It takes each of us acting responsibly together to promote safety in our learning, work and living environment. We appreciate the input we have received from students, families, faculty and staff so far and it continues to help shape planning efforts. The VCU Return to Campus plan follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Virginia Department of Health, city and VCU Health guidance. To be together means we are responsible together.
Things will look and feel different this year as we take necessary steps to protect the well-being of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the start of each semester, you will need to complete the Responsible Together training course and acknowledge the requirements and consequences. Students will sign an attestation indicating training completion and personal compliance with safety protocols.
Here is what is expected of you:
Following rules regarding face coverings or masks, cleaning and disinfecting, and physical distancing is required. Students will receive reminders for daily health monitoring. The dean of student affairs will be notified after repeated non-compliance. Refusal to comply with rules can include progressive disciplinary action up to and including suspension, based on the VCU Student Code of Conduct.
Forgot your mask? Locations throughout campus will have disposable masks available. Please check this spreadsheet for locations and times.
See additional details about VCU's operations during COVID-19 in our VCU Return to Campus Plan .
The spring semester will start a week later than planned on Jan. 25 (most undergraduate and graduate courses).
All classes will begin virtually, except in instances where a student is involved in clinical and field placements, practica, co-ops, internships and other work-related experiential learning activities. This means that previously planned in-person classes and the in-person component of hybrid (blended) courses also will take place virtually.
As pandemic conditions improve, we have every intention to resume in-person instruction as originally planned. We will evaluate the feasibility of moving forward with previously scheduled in-person classes and hybrid courses by mid-February, with the hope to resume them on or before March 8.
Spring break is canceled but two reading days have been added on Feb. 23 and March 24. The last day of classes is May 5 for the Monroe Park Campus and May 7 for the MCV Campus, with exams to follow.
The full academic calendar is available at academiccalendars.vcu.edu.
VCU has dedicated certain additional spaces for eating and studying since seating is reduced in some common areas. View a list of locations and hours.
In general, in-person events and gatherings are limited to 10 people. For exceptions and more details, see the “Events and gatherings” section on the Pubic Health Measures page.
The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine to students began Jan. 12, 2021, starting with eligible clinical students in VCU programs. “Clinical students” are in the patient care phase of their education or providing care in patient-facing environments. This initial group includes students in patient-facing environments from VCU School of Medicine, VCU School of Nursing, VCU School of Pharmacy, VCU School of Dentistry, VCU College of Health Professions, VCU School of Social Work, and a few students from the departments of psychology, kinesiology and health sciences at VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences. Students and faculty not eligible in this current phase will be vaccinated when they become eligible under state public health guidelines. Refer to the frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines for more information.
Students returning to campus in the fall received starter supply kits with hand sanitizer, spray disinfectant and launderable face coverings. For the spring semester, starter supply kits are available to students and employees with a VCU ID at University Student Commons and Hunton Student Center while supplies last. Additional supplies are made available for free at vending machines throughout both campuses. For details, see the “Supplies” section on the Public Health Measures page.
If you forget a face covering, free disposable masks may be picked up at various locations. Please check this spreadsheet for locations and times.
The revised spring 2021 Schedule of Classes is now available and includes descriptions of the course modality (how the course will be taught: in-person, online, or a combination).
Students can check their spring schedule on eServices. Sometimes course modality, class meeting days and times may change before Please be aware that how your classes will be taught as well as class meeting days and times may change before the emester begins. Follow these four steps to help you better understand your schedule and how you can make changes.
Step 1: Watch this 4-minute video to learn how to quickly identify any modality or time changes to your schedule.
Step 3: Reach out to your undergraduate academic advisor or graduate program director if you have questions about making changes to your schedule.
Step 4: Get prepped to Start Strong with our start-of-the-semester how-to-guide.
Additional online course fees have been waived for spring 2021.
The additional online course fee that is normally assessed to online courses is being waived for the spring 2021 semester. Tuition and other fees are still being assessed at the standard rates. Calculate your tuition and fees using VCU’s online calculator and visit the MyTuition website for details about what your tuition charges cover, as well as answers to commonly asked questions surrounding student debt and paying for college.
Students living in VCU Housing will be required to participate in entry testing as well as complete a series of requirements prior to move-in each semester. Students receive emails from VCU Residential Life and Housing with instructions. Visit the VCU Housing website for more information.
Residential Life and Housing is taking the following actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
The Honors College residence hall is being used as isolation housing for residential students who test positive for COVID-19. It will also be used by VCU Health System to house low acuity patients this academic year in the event of a surge in patients at VCU Medical Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the spring semester, all students are required to complete the Responsible Together course in Blackboard by Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, or by the time they return to campus after the New Year.
