For faculty and staff
We appreciate the input we have received from students, families, faculty and staff so far and it continues to help shape planning efforts. VCU's Return to Campus plan follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Virginia Department of Health, city and VCU Health guidance. Our commitment to each other allows us to be better together.
Things will look and feel different this year as we take necessary steps to protect the well-being of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the start of each semester, you will need to complete the Return to Campus training and acknowledge the requirements and consequences. Employees will sign an attestation indicating training completion and personal compliance with safety protocols.
Here is what is expected of you:
- Monitor your health daily. Complete a daily health survey at dailyhealth.vcu.edu/ or click "WorkReady" in your VCUMobile app. Testing will occur according to protocols.
- Wear a face covering or mask in common areas. Forgot your mask? Locations throughout campus will have disposable masks available. Please check this spreadsheet for locations and times.
- Apply physical distance guidelines to all settings.
- Clean and disinfect personal and shared spaces before and after use. Cleaning supplies will be available in numerous locations.
- Report symptoms associated with COVID-19 to VCU Employee Health Services. Call 1-804-MYCOVID or 1-804-692-6843.
- Employees who continue to telework will check in with managers regularly and provide ongoing reports/outcomes.
- Use leave for any periods with no work. Employees unable to work on-campus or continue working from home must take leave. Once leave balances are depleted, employees may take leave without pay (not to exceed one month).
Follow safety protocols including those regarding face coverings and masks, cleaning and disinfecting, and physical distancing. Employees will receive reminders for daily health monitoring. Managers will be notified after repeated non-compliance. Disciplinary action for employees up to and including termination will be used for a failure to comply with rules.
VCU Return to Campus plan
See additional details about VCU's operations during COVID-19 in our VCU Return to Campus Plan .
Changes to the spring 2021 academic calendar
The spring semester started Jan. 25 (most undergraduate and graduate courses), with the majority of classes offered virtually.
VCU resumed in-person classes and hybrid courses on March 4. Course information for the spring semester was set previously and faculty are expected to follow the course modalities as listed in the revised and published spring 2021 Schedule of Classes. Students with question should check https://www.pubapps.vcu.edu/scheduleofclasses or contact their professors with questions about an individual class. Review the FAQs for additional information.
Spring break is canceled but two reading days were added: Feb. 23 and March 24. The last day of classes is May 5 for the Monroe Park Campus and May 7 for the MCV Campus, with exams to follow.
VCU will host a universitywide virtual commencement on May 15, 2021, while also holding an assortment of in-person graduation ceremonies at the department, school and college levels.
The full academic calendar is available at academiccalendars.vcu.edu.
Additional details and information
How we teach, interact with one another and conduct our daily life on campus will change.
- Face coverings or masks are required in all common areas. Face coverings or masks do not need to be worn in an individual office with a closed door and at least 6 feet from a common space.
- All faculty and staff will wipe down personal workspaces using sanitizing spray at the beginning and end of each workday. Shared equipment and appliances must be wiped down before and after use.
- Cleaning supplies will be available in numerous locations.
- Meetings should be conducted virtually as often as possible; a virtual option should always be made available. For meetings that cannot be conducted virtually, conference rooms must allow for 36 square feet per participants, no more than 50 percent capacity. Rooms, tables and chairs must be wiped down with disinfectant by meeting participants after usage.
- Occupancy of break rooms and use of coffee makers, microwaves, etc. must be limited (or eliminated) to promote appropriate physical distancing and sanitization. Usage of shared refrigerators is discouraged. Employees will only be permitted to eat or socialize together if at least 6 feet apart.
- Hallways, pathways, queuing areas and restrooms may have signage indicating protocols for physical distancing compliance.
- Elevators generally may be shared with only one other person.
- Plexiglass shields will be installed in welcome centers, direct customer service centers and other high-contact areas.
- High-touch items such as magazines, common pens, etc. will be removed.
The One VCU: Responsible Together Spring 2021 training is available in Talent@VCU. It is also available in Blackboard for individuals who do not have access to Talent@VCU. All VCU employees are required to complete this training by Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, the beginning of the spring semester. Managers are required to complete the manager edition of the training as well.
In general, in-person events and gatherings are limited to 10 people. For exceptions and more details, see the “Events and gatherings” section on the Pubic Health Measures page.
The Virginia Department of Health determines vaccine eligibility and works with local health districts on the equitable distribution of vaccines. VCU is in the Richmond and Henrico Health District, which is now in phase 1c of vaccine distribution. To understand your eligibility, visit the VDH website. Faculty and staff who are not eligible as part of phase 1a or 1b will be eligible as part of phase 1c. VCU students, unless otherwise eligible as part of phases 1a through 1c, will be eligible when the vaccine becomes widely available for the general population. Refer to the frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines for more information.
VCU Vaccine Corps is dedicated to training and preparing VCU and VCU Health volunteers to staff VCU Health COVID-19 vaccine events. Volunteers can be VCU students, faculty, staff or VCU Health team members. VCU Vaccine Corps needs to fill a variety of roles, including greeters, traffic controllers, vaccinators and more. Learn more about how to get involved, visit vaccinecorps.vcu.edu.
Students and employees returning to campus receive starter supply kits with hand sanitizer, spray disinfectant and launderable face coverings, and additional supplies are made available for free at vending machines throughout both campuses. For details, see the “Supplies” section on the Public Health Measures page.
If you forget a face covering, free disposable masks may be picked up at various locations. Please check this spreadsheet for locations and times.
