Public Health Advisory - Aug. 20, 2020

The welfare and safety of our community during this time is Virginia Commonwealth University’s primary concern.

In compliance with the "Emergency Notification" provisions of the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act, VCU is writing to inform you of a group of community acquired COVID-19 cases that may pose a serious or continuing threat to campus safety. Eight students have tested positive for COVID-19; these cases resulted from a party.

Gathering in large groups during a public health crisis is not acceptable and VCU does not encourage or condone these activities. As a reminder, students hosting parties or other personal gatherings on or off-campus with more than 10 people are subject to interim suspension. All participants are subject to disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct.

The Virginia Department of Health is working with student health and employee health to identify individuals who were in direct contact with those infected and to reach out to those individuals, and arrange for them to monitor their symptoms and self-quarantine for two weeks. Residential students who test positive will move into isolated housing. University staff are also working to support potentially impacted students, faculty and staff.

How can I help protect myself?

As we work together as a community to mitigate the spread of this disease, it is important that you continue to practice healthy habits:

  • Do not attend or host parties and social gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • Perform and submit your required daily health survey. Students and employees can access the survey either through their email, VCUMobile app or by logging into the following website: https://dailyhealth.vcu.edu/.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Wear masks indoors and outdoors in high-traffic areas.
  • Practice proper physical distancing by allowing six feet of space between yourself and the people around you
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

Additional preventative steps can be found at the following sites:

What if I suspect I have coronavirus?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms of COVID-19 may include, but are not limited to, the following (see also - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html):

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Students and employees who develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or who test positive for COVID-19, must inform Student Health Services or Employee Health. Both Student Health Services and Employee Health can now be contacted via a call center line at 1-804-MYCOVID or 1-804-692-6843, where students and employees who are experiencing symptoms can discuss testing options and other appropriate next steps.

Thank you for all you are doing during this challenging time to safeguard your own health and that of others. We will continue to provide any operation updates and information at https://alert.vcu.edu/. The university maintains a COVID-19 dashboard, a tool that provides transparent details about the number of positive cases in our community and additional numbers related to testing, numbers of those in quarantine and in isolation. The dashboard will be updated daily Monday through Friday and will be the most accurate way to track COVID-19 at VCU.

To review VCU's full Emergency Notification, Response and Evacuation policy, visit https://policy.vcu.edu/universitywide-policies/policies/emergency-notification-response-and-evacuation.html.