COVID-19 information for students

Updated July 22, 2020, at 5:05 p.m.

Pharm.D. and graduate students can find the latest information for them here. Information just added will begin with the word NEW.

A section focused on graduate-student topics can be found below under the heading Graduate Students.

General information for all School of Pharmacy and links to information for faculty and staff can be found here.

Expanded Zoom accounts and access

Expanded Zoom accounts have been arranged for all VCU students, faculty and staff. The expanded accounts do not have time restrictions for meetings and can be used for meetings of up to 300 participants.

To provision your account, log out of Zoom (browser and/or app) and log in again at vcu.zoom.us using your VCU credentials.

It is not necessary to submit a ticket to Phartech or Technology Services for an account as all users are automatically being enrolled using these steps.Wellness and student success

  • Counseling Services: Services are available and students are asked to call first to speak with a clinician 804-828-3964. The on-call crisis counselor is available for crisis situations after business hours by contacting VCU Police (804-828-1234) and then asking to speak to the on-call counselor.
  • University Student Health Services: Please call ahead before visiting their office – 804-828-8828. Visit their website for updated hours.
  • Ram Pantry: Students are encouraged to schedule an appointment to access Ram Pantry using this link: https://rampantry.youcanbook.me/. Appointments are available Monday – Friday, 11am to 5pm. For questions or assistance, please email rampantry@vcu.edu.    
  • Division for Academic Success: Students are able to receive services and meet with Mr. Anderson remotely (via Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout, etc.).  Please contact them as you always have (das.vcu.edu or 804-828-9782).  
  • Rho Chi Tutoring: Please access the link to request a tutor via the Pharm.D. students’ page as you always have. Tutoring can take place remotely.  
  • Student Meetings: Dean O and Ms. Keel are still available to meet with students remotely via Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout, or telephone. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions, concerns, or if you need support as you navigate these changes and any other challenges.
  • Student Success Emergency Fund: This fund provides students with financial support when faced with an unexpected, unforeseen, and unavoidable emergency expense. To learn more or apply click here.

Effective March 16, all foundations labs are to be postponed or conducted remotely. Students will receive detailed instructions in the near future.

Office of Experiential Education (OEE)

Updated July 30

For more information, see the frequently asked questions section of OEE’s web page.

All out-of-state travel must be reported to OEE so we can check with the sites on their policies. If you have planned additional travel over what you previously reported, please update us ASAP. We need to know the destination, transportation method and dates.

Remember to wear PPE at all times on rotation and maintain appropriate distancing. We have had reports from preceptors and sites that students may not be adhering to these requirements.

Adherence to safety measures off-site are as important as on-site. You are part of the healthcare team now and should do all you can to protect your patients and your teammates. Follow COVID safety measures in the mornings/evenings and on weekends just as you do when on rotation.

Keep all of your requirements up to date — immunizations, CPR, etc.

COVID-19-related exposures during rotations

All IPPE and APPE Students

  • Follow SNOPS for any COVID symptoms, exposures, or expected exposures. You must have clearance from student health before you can go on rotations. 
  • Stay home! 
  • Notify all of the following:
    • OEE: Email oee@vcu.edu. Use this email to report back instructions and plans from student health.
    • Preceptor: If you are on rotation. See Core Elms for contact information 
    • Student Health: Call (804) 828-9220 immediately and follow their instructions. You must be cleared by student health before you can return to rotations.

Class of 2021

  • All out of state travel must be reported to OEE so that we can check with the site on their policies. 
  • Remember to wear PPE at ALL times on rotation and maintain appropriate distancing.  
  • Adherence to safety measures off site are as important as on site. 
  • Keep all of your requirements up to date. 

Class of 2022

  • IPPE 533 Sites are posted in the course documents. 
  • IPPE-Hospital (PHAR 532) simulations are due on Friday, 8/14/20 at 5PM. 

Class of 2023

  • IPPE-Community (PHAR 530) simulations are due on Friday, Aug. 14, at 5 p.m.

Virtual Classroom Instructions

Connecting to Online Courses

  • A virtual classroom schedule has been created for all Spring semester courses, which was attached to an email sent to you Friday, March 13.
  • Classes will end promptly 10 minutes before the hour to facilitate the online schedule successfully. 
  • A guide created by the VCU AltLab for students transitioning to online learning: https://altlab.vcu.edu/rapid-response/students/
  • Launching Zoom
    1. We recommend that you get started by downloading the Zoom application from the following link: https://zoom.us/support/download
    2. Once downloaded, you can pin Zoom to your taskbar to access it more easily.
    3. Join your class meeting by clicking on the virtual room link from your virtual class schedule.
  • Technical Issues
    • Phartech recommends that you connect five minutes prior to class start in order to ensure your microphone, video and computer setup is functioning correctly. A few basic troubleshooting guides are included below: 

Testing Environment & Instructions Before Exam Day:

  • Your course coordinator will tell you when the exam is available to download.
  • Download all exams at least 24 hours before exam day.
  • Make sure you have a quiet, functional space to take your exam.
    • Reliable internet connection
    • An up-to-date, working device
    • If your device is unreliable, please have a backup device with Examplify installed, if possible.