The course is designed so that all students will have a better understanding of the steps being taken by the university to ensure their health and safety, as well as an understanding of their expected contributions to the health, safety and success of our VCU community - both on-campus and wherever a student may be studying/learning/engaging at this time. Through the course, all students will agree to an attestation indicating course completion and personal compliance with safety protocols.
Completion of the course will be monitored via the Blackboard gradebook with follow up. If you have questions about the training or completion status, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional FAQs about training for students can be found at students.vcu.edu/dsa/rtc.
Additionally, supporting materials related to the phased return to research are posted on the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation website at https://research.vcu.
Student success remains the core of the VCU mission and our goal is to provide resources to help new and returning students successfully navigate academic life. For example:
Students enrolled in both clinical and experiential learning activities (e.g., internships, practicums, field experiences) are required to follow all VCU health and safety protocols. Students with clinical placements must also follow all applicable government guidelines, including any updates to executive orders from the governor. VCU provides appropriate PPE if the clinical or experiential learning site is unable to do so. Clinical students have the option of postponing clinical training without academic penalty aside from potential delayed graduation.
The VCU Center for Community Engagement and Impact and VCU REAL developed a Risk Acknowledgement Form for students enrolled in both clinical and experiential learning activities, designed to inform students about what they can expect at VCU instructional sites and what to do if they feel precautions are not being followed. The form will be disseminated to students through a variety of communications channels including the required student training, the TelegRAM (VCU’s daily newsletter) and direct emails to students enrolled in VCU REAL courses.
Faculty leading off-campus experiences are also asked to disseminate a Health and Safety Notification letter to their partnering organizations, informing them of the safety measures VCU takes to keep their organizations safe, as well as the university’s expectations of their learning sites. This partnership notification outlines the minimum health and safety expectations and is not intended to supersede more specific agreements that may already be in place.
Both forms are hosted on the REAL website at real.vcu.edu/offcampus/.
During the 2020-21 academic year, VCU will continue to provide virtual offerings, including workshops, social connection opportunities and other events. Visit the RamsConnect website for a full listing and calendar of virtual offerings.
Due to the continued uncertainty of the global COVID-19 pandemic, VCU has decided to cancel all study abroad programs through May 2021. This includes spring 2021 and spring break 2021 programs, and applies to all study abroad types including, but not limited to, exchanges, direct-enroll, third party provider programs and independent study.
This recommendation is made in light of VCU’s current suspension of study abroad programs and the recently updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends that institutions of higher education consider postponing or canceling upcoming student international travel programs due to the possibility of students facing unpredictable circumstances, such as travel restrictions, challenges returning home, and challenges accessing health care while abroad.
We will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC, U.S. Department of State and Virginia Department of Health, as well as the destinations’ offices of foreign affairs and ministries of health to make recommendations regarding summer 2021 programs. In the meantime, students are encouraged to visit the Keep on Studying Abroad website for ways they can maintain momentum in planning their study abroad experience.
VCU Parking and Transportation offers several long-term and temporary parking accommodations for students. View details at parking.vcu.edu/parking/students.
Learn about the safety measures GRTC and VCU shuttles have put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Global Education Office has prepared a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help international students prepare to start or continue their studies in the U.S. for spring 2021. This is a living document and will be updated as needed. Please be sure to check the FAQs regularly.
Navigating the anticipated stressors of daily life can often be challenging enough. When unexpected stressors emerge or when we are faced with uncertainty, it can be tough to know how to cope. Try out some of these tips and resources for health and wellness to see if they are a right fit for you.
VCU implemented a temporary policy for the 2020-21 academic year for managing COVID-related absences which can be found at https://provost.vcu.edu/planning/absence/. Further, VCU recognizes that some students who previously did not need Section 504 Academic Accommodations, and who have a qualifying condition or disability, may now need support or assistance.
The university recognizes that some students who previously did not need Section 504 Academic Accommodations, and who have a qualifying condition or disability, may need support or assistance during the return to campus process. A modified approach for the temporary and more permanent need for accommodation has been developed and implemented to provide students with full access to programs and activities related to their academic majors. Because every case is different, student requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Please share your need for an accommodation with the Student Accessibility and Education Office, or for MCV Campus students, the Division for Academic Success, after you have worked directly with your faculty member.
All admissions events continue to be virtual. Visit the Admissions & Aid website for details on virtual tours, info sessions and chats with current students as well as everything you need to know about joining the Ram family.
There are hundreds of details involved in each of these measures and considerations. Your input is very helpful as we plan for the return. Climatext, a real-time data collection tool developed by VCU Information Technology and the Division for Inclusive Excellence, is part of the university’s proactive monitoring and response plan to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Climatext gauges the sentiment of faculty, staff and students through a series of “pulse” surveys, which include short prompts or questions designed to provide a high-level snapshot of thoughts and feelings about a particular topic at a particular moment in time. Register with Climatext.