RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao said he is looking forward to seeing students and faculty back on campus for the fall semester. However, the start of the fall semester could be pushed back depending on the curve of the novel coronavirus.
“We have been diligent in observing social distancing and other curtailments in Virginia, and the current evidence suggests that these measures have flattened the curve in the commonwealth, thereby contributing to a safer environment in which to consider on-campus education,” Rao wrote in a statement Monday.
VCU said they will be taking extra steps to ensure that students and faculty have a safe return to campus. The university will follow CDC, VCU Health and state guidelines that include:
- Physical distancing protocols and procedures for classrooms, student housing, dining halls, labs and studios, offices, libraries, large group indoor and outdoor events and other places where we gather in our daily lives on campus
- Screening, testing and tracing protocols and procedures
- Student and employee health support
- Continued deep cleaning of all facilities
- Return kits for students, faculty and staff that would include things like masks, hand sanitizer, and other personal protective equipment and supplies
Ilysa Bocrie, an incoming VCU freshman, told our sister-station WRIC that her senior year of high school was cut short and although she won’t have the typical freshman experience, it’s a sign of relief to go to class.
“It’s not going to do anyone any good stuck at home,” she said. “It literally strips you of your motivation. I’m glad that they’re coming back to this normalcy.”
VCU will also be exploring more opportunities for remote teaching and hybrid-learning. The university said this will allow for the flexibility needed during this pandemic.
A COVID-19 advisory group comprised of faculty and staff and other university and health experts will provide VCU with input as the university moves forward.
“It is clear that COVID-19 will be a constant presence in the foreseeable future,” Rao said. “Like us, colleges throughout the country are embracing the new reality of maintaining our mission safely amidst the continued risks posed by COVID-19.”
More information will become available as the school continues to monitor the coronavirus and its impact on Virginia.
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