Message from leadership — Aug. 14, 2020

Weekly update: Weeks of Welcome, pass/fail policy, student org fair and more

As we plan the return to campus for the university’s students, faculty and staff, our priorities are the health, safety and wellness — both physical and emotional — of every member of the VCU community. Many details have been worked out, and many are still to come. 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.

New pass/fail grade policy for undergraduates beginning fall 2020

This week the university announced a new, permanent pass/fail grade option policy for undergraduate students effective fall 2020. The full policy is available in the VCU Bulletin. It is important that undergraduate students read the policy thoroughly now, at the beginning of the semester, and recognize that it is an option that is available to you. Additional information and FAQs are available. Please note that the temporary pass/fail grading option made available for spring 2020 only is no longer valid. 

Weeks of Welcome

Weeks of Welcome begins Aug. 16 and is a time to get acquainted or re-acquainted with the VCU campus, to make and renew connections, and to explore different parts of campus. All new and returning students are invited to meet new friends, get to know VCU and take part in our school traditions.

Fall Student Organization Fair

The Fall Student Organization Fair will be held virtually this year. It will begin on Friday, Aug. 14, and conclude on Friday, Aug. 21, online through RamsConnect. Organizations that wish to participate can elect to register after their annual registration has been approved. To view the schedule for the week, visit the Virtual Student Organization Fair page on RamsConnect.

Picking up your starter supply kit

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. A card swipe will be required. Health sciences students will receive kits at their respective school. Starting Aug. 24, the kits will be available at University Student Commons and Hunton Student Center. 

Hand sanitizer and spray disinfectant bottles can be refilled and should not be discarded. More information about how to refill disinfectant supplies will be communicated later in the semester. 

Temporary physical distancing shuttle and GRTC

Starting today, Aug. 14, VCU Parking and Transportation is operating a temporary physical distancing shuttle to support VCU community members with increased safety concerns. Three coach-style RMA Worldwide buses will service Cabell Library, One Capitol Square and McGuire Hall during the hours of 6 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Friday. Physical distancing guidelines will be strongly enforced, with no more than 24 passengers permitted on each bus at one time. Shuttles will stop every 12 minutes during the peak period (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) and every 20 minutes during off-peak times. Passengers will be able to track the status of each shuttle and view estimated arrival times on the VCU Ride Systems mobile app. The shuttle will operate through mid-November. Visit go.vcu.edu/vcushuttle to learn more. 

In addition to the VCU cross-campus shuttle, all VCU and VCU Health System students and employees can continue to ride GRTC at no cost. Travel between the Monroe Park and MCV campuses can best be accommodated by GRTC’s Pulse and Route 5. GRTC has also taken additional safety measures to help ensure the well-being of drivers and passengers. Click here to learn more about how GRTC is responding to COVID-19.  

As a reminder, masks are required to ride all GRTC and VCU buses.

Returning to Campus with Ramantha: An interactive adventure

Put all of the knowledge you learned from the Return to Campus training to the test and help our friend Ramantha get through her first day! This “choose your own adventure”-style quiz will cover a variety of scenarios you may face coming back to campus, and it’s up to YOU to make the safest decisions possible. Visit the Returning to Campus with Ramantha blog post to start your adventure. 

Call center connects to Student Health Services

Students who develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or who test positive for COVID-19, must inform Student Health Services via a call center line at 1-804-MYCOVID or 1-804-692-6843. Here, students who are experiencing symptoms can discuss testing options and other appropriate next steps.

Volunteer for asymptomatic prevalence testing

In addition to promoting healthy behaviors, such as wearing a mask and physical distancing, VCU’s current testing strategy includes testing a percentage of asymptomatic VCU community members on a daily basis. Regular testing of asymptomatic individuals helps us monitor the overall prevalence of COVID-19 in the VCU community and provides the valuable data we need to make decisions about safety measures and university operations.

VCU will offer COVID-19 prevalence testing at no cost to students and employees at locations on both the Monroe Park and MCV campuses; however, we need to identify a pool of students and employees who want to participate. To volunteer for prevalence testing, fill out the online form at covidtest.vcu.edu/. Participants will receive a viral, oropharyngeal (throat) swab test, not the more invasive nasopharyngeal swab in the nose. If you are selected to participate in prevalence testing, VCU will contact you with details about how to participate and receive your test results. 

Daily health surveys

Students are required to complete a brief daily survey, monitor their health and report symptoms of COVID-19 to Student Health Services. 

  • Non-residential students: Complete your daily health survey at dailyhealth.vcu.edu.
  • Residential students: Complete your daily health survey by logging into your Kallaco account.

VCU Health Hub at 25th re-opens

The VCU Health Hub reopened its doors to provide Richmond East End neighbors access to care coordination, health education and wellness education, and in-person and virtual activities needed to stay healthy. A community health worker is currently on-site, and neighbors are being surveyed to understand community health needs better. The health hub is now open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. VCU students using the Health Hub services should also note that COVID-19 related reporting should still be directed through Student Health Services. For information, contact vcuhealthhub@vcu.edu.

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