Public health measures

We each have roles and responsibilities to promote safety in our learning, work and living environments. This page highlights the resources provided as well as the measures in place to keep the VCU community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Need a vaccine?

Students: Make an appointment online through University Student Health Services.

Employees: Call VCU Employee Health at (804) 828-0584 to schedule an appointment.

To search all vaccination opportunities near you, visit vaccines.gov.

Need to report your vaccine?

Students: Report through University Student Health Services.

New employees: Refer to the employee vaccine FAQ.

Operational decisions

How will VCU decide whether to close campus should an outbreak of COVID-19 occur? The university will look at a number of factors when making such decisions. In the event of an outbreak, closure of the university would likely take a phased approach or could result in a partial campus closure, depending on the number of community members affected. Learn more about the factors driving operational decisions, as well as the Public Health Response Team's role in making such decisions.

Reporting symptoms, exposure and test results

Call center

If you are symptomatic or test positive for COVID-19, do not report to any campus activities and call 1-804-MYCOVID or 1-804-692-6843 to report your symptoms or test results to University Student Health Services or Employee Health. All university community members must follow this public health measure regardless of vaccination status. Call center representatives will ask you who you have been in contact with, so they can contact exposed individuals. Notify your faculty or supervisor that you will be absent from class or work. You are not required to disclose a reason.

Testing

Testing plays an essential role in VCU’s COVID-19 response. Learn more about testing options and procedures, or view frequently asked questions about testing.

Contact tracing

Contact tracing is the process of identifying individuals who had close contact with someone infected with an infectious disease and providing guidance to prevent them from spreading it. Contact tracing is not a new tool; public health professionals use it every day for other contagious diseases like measles and tuberculosis (TB). It is an important part of how Virginia and VCU can stop the spread of COVID-19. A joint VCU-Virginia Department of Health (VDH) team of contact tracers is conducting contact tracing for VCU students and employees.

Positive student and employee COVID tests are reported and documented in these ways:

  • The results are communicated to Student Health Services or VCU Employee Health Services via the lab if a VCU test. Student Health or Employee Health would contact the student or employee to get initial information from the student regarding close contacts.
  • The results would be automatically entered into the Virginia Department of Health database by the lab. This database is also accessed by the VCU contact tracing team. However, VDH does not automatically contact VCU contact tracers; rather, VCU students and employees must report their positive test results to Student Health or Employee Health via the call center (1-804-MYCOVID or 1-804-692-6843) to document their case.
  • If the student or employee calls the COVID call center, they will speak to a representative from Student Health or Employee Health during working hours or a medical call service during non-working hours.

All students and employees, regardless of whether they receive a test through VCU or an outside source (doctor’s office, pharmacy, clinic, etc.) must report a positive test result to Student Health Services or Employee Health Services via the call center (1-804-MYCOVID or 1-804-692-6843) to document their case.

The VCU contact tracing team will administer a contract tracing questionnaire to any member of the VCU community who reports a positive test for COVD-19 in order to identify others who may have been exposed. Close contacts will be notified by VCU/VDH contact tracers and may be instructed to quarantine. The definition of a close contact and information about exposure can be found at vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/local-exposure. See also VCU's exposure FAQ.

Quarantine and isolation

Isolation separates those who test positive for COVID-19 from people who are not sick. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of those who may have been exposed to see if they become sick. These definitions are according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information, review the quarantine and isolation protocols at VCU.

Requirements and rules

COVID-19 vaccines

Students: Vaccination are required for all students who live, learn, work or will be on campus for any reason (excluding those with religious or health exemptions). The requirement also applies to students who are enrolled in virtual classes (unless the degree program is one of VCU's entirely online degree programs). Survey results show strong majorities of students, parents, faculty and staff support this requirement. Students must submit their documentation prior to registering for classes. For more information about full vaccination, documentation requirements, religious and health exemptions, confidentiality and vaccine manufacturers, see the student vaccine FAQ.

Employees: All VCU faculty and staff were required to report COVID-19 vaccination or, if applicable, submit requests for medical or religious exemptions. New employees should work with their HR Professional to report their document. For more information, refer to the employee vaccine FAQ.

On-campus appointments: VCU continues to offer a number of on-campus vaccination opportunities by appointment.

  • Students can make an appointment online through University Student Health Services.
  • Employees can contact VCU Employee Health at (804) 828-0584 to schedule an appointment.

To search all vaccination opportunities near you, visit vaccinefinder.org.

