Summer COVID Policy

Rare Book School Guidelines and Recommendations Regarding COVID-19

Rare Book School is very excited to welcome back to Charlottesville—and to our partner institutions in Chapel Hill, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Princeton, and Upperville, VA—the faculty, students, and lecturers who form the RBS community. We have missed you and look forward to the opportunity to learn and share with one another face to face. In order to protect the health and well-being of this wonderful community of like-minded learners, we ask all those attending in-person courses and programs this summer to adhere to some basic public health precautions recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health experts at each course location.

Please keep reading for full details, or download a PDF version of the following information by clicking here.

Proof of Vaccination

All students, faculty, and staff attending Rare Book School are required to be up to date on COVID-19 vaccines, which include all doses of any of the recommended WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines, plus any CDC-approved booster shot when eligible and available. A second booster shot is not necessary to be considered up to date.

All attendees should be prepared to provide proof of vaccination upon arrival to RBS by presenting a photo ID matching the information provided in either:

    • A CDC-issued vaccination card including the name of the person vaccinated, the type of vaccination provided, and the date that the last dose was administered; or
    • A digital photo of a CDC-issued vaccination card stored on a phone or other electronic device or digital proof of vaccination from a pharmacy or health-care provider.

Exemptions will be made only due to a documented medical reason or because of a sincerely held and documented religious belief; attendees may request exemption, which must be approved before arrival at RBS, by submitting a written request to that documents the reasons for the exemption. A request for medical reasons should contain a statement of medical contraindications certified by a medical provider, while a request for religious reasons should provide a statement of the nature of your sincerely held religious beliefs or religious practice or observance that conflicts with the vaccination requirement, as well as information regarding whether you have received vaccines as an adult against any other diseases. Any attendees with an approved medical or religious exemption must mask during all indoor activities during their time at RBS.

Masking Recommendations; Free N95 Masks Available

At all events and locations, RBS will follow CDC and local health guidelines as a minimum standard. At the time of writing, the following guidelines are in place (check with RBS staff when you arrive to learn if any recommendations have changed):

Charlottesville – masking required  (speakers may unmask while presenting)
Free Library of Philadelphia – masking recommended
Grolier Club, NYC – masking recommended
Library Company of Philadelphia – masking required
Oak Spring Garden Foundation – masking recommended
Princeton University – masking recommended
Tulane University – masking recommended
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill – masking recommended
University of Pennsylvania – masking required

Even where masking is not required, we encourage attendees, especially those with chronic health conditions, to consider wearing a mask during indoors activities. For maximum protection, we recommend that you wear a snug-fitting N95 or KN95 disposable mask covering your mouth and nose. If you have forgotten your mask, RBS can provide you with a N95 mask. Look for available masks in the RBS break room, or notify your course follower (or instructor, if no RBS staff member is on site) if you need one.

Masking policies could change during the course of the class week. If local COVID-19 transmission rates increase so that local health guidelines recommend masking, RBS policies will adapt as well. If an attendee tests positive for COVID-19 during the course week, close contacts—other members of their course or perhaps the whole community, depending on exposure—will be required to mask for the remainder of the week in accordance with CDC guidelines. You should be aware of these policies and be prepared to attend all RBS activities masked if required. Anyone not able or willing to wear a mask if required will not be permitted to attend. If you have concerns regarding this policy, you may wish to contact us to withdraw from your class and receive a refund before the course begins.

Self-Monitoring and Testing; Free Rapid Antigen Tests Available

Students and faculty will be traveling to Rare Book School from many locations across the country and around the world; we want to do everything we can to keep our community safe and healthy. You may wish to download the COVIDWISE app, a Virginia Department of Health official exposure notification app that notifies users if they’ve been exposed to another COVIDWISE user with a positive verified COVID-19 test result (note, however, that it does not verify at-home test results). We warmly recommend all attendees to monitor their own health symptoms throughout the week; if you notice any of the symptoms associated by the CDC with COVID-19, you should not attend any RBS class or other activity, but rather notify and isolate in your lodging, masking if you need to interact with others, until you are able to receive results from a COVID-19 test. You may obtain a box of two rapid antigen tests gratis from Rare Book School; ask your follower or email either to pick up a test or, if staffing permits, have one dropped off for you. Recognized symptoms include: fever or chills; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fatigue; muscle or body aches; headache; new loss of taste or smell; sore throat; congestion or runny nose; nausea or vomiting; diarrhea. We recommend consulting the CDC Coronavirus Self Checker if you are unsure whether your symptoms require testing. 

Although rapid antigen tests, such as the at-home tests that RBS can provide to any student, faculty member, or staff member, have almost no false positive tests (0.5% testing positive when in fact not infected), false-negative rates are quite high (some estimates suggest 30-40% of tests are negative even when the individual is infected).

    • If your test results are positive, you have COVID-19 and will need to isolate for 5 days and should contact your healthcare provider for advice and to see whether any treatments would be appropriate as you recover. It will also mean missing class for the remainder of the week; students in quarantine or isolation will not be able to join an in-person class virtually.
        • CDC guidelines indicate you may end isolation after five full days from the onset of symptoms if you are fever-free for over 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and if your symptoms are improving.
        • The CDC recommends, however, continued precautions until day ten, with masking around others and avoiding travel until a full ten days after your symptoms started.
        • For those attendees staying in UVA dorms, the University cannot provide quarantine space for the full ten days. Individuals testing positive may be able to quarantine in their room and one bathroom, leaving suitemates to use the remaining bathroom, but if that is not possible, those testing positive may need to leave the dorm room to quarantine elsewhere.
        • Prorated refunds of tuition will be handled case by case.
    • If you test negative while symptomatic, however, out of an abundance of caution to protect the RBS community, we ask that you self-administer a second negative test 24 to 48 hours later before returning to class. For your own peace of mind, you may wish to obtain a more definitive PCR test; at the end of this webpage is a list of testing locations in Charlottesville.
    • In either case, please update to let RBS know your results. If you test positive, RBS staff will work to provide information (anonymized to the extent possible) about your exposure to close contacts (e.g., fellow class members) so that others may take appropriate precautions.

Close Contact and Class Precautions

If you learn that you have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 and you are up to date on your vaccination (including a first booster), you are not required to quarantine unless you feel symptomatic. You should, however, wear a snug-fitting mask for ten full days anytime you are around others and should get tested five days after you had close contact with someone with COVID-19, whether or not you have developed symptoms. The CDC also recommends that you take precautions if traveling during the ten days after exposure, including masking. If you are not fully vaccinated (and are attending with an approved medical or religious exemption), you will need to quarantine at least five full days and test at least five full days after exposure; you will not be able to return to the RBS classroom. The CDC also recommends avoiding travel for ten days after exposure. Whether you are fully vaccinated or not, we strongly recommend consulting the CDC Quarantine and Isolation Calculator for expert advice regarding whether you should quarantine and until what date you should take isolation or take other precautions.

If an RBS student tests positive for COVID-19, the rest of their class, including the instructor, will need to wear masks for the remainder of the week as a precaution. Depending on known interactions, other classes or groups of attendees may need to resume masking as well. Anyone unable or unwilling to wear a mask will not be able to return to class. If an RBS instructor tests positive, the course will need to be canceled and RBS will provide pro-rated refunds to all students attending that class.

If you miss class time because you are required to quarantine after exposure or test positive for COVID-19, please contact RBS staff at to inquire about receiving a pro-rated refund for missed class.

COVID-19 PCR Test Sites

Please note that RBS cannot confirm that all sites listed below would be available to RBS students. Please call before you go.

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