VCU Together Update for students - Aug. 21

Tips for campus and city life, COVIDWISE, supply kits and more

As we plan the return to campus for the university’s students, faculty and staff, our priorities are the health, safety and wellness — both physical and emotional — of every member of the VCU community. Many details have been worked out, and many are still to come. This weekly update will be a resource to help keep you informed as details become available. All updates are available at together.vcu.edu. Receive notifications by downloading VCU Mobile from your iOS or Android app store.

Ways to help keep you and your peers safe

Reducing the spread of COVID-19 requires changes in our daily lives. 

We must practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet, wear clean masks inside of buildings and outside in high-traffic spaces, wash our hands frequently and sanitize common spaces before and after we use them. We also must limit the size of in-person gatherings. 

Protocols for residential students

VCU Residential Life and Housing works directly with VCU Student Health Services on any reports of potential residents with COVID-19 symptoms, or students who test positive. Residential Life and Housing has a process for both quarantine and isolation housing on campus which can be found on the Resident Planning Guide for Isolation and Quarantine website. Following VCU Health and Safety Protocols, if a student is feeling sick or they have a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, they should contact VCU Student Health Services at (804) 828-8828.

Daily health surveys

Students are required to complete a brief daily health survey, monitor their health and report symptoms of COVID-19 to Student Health Services. 

  • Non-residential students: Complete your daily health survey at dailyhealth.vcu.edu or click CampusReady in the VCUMobile app.
  • Residential students: Complete your daily health survey by logging into your Kallaco account or click CampusReady in the VCUMobile app. 

COVID-19 dashboard 

In a community as large and diverse as VCU, we are likely to see rumors on social media or hear rumors shared by friends about outbreaks, building evacuations and campus closures. The new COVID-19 dashboard 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.

Returning to Campus with Ramantha: An interactive adventure

Put all of the knowledge you learned from the Return to Campus training to the test and help our friend Ramantha get through her first day! This “choose your own adventure”-style quiz will cover a variety of scenarios you may face coming back to campus, and it’s up to YOU to make the safest decisions possible. Visit the Returning to Campus with Ramantha blog post to start your adventure. 

Tips for campus and city life  

Residential Life and Housing has created a YouTube playlist with 10 videos with tips for students. These videos range from tips for socializing while physical distancing to how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while doing laundry to safety tips for living in the city. 

COVIDWISE: Virginia’s exposure notification app

Students, faculty and staff in Virginia are encouraged to download COVIDWISE, a free app from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) that notifies you if you come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. VDH partnered with Google and Apple to create COVIDWISE, which is designed to protect users’ privacy and does not collect, use or store personal identifiable information or location data. The more people who download the app, the better it will work to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Visit the App Store or Google Play Store to download it. For more information, visit: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covidwise/

Note that COVIDWISE is separate from and does not replace Kallaco, which residential students must use to take their daily health survey and which is also used by the prevalence testing volunteer group to receive test results.

Starter supply kits for returning students

Starting Aug. 24, starter supply kits with hand sanitizer, spray disinfectant and launderable face coverings will be available at University Student Commons and Hunton Student Center. A card swipe will be required.

Hand sanitizer and spray disinfectant bottles can be refilled and should not be discarded. More information about how to refill disinfectant supplies will be communicated later in the semester. 

Volunteer for asymptomatic prevalence testing

In addition to promoting healthy behaviors, such as wearing a mask and physical distancing, VCU’s current testing strategy includes testing a percentage of asymptomatic VCU community members on a daily basis. Regular testing of asymptomatic individuals helps us monitor the overall prevalence of COVID-19 in the VCU community and provides the valuable data we need to make decisions about safety measures and university operations.

VCU will offer COVID-19 prevalence testing at no cost to students and employees at locations on both the Monroe Park and MCV campuses; however, we need to identify a pool of students and employees who want to participate. To volunteer for prevalence testing, fill out the online form at covidtest.vcu.edu/. Participants will receive a viral, oropharyngeal (throat) swab test, not the more invasive nasopharyngeal swab in the nose. If you are selected to participate in prevalence testing, VCU will contact you with details about how to participate and receive your test results. 

Weeks of Welcome

Weeks of Welcome is a time to get acquainted or re-acquainted with the VCU campus, to make and renew connections, and to explore different parts of campus. All new and returning students are invited to meet new friends, get to know VCU and take part in our school traditions.

Temporary physical distancing shuttle and GRTC

VCU Parking and Transportation is operating a temporary physical distancing shuttle to support VCU community members with increased safety concerns. Three coach-style RMA Worldwide buses will service Cabell Library, One Capitol Square and McGuire Hall during the hours of 6 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Friday. Physical distancing guidelines will be strongly enforced, with no more than 24 passengers permitted on each bus at one time. Shuttles will stop every 12 minutes during the peak period (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) and every 20 minutes during off-peak times. Passengers will be able to track the status of each shuttle and view estimated arrival times on the VCU Ride Systems mobile app. The shuttle will operate through mid-November. Visit go.vcu.edu/vcushuttle to learn more. 

In addition to the VCU cross-campus shuttle, all VCU and VCU Health System students and employees can continue to ride GRTC at no cost. Travel between the Monroe Park and MCV campuses can best be accommodated by GRTC’s Pulse and Route 5. GRTC has also taken additional safety measures to help ensure the well-being of drivers and passengers. Click here to learn more about how GRTC is responding to COVID-19.  

As a reminder, masks are required to ride all GRTC and VCU buses.