Decisions about remote learning/working

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Q: How will VCU make decisions about transitioning back to remote learning/working if needed?

A: There are dozens of variables that could potentially impact any number of university operations including the decision to transition to exclusive remote learning and working. VCU’s Public Health Response Team and Incident Coordination Team consistently review new guidelines from the CDC, VDH and our own medical and science experts, in addition to testing data and reports of COVID-19 related symptoms to make decisions about both safety protocols and university operations. Specifically, the PHRT will make recommendations using, among other things, the following data:

  • The rate of positive tests at VCU
  • The prevalence of COVID-19 in the VCU community vs. the prevalence of COVID-19 in the Richmond area
  • Excessive demand for isolation/quarantine residence hall space
  • Hospital capacity
  • Test availability and result time

Q: What happens if there is an outbreak? How will VCU make decisions about operations?

A: If a cluster of cases occurs in one of our residence halls, for example, then VCU’s Public Health Response Team will work to determine if the hall needs to be closed and how infected students will be isolated. If surveillance testing for the community shows an increase disproportionate to the prevalence in the greater Richmond community, the epidemiologists at VCU Health and VDH will be tasked with determining potential causes and making recommendations. If a significant portion of our student body is affected, then partial or full campus closure may be the recommendation, depending on the number of affected community members.

Q: When employees disagree with their supervisor’s assessment of whether they need to be on campus, what specific measures should a dean use to inform their decision, and what is senior administration’s guidance to them? Is there a directive outlining expectations of how dean-level leadership should respond to employee appeals?

A: The appeal process is outlined on the Responsible Together faculty and staff webpage. Employees should discuss their concerns about their projected return to campus with their managers, and if an employee’s manager indicates that an employee’s presence on campus is needed to successfully complete their job duties, the employee may appeal the manager’s decision to the respective Dean/VP with any additional information that may be relevant. The Dean/VP may consult with the HR Professional and the Office of Faculty Affairs or the Office of Employee Relations as needed.