On Exam Day:

  • Sarah Clair will email you the exam password 5 minutes before the exam begins. Any materials you will need during the exam (formulas, cases, etc.) will be attached to your exam in Examplify.
  • Write down the password before opening Examplify.
  • Enter the password and begin your exam.
  • Examplify will alert you when there are 5 minutes remaining.
  • When you have finished the exam, upload it and confirm with the green checkmark.
  • Communicate any errors found on the exam through the Notes/Feedback feature. Coordinators will review after administration for errors and make adjustments if needed. Students should not email/text/message faculty during the exam with questions about the exam.
  • If you do not enter the exam by 8:15 a.m. on exam day, the downloaded exam file will be remotely deleted from your computer. Please reach out to your coordinator to schedule a make-up.

Critical Reminder: 

  • The VCU Honor pledge is of the utmost importance to maintain the integrity of the testing environment. We will be monitoring for violations.

For technical difficulties, please try the following:

  • If you do not see your download or cannot access the exam, restart Examplify or restart your computer.
  • If Examplify quits when your exam is complete, go back into Examplify and upload the exam.
  • If Examplify says there is no internet connection, go back to the dashboard and it will upload. (most of the time ‘refresh’ solves everything!) ExamSoft saves data every 60 seconds. If your laptop crashes or you can not connect to the internet, once you are connected to internet elsewhere, your exam can upload.

If none of the above solves the issue, please call Sarah Clair at 571-449-0379. If Sarah cannot be reached, please call Examplify student support at 866-429-8889 or call Dr. Frankart at 804-828-5541


Excused Absences

  • The EARS submissions process remains the same. Please keep in mind that you must be logged in via VPN in order to access this site.
  • If you think you have signs of illness such as a fever or other flu-like symptoms, stay home, contact your primary care provider, and submit an excused absence.
  • Please note that classes will be back in session on March 16. That being said, we expect you to prioritize your safety and extenuating circumstances or conditions that preclude your participation in on-site lab activities will be taken into account and should be submitted via the excused absence system. Self-reporting and monitoring is essential.

TB Testing Deadline

  • The TB testing window was extended by two weeks, until April 10.

Graduate Students

The Graduate School will work with graduate faculty and graduate students to facilitate graduate student procedures and processes related to graduate education at VCU.

If graduate students can conduct research work remotely they must do so.  

  • We advise that research activities such as literature reviews, composing manuscripts and research proposals, data analyses, etc., be conducted from home.
  • Research meetings should be conducted through video or teleconference. 

For students conducting laboratory-based research, we are providing the following guidance:

  • Laboratory research that can be postponed should be paused until further notice.
  • Essential laboratory research may be continued if safe distancing between lab occupants (2 meters or more) can be maintained and surfaces and instruments can be properly sanitized. 
  • In these cases, you as a student may decide if you wish to continue your work or postpone it.  

General information for graduate students

  •  The Graduate School suggests that graduate teaching, research, and other assistants be given duties that can be performed remotely, if possible. All graduate assistants should receive stipends as scheduled.
  • The Graduate School supports plans to hold comprehensive examinations and thesis/dissertation defenses remotely, particularly if student or faculty committee member must travel to participate. The Graduate School conference room has Zoom teleconferencing capabilities and will be available on a first-come basis for examinations and defenses. For conference room scheduling and room details, please contact Jamie Taylor at taylorjl25@vcu.edu
  • Most Graduate School forms can be submitted electronically; however, scanned paper forms will be accepted via email sent to graddean@vcu.edu

The Graduate School is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation, and are working to minimize disruptions in graduate education at VCU. Please monitor VCU’s COVID-19 (Coronavirus) website for further university guidance.

Information for TAs

As of March 16, no classes will be held in person.

Beginning Monday, March 16, most classroom courses are delivered via Zoom; P1 and P2 Foundations lab courses will be conducted remotely; and P3 foundation labs will be offered remotely. If you are enrolled in classroom courses or serve as a TA you will receive instructions for remote participation.

TAs and supervisors are expected to communicate in advance of each upcoming class to discuss modifications of TA duties.  

  • Please note that TAs should  plan to report for teaching duties and contact the course coordinator to discuss any modifications in the course and how this relates to their teaching duties.
  • However, anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19, or has returned from areas of high COVID-19 prevalence (domestic or international), or returned from a cruise should self-quarantine for 14 days.  TAs should inform their graduate advisors and course supervisors if this is the case. Again, minimizing risk remains a major priority.     

We are following sound procedures to minimize the risk while implementing ways to continue teaching. 

  • We are shifting teaching lab exercises to occur remotely and not within the lab space. 
  • All foundations labs will be halted or, in some cases, continued remotely. More information will be shared soon.

Best practices

  • If you think you have signs of illness such as a fever or other flu-like symptoms, stay home and contact your primary care provider. 
  • If you have questions about excused absences, contact Dean Ogbonna (kcunegbuogbo@vcu.edu) and Ms. Keel (vakeel@vcu.edu)
  • Remember to practice good hygiene, as this remains the simplest and most effective way to slow or stop transmission of the virus.
  • Wash hands thoroughly, using soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom.
  • Use hand sanitizer often.
  • Dispose of used tissues immediately.
  • Sneeze or cough into tissues when possible. If necessary, cough into the crook of your elbow. Do not cough into your hands.

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