Physical Distancing Framework

The University developed and is implementing a Physical Distancing Framework, which provides staged, guidelines that are intended to promote the health of the campus community. All students, faculty, and staff will be required to act in accordance with the Framework.

The Framework will correspond to Virginia’s phased reopening and current conditions on campus and in the local community. Color-coded from red to green, the framework allows physical distancing protocols to be relaxed as the situation improves. Each stage will correspond to the conditions on campus and in the local community and with the phases of the Governor’s Forward Virginia plan. The Framework will be evaluated and updated on a regular basis to reflect the latest public health and other guidance.

Physical Distancing Framework Stages

The Framework consists of four stages, with a set of standards under each stage covering, among other areas general guidelines and precautions, building modifications, student housing, travel, classrooms, labs, meetings and events, class schedules, and vendors and contractors. It is designed to allow the University to relax its requirements as conditions warrant and to move back to a more restrictive stage when necessary.

The stages are as follows:


The red stage is the most restrictive of the four stages and is the starting point for the reopening of the campus. In the red stage the University implements the recommendations within the Framework and complies with the requirements identified within the Forward Virginia Guidelines.


The orange stage maintains many of the precautionary measures implemented as part of the Red Stage, to allow time to identify the impact of increased numbers of students, faculty and staff on campus and complies with the requirements identified within the Forward Virginia Guidelines.


The yellow stage permits the expansion of the co-curricular experience, while maintaining many of the physical distancing requirements of the orange stage and complies with the requirements identified within the Forward Virginia Guidelines.


The lime stage provides an opportunity to continue in-person classes and ensure all offices are open with an in-person presence while maintaining protective measures that support the health and safety of the community. 


The green stage relaxes many of the precautions of the prior stages, but recognizes a new post-COVID-19 normal and complies with the requirements identified within the Forward Virginia Guidelines.

Deploying the Framework

The detailed framework identifies the interventions that will be put into place in each stage, including but not limited to the following:

  • SIGNAGE AND VISUAL CUES: The University will deploy signs and visual cues across campus to reinforce wearing of face coverings, maintaining at least 6 feet of space, handwashing, and disinfection.
  • DEPLOYMENT OF HAND SANITIZER AND WIPES: The University has ordered hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes that will be deployed across campus, with particular emphasis on high traffic areas.
    • The Custodial Services Team identified central locations for 400 sanitizing stations throughout all administrative, academic, & athletic buildings. Stations will be located at entrances and in high traffic areas. Additionally, there will be stations at each of the dining and retail locations. Hand sanitizer will not be provided for individual offices.
    • 800 disinfecting wipe stations will be placed in administrative, academic, and athletic buildings, including in every classroom (list provided by Registrar) and all meeting spaces (list provided by Events). The Custodial Services Team will also maintain their daily cadence of disinfecting high touch surfaces as recommended by CDC guidelines.
  • ENTRY AND EXIT DOORS AND STAIRWELLS: The University will designate certain building doors as entry or exit only and certain stairwells as up or down only to manage traffic flow and promote physical distancing.