March 11, 2020
Dear VCU and VCU Health community,
Because of ongoing and expanding threats related to COVID-19 (coronavirus), Virginia Commonwealth University has altered our academic calendar and other university policies to help protect the health, well-being, and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and those in the community we serve.
These changes are as follows:
- Monroe Park Campus’s spring break has been extended an additional week, March 16-20. All students are strongly encouraged to return and remain at home, if possible. For students who must remain on campus, information about availability of on-campus housing will be forthcoming.
- When the semester resumes March 23, classes will be taught remotely for the foreseeable future using digital resources such as Blackboard, videoconferencing, online programs, etc. Faculty should note that a resource-heavy website, Keep on Teaching, launched recently to aid in preparing and planning for their courses. This resource site will be continually updated.
- Clinical placements will proceed as planned.
- Professors will reach out to their students with further details and instructions specific to their classes, labs, and studios.
- Other, more-specific details will be shared soon. In the meantime, please contact your dean’s office if you need further information or have questions specific to your programs or courses.
- Both the Monroe Park and MCV campuses remain open and will operate as usual. Normal work hours for employees are expected in the weeks ahead. However, employees and their supervisors may discuss telework agreements when possible.
- Information about dining, housing, and student services will be forthcoming. Please contact these offices if you have questions or concerns about in-person appointments.
- Research facilities will remain operating as normal.
- University-sponsored out-of-state travel, both domestic and international, is suspended until further notice. This includes faculty, staff and students.
- For their own personal health and safety, members of the VCU community are encouraged to limit personal travel.
- Effective immediately, university events that include more than 100 people are cancelled until April 15. For smaller events, please consider rescheduling or online alternatives when possible, and please take every necessary precaution to prevent the spread of infection.
- At this time, these restrictions do not apply to VCU Athletics or other public (including non-university) events at the Stuart C. Siegel Center, although discussions remain ongoing.
We are taking these steps to help avoid the spread of COVID-19 and to keep our VCU community and those we serve safe and healthy. As of Wednesday afternoon, nine people in the Commonwealth are undergoing treatment for COVID-19, most of them in Northern Virginia. Central Virginia now has its first confirmed case, a person who traveled internationally, returned home, and is undergoing treatment. There are no confirmed cases connected to anyone at VCU or VCU Health.
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.
In the meantime, our COVID-19 site is updated at least once a day and can be accessed from the VCU homepage, the VCU Health homepage, and the VCU Alert page. It includes the latest university actions, information, and recommendations. VCU Health also maintains a COVID-19 website that includes frequently asked questions and additional resources.
Our priority has always been—and will remain—your health and safety as we conduct the business of the university and health system, including education, research, and patient care. I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for being mindful and respectful of others during this outbreak, which is not limited to any particular age group, geographic region, nationality, ethnicity or race.
I appreciate your continued diligence of our community and the ways we protect and care for each other.
Michael Rao, Ph.D.
VCU and VCU Medical Center