Public health measures
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Q: Are masks currently required on campus? Indoors? Outdoors?
A: Starting March 21, 2022, mask will be voluntary in indoor and outdoor settings on campus. Please note that masks will continue to be required during in-person classes and instructional activities, in clinical spaces and in health system facilities.
Q: Why did VCU revisit masking requirements?
A: When pandemic conditions improved last year, and positivity rates were below 10%, VCU eliminated its masking requirement. Likewise, since COVID-19 positivity and hospitalization rates continued to improve in the coming weeks, with positivity rates in Richmond sustained below 10%, VCU decided to once again transition to voluntary masking effective March 21. We selected March 21 to give our university community time to monitor trends and transition after spring break travel.
Factors that underpin the decision to transition to voluntary masking include a sustained decline in positivity rates, hospitalization rates, and demand for quarantine/isolation housing.
Q: Will masks continue to be required in classrooms? Clinical settings?
A: Yes, masks will continue to be required in classrooms for the time being. Clinical settings and health system facilities will also continue to require masks as will public transit. Note, some university settings, such as University Student Health Services and University Counseling, are considered clinical settings.
Q: Are masks required in my labs and/or studios? Do those count as classroom settings?
A: Yes, masks will continue to be required in lab and studio settings for the time being.
Q: If masks are not required for everyone, may I still continue to wear a mask?
A: Yes. Masking will be voluntary and those who wish to wear masks may continue to do so. VCU recommends the use of cloth masks that are at least double layered, and offers three-ply cloth masks and KN95 masks at no cost to students and employees in campus vending machines. You can find vending machine locations here. Students and employees who may be considered "high risk" or immunocompromised should talk to their doctor about the use of medical grade (e.g., N95) masks.
Q: If masks are not required, what does that mean for large events?
A: Masks will not be required for large events but can be worn voluntarily.
Q: I am immunocompromised or I care for someone who is immunocompromised. How can I protect myself?
A: VCU recommends you talk with your doctor about your individual situation. For more information, visit this VCU Health resource to learn about different types of masks, when to wear them, and how to clean them.
Q: Are masks available on campus?
A: Vending machines on campus have KN95 and cloth masks available. Students and employees can use their VCU ID to obtain hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and masks at no cost from vending machines located throughout campus. Individuals are allotted one swipe per item per month (i.e., one of each item can be obtained each month).
Q: Should pandemic conditions improve or should VCU transition to voluntary masking, will that decision impact my current flexible work arrangement (FWA)?
A: No. Guidelines for flexible work arrangements were created independently from public health guidelines.
Q: Should I wear a mask if I am experiencing symptoms?
A: Call the MYCOVID call center (1-804-MYCOVID or 1-804-692-6843) if you are experiencing symptoms and do not report to on-campus classes or activities.