COVID-19 is a rapidly changing situation. Your well-being is our top priority. Together with VCU Health, we are working around the clock to take proactive steps to ensure the health and safety of our students, patients, faculty and staff.
In this unprecedented time, your Ram family is pulling together to answer your questions. We will communicate with you directly and often through your VCU email as well as VCU Facebook and Twitter. Continue to send us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will update this site as plans and procedures are determined or changed.
A message from VCU President Michael Rao
As we face uncertainty together in the weeks ahead, it is more important than ever that we continue our commitments to each other and to those we serve. I am proud of the ways we have come together, and want to personally acknowledge your extraordinary efforts in this video message from me.
Thank you for the inspiring work you continue to do in the most challenging of circumstances.
Michael Rao, Ph.D.
President, VCU and VCU Health System
3/26/2020 4:50 p.m.
NEW: Virginia Commonwealth University Health System submitted letters to the state health commissioner and director of the Virginia Department of Health requesting authorization to expand its licensed capacity by 460 beds. This request is in anticipation that the need for inpatient beds may greatly exceed current capacity as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. For additional details, visit VCU News.
The request is being made under the Gov. Ralph Northam’s Executive Order 52 to enable increases in hospital bed capacity in response to the pandemic.
NEW: VCU and the VCU Health System are working with state and local officials to prepare in the event of a surge in patients caused by the COVID-19 epidemic that could exceed the total capacity at the VCU Medical Center. One of the sites that has been identified for potential non-COVID-19, low acuity patients is the Honors College residential housing, which originally was built as a hospital.
Minor modifications have begun to ready the building to accommodate non-COVID-19, low acuity patients and their medical care. Students' belongings that are in the Honors College housing are being inventoried, boxed, labeled and relocated to storage at no cost to the student. These students have now been contacted by Residential Life and Housing with more information on retrieving their belongings.
Unfortunately, this work began before we were able to notify students and their families of this emergency decision. We apologize for that. We are operating in a crisis situation with many moving parts. We will do better and ask for your understanding as we work through this crisis together. Our priority remains the health and safety of our students and our community.
We hope that there is no need to use the building for overflow low level acuity patients, but we consider it part of our community service mission to be prepared to help in this time of crisis. There is every intention to return the building to Honors College housing once the crisis has passed.
Academics and classes
- NEW: A new, temporary pass/fail grading option for undergraduate and graduate students has been established for the spring semester. The VCU Faculty Senate passed a resolution in favor of the new grading option. Details are available on the Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Option webpage. In addition, emails announcing the new option have been sent to undergraduate students and to graduate students.
- The School of the Arts, Technology Services and Cabell Library announced that a limited two-month license for Adobe Creative Cloud is now available for free to all VCU students. This new license can be installed on unlimited personal devices, including tablets and smartphones, and gives you access to all Adobe Creative Cloud applications, including Fonts, Portfolio, Spark Premium, and Behance. This new opportunity allows us to make technology equitable and accessible for those who could not previously afford to take advantage of the discounted pricing. For additional details, visit: adobe.vcu.edu. Students also can receive their licenses directly at: vcu.onthehub.com.
- VCU has issued a message to faculty with resources and tips for a successful transition to remote learning. Read the full statement: https://orange.hosting.lsoft.com/list/ov8ia944/200320BH/69lx0bejd1m5.vib?id=0w9n8ov8ia9442i.
- VCU has issued a message to students with a checklist in preparation for remote classes starting Monday, March 23. Read the full statement: https://orange.hosting.lsoft.com/list/ov8ia944/200320BG/7bls9mwold3n.vib?id=0qoetov8ia9442h.
- Student success remains the core of VCU's mission, and during these “remote” times, VCU's goal across the university is to continue to provide resources to help all of VCU's students accomplish the successful completion of this semester. A summary list of resources available to students: https://altlab.vcu.edu/rapid-response/students/.
