Message from leadership — July 31, 2020

Weekly update: Town halls, study abroad, K-12 resources, VCU Rec Sports and more

As we plan the return to campus for the university’s faculty, staff and students, 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.

Town halls and information sessions

In preparation for the fall semester, VCU has held universitywide town halls and information sessions for faculty and students/families, and will soon hold a town hall for all staff (classified staff and university administrative professionals). Recordings and pertinent links are below. A central FAQ, based on recent town halls, has been posted as well.

Faculty town hall - July 20, 2020

View the recording.

Refer to these resources for important information for preparing for the start of the fall semester:

Students and families information session - July 21, 2020

You can also view the recording of the Information Session at this link. For additional questions, visit together.vcu.edu/contact/.

Staff town hall - Aug. 3, 2020

Join VCU leadership and your colleagues for an information session for staff this Monday, Aug. 3 at 1 p.m. to learn more about the One VCU: Responsible Together plan for returning to campus. Topics will include health and safety protocols, daily health monitoring, VCU’s COVID-19 testing strategy, COVID-19 reporting procedures and telework.

Register to attend today for this webinar-style, virtual meeting. 

Submit your questions and comments prior to the information session here. Panelists will make every effort to answer questions in the time allotted. Following the information session, your questions will be saved and answered in a FAQ posted online.

Academics

Research

Undergraduate students are permitted to participate in research activities. All university health, safety and training requirements must be met prior to participation. 

Study abroad programs cancelled through January 2021

Because of the continued risks associated with traveling abroad due to COVID-19, VCU has decided to cancel all study abroad programs through January 2021. This includes fall 2020 and winter break 2021 programs and applies to all study abroad types, including exchange, direct enroll and provider programs. This decision was made in light of the U.S. Department of State's current global health advisory level, which remains at Level 4: Do Not Travel. The Education Abroad office will continue to monitor travel advisory levels and make recommendations regarding spring 2021 programs. In the meantime, students are encouraged to visit the Keep on Studying Abroad website for ways they can maintain momentum in planning their study abroad experience.

VCU libraries reopening details

James Branch Cabell Library will open its building to VCU cardholders and return access to its physical collections and study spaces Aug. 3. Masks and physical distancing will be required, and no food or drink will be allowed in the building other than in the Starbucks seating area. Visit the website for more details. Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences opened July 27. 

Special Collections and Archives on both campuses will operate by appointment only until September. Special Collections and Archives at Tompkins-McCaw Library opened for appointments only on July 27. James Branch Cabell Library's Special Collections and Archives will be open for appointments starting Aug. 3.

Remote research support and instruction are available throughout the academic year. To request assistance, contact libjbcsca@vcu.edu or (804) 828-1108 for James Branch Cabell Library and libtmlsca@vcu.edu or (804) 828-9898. 

Special Collections and Archives on both campuses will reopen for walk-in researchers on Sept. 8. Hours of operation will be 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Operations

VCU Recreational Sports reopening update

Cary Street Gym and MCV Campus Recreation Center are scheduled to reopen with limited operations on Monday, Aug. 3. Following the Commonwealth of Virginia, CDC and VCU guidelines, Recreational Sports has made changes to their physical environment, as well as their guidelines and procedures, to help keep their members and staff safe. Full information can be found on their facility reopening website.

K-12 resources for working parents

VCU Human Resources has developed resources for working parents with children in grades K-12 who will be engaging in virtual learning this fall. Employees are encouraged to complete a survey providing feedback that will help VCU determine how to best support parents juggling responsibilities both at work and at home. 

Temporary physical distancing shuttle coming in August

Starting in August, VCU Parking and Transportation will operate a temporary physical distancing shuttle to support VCU community members with increased safety concerns. The shuttle will travel to Cabell Library, One Capitol Square and McGuire Hall, and physical distancing measures in addition to face mask requirements will be enforced. 

Temporary parking options

In the event a long-term VCU parking permit does not meet your needs, daily/hourly parking is available at several parking facilities. Additionally, students and employees may purchase a two-week permit for designated locations online at https://vcu.t2hosted.com/Account/Portal.  

RamSafe service begins Aug. 1

RamSafe service will resume on Aug. 1 at 5 p.m. with physical distancing guidelines enforced. Buses will operate at 50 percent passenger capacity. Masks will be required to ride. Learn more at go.vcu.edu/ramsafe.

Employee trainings available in Talent@VCU 

Prior to returning to work on campus, all faculty and staff, including hybrid-teleworkers, are required to complete the Reboarding at VCU training and attest to following One VCU: Responsible Together health and safety protocols. Employees continuing to telework must complete the training by Monday, Aug. 17. Managers must complete the employee training as well as an additional manager training. Training is available online in Talent@VCU. HR professionals in each school and department can assist managers in monitoring training completion for returning employees.

A psychological readiness training related to the One VCU: Responsible Together return-to-campus plan is available in Talent@VCU. This course is designed to help users become better prepared for the challenges related to the pandemic, protests and other recent events. Employees will find the course in the “featured courses” section of the learner homepage in Talent@VCU. Users may also search “psychological readiness” in the learner search box. Simply click “request” to take the course. The average time to complete the e-learning module is about 30 minutes.

Ways to help keep you and your peers safe

Supply kit distribution and refills

Returning students and employees will receive starter supply kits with hand sanitizer, spray disinfectant and launderable face coverings. 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. VCU will provide employees with supply kits upon their return to campus. Residential students will receive their supply kit upon move-in. Non-residential students can pick up supply kits during the first week of classes at various locations on the Monroe Park Campus. Health sciences students will receive kits at their respective school. Kits will be available at select locations on both campuses for the remainder of the semester. More details about times and locations will be posted on https://together.vcu.edu/students/ as they become available.