Aug. 17, 2020, marks the official start to the fall 2020 semester and the day we hope to be on campus together. We will get to that day and it will take 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. Returning to campus will be in phases and the plans follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state, city and VCU Health guidance. To be together means we are responsible together.
When we return, things will look and feel different as we take necessary steps to protect the well-being of our community. Before returning, you will need to complete the Return to Campus training and acknowledge the requirements and consequences. Students will sign 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.
Remember to pick up your supply kit upon arriving to campus.
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 strategy for reopening in our Return to Campus plan.
VCU's fall semester will now run from Aug. 17 to Nov. 24, with no fall break or reading days included. Final exams will be conducted remotely after the Thanksgiving holiday — from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4 for those on the MCV Campus, and from Nov. 30 to Dec. 7 for Monroe Park Campus students. Note: Health sciences and other students may be returning after Thanksgiving to resume their clinical placements and similar activities to which they are committed. This necessarily affects Commencement, originally scheduled for Dec. 12. We will evaluate guidance on larger gatherings over the next several months and explore how we will recognize the full Class of 2020. More information about the academic calendar will be shared later this summer. These changes, based on recommendations from public health experts, are designed to reduce the amount of travel to and from campus, and to help avoid the height of flu season.
Gathering in large groups during a public health crisis is not acceptable and VCU does not encourage or condone these activities. As a reminder, students hosting parties or other personal gatherings on or off-campus with more than 10 people are subject to interim suspension. All participants are subject to disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct.
There will be some university sponsored gatherings/events that are allowed to exceed this 10 person rule as indicated by the Public Health Response Team. These events will be held in university facilities where COVID-19 guidelines can be maintained and facilitated by university staff. Additionally, the Cary Street Gym and Larrick Student Center recreational facilities have also been approved to exceed this rule based on their plan submitted to the Public Health Response Team.
All VCU sponsored, on-campus events, meetings and gatherings are limited to VCU faculty, staff and students. Outdoor events must follow the same safety requirements as indoor events:
Returning students will receive starter supply kits with hand sanitizer, spray disinfectant and launderable face coverings. Residential students will receive their supply kit upon move-in. Non-residential students can pick up supply kits during the first week of classes at various locations on the Monroe Park Campus (schedule below). A card swipe will be required. Health Sciences students will receive kits at their respective school. The kits will be available at University Student Commons and Hunton Student Center through Nov. 25.
Hand sanitizer and spray disinfectant bottles can be refilled and should not be discarded.
Students and employees can use their VCU ID to obtain hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and face coverings at no cost from vending machines located throughout campus. Individuals are allotted one swipe per item per month (i.e., one of each item can be obtained each month).
Monroe Park Campus vending machine locations:
MCV Campus vending machine locations:
How we interact with one another and conduct daily life on campus will change.
Plans related to student services and activities will include changes to building operations, environmental adjustments and occupancy/capacity to promote appropriate physical distancing and programming. Some of these proposed changes include:
Tents: VCU has installed tents with more than 100 seats for students, faculty and staff to use for eating and studying. The tents — open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. — are located at three locations:
Hibbs Hall classroom spaces: VCU has also dedicated some classroom space in Hibbs Hall for eating and studying. The classrooms and hours of operation Monday through Friday (unless otherwise noted) are listed below:
Stations with disinfectant wipes will be provided in both the tents and the classrooms. Individuals should clean up after themselves, disinfect shared surfaces before and after use, and not move the furniture that has been positioned to maintain physical distancing.
The revised Fall 2020 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) for more than 8,200 course sections. In general, all courses with an enrollment of 50 or more students on the Monroe Park and MCV Campuses will be taught in a remote/online format.
Now is the time to check your fall schedule on eServices. Please be aware that how your classes will be taught as well as class meeting days and times may have changed. Please 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 fall 2020 and spring 2021.
The additional online course fee that is normally assessed to online courses is being waived for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. 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. Students received an email from VCU Residential Life and Housing with instructions. Visit the VCU Housing website for more information.
As plans continue to be finalized, we will notify students via their VCU email address.
Residential Life and Housing is taking the following actions to prepare for the fall return to campus:
The Honors College residence hall will be used by VCU Health System to house low acuity patients this academic year and will not be used as a residential facility. VCU Health System requires the use of the Honors College residence hall to accommodate an anticipated surge in patients at VCU Medical Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic. VCU Residential Life and Housing will communicate directly with impacted students regarding their housing assignments for the upcoming academic year.
All students were required to complete training prior to their return to campus or start of classes so they 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. Students signed an attestation indicating training completion and personal compliance with safety protocols.
