Return to in-person learning begins March 4, 2021

VCU President Michael Rao announced plans for the university community to begin its return to in-person and hybrid learning on March 4, 2021. We’ve pulled together these frequently asked questions to help you transition back to campus. Have a question that isn’t answered below? Email together@vcu.edu or see a list of additional contacts who may be able to help.

Q: What data was considered in making this decision to return to in-person learning?

A: The data points that have been used throughout the fall semester and winter term by VCU’s Public Health Response Team and Incident Coordination Team were used in making this decision to return in March. These teams continually review new guidelines from the CDC, VDH and our own medical and science experts, in addition to testing data and reports of COVID-19 related symptoms to make decisions about both safety protocols and university operations. Specifically, the PHRT made the recommendation using, among other things, the following data:

  • The rate of positive tests at VCU
  • The prevalence of COVID-19 in the VCU community vs. the prevalence of COVID-19 in the Richmond area
  • Excessive demand for isolation/quarantine residence hall space
  • Hospital capacity
  • Test availability and result time

Q: How will I know if my class is returning to in person?

A: Students should check the Schedule of Classes to see if any of their courses have a modality that includes an in-person component. If so, they should plan to meet that way when we return to in-person learning. Students should contact their instructor if they have questions about course modality.

Q: If I want to stay virtual, can I? What accommodations are available if I don't feel I can do an in-person class?

A: Students should first talk with their instructors about their concerns to see if any accommodations can be made. Students who need help requesting these arrangements should contact the Dean of Students by completing this online form. Students with approved accommodations can contact the Office of Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity (Monroe Park Campus: saeo@vcu.edu) or the Division for Academic Success (Health Sciences programs: acadsuccess@vcu.edu) for assistance. If accommodations cannot be made, students should make an appointment with their academic advisors via Navigate to discuss options that might include requesting an incomplete grade to be completed in the future or withdrawing from the course.

Q: Will student and academic support services, such as the Writing Center and tutoring, continue to offer virtual options?

A: Most student and academic support services will be available in person as well as virtually to provide flexibility. Visit each department’s website for the most up-to-date hours and directions for scheduling appointments in the modality that works best for you.

Q: I canceled my VCU parking while we were virtual. Can I sign up for parking now?

A: VCU Parking and Transportation offers several long-term and temporary parking accommodations for students. View details at parking.vcu.edu/parking/students.

Q: Will VCU require double masking now that the CDC recommends? What other safety protocols will be in place?

A: VCU encourages, but is not requiring, students, faculty, staff and visitors to follow this CDC recommendation.

Q: Where can I pick up a supply kit? I lost mine from the fall semester.

A: Starter supply kits are available to students and employees with a VCU ID at University Student Commons and Hunton Student Center while supplies last.

  • University Student Commons Information Desk Daily, 12 p.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Hunton Student Center Information Desk Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

In addition, students and employees can use their VCU ID to obtain supplies such as hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and face coverings at no cost from vending machines located throughout campus.

Q: I need to arrange travel back to VCU and worry about missing class. Will professors excuse any missed classes due to return travel?

A: Students are encouraged to communicate with all of their instructors about any necessary absences.

Q: I’m faculty and need to keep my class virtual, can I?

A: Faculty are expected to proceed with the modality you selected for your courses at the beginning of the semester, as published on the official course schedule. If your course was originally scheduled to be completely virtual, it must remain virtual. If you have any questions or have individual circumstances that cause concern, you must talk to your department chair immediately. Students made their decisions regarding registration for the entire semester based on the final schedule of classes.

Q: Does this impact minimester courses?

A: No. There will be no impact; the minimester courses will go on as scheduled.

Q: Does this impact my financial aid? How about COVID-19 Emergency Funds?

A: Financial aid and COVID-19 Emergency Funds will not be impacted.

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