Fall 2021 information

We are preparing for a robust and exciting campus experience this fall. Life at VCU will feel more familiar, but also different as we incorporate new skills, new solutions and newfound appreciations for collaborative work and different ways of learning. The lessons we’ve learned during the pandemic have made us better together and continue to shape our plans for fall 2021, outlined below.

We will continue to update this page throughout the summer.

Campus facilities will be open

Both the Monroe Park and MCV campuses will be fully operational. Capacity in most buildings may still need to be reduced to some degree, as circumstances warrant. Common spaces, such as the VCU Libraries, University Student Commons, Hunton Student Center, Larrick Center and all VCU Dining facilities will open with more capacity.

There are no longer physical distancing requirements or density restrictions in campus spaces. This is applicable to classes, events, meetings, research laboratories and gatherings. Facilities and signage will be updated over the summer to reflect this change. Although classrooms are currently set at 66 percent capacity for the fall semester, colleges and schools may increase course capacity as needed.

Unvaccinated community members and visitors must follow CDC guidelines for indoor and outdoor activities.

Classes and academic resources will be in person (with virtual options)

Course modalities

The Fall 2021 Schedule of Classes is available online, and registration for the fall semester opened on April 26. Student responses to the fall 2021 planning survey indicate that students desire options, and we are excited that the fall 2021 schedule will provide a variety of course modalities.

The fall semester will see a substantially higher percentage of in-person classes, with a mix of hybrid classes (in-person and online) and online-only classes. Many courses, regardless of the modality, will likely be technology-assisted through the use of Canvas, the learning management system. In addition, we plan to expand the mini-mester options for students that began in spring 2021.

Student support

Offices providing academic, career and financial support to students will be open for in-person appointments but will also continue to offer virtual appointments. Some of these units have been offering in-person appointments for limited hours during the 2020-21 school year but will be expanding to offer more in-person hours in the fall. Hours and other details will be available on each office’s website.

Faculty resources

The Center for Teaching and Learning ExcellenceAcademic Technologies and Online@VCU/ALT Lab will continue to provide in-person and virtual resources for instructors.

Campus life will be supportive and engaging

Events

Guidelines for events — including performances and sporting events are in development — though our first in-person commencement ceremonies in more than a year will take place at the unit level in May.

Residential housing

Residential Life and Housing is currently accepting applications for on-campus housing, which can be found on the Housing Application page. Residential Life and Housing works closely with the university concerning safety precautions related to the residential experience. The most up-to-date information on safety guidelines can be found on the Residential Life and Housing website.

Dean of Students office

The Dean of Students office (including Ram Pantry and Off-Campus Student Services) will be available to meet in person or online with students who need assistance.

Recreational Sports

Recreational Sports will continue to serve the VCU community to the fullest extent permitted by the advice of university health experts. They anticipate resuming their normal hours of operation at all of their facilities and expanding in-person group exercise, intramural sports, sport clubs, challenge course and team-building initiatives, outdoor adventure trips, swim lessons and personal training. Additionally, they plan to continue new practices adopted during the pandemic, such as virtual fitness, fitness on demand, eSports and virtual escape rooms to meet the varying recreational needs of the university community. 

University Counseling Services

University Counseling Services will be available to provide services to students both in-person, consistent with CDC and university guidelines, and virtually for counseling services.

University Student Health Services

University Student Health Services will offer both telehealth and in-person clinic visits when appropriate. COVID screening and testing will continue to be available for students.

VCU Libraries

Both James Branch Cabell Library and the Health Sciences Library will be open, providing access to support student and faculty needs. In-person assistance, services and physical collections will be available. VCU Libraries will also continue to offer robust online support through chat, text, online consultations, and librarian led webinars and tutorials, plus access to streaming media, e-books, online articles, databases, and more.

We will balance a flexible workplace with student needs

With input from employees, constituency group leaders and leadership, VCU Human Resources developed guidelines for staff that outline a phased and flexible transition to supporting the in-person experience this fall.

This includes updated guidelines for continued flexible work arrangements and expectations for roles that support the in-person experience. In short, these guidelines are designed to support supervisors and university employees working together over the coming weeks and months to best meet the needs of the university as well as the employee. While they support university goals, they also reflect the need for ongoing work-life balance and well-being.

Review the timeline for additional details.

Your health and safety continue to be a priority

We will continue to follow applicable CDC, state and VCU Health System guidance.

  • Student vaccines: Vaccination will be required for all students who live, learn, work or will be on campus for any reason (excluding those with religious or health exemptions). Survey results show strong majorities of students, parents, faculty and staff support this requirement. Students attending fall classes must report their vaccination to University Student Health Services no later than July 15; Health Sciences students and those taking summer classes should receive and report their vaccinations sooner, if possible. Students who receive a two-dose vaccination must report completion of both doses. This requirement will allow our students to safely learn, live, gather and experience college at its best. For more information about full vaccination, documentation requirements, religious and health exemptions, and vaccine manufacturers, see the student vaccine FAQ.
  • Employee vaccines: The university strongly encourages our employees to follow the guidance of the Public Health Response Team in choosing to be vaccinated as soon as possible. All full- and part-time VCU faculty and staff who have not already reported their vaccine must complete the following survey by July 15 to report their vaccination status to the university. For more information, see the vaccine FAQ for faculty and staff.
  • Physical distancing: There are no longer physical distancing requirements or density restrictions in campus spaces. This is applicable to classes, events, meetings, research laboratories and gatherings. Facilities and signage will be updated over the summer to reflect this change. Although classrooms are currently set at 66 percent capacity for the fall semester, colleges and schools may increase course capacity as needed. Unvaccinated community members and visitors must follow CDC guidelines for indoor and outdoor activities.
  • Masks: Masks are not required for those who are vaccinated, but remain required for those who are not vaccinated and required for everyone (vaccinated or unvaccinated) in the following settings:
    • Congregate housing: Specifically, masks are required in all common areas of VCU residence halls
    • Health care settings at VCU (e.g., University Student Health Services, University Counseling, VCU Health System owned, operated or leased spaces, etc.)
    • Whenever accommodations for immune-compromised community members may be necessary
    • Vaccinated community members who wish to wear a mask out of an abundance of caution are encouraged to do so.

Contact tracing, surveillance testing and enhanced cleaning will continue throughout the fall semester. Masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies will be available in vending machines and common areas. The MYCOVID call center, which can be reached at 804-MYCOVID (804-692-6843), will remain operational and continue to connect VCU community members to testing and quarantine/isolation guidance.

More information will be coming

During the coming months, we will monitor the state of COVID-19 and vaccinations as well as the advice of public health experts (including our own at VCU). We will continue to update the VCU community as plans develop or change. This summer, we will launch a virtual town hall series on a variety of topics related to the fall semester.

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