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COVID-19 is a rapidly changing situation. Your well-being is our top priority. Together with VCU Health, we are working around the clock to take proactive steps to ensure the health and safety of our students, patients, faculty and staff. So many of the services you have come to rely on are now being offered as a Virtual VCU.
In this unprecedented time, your Ram family is pulling together to answer your questions. We will communicate with you directly and often through your VCU email as well as VCU Facebook and Twitter. Continue to send us your questions at email@example.com. We will update this site as plans and procedures are determined or changed.
May 8 University Update from VCU President Michael Rao
Dear VCU students, faculty and staff,
There are several items to update you on as we continue to advance our mission through the COVID-19 crisis.
First, let me take a moment to celebrate our 5,000 students who will receive their degrees over the next few days. I am always proud of our graduates, but I am particularly proud of this year’s cohort who have been inspiring in their persistence, resilience and courage to complete their work under very difficult circumstances. They have met an historic challenge with grace and fortitude. They are role models for all of us in dealing with this global pandemic and its impacts. If any class should be celebrated on a grand scale, it is the class of 2020. Unfortunately, we can’t be with them in person. But please join in the virtual commencement to offer your congratulations and best wishes to a truly remarkable class. Hopefully we will all be able to celebrate in person at the December commencement.
Please review this message in its entirety for an update about the university.
Michael Rao, Ph.D.
President, VCU and VCU Health System
5/13/2020 12:41 p.m.
- Due to the impact of COVID-19 on K-12 school systems throughout the country, VCU has decided to move the freshman response deadline from May 1 to June 1 for students who were accepted to the university by April 1. Review the checklist.
Academics and classes
NEW: Global Education has launched Keep on Studying Abroad website offers tips for students to time their study abroad in light of COVID-19, connect virtually with a study abroad adviser, explore funding options and consider virtual internships and online classes.
- Due to the continued risks associated with traveling abroad during the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, VCU has made the difficult decision to cancel all study abroad programs for fall 2020. This decision was also made in light of the U.S. Department of State's current Level 4 (Do Not Travel) global health advisory level. VCU has taken the proactive measure to cancel programs now to provide students with time to identify housing options and academic plans at VCU for the fall semester. This cancellation applies to all program types (exchange, direct enroll, provider programs) for the fall 2020 semester. The Global Education Office will provide students with refunds for any application fees paid to VCU, which may include the $150 GEO fee. These refunds will be issued to your original form of payment and will be available in the next 30 days.
- Orientation for students is moving online to provide a virtual experience for VCU's newest students. Read the FAQs to learn more about the virtual Orientation.
- VCU has established a COVID-19 emergency relief funding website, which outlines the qualifications to be considered for federal (CARES) or institutional relief funds. Review a copy of the email notification students received for contact information or visit the COVID-19 Relief Funding website for details about the two funds and to apply.
- A temporary update to the Continuance in Undergraduate Program Regulation for summer 2020 has been made to protect undergraduate students from a negative change in academic standing. For details and FAQ, visit https://provost.vcu.edu/virus/summer/.
- VCU Records and Registration has created an electronic Change in Grade Mode Authorization form to allow students to select the Pass/Fail grade option for their courses.
- A new, temporary pass/fail grading option for undergraduate and graduate students has been established for the spring semester. The Office of the Provost has created checklists for undergraduate and graduate students to help them decide which grading option to choose.
- Courses in summer 2020 sessions beginning before July 9 will all move to remote instruction (online). Summer 2020 sessions that begin on July 9 and July 20 will maintain their currently scheduled format. We will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 and will be prepared to move the July 9 and July 20 sessions to remote instruction (online) if required. We anticipate making a final announcement about the July 9 and July 20 sessions no later than May 29. Additional information is available on the Summer Studies 2020 Update Webpage.
- VCU will be issuing a partial reimbursement of the School of Arts differential to Arts majors. More information available on the Refunds page of this website.
- Tuition and Mandatory Fees (University, Library, Technology, Campus Learning Center, Activity, Health, etc.) ensure VCU can provide instructional and support services to students as they pursue their education. Although VCU has moved to remote instruction for the Spring 2020 semester, we continue to provide essential services that promote, facilitate and support student learning in a remote environment.
- See a summary list of resources available to help VCU students successfully complete this semester: https://altlab.vcu.edu/rapid-response/students/.
- Technology Services has provided information to help individuals navigate the process of improving their internet connections, or finding alternative means to connect while still maintaining social distancing so that they can teach, learn, and work during the rest of this semester. Information about free and low-cost wifi, data and hot-spot options is also included at: https://ts.vcu.edu/askit/network-services/home-network-troubleshooting/.
