Update from leadership - Dec. 3

Operational changes and planning for spring

Dear VCU Community: 

As we near the end of the semester, please take a moment to reflect on all that we accomplished by working together. Thanks to the commitment and compassion of our students, faculty and staff, we are able to finish the fall semester strong. Thank you for taking seriously your health and safety, as well as the health and safety of those around you.

That said, the third wave of COVID-19 cases growing across the country will challenge everyone. It is more important than ever that we consistently practice established public health measures—now and throughout the upcoming break. During the fall, we learned how effectively basic countermeasures can reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. Today, we write to make you aware of university operational changes that will go into effect as we close this semester and prepare for winter break, intersession and J-Term, and spring semester.

Please read this information carefully.

  • Asymptomatic surveillance testing will be mandatory

To monitor COVID-19 within the VCU community, VCU will continue to randomly sample asymptomatic VCU community members for testing each week. Asymptomatic surveillance testing (previously referred to as “prevalence” testing) will continue throughout the remainder of the fall semester with reduced hours through the start of the spring semester to account for fewer students and employees on campus. Starting Jan. 19, asymptomatic surveillance testing will be mandatory for residential students, students who attend on-campus classes and employees who work on campus. VCU will contact you by email if and when you are selected to participate. If you are called to participate, you must schedule your test and attend your testing appointment.

  • Daily health checks are required

All students and employees, whether learning and working on campus or off campus, are required to continue daily health checks at dailyhealth.vcu.edu or by clicking on CampusReady in the VCU Mobile app. This tool supports active monitoring of our health on a daily basis. If you begin to experience symptoms, the daily health check will provide you with instructions and next steps. All students are required to complete daily health checks through the end of the semester, Dec. 8. All employees are required to complete them on the days they are working (either teleworking or on campus). Over winter break, intersession and J-Term (Dec. 21 through Jan. 15), only students who are living on campus or approved for working on campus must complete the daily health check.

  • Entry Pass will be required

Entry Pass, a new digital tool available now in the VCU Mobile app and soon to be available online, shows if you are in compliance with completing daily health checks and/or asymptomatic surveillance testing. Starting in January, all students and employees will be required to use Entry Pass to access some VCU facilities such as the library and Rec Sports. Those who fail to complete the daily health check, as well as those who do not comply with asymptomatic surveillance testing, will face building access restrictions and/or disciplinary action. More information about how Entry Pass works will be provided in the required spring training modules (see below), and additional details will be communicated in early January.

  • One VCU: Responsible Together spring semester training for employees required

Employees are required to complete the One VCU: Responsible Together spring semester training by Jan. 25, 2021. The course will be available on Jan. 4, 2021. The training will review public safety measures as well as new information about limiting the spread of COVID-19, mandatory asymptomatic surveillance testing and other operational changes to expect in 2021. An updated manager training will be required as well.

  • Responsible Together training for students required

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 will be available beginning Jan. 4, 2021. To learn more about the course, visit the Responsible Together Course Information page.

  • Special requirements for residential students

In addition to the required Responsible Together Course training, residential students returning to on-campus housing in January must again complete a COVID-19 test and receive a negative test result prior to returning to campus. Residential Life and Housing will share important details this week about how to have a test kit mailed home. Starting Monday, Dec. 7, residential students will also begin completing daily health checks at dailyhealth.vcu.edu  or by clicking on CampusReady in the VCU Mobile app; residential students will no longer use their Kallaco account to complete the daily health check.

  • A newly refreshed website

The together.vcu.edu website will be refreshed prior to the end of the fall semester to include these details and others about spring 2021. The fall 2020 dashboard will remain publicly available. A spring 2021 dashboard will be published starting on Jan. 4, 2021.

Whatever is in store for the rest of 2020 and the winter and spring of 2021 remains to be seen. It is almost certain there will be new challenges to overcome. As always, our approach to learning and working amidst an ever-changing pandemic will be flexible so we can pivot as new information and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Virginia Department of Health and our own Public Health Response Team becomes available. More information about these new requirements, as well as any new information, will continue to be communicated. It is important that you check your email, read weekly updates and visit together.vcu.edu for the most current information.

Thank you, again, for stepping up and looking out for each other to protect the health and safety of our campus environment. It is during times of crisis we often see the best in ourselves and each other. You stood up to COVID-19 in 2020 and, together, we will face whatever comes our way in 2021. We commend you for all your resilience and tremendous dedication.

Thank you for taking care of yourselves and each other.

Sincerely,

Gail Hackett, Ph.D.
Provost and senior vice president for academic affairs

Arthur Kellermann, M.D., M.P.H.
Senior vice president for VCU Health Sciences and CEO for VCU Health System

Meredith Weiss, Ph.D.
Vice president for administration

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