Face coverings

Masking indoors has been reinstated throughout the university and remains in effect for health system facilities. Masks are also required at outdoor events with more than 50 people or where physical distancing of 6 or more feet is not possible.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommend indoor masking in areas with substantial community spread.

Review FAQs about masking at VCU.

Physical distancing

There are no longer physical distancing requirements or density restrictions in campus spaces. This is applicable to classes, events, meetings, research laboratories and gatherings. Facilities and signage will be updated over the summer to reflect this change. Although classrooms are currently set at 66 percent capacity for the fall semester, colleges and schools may increase course capacity as needed. Unvaccinated community members and visitors must follow CDC guidelines for indoor and outdoor activities.

Cleaning and disinfecting

VCU’s custodial staff is increasing cleaning and disinfecting efforts and frequencies across campus. Students and employees are responsible for applying disinfectant to their personal work spaces, rooms and belongings before and after use. 

Daily health surveys

VCU students and employees who are unvaccinated, whether remote or on campus, are required to complete daily health surveys. An exemption to this public health measure is granted to VCU students and employees who are fully vaccinated and have reported their vaccination to VCU.

These daily health checks are essential for the safety of our community as it is a consistent way to monitor symptoms and connect to Student Health and Employee Health if symptoms present. Reminder emails are sent daily to those who need to take the survey. Students must take the survey every day, including weekends, when school is in session. Employees must take it only on days they work.

The survey asks respondents if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Symptoms in the survey are based on CDC-published COVID-19 symptoms. Students and employees should check their temperature daily with a personal thermometer. Temperature screening units are also available at various campus locations.

VCU only tracks if users do or do not respond. The Dean of Students office is notified after repeated non-compliance by a student. Failure to comply may result in disciplinary action. For employees, managers are notified after repeated non-compliance. Disciplinary action for employees who fail to comply may be up to and including termination.

Surveillance testing

Asymptomatic surveillance testing is mandatory for residential students, students who attend on-campus classes and employees. VCU students and employees who are fully vaccinated and have reported their vaccine record to VCU are exempt from this requirement. Learn more about testing for COVID-19.

Events and gatherings

There are no longer physical distancing requirements or density restrictions in campus spaces. This is applicable to classes, events, meetings, research laboratories and gatherings. Masks are required, however, at indoor events. They are also required at outdoor events with more than 50 people or where physical distancing of 6 or more feet is not possible. 

Personal travel

We encourage students and employees to refer to the CDC and U.S. Department of State to be fully informed of potential health risks and the most up-to-date travel requirements and restrictions that may be in place. The State Department announced a significant increase in the number of countries designated Level 4: Do Not Travel, up from 16% to approximately 80% of countries worldwide. In light of these changes, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to continuously check the latest travel advisories when arranging international travel and prior to departure.

The CDC currently recommends that unvaccinated travelers undergo pre- and post-travel Covid-19 testing and observe a 7-10 day quarantine.

University-sanctioned travel

Definition of “university-sanctioned international travel”: University-sanctioned international travel is defined as any travel activities outside the United States of America or its territories engaged in by students, employees, and/or community members (whose travel is funded by VCU) related to the individual’s position or role at the university, regardless of the source of funds. This includes, but is not limited to, travel related to instruction, research, or business such as conferences, presentations, recruiting, site/program assessment or development, credit-bearing or non-credit bearing education abroad, internships, service-learning, volunteer or work programs, fellowships, athletics events, field studies, or professional development activities. This does not include travel activities engaged in by students or employees in a personal capacity such as personal vacations and personal travel; individual travel that has no affiliation with VCU is not monitored by the university.

Definition of "essential travel": Essential travel is defined as supporting activities that are necessary for work (for employees) and must be done in person. Essential travel may include research, teaching, study/education abroad, and other activities of immediate importance to the university’s mission. Members of the VCU community are encouraged to limit personal travel. We encourage students and employees to frequently refer to the CDC and U.S. Department of State to be fully informed of potential health risks and the most up-to-date travel requirements and restrictions that may be in place.

Definition of "domestic travel": University-sanctioned domestic travel is defined as any travel activities within the United States of America or its territories engaged in by VCU students, employees, and/or community members related to the individual’s position or role at the university, regardless of the source of funds.

Student international travel update: For the current status of student international travel and VCU’s study abroad offering, refer to the “Student International Travel Planning” heading on the Students section of this site.

Travel to Level 1 or 2 countries: University-sanctioned international travel is permitted for faculty, staff, and students to U.S. Department of State Level 1 or 2 countries without need to petition VCU’s International Travel Advisory Committee. Employees are reminded to coordinate travel through their department and VCU Procurement, and students must coordinate international travel plans through the Global Education Office (GEO).

