COVID-19 Outbreaks in Virginia Colleges and Universities

As a reminder: All data are preliminary and subject to change.

This dashboard lists confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks reported to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) in Virginia’s public and private colleges and universities since August 1, 2020. This dashboard helps to provide awareness of the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in colleges and universities statewide.

Only distinct outbreaks investigated by the local health departments and associated cases and deaths related to the outbreak, as defined by public health surveillance criteria, are included. Professors, staff, and students of individual schools may get COVID-19 or be identified as contacts to COVID-19 cases but may not be part of a college or university-based outbreak. Therefore, these cases would not be included in this dashboard. However, they would be included in the total case counts at the locality and state level.

Local health departments investigate each outbreak and make recommendations to prevent further spread of the virus and keep staff, students, and visitors healthy. College and university staff work with public health to respond. To find out more about an outbreak or the measures in place to protect students, staff, and visitors, please contact the specific college or university.

Some colleges or universities track and report the number of cases associated with their school or community and may use different methods than VDH. What we present here are outbreak-associated cases and not the total number of cases at the college or university.

For more information about COVID-19 cases at a particular college or university or how that institution is reporting, please visit: https://covid19.va.education/.

Note: Virginia colleges and universities host the linked webpage. VDH is not involved in collection of the data presented or the maintenance of this website.

Data Systems Used by VDH for Outbreak Data Monitoring:

VDH uses data from the Virginia Outbreak Surveillance System (VOSS) and the Virginia Electronic Disease Surveillance System (VEDSS). VOSS manages reported outbreaks and VEDSS manages laboratory data and case investigations. The two systems complement each other but do not contain the same data.

Outbreak-Related Definitions:

  • VDH uses the national outbreak definition.
  • Public Health Investigation Status is defined as:
    • Outbreak in Progress: when the outbreak is ongoing and cases are still being reported and investigated.
    • Pending Closure: if 28 days have passed without a documented new case and the outbreak has not yet been closed in VOSS. There may be delays in confirming the outbreak investigation is closed because the health department has to collect and process the data. This status only refers to the outbreak investigation pending closure in VOSS and not the facility closing.
    • Closed: when two incubation periods, or the number of days between being infected with COVID-19 and possibly showing symptoms (28 days) have passed without onset of new illness, and the health district has closed the outbreak investigation in VOSS. This status does not refer to the facility being closed.

Case Definitions:

VDH follows the CDC COVID-19 Case Definitions for classifying “confirmed” and “probable” cases.

Important Notes about Outbreak-Related Data:

  • Colleges or universities may have more than one COVID-19 outbreak occurring at the same time in different settings or may have multiple COVID-19 outbreaks over the course of the year. If this happens, the name of the institution will appear more than once on this dashboard. An example of this would be an outbreak in a sports team and an outbreak in a club at the school. Due to confidentiality concerns, this dashboard reports outbreaks by the college or university name and not by the setting.
  • Any student, staff, or visitor identified as a part of an outbreak during the local health department investigation are included in the number of cases or deaths reported for that outbreak, even if they use a home address that is not the address of their college or university.
  • Outbreaks associated with some colleges or universities may cross city or county lines. In these situations, all localities connected with the outbreak will be listed on the dashboard.
  • The cases associated with each outbreak represent both students and staff and are based on the information in VDH surveillance systems. The number of cases and deaths listed are cumulative (total) counts for that specific outbreak.
  • To help protect anonymity of cases, if fewer than 5 cases or between 0 and 5 deaths (meaning 1, 2, 3, or 4 deaths) are associated with an outbreak, the counts will be represented by an asterisk (*). These are common public health data suppression guidelines for confidentiality of a person’s protected health information who is a part of an outbreak investigation. Outbreaks are only reported for facilities that have at least 30 enrolled students and staff.