President’s Posts

Michael Rao, Ph.D.

Official seal for VCU in black and gold.

Dear VCU and VCU Health System Community,

We have been informed that a person who attended a program at VCU’s Larrick Center on March 5 and 6 recently tested positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reports that the individual, who is not a VCU, VCUHS employee or a student, is self-quarantined at home.

We are working with VDH. To the best of our knowledge, the individual did not have symptoms while attending the program. VDH indicated that based on the individual’s circumstances, the risk is low to program participants as well as the broader VCU and VCU Health System community.

Out of an abundance of caution, VDH has asked VCU to reach out to those who may have been in contact with the individual so that program participants are aware of the situation and have information on monitoring their health.

In anticipation of the spread of the coronavirus, beginning March 11, VCU instituted significant measures to protect the health and safety of its students, faculty and staff, including moving to remote instruction and limiting the number of people on campus; social distancing, such as teleworking and limiting group gatherings and restricting travel. The health system is prepared, trained and equipped to protect the health and safety of patients and team members.

We will continue to monitor the situation and inform you of any significant changes.

For the most up-to-date information, please see VCU’s COVID-19 web site.  As a reminder, most people with COVID-19 infection develop mild to moderate illness without the need for medical care. Those with underlying health conditions are at a higher risk for developing serious illness.

The most important things we can do to limit the spread of illness is to follow these recommended actions to stay well:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid eating or drinking after others or sharing e-cigarettes.
  • Practice social distancing – avoid large groups, crowded public places and maintain a distance of about six feet from others when possible.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

In the meantime, VCU’s Incident Coordination Team and VCU Health System’s Coronavirus Task Force are working together around the clock to monitor and update response plans. We remain in close contact with the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and will continue to take proactive steps to ensure the health and safety of our community.

It bears repeating that in this stressful time we make sure that we are treating each other with kindness, understanding and respect. This emergency is being experienced by all. It is not limited to any particular geographic region, age group, nationality, ethnicity or race.

Thank you for carrying out the business of the university and its health system in a way that is true to our core values and our missions. Please take care of yourselves and each other.


Michael Rao
President, VCU and VCU Health System

Categories Health, News, Periodic update, To VCU
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