422-6694)
  • Medical Center: Environmental Services (434-982-1555)

How do I report a potential exposure or positive COVID-19 case from an employee?

Complete the notification form for any and all reports of potential exposures and/or positive cases. Review the COVID-19 Reporting & Guidance checklist for managers & supervisors.

Is there a form to complete if I have an employee who reported an exposure or tested positive for COVID-19?

Complete the notification form for any and all reports of potential exposures and/or positive cases. Review the COVID-19 Reporting & Guidance checklist for managers & supervisors.

What are my responsibilities if an employee is exposed or tested positive for COVID-19?

Complete the notification form for any and all reports of potential exposures and/or positive cases. Review the COVID-19 Reporting & Guidance checklist for managers & supervisors.

What are my responsibilities to other employees if I have knowledge of exposure? Who should I inform?

Complete the notification form for any and all reports of potential exposures and/or positive cases. Review the COVID-19 Reporting & Guidance checklist for managers & supervisors. OHS will be in touch with a communication to share with employees. The Virginia Department of Health is conducting contact tracing for anyone that may have been exposed to an infected person.

What do I do with the equipment, workspaces, work areas, vehicles, that the employee may have been in/around?

Immediately close these areas from access. Contact the appropriate group depending on which area of Grounds the infected person was working:

  • Academic: Ryan Gumlock (rpg4r@virginia.edu; 434-989-3093) and Vibha Buckingham (vjb3d@virginia.edu 434-305-9203)
  • Housing: Rollie Zumbrunn (rz9t@virginia.edu; 434-989-0407)
  • North Grounds: Mike Merriam (mbm2h@virginia.edu; 434-531-5419)
  • FM Fleet: Mike Duffy (med7p@virginia.edu; (434) 422-6694)
  • Medical Center: Environmental Services (434-982-1555)

If I have questions about an employee’s case, who should I contact?

Contact FM’s UVA HR Business Partners or FM-OHS for guidance.

How do I manage leave for an employee who is affected by COVID-19?

Definitions and Terminology

The coronavirus pandemic has introduced us to new words and phrases. Understanding what they mean can help you protect yourself from infection and decrease anxiety.

  • Asymptomatic: Not showing any symptoms (or signs of illness). Some people without any symptoms still have and can spread the coronavirus. They’re asymptomatic, but contagious. Fever, cough, and shortness of breath are the main symptoms of COVID-19. Call your UVA Employee Health if you have any of the symptoms.
  • Breakthrough Infection: Infections in which vaccinated people get the disease they have been vaccinated against. Scientists and doctors call these cases "breakthrough" infections because the virus "broke through" the protective barrier the vaccine provides.

    COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However, no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people. There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19.

    What we know about breakthrough infections for COVID-19:

    • Vaccinated people are nearly guaranteed not to be hospitalized or killed by COVID-19
    • Among children under 12, who remain ineligible for the vaccine, serious forms of COVID-19 are also extremely rare. Children face bigger risks when they ride in a car with other unvaccinated people.
    • The Delta variant does not appear to change either of those facts.
    • Breakthrough cases will occur more frequently in congregate settings, and in groups at risk of primary vaccine failure (i.e., immune compromised, elderly, etc.)
    • Millions of unvaccinated American adults are vulnerable to hospitalization or death from Covid.

    Source: CDC

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC): The United States' federal health protection organization.
  • Communicable: Similar in meaning as "contagious." Used to describe diseases that can be spread or transmitted from one person to another.
  • Community spread: The spread of an illness within a particular location, like a neighborhood or town. During community spread, there's no clear source of contact or infection.
  • Confirmed case: Someone tested and confirmed to have COVID-19.
  • Congregate settings: Public places that can get crowded and where contact with infected people can happen. This includes places like malls, theaters, places of worship, and grocery stores.
  • Contagious: spread of illness or disease from one person or organism to another by direct or indirect contact.
  • Coronavirus: A family of related viruses. Many of them cause respiratory illnesses. Coronaviruses cause COVID-19, SARS, MERS, and some strains of influenza, or flu. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is officially called SARS-CoV-2, which stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.
  • COVID-19: The name of the illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 stands for “coronavirus disease 2019.”
  • Epidemic: A situation where more cases of disease than expected happen in a given area or to a group of people.
  • Exposed/exposure: You are considered exposed if you have close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19. If you have been exposed, you are at high risk of becoming infected, which may occur without symptoms (asymptomatic infection). Infected people can spread COVID-19 starting from 2 days before they have any symptoms (or for asymptomatic patients, 2 days before the day of their positive test).

    A number of factors can influence a person’s risk of exposure to COVID-19, including the type, proximity, and duration of their exposure, environmental factors (such as crowding and ventilation), vaccination status, prior COVID-19 infection, and correct use of face covers.

  • Flattening the curve: Controlling the rate of new cases of COVID-19.

    The “curve” refers to a graph showing the number of cases of COVID-19 that happen over a period of time. Many cases happening in a short period of time create a graph that looks like a tall spike.

    By using protective measures, we can slow down how many new cases happen. This is the “flattening” of the curve – on the graph, the flattened curve winds up looking more like a gentle hill.

    Too many new cases happening in a short time can create a serious problem. Hospital systems only have so many supplies, like beds and PPE. There are also only so many doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers. Too many patients at one time can overwhelm these resources. This means sick and injured people may not get needed treatment.

    Flattening the curve reduces the numbers of people needing healthcare at one time. This allows hospitals to treat patients throughout the pandemic.

  • Immunity: Your body's ability to resist or fight off an infection. Your immune system is a network of cells throughout your body that help you avoid getting infected and help you get better when you are infected.
  • Immunocompromised: Also called immune-compromised or immunodeficient. This describes someone who has an immune system that can't resist or fight off infections as well as most people. This can be caused by several illnesses. Some treatments for illnesses can also cause someone to be immunocompromised.
  • Incubation period: The time it takes for someone with an infection to start showing symptoms. For COVID-19, symptoms appear 2-14 days after infection.
  • Outbreak: A sudden increase of a specific illness in a small area.
  • Pandemic: When a new disease spreads to many countries around the world.
  • Person under investigation (PUI): A person suspected of having the has the coronavirus, but no test has confirmed the infection yet.
  • Quarantine: Quarantines keep people away from each other to prevent the spread of disease. Stay-at-home orders are a type of quarantine.

    Governments sometimes order quarantines to keep healthy people from exposure to infected people. They give rules to behavior and boundaries to movement.

  • SARS-CoV-2: The specific coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This name stands for “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.”
  • Screening: This is not the same as a coronavirus test. This step helps healthcare workers to decide if you actually need a coronavirus test. It’s a series of basic questions about your health condition and recent history. Screening may also include other common healthcare procedures, like taking your temperature.
  • Self-isolation: Also called self-quarantine. Separating yourself when you’re sick from healthy individuals to prevent spreading illness.
  • Social distancing (or physical distancing): Putting space between yourself and other people at all times. The goal is to slow down how fast an infection spreads. Stay-at-home orders are a way that the government can enforce social distancing.

    The CDC recommends keeping at least six feet between you and others around you in public. Social distancing also includes avoiding crowds and groups in public.

  • Symptomatic: When a person shows signs of illness. For COVID-19, that includes cough, fever or shortness of breath.
  • Variant: When a virus replicates or makes copies of itself, it sometimes changes a little bit, which is normal for a virus. These changes are called mutations. A virus with one or more new mutations is referred to as a variant of the original virus. See more from the WHO and the CDC.
  • World Health Organization (WHO): This United Nations organization monitors and protects public health around the world.