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PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY: The University of Virginia continues to monitor and respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), providing updated information and additional resources.



A long field with a dark cloudy sky overhead. In the far away horizon, a tornado funnel hits the earth.

In October 2018, Virginia surpassed Oklahoma for the number of tornadoes in the state to date. Tornadoes can occur in any part of Virginia at any time of the year. That's why UVA participated in the state tornado drill on March 19.

Studies show that making a plan and practicing it can increase your chances of surviving an actual emergency. In a real tornado warning, you need to seek shelter immediately. Use this drill to assess your surroundings and determine your nearest safe place. If your schedule allows, practice moving there. But do not disrupt your schedule if you are in class, supporting clinical operations or conducting research.   

How to Shelter in a Tornado 

  • Immediately seek shelter indoors. Go to the lowest area and stay away from windows and glass.
  • Close all doors, including in main corridors.
  • Crouch near the floor or under heavy, well-supported objects and cover your head.
  • If outdoors, move inside a sturdy structure.
  • If you can't get indoors, lie down in a low area such as a ditch and cover your head.
  • Call 911 to report injuries, fire, gas leaks, debris, etc.
  • If you work in the Medical Center, follow emergency procedures in your Red Book.

This information and more is available on UVA's Emergency Procedures poster and in the Health System Red Book.  

How You'll Receive a Tornado Warning 

  • Email from UVA Alerts sent to all active employee and student accounts
  • Text from UVA Alerts to your mobile, if you register
  • Pop-up message on your computer screen, if you have installed Alertus. (Note: Alertus is already installed on all Health System-imaged computers.)
  • A message on UVA’s homepage
  • A message on UVA’s emergency page
  • Siren and public address announcements on Grounds
  • Emergency displays on LED clocks and LCD screens on Grounds
  • Select in-house pagers, if you are part of the UVA Health System
  • Overhead announcement, if you are in the Medical Center complex
  • Twitter on @uva_em and @uvapolice.  Follow us there!

The Medical Center will notify employees of their participation via a separate email message.

If you are in the Health System and have questions or need more information, please contact Health System Emergency Management at If you are in the Academic Division and have questions or need more information, please contact UVA Office of Safety and Emergency Preparedness at or (434) 982-0565.