Completion of the training was monitored via the Blackboard gradebook with follow up. If you have questions about the training or completion status, please email email@example.com. Additional FAQs about training for students can be found at https://students.vcu.edu/rtc-student/.
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 research.vcu.edu/covid-19/
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:
Orientation is online for summer 2020. This page will be updated regularly as additional details about orientations become known.
During the phased return, VCU Student Affairs will continue to provide virtual offerings, including workshops, social connection opportunities and other events. Visit the Division of Student Affairs 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.
Students and employees returning to the VCU campus and surrounding community from destinations abroad with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Levels 2 and 3 Travel Health Notices or from areas in the U.S. experiencing high levels of COVID-19 should take precautions consistent with the CDC’s guidance to protect others from getting sick.
In addition, for 14 days after traveling, these individuals should stay home as much as possible, avoid being around people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and consider getting tested for COVID-19.
Students residing in VCU residence halls should contact University Student Health Services and refer to the Residential Life and Housing website for additional self-quarantine and isolation requirements.
University-sponsored international travel is suspended until further notice, with the exception of essential travel associated with academic degree requirements for graduate and professional students to U.S. Department of State Level 1 or 2 countries, which must be approved by the Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs or the Vice President for Health Sciences and CEO of VCU Health System. University-sponsored travel to Level 3 or 4 countries remains suspended.
University-sponsored domestic travel out of state for clinical and research purposes is permissible upon approval. Students should work with their department to seek approval.
Members of the VCU community are encouraged to limit personal travel. We encourage students and employees to refer to the CDC and U.S. Department of State to be fully informed of potential health risks and travel restrictions that may be in place.
Fall 2020 parking sales
The online permit sale process to secure parking for fall 2020 will begin on Tuesday, June 30 on the MCV Campus and Tuesday, July 14 on the Monroe Park Campus.
MCV Campus parking sale: Due to demand, MCV Campus permits will be sold via a lottery system. Beginning at 9 a.m. on June 30, 2020, all students interested in purchasing an MCV Campus commuter permit can log in to https://apps.parking.vcu.edu/mcvwebsales to select your top parking preferences. The lottery will close at 4 p.m. on July 2, 2020.
Any unclaimed permits from the lottery will be sold online in a first come, first served manner at 9 a.m. on July 16, 2020. Additional information regarding this process can be found at https://parking.vcu.edu/parking/students/mcv-campus-sale/.
Monroe Park Campus parking sale: Monroe Park Campus commuter and residential/housing permits will be available for purchase online on a first come, first served basis. The Monroe Park Campus parking sale will take place on Tuesday, July 14 at 9 a.m.
Temporary parking options: In the event a semester-long parking permit does not meet your needs, daily/hourly parking is available at several parking facilities. Additionally, students may purchase a two-week permit for designated locations online at https://vcu.t2hosted.com/Account/Portal.
Riding GRTC: Students and employees can continue to utilize GRTC for essential travel. GRTC has taken additional safety measures to help ensure the well-being of drivers and passengers during COVID-19. Some of their most recent safety efforts include: implementing enhanced daily bus cleaning procedures, installing sanitizer dispensers on all vehicles, redistributing buses from low-ridership routes to high-ridership local routes to help promote physical distancing, disinfecting high-traffic areas periodically with Steriphene aerosol disinfectant and encouraging more frequent staff testing. GRTC also requires all passengers to wear face masks or nose and mouth coverings while riding. Passengers without masks may be asked to exit the bus. You can learn more about how GRTC is responding to COVID-19 at ridegrtc.com/news-initiatives/news-updates/grtc-and-covid-19-coronavirus.
Temporary physical distancing shuttle coming in August: In addition to GRTC, starting in August 2020 for the fall semester, VCU Parking and Transportation will operate a temporary physical distancing shuttle to support VCU community members with increased safety concerns. The shuttle will travel to Cabell Library, One Capitol Square and McGuire Hall, and physical distancing measures in addition to face mask requirements will be enforced. Additional information regarding this shuttle will be released later this summer.
We look forward to welcoming new and returning international students to campus this fall. To guide your return to campus, the Global Education Office has prepared a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers. This is a living document and will be updated as needed. Please be sure to check the FAQs often between now and the time you return to campus.
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.
If you have experienced COVID-19 related disruptions or other educational costs due to the disruption of VCU on-campus operations, you may be eligible for emergency relief funds. The VCU Federal Emergency Relief Fund is available for students to apply for aid under the CARES Act. In addition, the Virtual Student Services Center is now available 24/7 for students to ask questions and get information. Students who are not eligible for CARES Act funding may be eligible for emergency funding that is being offered through Student Affairs.
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.
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.