Travel to Level 3 or 4 countries: University-sanctioned international travel to U.S. Department of State Level 3 or Level 4 countries is prohibited. An exception to this travel prohibition for essential purposes will be considered by petition to VCU's International Travel Advisory Committee (ITAC).  For travel to Level 3 countries (due to COVID-19 only), a final decision will be made by ITAC.  For travel to Level 3 countries due to risk indicators other than COVID-19, and travel to Level 4 countries, a final decision will be made by the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs or the senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of VCU Health System and communicated by GEO. Employees should not complete the travel pre-approval process in ChromeRiver until final approval of the petition has been granted. This petition process does not replace fiscal/administrative levels of approval for travel, and exists for review of an exception to the travel prohibition only. Student petitions may be completed here and employee petitions can be found here. Petition questions can be directed to itac@vcu.edu.

International Travel Advisory Committee: The International Travel Advisory Committee has been established for the purpose of reviewing petitions for an exception to current restrictions on university-sanctioned travel.  ITAC develops and implements the petition and petition review processes and makes recommendations for international travel policies for university employees and students from a risk management and safety standpoint. The purpose of the ITAC review process is to provide a holistic assessment of the risk of travel for the individual petitioner going to the specific destination for the particular purpose indicated. For more information about ITAC, please visit the ITAC website at global.vcu.edu/itac.

Travel, variants and vaccines: Per CDC guidelines, individuals who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should refrain from all university-sanctioned* international travel, including, but not limited to, study abroad and international exchange programs. VCU strongly recommends that travelers delay international travel until they are fully vaccinated. Per CDC guidelines for international travel, fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19; however, international travel poses additional risks and even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new COVID-19 variants. The CDC currently recommends that unvaccinated travelers undergo pre- and post-travel COVID-19 testing and observe a 7-day quarantine. 

Domestic travel: University-sanctioned domestic travel is permitted in accordance with CDC guidelines, which call for individuals to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before they travel. In addition, the CDC currently recommends that unvaccinated travelers undergo pre- and post-travel COVID-19 testing and observe a 7-10 day quarantine. Travel review and approval will continue through existing channels. 

Resources to help you stay safe

Supplies

VCU Facilities Management provides disinfectant supplies, including hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray stations, throughout campus based on supply.

Students and employees can use their VCU ID to obtain hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and face coverings 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).

Monroe Park Campus vending machine locations:

  • Bowe Street Parking Deck, 1st floor, elevator lobby
  • Snead Hall, East Hall, center lobby across from the security desk
  • T. Edward Temple Building, auditorium wing across from the atrium entrance, between Rooms 1160 and 1165
  • James Branch Cabell Library, 1st floor, center of building, near the copy machines
  • Student Commons, 1st floor, near Suite 104

MCV Campus vending machine locations:

  • Larrick Student Center, right of Starbucks
  • Health Sciences Library, 1st floor, left of the main entrance, near the elevators
  • VCU Health Sciences Research Building and Annex, 1st floor, lobby
  • McGlothlin Medical Education Center, 1st floor, across from the elevators
  • Hunton Student Center, 1st floor, right of the information desk

Signage/barriers

VCU is using signage to aid in physical distancing, including occupancy limits on elevators, “stand here” decals on floors, etc. Plexiglass barriers have been installed in some high-traffic areas to allow for closer interaction between staff and VCU community members when necessary.

Transportation: Riding GRTC

Students and employees can continue to utilize GRTC for essential travel. GRTC has taken additional safety measures to help ensure the well-being of drivers and passengers during COVID-19. Some of their most recent safety efforts include: implementing enhanced daily bus cleaning procedures, installing sanitizer dispensers on all vehicles, redistributing buses from low-ridership routes to high-ridership local routes to help promote physical distancing, disinfecting high-traffic areas periodically with Steriphene aerosol disinfectant and encouraging more frequent staff testing. GRTC also requires all passengers to wear face masks or nose and mouth coverings while riding. Passengers without masks may be asked to exit the bus. You can learn more about how GRTC is responding to COVID-19 at ridegrtc.com/news-initiatives/news-updates/grtc-and-covid-19-coronavirus.

COVIDWISE app

COVIDWISE is Virginia’s official COVID-19 exposure notification mobile app. It uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to quickly notify users who have likely been exposed so you can reduce the risk of infection for your friends and family and help Virginia stop the spread. Note that it is different from, and does not replace, the Kallaco app, which residential students use to complete their daily health surveys.