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Dear VCU students,

After a whirlwind of activity, we are ready to welcome you back - remotely - to class! VCU faculty have worked tirelessly getting ready for your return to your coursework. We are excited about the new frontier of remote learning we are all embracing. We know you are anxious about this change in format. But we don’t want you to worry. The resources that you are used to are still available, and new resources continue to be added. You are more ready than you may think!

Remember, your overarching goal has not changed - finishing each semester strong, which moves you closer to graduation and starting your future goals. The methods and steps you take in achieving this semester’s goal may have changed, but by holding onto your future goals and making some changes to your day-to-day academic habits, you will succeed. And your university is here to help. A new website, Keep on Learning, provides tips, tools and resources to support you.

Here is a quick checklist to be ready for classes this Monday:

  • First, determine if you have a reliable way of accessing the internet and make it easy to learn by setting up a designated study area. Gather all of your class material and supplies so that it is easy to “go to class.”
  • Talk to your family or roommates about what you need to be a successful student. Consider studying at the same time that your housemates may be working in order to minimize the temptation to socialize. If you are living in a household with small children, consider developing a schedule of who is responsible for providing care and at what times.
  • Pay close attention for email updates from your faculty about changes to your classes. They will likely email you or post to Blackboard a revised syllabus that will detail what changes to expect in assignments or meeting expectations. Update your calendar with these revised due dates and reach out directly to your instructor with questions.
  • Expect that you might need to change some habits to be successful in your online classes. If possible, stick to your previous in-person class schedule. This will help provide structure to your day that will keep you on track. Take a few minutes before each class or study session to review materials and get in your student state of mind.
  • Recognize when you need some help, and reach out to your academic advisor when you do! This is a challenging time, but your advisor is here to support you. Undergraduate students can use Navigate to make an online or phone appointment with their advisor.
  • Build in breaks for your own self care. Our Keep on Being Well at VCU webpage has good advice for managing stress and anxiety.

Checking your university email account regularly will also be critical, as it provides the quickest, easiest way for us to keep you updated. For instance, we are exploring a pass/fail grade option as a way to support students in this unprecedented transition to remote instruction, and will be providing additional details about that option in the near future.

We know you still have questions. And we are working diligently to provide the answers, keep you informed, and provide support. Updates are also posted to the university COVID-19 website daily.

We will get through this. We are ONE VCU. And, together we transform.

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

Peter Buckley, M.D.
Interim senior vice president for health sciences

Charles Klink, Ph.D.
Senior vice provost for student affairs