- Technology Services has provided information to help individuals navigate the process of improving their internet connections, or finding alternative means to connect while still maintaining social distancing so that they can teach, learn, and work during the rest of this semester. Information about free and low-cost wifi, data and hot-spot options is also included at: https://ts.vcu.edu/askit/network-services/home-network-troubleshooting/.
- Summer 2020 Study Abroad programs have been canceled. VCU has decided to cancel all upcoming study abroad programs for summer 2020, regardless of destination, due to the risks associated with traveling abroad during the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19. For additional information, visit the Global Education Office's COVID-19 site. VCU will hold remote classes for the remainder of the semester to ensure that students can complete the semester as safely as possible and with as much continuity as possible. For the full announcement, please visit: https://news.vcu.edu/article/Major_COVID19_announcements.
- The Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences issued a message to the VCU College of Health Professions, School of Dentistry, School of Medicine, School of Nursing and School of Pharmacy about a number of modifications to its initial response so as to maximize the safety of all our students, faculty and staff. For full details, visit: https://healthsciences.vcu.edu/covid-19-/.
- Monroe Park Campus’s spring break has been extended an additional week, March 16-20. All students are strongly encouraged to not return and remain at home, if possible. Students who must remain on campus should visit https://housing.vcu.edu/announcements/coronavirus/ for more information.
- 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. Professors will reach out to their students with further details and instructions specific to their classes, labs, and studios.
- More academic updates
- NEW: VCU Mail Services has suspended delivery to departments effective Tuesday, March 24. The VMI Building and the Valentine House are open 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Mail Services will hold department mail until further notice. For arrangements to pick up essential mail, contact Donnette Haynes at email@example.com or 804-828-1343.
- VCU has issued a statement on reporting COVID-19 cases, based on guidance from local and state health authorities. Read the full statement.
- VCU will be issuing refunds/credits for housing and dining. Information regarding refunds/credits to your student account will be communicated to students by April 9. Given the circumstances, the payment plan due date originally scheduled for April 9 will be postponed to May 4, and the May 2 due date will be postponed to May 26. For the full message from VCU President Rao, visit: https://news.vcu.edu/article/Major_COVID19_announcements.
- With the decision to continue remote classes for the rest of the semester, on-campus student housing will now be restricted to international students who can no longer travel home and cannot make alternative arrangements, and students who would be otherwise homeless if they are unable to remain in on-campus housing. Visit https://housing.vcu.edu/announcements/coronavirus/.
- Teleworking will be mandatory for all non-designated university employees March 23 through April 30. For additional details, visit: https://news.vcu.edu/article/Major_COVID19_announcements.
- VCU Health has updated its COVID-19 screening process for visitors. Effective immediately, visitors entering VCU Medical Center will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 at entrances. This includes the entrances to our pediatric and adult emergency departments. Visitors exhibiting signs or symptoms of COVID-19 are not permitted to enter VCU Medical Center. This is an update to the hospital's visitor screening process and does not apply to patients. VCU Health is not turning away any patients in need of medical care. For details, please visit: https://www.vcuhealth.
- Starting March 21, all VCU Libraries physical spaces are closed until further notice in an effort to foster community health and help slow the spread of COVID-19. Robust online services are available to support research and alternative instruction, including access to the libraries’ extensive online collections of ebooks, licensed streaming media, digitized primary resources and journal articles See library guide on COVID-19 for details and updates.
- Effective Monday March 23, 2020, all academic buildings on the Monroe Park and MCV campuses will transition to card access for students, faculty, and staff. Individuals will need their VCU ID card to enter academic buildings. Should any modifications be necessary, please notify your building manager.
- VCU Human Resources issued a message to VCU student workers and federal work-study participants regarding their student work employment, questions about compensation and additional items. For full details, visit: https://hr.vcu.edu/covid-19/.
- The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation has issued guidance for research continuity to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the VCU research enterprise. For more information, visit https://research.vcu.edu/covid-19.
