VCU ‘committed’ to in-person fall semester

VCU 'committed to' in-person fall classes

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As school systems and many colleges wonder when they will be able to return to “in person” classes, VCU’s president says the university is ready to talk about the “next steps in a safe return to campus.”

“We were glad they finally released something because we had so many questions,” explained Junior, Hannah Eason. “We were so unsure, well are we leaning online for fall semester? Or are we leaning towards and in person? So seeing that was ‘ok, they’ve got the ball rolling.’”

In a letter to students, faculty and staff, Dr. Michael Rao wrote:

I am looking forward to getting back together by this Fall.

The recent challenges we have faced together have been exceptional historically and extraordinary personally. They have given us strength and focus. Despite feelings of separation and frustration, we have adapted quickly and shown tremendous flexibility in carrying out our mission of education, research, creative innovation and human health.

Now, more than ever, we are ready to talk about the next steps in a safe return to campus. It is going to take all of us -- students, faculty and staff -- working together to make this happen.

Rao says things will look and feel different as the university takes what they call ‘unprecedented but necessary steps’ to keep the community safe. VCU plans to follow CDC guidelines:

  • 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

Hannah Eason is the managing editor of The Commonwealth Times, and says she as well as other students have been adjusting to distance learning. Eason is looking forward to continuing to lead a student organization, and hopeful it will not be from a distance.

From speaking with students, Eason says housing and tuition are concerns for students as the university looks towards in person classes. Eason says out of town and local students are questioning whether or not they should re-sign apartment leases, as it is unclear when classes could begin.

“I am interested to see how that is going to work with housing or tuition costs--will the price of housing go down because you are no longer staying in a dorm for four or five months?," saiid Eason

Rao says the curve of the coronavirus will determine VCU’s start date, and they are also working on scenarios for an on-schedule or late start to the fall semester.

“The primary consideration for a start date is when it is safest to do so,” Rao wrote.

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