VCU to open spring semester on virtual class schedule

The university hopes to resume in-person instruction on or before March 8.

All VCU spring semester classes will begin virtually, except in instances where a student is invo... [View Image] All VCU spring semester classes will begin virtually, except in instances where a student is involved in clinical and field placements, practica, co-ops, internships and other work-related experiential learning activities. (Allen Jones, University Marketing)

Virginia Commonwealth University will begin the spring semester with students taking virtual classes as a result of the ongoing surge of the COVID-19 virus.

All classes will begin virtually, except in instances where a student is involved in clinical and field placements, practica, co-ops, internships and other work-related experiential learning activities. This means that previously planned in-person classes and the in-person component of hybrid (blended) courses also will take place virtually. 

Spring semester start dates remain unchanged (Jan. 25). Students can find updated information regarding their courses at https://www.pubapps.vcu.edu/scheduleofclasses. The university will evaluate the feasibility of resuming in-person instruction as originally planned by mid-February, with the hope of returning to in-person and hybrid courses on or before March 8.

“Our nation and region continue to face the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “We are in the third and most virulent surge of the COVID-19 virus. The COVID-19 infection rate is at its highest since the pandemic began. Models suggest the number of cases in Virginia will continue to rise into February. They already are four times higher than at the beginning of the fall semester. So, with health and safety as a primary concern, we are adjusting how VCU will start the spring semester.”

Rao said the growing availability of safe and effective vaccines gives VCU hope that “this current surge is the last one and our planning soon can turn to a resumption of campus activities.”

Students on both campuses who are designated for front-facing clinical placements and patient care will start receiving vaccinations as early as Jan. 12. The university and VCU Health System also are working on a vaccination plan for designated employees whose work supports the needs of patients and who are university health care providers. And VCU is working with the Virginia Department of Health on the timeline for vaccine availability for all faculty and staff. 

Vaccination distribution is based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Virginia Department of Health. Visit the One VCU: Responsible Together website for more information about vaccines. This site will be updated as more information is available.

In the meantime, VCU is taking additional measures to enhance pandemic-related safety measures. These include mandatory asymptomatic surveillance testing, updated student and employee training and Entry Pass. A complete summary of spring 2021 information is on the One VCU: Responsible Together website. The website serves as a resource for up-to-date information on university operations and health and safety information. 

“Students, faculty and staff proved last semester that VCU can meet these challenges better than nearly any community,” Rao said. “You have held true as a community to support and care for each other so that we can fulfill our important mission. I am grateful for what you accomplished last semester and look forward to a successful spring semester as One VCU: Responsible Together. We’ve done this well before and we can succeed again.”  

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 30,000 students in 233 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Twenty-two of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Tappahannock Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, and MCV Physicians. The clinical enterprise includes a collaboration with Sheltering Arms Institute for physical rehabilitation services. For more, please visit www.vcu.edu and vcuhealth.org.