VCU Together update - Feb. 25, 2022

Dear VCU Community,

As the most recent surge of COVID-19 infection slows and public health guidance evolves with changing conditions, VCU is considering a transition back to voluntary masking. At this time, VCU continues to require masking indoors while on campus and at outdoor events with more than 50 people.

When making health and safety decisions, VCU’s Incident Coordination Team (ICT) and Public Health Response Team (PHRT) consider factors including positivity rates, hospitalization rates, and demand for quarantine/isolation housing. Fortunately, at this time these metrics are all trending downward.

When pandemic conditions improved last year, and positivity rates were below 10%, VCU eliminated its masking requirement. Likewise, if COVID-19 positivity and hospitalization rates continue to improve in the coming weeks, with positivity rates in Richmond sustained below 10%, VCU plans to once again transition to voluntary masking effective March 21. We selected March 21 to give our university community time to monitor trends over the next several weeks and transition after spring break travel. 

If VCU transitions to voluntary masking, masks will continue to be required in certain situations such as clinical settings, health system facilities and when using public transit. In response to feedback from VCU's COVID-19 Faculty and Staff Advisory Committee, and to ease this transition, VCU will also continue to require masks for in-person classes for the foreseeable future. Community members who wish to wear masks may continue to do so -- we must all continue to treat one another with kindness and respect.

On-campus vending machines will continue to be stocked with KN95 and cloth masks, which are available at no cost to students and employees. For more information about different types of masks, when to wear them, and how to clean them, visit this VCU Health resource.

Until VCU transitions to voluntary masking, it is important that we all continue to comply with the current requirements for indoor masking. For more information about this update and other public health measures, visit the One VCU Better Together FAQ.

We realize that our community members may be divided on the issue of mask requirements. As always, VCU leadership makes these decisions with the health and safety of our community members at the forefront and based on scientific data and guidance from experts in public health and safety. Low positivity rates, coupled with other mitigation efforts such as vaccines and boosters, present an opportunity to consider changes to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Your diligence has led us to this important milestone and we look forward to finishing the semester strong. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Fotis Sotiropoulos, Ph.D.
Provost and senior vice president for academic affairs

Art Kellermann, M.D., M.P.H.
Senior vice president for health sciences at VCU and CEO of VCU Health System

Meredith L. Weiss, Ph.D.
Vice president for administration