President’s Posts

Michael Rao, Ph.D.


Dear students, faculty and staff,

Since the pandemic began last year, one question has guided our decisions: what is best for students, faculty and staff? Throughout, our goal has been to prioritize our community’s health and ensure academic, research and health care work is impacted as minimally as possible.

With that in mind, after careful consideration by VCU’s Public Health Response Team and the VCU Incident Command Team, VCU will offer in-person classes and hybrid courses beginning March 4.

Course information for the spring semester was set previously and faculty are expected to follow the course modalities as listed in the revised and published spring 2021 Schedule of Classes. Students with question should check or contact their professors with questions about an individual class.

We based our decision to resume in-person classes and hybrid courses on a number of factors including an examination of COVID-19 positivity rates, a review of available on-campus isolation space, COVID-19 testing capacity and the availability of area hospital space for treating COVID-19 patients.

Studies have shown that a virtual-only environment impacts students’ mental health. Safely expanding our in-person and hybrid academic offerings can help alleviate some of those impacts.

VCU will continue all COVID-19 safety precautions from the fall semester, including mandatory mask wearing, physical distancing, enhanced disinfection of spaces, symptom monitoring, and when necessary, quarantine, and isolation. 

This semester, we have taken additional steps to promote health and safety in our community. These include mandatory asymptomatic surveillance testing, updated student and employee training and Entry Pass.  Members of our community who are selected for surveillance testing should make an appointment and follow through. Knowing your status will help to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A complete summary of Spring 2021 information is on the Together website at Additionally, the website is an excellent resource for up-to-date information on university operations and health and safety information.

Our community has proved that we’re responsible together in following safety and health measures – showing respect and care for each other. If we continue to pull together as One VCU: Responsible Together and follow health and safety protocols, COVID-19 will remain manageable in our community until the pandemic is extinguished from our world.

Thank you for your support, and I send you best wishes for health and happiness.


Michael Rao
President, VCU and VCU Health System

Categories Periodic update, To VCU
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