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.
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
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.
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.
This team will administer a contract tracing questionnaire to any member of the VCU community who tests positive 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.
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.
Students and employees who test positive for COVID-19 or who are diagnosed as having COVID-19 by a health care provider will be advised not to report to in-person work, class, or other community or clinical engagements until cleared by Student Health Services or Employee Health. “In-person,” regardless of location, includes student clinical training and other experiential learning activities off-campus.
Fully vaccinated students and employees are exempt from quarantine, meaning you do not need to quarantine if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 unless you have symptoms. However, fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms, and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative. If you do present COVID-like symptoms, you should quarantine until you can be tested and receive a negative result. Call 804-MYCOVID to connect with University Student Health Services or Employee Health to report any symptoms and receive help arranging a COVID-19 test.
- Unvaccinated students living on-campus will be instructed to quarantine, if exposed. Students testing positive will isolate in designated on-campus isolation housing; basic needs will be coordinated with VCU Dining Services, and medical case management will be facilitated by Student Health Services. Returning home or to a location with friends or family after testing positive for COVID-19 is not recommended by VCU’s Public Health Response Team; however, students may elect this option after considering the risk of transmitting the virus to others (for example, having a high-risk family member). More information about quarantine and isolation for students living on-campus is available on the Residential Life and Housing website.
- Students living off-campus and employees will quarantine or isolate at home or other appropriate locations.
- Student-athletes will follow quarantine guidance based on VDH, NCAA and A-10 guidelines.
- Unvaccinated students and employees who are exposed to someone who has a positive viral test or a clinical diagnosis for COVID-19 shall quarantine for no less than 14 days after their last exposure. If they have no symptoms after 14 days, they may return in-person to work, class, or other community or clinical engagements.
- Students can contact Student Health 10 days from the date of their positive test to get cleared to return to any in-person university activity, including class.
- Faculty and staff can contact Employee Health 10 days after their symptoms clear for permission to return to campus or any other VCU location. Employee Health will send employees an email formally authorizing their return.
- VCU recommends that all students returning to VCU and surrounding communities from destinations abroad follow CDC guidelines and stay home for 14 days upon arrival in the U.S., avoid being around people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and consider getting tested for COVID-19. Students residing in VCU residence halls should contact University Student Health Services and refer to the Residential Life and Housing website for additional quarantine and isolation requirements. Residential students must be vaccinated or receive an exemption prior to move-in. If a student has a COVID-19 vaccine exemption, they must receive a negative COVID-19 test result before they can move in. Residential students who travel from locations outside of the U.S. may be required to quarantine on campus until they are cleared for release by Student Health.
Requirements and rules
Students: Vaccination will be 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 attending fall classes must report their vaccination to University Student Health Services no later than July 15; Health Sciences students and those taking summer classes should receive and report their vaccinations sooner, if possible. Students who receive a two-dose vaccination must report completion of both doses. This requirement will allow our students to safely learn, live, gather and experience college at its best. 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 will be required to report COVID-19 vaccination or, if applicable, submit requests for medical or religious exemptions by Sept. 15. If you have already reported your vaccination to the university, there is no action required on your part. Employees who are dually employed with VCU Health System must report vaccination to both the university and the health system (information about health system requirements can be found through the VCU Health System intranet). This decision aligns with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s Executive Directive 18, which directs state employees, including university employees, to be vaccinated (with allowances for medical and religious exemptions). For more information, refer to the details on compliance and the vaccine FAQ for faculty and staff.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Students: Complete your daily health survey at dailyhealth.vcu.edu or click CampusReady in your VCUMobile app.
- Faculty and staff: Complete your daily health survey at dailyhealth.vcu.edu or click "WorkReady" in your VCUMobile app.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Travel to Level 1 or 2 countries: As of May 12, 2021 for faculty and staff, and effective Aug. 15, 2021 for students, university-sponsored international travel for essential purposes (see definition below) to U.S. Department of State Level 1 or 2 countries is permitted. 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 countries: University-sponsored international travel for essential purposes (see definition below) to U.S. Department of State Level 3 countries will be considered by petition to VCU's International Travel Advisory Committee. 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 travel review only. Student petitions may be completed here and employee petitions can be found here. Petition questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Travel to U.S. Department of State Level 4 countries: Travel to U.S. Department of State Level 4 countries is not permitted.
International Travel Advisory Committee: The International Travel Advisory Committee has been established for the purpose of reviewing petitions for university-sponsored international travel for essential purposes to U.S. Department of State Level 3 countries for faculty, staff and students. 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-sponsored 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-related 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.
Definition of "essential travel": Essential travel is defined as supporting activities that are necessary for academic degree completion or work and must be done in person. Essential travel may include research, teaching, study, 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.
Study abroad update: Please note that all VCU study abroad programs remain canceled through summer 2021. This applies to all education abroad program types including, but not limited to, faculty-led, exchange, direct-enroll, third-party provider, independent study, internships, service-learning, and non-credit-bearing education abroad; this includes programs facilitated by the GEO as well as those administered by other units. Study abroad programs will resume operation with some restrictions after Aug. 15, 2021. For more information, refer to the “Study Abroad Planning” heading on the of this site.
Resources to help you stay safe
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
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.
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 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.