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.

Forgot your mask?

Disposable masks are available at various spots around campus. Check this spreadsheet for a list of locations and times. 

Experiencing symptoms?

You must call 1-804-MYCOVID or 1-804-692-6843 to be connected to Student or Employee Health Services. Learn more about the process.

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.

Requirements and rules

Face coverings

The use of face coverings are in line with guidelines set by the VDH and CDC. Face coverings that cover nose and mouth are required in all common areas. The use of face coverings is required in common interior spaces, including building entry areas, conference rooms, hallways, elevators, restrooms and parking decks while on campus. Face coverings are recommended but may be removed when outside as long as individuals comply with the current physical distancing guidelines. Face coverings include masks or gaiters that cover the nose and mouth. Refer to the CDC for guidance about face coverings, including how to store and wash masks. Face shields are not considered face coverings.

Physical distancing

VCU is following the CDC guidelines for physical distancing, which recommends staying at least 6 feet apart from others. Classrooms, common areas, offices, labs and other buildings and facilities have been modified to ensure that physical distancing can be maintained.

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. For more details, see pages 6 and 7 of the VCU Return to Campus Plan , or view frequently asked questions about cleaning.

Training

All students and employees are required to complete a return-to-campus training before the start of the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters so they have a better understanding of the steps being taken by the university to promote their health and safety, as well as an understanding of their expected contributions to the health, safety and success of the VCU community. Students and employees must sign an attestation indicating training completion and a commitment to personal compliance with safety protocols.

Employees who are taking VCU courses with the tuition remission benefit only need to complete the employee training. Employees who are taking VCU courses but are not using the tuition remission should email dsa@vcu.edu and let that office know they have completed the employee training.

Daily health surveys

All VCU students and employees, whether remote or on campus, are required to complete daily health surveys.

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.

View frequently asked questions about the daily health survey.

Events and gatherings

VCU's current event guidelines remain as outlined in the VCU Return to Campus Plan , with non-instructional gatherings limited to 10 people and 36 square feet per person required for instructional/educational activities and settings. These guidelines are continuously evaluated and will likely become less restrictive as vaccines are distributed and as we approach the fall semester. At this time, social gatherings and indoor events remain strongly discouraged.

VCU offers additional guidance for college and school-specific commencement activities.

Personal travel

Members of the VCU community are encouraged to limit 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. VCU also recommends that all students and employees 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.

A student arriving less than 14 days before the start of classes can contact their faculty in advance of the first day of classes to discuss options for remote learning during this time.

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 have a negative COVID-19 test result prior to move-in. Residential students who travel from locations outside of the U.S. may be required to quarantine on campus until they receive a negative test result.

University-sponsored travel

University-sponsored international travel to U.S. Department of State Level 1 or 2 countries for faculty and staff must be approved by the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs or the senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of VCU Health System.

University-sponsored international travel to U.S. Department of State Level 1 or 2 countries for students for whom international travel is deemed essential to fulfilling academic degree requirements and/or whose participation is sponsored by nationally-competitive awards will be considered through a petition to the Global Education Office (GEO) for an exception. Petitions for exceptions will be coordinated and reviewed by GEO. GEO will route the petition for exception to the student’s department chair, the dean, and the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs or the senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of VCU Health System. Students should work with the Global Education Office to petition for an exception and register their travel if approved.

University-sponsored travel to Level 3 or 4 countries for faculty, staff, and students remains suspended.

University-sponsored domestic travel out of state for clinical and research purposes is permissible with the approval of the senior vice president for health sciences or the provost for faculty and staff. Students should work with their departments to seek approval.

Members of the VCU community are encouraged to limit 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.

Resources to help you stay safe

COVID-19 vaccines

The Virginia Department of Health determines vaccine eligibility and works with local health districts on the equitable distribution of vaccines. VCU is in the Richmond and Henrico Health District, which is now in phase 1c of vaccine distribution. To understand your eligibility, visit the VDH website. Faculty and staff who are not eligible as part of phase 1a or 1b will be eligible as part of phase 1c. VCU students, unless otherwise eligible as part of phases 1a through 1c, will be eligible when the vaccine becomes widely available for the general population. Review the frequently asked questions about vaccinations for more information.

Supplies

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

Students and employees who returned to campus received a starter supply kit that includes launderable face masks, disinfectant spray and hand sanitizer. The kits are available at University Student Commons and Hunton Student Center while supplies last.

  • University Student Commons Information Desk: Daily, 12 p.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Hunton Student Center Information Desk: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Students and employees can also 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
  • Tompkins-McCaw 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

Locations throughout campus have disposable masks available. Please check this spreadsheet for locations and times.

Rooms in Hibbs Hall open for eating and studying

Beginning March 4, the following rooms in Hibbs Hall, 900 Park Ave. on the Monroe Park Campus, will be available to the VCU community to use for eating and studying:

  • Room 262
  • Room 264
  • Room 327
  • Room 329
  • Room 405

These rooms will be open during the following times each week:

  • Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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.

Transportation: Temporary physical distancing shuttle

In addition to GRTC, VCU Parking and Transportation is operating a temporary physical distancing shuttle to support VCU community members with increased safety concerns. The shuttle travels to Cabell Library, One Capitol Square and VCU Health Sciences Research Building, and physical distancing measures in addition to face mask requirements are enforced. Additional information is available on the Parking and Transportation website.

View frequently asked questions about transportation.

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.

If you get sick/exposed

Hotline

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 are exposed to someone with COVID-19, you must call 1-804-MYCOVID or 1-804-692-6843 to be connected with Student Health Services or Employee Health Services. Learn more about the reporting process.

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.

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 with instructions to quarantine. The definition of a close contact and information about exposure can be found at vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/local-exposure.

View frequently asked questions about contact tracing.

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.

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.

View frequently asked questions about quarantine and isolation.

  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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 have a negative COVID-19 test result prior to move-in. Residential students who travel from locations outside of the U.S. may be required to quarantine on campus until they receive a negative test result.

More information for residential students is available at housing.vcu.edu/together/isolation_quarantine as well as in the video below.