- Residential Life and Housing has announced move out information. Please visit https://housing.vcu.edu/help/move/ for details.
- In order to promote public health among our community during the COVID-19 pandemic, all designated university employees must wear a cloth mask or face covering when in public areas of university facilities and unable to maintain a physical distance of more than 6 feet. If these cloth masks or face coverings cannot be acquired through employee supervisors, then employees are authorized to follow CDC guidelines in making their own. Per the governor’s stay-at-home order that ends June 10, only designated employees are authorized to work on campus and travel for university business at this time.
- Effective Monday, April 20, VCU is executing a salary freeze for all employees. This is another way to mitigate the financial risks the university continues to face both this year and next. Find both hiring and salary freeze information on the COVID-19 hiring and salary freeze page.
- VCU leadership is in the early stages of planning for a return to campus this fall. Regardless of how the COVID-19 pandemic changes the world, our priority is to continue learning, working and caring for the community. Details about a return to campus are still undetermined, though we anticipate a phased approach. The transition plan will be informed by input from the VCU and VCU Health community as well as guidance from the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Decisions about returning to campus will be communicated as they are made.
- Division of Student Affairs to host workshops, social connection opportunities and operational events. Visit the division's Virtual Offerings page for more information.
- VCU has posted procedures to request an exception to the hiring freeze. For details, visit https://hr.vcu.edu/covid-19/hiring-freeze/.
As a result of the recent executive order from Governor Northam, non-designated VCU employees will continue to telework until Wednesday, June 10. During this time, employees are encouraged to complete required training and review resources specifically curated for working remotely. For more information, see the full announcement.
- VCU will be issuing refunds for housing, dining and parking (both students and employees). More information available on the Refunds page of this website.
- Students who are part of the federal work-study program will be paid up to the amount of their award on the normal semi-monthly pay schedule. Student workers (non-federal work-study) will have their payments continued through May 9. For full details, visit https://hr.vcu.edu/covid-19/.
- VCU has issued a statement on reporting COVID-19 cases, based on guidance from local and state health authorities. Read the full statement.
- Effective Friday, March 27, VCU Health has instituted a temporary no-visitor policy, with few exceptions. Additionally, valet parking for all VCU Health facilities on the MCV Campus, except Massey Cancer Center, is temporarily closed. For details, please visit: https://www.vcuhealth.
- The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation has issued guidance for research continuity to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the VCU research enterprise. For more information, visit https://research.vcu.edu/covid-19.
- VCU will host a virtual commencement celebration, launching May 8, to honor the many achievements of our May 2020 graduates. This involves an interactive online platform to individually recognize students in combination with a virtual commencement and yearbook website. May graduates also are invited to participate in the December commencement ceremonies to honor all 2020 graduates.
Virginia Commonwealth University remains committed to promoting a culture of inclusion for all its employees, patients and students. Discrimination or discriminatory harassment is not only unlawful, but it is harmful to the well-being of our university community. We are aware of the news reports regarding bullying, harassment and stereotyping of Chinese Americans and persons of Asian descent in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19). There is no place for this sort of behavior, especially not at VCU. Our university values, specifically those related to diversity and inclusion, have withstood many difficult situations and trying times, and they will not falter now.
Please be assured that VCU will make every effort to prevent the occurence of unlawful discrimination and, if necessary, take prompt and appropriate action to remedy and prevent its reoccurence. Every member of our community is asked to:
- Become familiar with the university’s policy on preventing and responding to discrimination in the VCU Policy Library.
- Consult with Equity and Access Services or VCU Human Resources for additional guidance on how to maintain a bias-free environment.
- Encourage individuals affected by this type of misconduct to file a report of discrimination or harassment with Equity and Access Services.
- Bookmark and share information on university or community agencies that offer support or services, such as VCU Counseling Services.
- Offer nonjudgmental support and empathy to those affected.
This is a rapidly changing situation, and we know you have questions. We are working to answer those questions and will be communicating with you directly on an ongoing basis as plans and procedures are finalized.
VCU’s Incident Coordination Team and VCU Health System’s Coronavirus Task Force are working together around the clock to monitor and update response plans.
We remain in close contact with the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and continue to take proactive steps to ensure the health and safety of our students, patients, faculty and staff.
In the meantime, this site is updated at least once a day and includes the latest university actions, information, and recommendations. VCU Health also maintains a COVID-19 website that includes frequently asked questions and additional resources.