VCU Together Update for faculty and staff - Jan. 22

Campus facilities, vaccine update, mandatory training deadline and more

Our priorities are the health, safety and wellness — both physical and emotional — of every member of the VCU community. VCU continues to monitor, assess and address situations as they arise. This weekly update will be a resource to help keep you informed as details become available. All updates are available at together.vcu.edu. Receive notifications by downloading VCU Mobile from your iOS or Android app store.

Experiential learning, studios and laboratories

Studios and laboratories will be open. However, reduced occupancy is vital. Deans will work with VCU Office of Safety and Risk Management for specific spaces and occupancy.

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation will notify faculty of changes due to COVID-19 through email and through the OVPRI website, research.vcu.edu. Additional information is on the Phased Return to Research page.

Off-campus academic activities may continue. The Health and Safety Acknowledgement form, which has been updated for spring 2021, is required for students participating in off-campus, non-clinical academic activities.

Which campus facilities will be open at the start of the semester?

In addition to laboratories, studios and student housing, other campus spaces will be open with safety protocols in place. Most campus buildings will require card access. Check appropriate websites for hours of operation for community spaces such as campus dining centers, VCU Libraries, and the University Student Commons, Larrick Center and Hunton Student Center.

Information about the new Entry Pass, which begins Jan. 25, is included in the One VCU: Responsible Together training in Talent@VCU as well as on the Together.vcu.edu website.

Meal breaks and in-person meetings

VCU’s contact tracing information shows a trend of COVID-19 infection occurring during shared meal breaks. As a reminder, all public health measures — including physical distancing and face coverings — apply to meal breaks and in-person meetings:

  • Occupancy of break rooms and use of coffee makers, microwaves, etc. must be limited (or eliminated) to promote appropriate physical distancing and sanitization. Usage of shared refrigerators is discouraged. Employees will only be permitted to eat or socialize together if at least 6 feet apart.
  • Meetings should be conducted virtually as often as possible; a virtual option should always be made available. For meetings that cannot be conducted virtually, conference rooms must allow for 36 square feet per participant, no more than 50 percent capacity. Rooms, tables and chairs must be wiped down with disinfectant by meeting participants after usage.

Is this email legit?

VCU developed several new processes in an effort to safely learn and work during the pandemic. As a result, you may receive emails from one or more of the following accounts:

  • together@vcu.edu: Timely updates and information about VCU’s operational changes during COVID-19 will continue to come from this email address.
  • healthcheck@vcu.edu: Daily reminder and link to complete required health checks.
  • covidtest@vcu.edu: You will receive an email from this address if you are selected to participate in mandatory asymptomatic surveillance testing.
  • vaccine@vcu.edu: If you are identified as eligible to receive the vaccine, you will receive an email from this address.
  • noreply@kalla.co: If this is your first time participating in COVID-19 testing through VCU, you will receive an email from Kallaco with instructions for setting up your account. Kallaco is the company that provides an online portal for you to access your test results.

As always, contact VCU Technology Services if you suspect phishing activity.

Vaccine rollout information

VCU Health System plays a critical role in providing COVID-19 vaccines to the community-at-large. The university and VCU Health system began the COVID-19 vaccination rollout for VCU employees that can be identified as part of Virginia Department of Health (VDH) groups 1a or 1b. VCU employees who provide health care or support the health system (eligible as part of 1a) as well as VCU employees age 65 and older (eligible as part of group 1b) were notified and offered vaccination appointments. Work is underway to identify and begin vaccination for employees who meet the VDH and VCU definition of “essential” (as part of group 1b).

In accordance with VDH guidelines, VCU Human Resources is recommending that individuals who are eligible for group 1b because of an underlying health condition contact their health care provider or local health department to find out how to schedule a vaccine. You can locate your health department using this VDH tool: www.vdh.virginia.gov/health-department-locator/.

If VCU identifies you as part of an eligible group, and vaccines are available, you will be contacted by Employee Health through vaccine@vcu.edu. All remaining faculty and staff who are not eligible as part of groups 1a or 1b will be eligible as part of group 1c. VCU students, unless otherwise eligible as part of groups 1a through 1c, will be eligible when the vaccine becomes widely available for the general population.

Vaccine distribution is based on vaccine availability as well as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Virginia Department of Health guidelines. Refer to the frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines for more information.

COVID-19 testing sites are open

Symptomatic testing is available Monday through Friday. Asymptomatic testing sites for at-will testing and surveillance testing are open Monday through Thursday.

Mandatory asymptomatic surveillance testing begins

Beginning this week, asymptomatic surveillance testing (previously referred to as "prevalence" testing) is mandatory for residential students, students who attend on-campus classes and employees who come to campus to work — including employees who are designated as hybrid on-campus/telework. The decision to start classes virtually does not impact this requirement. Students should check the revised Schedule of Classes as of Jan. 22 to determine the modality of their courses  if the schedule indicates that a course will resume in-person or hybrid once VCU returns to in-person, the student will be required to participate in the testing. Employees designated as telework, who solely work remotely, are not part of the surveillance testing pool. If you have questions about your work designation, please contact your supervisor or HR professional. VCU samples asymptomatic VCU community members for testing each week in order to monitor COVID-19 within the VCU community. If you are selected to participate, you will receive an email from covidtest@vcu.edu that includes instructions for setting up your Kallaco portal, links to available appointment slots and other information to help you prepare for your COVID-19 test. If you are selected to participate, you must schedule your test and attend your testing appointment.

Required One VCU: Responsible Together training due Monday, Jan. 25

The One VCU: Responsible Together Spring 2021 training is now available in Talent@VCU. If you do not have access to Talent@VCU, the training is also available through Blackboard. All VCU employees are required to complete this training by Monday, Jan. 25, the beginning of the spring semester. Managers are required to complete the manager edition of the training as well.

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