- All research that is possible to be done remotely should continue remotely, including all seminars, group meetings, etc., and
- On-campus research activities require compliance with all university health and safety requirements, including physical distancing. Laboratory capacity continues at two individuals per 250 square feet.
Additionally, supporting materials related to the phased return to research are posted on the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation website at https://research.vcu.
Major supports proposed to help faculty prepare to teach, design, build and assess include:
- Teaching Online@VCU: online teaching for new and returning faculty members (12-15 hours coursework)
- Designing Online@VCU: faculty training course (12-15 hours of coursework)
- Flexible Design Program: department-level online course design and building in LMS (12-15 hours consulting and preparation)
- Faculty workshops:
- Creating an Accessible Virtual Classroom workshop (45 minutes)
- Video streaming and capture training
- Online assessment and exams
- VCU Course Quality Rubric: will be available to all faculty for use as self-review of hybrid and online courses
- Confirm training completion for all returning employees.
- Support ongoing compliance with safety protocols including health monitoring, reporting, facial coverings and physical distancing.
- Be prepared to address non-compliance with safety protocols with disciplinary action.
- Work with return to campus coordinators to obtain supply kits and additional cleaning supplies, as needed.
- Provide flexibility to employees and work with the ADA/504 coordinator to develop ADA accommodations.
- Manage employees who continue to telework, ensuring sufficient work and use of leave when necessary, regular check ins and review of employee reports/outcomes.
- Support continued employee well-being.
- Complete training for managers prior to a return to campus.
Return to campus coordinators, HR professionals and building managers
- Each school and unit's HR professional was asked to complete a staffing plan identifying the status of each employee relative to whether they have an on-campus presence for the spring semester. Information from these plans will be used to develop the pools for mandatory asymptomatic surveillance testing.
- Return to campus coordinators work with deans/department heads/vice presidents, building managers to coordinate the application of safety and health protocols and availability of supplies for those returning to campus.
- Return to campus coordinators assist with supply kit distribution, supply inventory and facility signage and readiness.
- Refer to the Return to Campus Implementation Plan webpage for more information.
Employees at increased risk for severe illness according to the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health, and who also have been informed that they need to return to campus for work, may request flexibility in work arrangements through the university ADA/504 coordinator. Employees should discuss with their manager and their HR professional any other alternative work arrangements.
Managers should demonstrate flexibility in developing staffing plans, particularly for those caring for others, or who have concerns about returning to campus. Management options include:
- Continued telework if this has been a successful arrangement
- Alternative schedules to limit contact with other employees
- Usage of leave if there is no/limited work that can be performed remotely. Employees may request up to 30 days of leave without pay if leave balances are exhausted.
Faculty will work with their department/unit on their return to campus plan.
Sick leave policies and practices
Additional forms of state and federal leave are available to faculty and staff whose work is affected by COVID-19 either as a direct result of the virus or as a result of the need to find accommodations for child care due to school, camp and daycare closures due to the virus. Available state and federal leave hours may be used continuously or intermittently.
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) – Federal emergency leave through Dec. 31, 2020
- Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) – Up to 80 hours of state emergency leave during the public health emergency, which will continue in 2021.
- FFCRA Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFML) – Emergency family and medical leave through Dec. 31, 2020
We encourage you and your manager to think flexibly about how your work is best performed, how the job is structured, how the work of the team is organized, and what kind of changes may be made to support you and your colleagues at this time, while maintaining effective departmental operations.
In general, options currently available include:
- FFCRA and personal leave for either initial positioning of your children for learning success (first couple of weeks of the school year), or daily support of your children’s learning
- Schedule changes to days worked, including, as applicable, evening and weekend work
- Schedule changes to hours worked, for example, working from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., and then from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Restructured jobs to support telework or weekend hours
- Reorganized team operations and work schedules
- Reduced schedule (i.e. reducing from 40 to 32 hours/week)
A full listing of existing options and what they look like when applied may be found on hr.vcu.edu/covid-19/working-parents. Your HR professional is positioned to assist in these conversations, if needed. As a reminder, an FAQ list covering topics like virus exposure, quarantine information, and caring for someone with COVID-19 is found on the HR COVID-19 page.
As a premier public research university, we are fortunate to have resources and expertise right here at VCU, including our nationally-ranked School of Education. We encourage you to review the #SOESupportsYou Campaign, where SOE faculty share advice and strategies on how to achieve success with your child’s virtual learning during this time.
VCU Parking and Transportation offers several long-term and temporary parking accommodations for employees. View details at parking.vcu.edu/parking/faculty-and-staff.
On-site VCU day and overnight summer camps for non-enrolled minors are not permissible for summer 2021. Virtual programming may still be held. Updates about fall 2021 in-person youth programming will be available in June. Learn more at community.vcu.edu/mfyc/youth-safety.
The Global Education Office has prepared a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help international students prepare to start or continue their studies in the U.S. for spring 2021. This is a living document and will be updated as needed. Please be sure to check the FAQs regularly.
There are hundreds of details involved in each of these measures and considerations. Your input is very helpful as we move forward. Climatext, a real-time data collection tool developed by VCU Information Technology and the Division for Inclusive Excellence, is part of the university’s proactive monitoring and response plan to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Climatext provides quick feedback to uncover trends and gain insights that the university can incorporate into decisions. In this new climate, tools like this help ensure we get the input we need in time to use it. Learn more about climate surveys and continue to share your ideas.