- More operations updates
NEW: In lieu of an on-campus Graduation Fair, the university is partnering with Balfour to host a virtual Grad Fair. Graduating students and their families can now purchase their cap and gown, VCU class rings, commencement announcements, diploma frames and more. For more information, visit the Graduation Fair web page.
- VCU President Michael Rao announced that VCU will not be able to hold May commencement exercises as planned, following the advice of the CDC and other public health officials agree that large events should be suspended at least eight weeks for the health and welfare of attendees. VCU will ensure that May graduates, as well as the many individuals who supported our graduates through the years, are recognized in a special way. More information is forthcoming. For the full message, please visit https://news.vcu.edu/article/Major_COVID19_announcements.
- All in-person on-campus events are cancelled until further notice.
- All 2020 graduates will be honored at the university commencement ceremony on Saturday, December 12, 2020. VCU intends to provide all graduates with the full pomp and circumstance of commencement that they deserve, and promises to deliver a grand ceremony for all 2020 graduates at that time.
- More event updates
How to help
- NEW: VCU Health is now accepting donations of personal protective equipment (PPE). We currently have sufficient PPE supplies, but we cannot predict the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are an organization or business (labs, construction, machinery, salons and other personal services) with items including surgical masks, N95 masks, face shields, disposable gowns, latex-free gloves, goggles, shoe covers, head covers and germicide wipes, please consider donating these to help us protect the VCU Health physicians, nurses and team members working on the frontlines of this pandemic. Please bring donations to the valet entrance at the VCU Medical Center Gateway Building, 1200 E Marshall St., Richmond, VA, between the hours of 5 a.m.-11 p.m., Monday-Friday. Valet personnel will assist you with your donation. For more information on donations, please call (804) 628-0400.
- NEW: Two funds have been created to support students and patients affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The VCU COVID-19 Response Fund, administered by the Office of the Senior Vice President for VCU Health Sciences and CEO of VCU Health System, supports research and clinical care related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The VCU Student Life and Learning Fund, administered by the Office of the Provost, provides unrestricted dollars dedicated to enriching the life and learning experiences of VCU students or student groups. This is a newly-created fund that will serve students during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. For details, visit: https://www.support.vcu.edu/covidresponse/.
- As communities across the country prepare for the effects of COVID-19, VCU Health and the American Red Cross are hosting local blood drives to prevent blood supply shortages for hospital patients. We strongly urge healthy, eligible individuals to donate blood or platelets during this time. Please consider making an appointment to donate at https://www.redcrossblood.org/
- More information about blood drives
Virginia Commonwealth University remains committed to promoting a culture of inclusion for all its employees, patients and students. Discrimination or discriminatory harassment is not only unlawful, but it is harmful to the well-being of our university community. We are aware of the news reports regarding bullying, harassment and stereotyping of Chinese Americans and persons of Asian descent in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19). There is no place for this sort of behavior, especially not at VCU. Our university values, specifically those related to diversity and inclusion, have withstood many difficult situations and trying times, and they will not falter now.
Please be assured that VCU will make every effort to prevent the occurence of unlawful discrimination and, if necessary, take prompt and appropriate action to remedy and prevent its reoccurence. Every member of our community is asked to:
- Become familiar with the university’s policy on preventing and responding to discrimination in the VCU Policy Library.
- Consult with Equity and Access Services or VCU Human Resources for additional guidance on how to maintain a bias-free environment.
- Encourage individuals affected by this type of misconduct to file a report of discrimination or harassment with Equity and Access Services.
- Bookmark and share information on university or community agencies that offer support or services, such as VCU Counseling Services.
- Offer nonjudgmental support and empathy to those affected.
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.
VCU’s Incident Coordination Team and VCU Health System’s Coronavirus Task Force are working together around the clock to monitor and update response plans.
We remain in close contact with the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and continue to take proactive steps to ensure the health and safety of our students, patients, faculty and staff.
In the meantime, this site is updated at least once a day and includes the latest university actions, information, and recommendations. VCU Health also maintains a COVID-19 website that includes frequently asked questions and additional resources.