Planning Your Return to Work

Guiding Principles

The University of Richmond has implemented a phased approach to returning to on-campus work. The guidelines support the University’s two fundamental priorities: to promote the health and safety of our community and to ensure an excellent academic experience for our students.

The following information provides guidance for returning to campus work spaces in a manner that protects faculty and staff’s personal health and safety.

Decisions about returning to the workplace and safety protocols align with information from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Information about COVID-19 continues to evolve and our policies and plans will be updated as appropriate.

A Staged Approach to Opening Campus

Our approach prioritizes physical distancing. Evidence suggests physical distancing is one of the most effective ways to prevent exposure to COVID-19. Physical distancing, as outlined in the University’s Physical Distancing Framework, has implications for on- and off-campus behaviors. In order to ensure our work and learning environments remain safe and healthy, our community must collectively commit to physical distancing practices on and off campus to reduce potential exposure to infection. 

The Framework provides staged guidelines that support healthy campus operations. All students, faculty, and staff are required to act in accordance with the Framework, which corresponds to Virginia’s phased reopening, current conditions on campus and in the local community, and the phases of the Governor’s Forward Virginia plan. Color-coded from red to green, the Framework allows physical distancing protocols to be relaxed or increased as the situation changes. The University’s stage will be regularly and clearly communicated via email and the University’s COVID-19 website.

The detailed framework identifies the interventions that will be put into place in each stage, including but not limited to the following:


To support a safe return to campus, the University has created a wide variety of Many Spiders, One Web themed signage promoting best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While University Facilities has deployed signs around campus, individual departments may order signs and visual cues as needed for their spaces.


The University has ordered hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes that will be deployed across campus, with particular emphasis on high traffic areas.

  • The Custodial Services Team identified central locations for 400 sanitizing stations throughout all administrative, academic, & athletic buildings. Stations will be located at entrances and in high traffic areas. Additionally, there will be stations at each of the dining and retail locations. Hand sanitizer will not be provided for individual offices.
  • 800 disinfecting wipe stations will be placed in administrative, academic, and athletic buildings, including in every classroom (list provided by Registrar) and all meeting spaces (list provided by Events). The Custodial Services Team will also maintain their daily cadence of disinfecting high touch surfaces as recommended by CDC guidelines.


The University has designated certain building doors as entry or exit only and certain stairwells as up or down only to manage traffic flow and promote physical distancing.


Plexiglass barriers will be installed in certain customer-facing locations, such as cashier stations in the dining hall, where it may not be possible to maintain 6 feet of distance.

  • Physical Barriers: Physical barriers are not a substitution for proper physical distancing. Physical barriers provide an added layer of mitigation for highly transactional roles that require the exchange of resources. Often a barrier invites people to step up to a space, such as a cashier or individual working a circulation desk. In locations where a need for a barrier is verified, it will be installed. For many locations on campus, the recommendation is to include a desk sign and floor decal (provided by the University) indicating the appropriate physical distance.
  • Furniture: Campus Operations is completing an inventory of furniture across campus, focusing first on classrooms before shifting to other spaces. To promote physical distancing, furniture in your spaces may be rearranged or marked to discourage use with decals/signs. 

Requirement for Face Coverings

One key aspect of the University’s Framework is the requirement to wear face coverings inside of University buildings, classrooms, or in common areas of University residence facilities, and in outdoor locations where physical distancing is not possible. If you aren’t wearing your face covering while outdoors, you must keep it readily available so that you can put it on if you come into close proximity with others (within 6 feet). The University has procured and will provide two face coverings to every student, faculty, and staff member. Under the Framework, face coverings will be required in the red, orange, and yellow stages.

Healthy Web Compact & COVID-19 Education 

Taking care of ourselves, each other, and the University requires the full attention and daily dedication of everyone. Our community, the Web, needs every Spider to comply with University and public health guidance. All faculty and staff members will be required to complete an online educational module about COVID-19 and the University’s health and safety protocols. As part of that online education, all faculty and staff will be asked to commit to the Healthy Web Compact to demonstrate their shared responsibility for the health and safety of the Spider community.

The online education will be assigned to all faculty and staff on Monday, August 3, 2020 through UR Talent Web.

Building Preparation and Operations

The University is taking a multi-pronged approach to address the health and safety challenges presented by COVID-19 and to prepare buildings to welcome back faculty, staff, and students.

The University’s custodial services team’s plans will follow all applicable public health guidelines for cleaning and disinfection of campus facilities. As noted earlier, the University’s plan for cleaning and disinfection includes the following:

  • Procuring and utilizing only EPA registered disinfectants identified for use against SARS-CoV-2;
  • Working with employees with cleaning and custodial responsibilities to prioritize cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces in their assigned areas;
  • Installing disinfecting wipe stations across campus in academic, administrative, athletic and dining spaces with signage directing individuals to wipe down high-touch surfaces with which they might come into contact; and
  • Significantly increasing the number of hand sanitizer stations across campus.

With guidance from the University’s Healthy Buildings team, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA), the National Institute of Building Sciences, CDC and OSHA, University Facilities is implementing the following engineering controls in its academic, administrative and residential buildings: 

  • Modifying air handling systems to the greatest extent feasible to increase outside air input into buildings through existing systems;
  • Adding UV-C filtration and/or bi-polar ionization to existing air handling systems to neutralize viral particles;
  • Installing foot pulls on bathroom doors, wherever possible;
  • Installing stanchions in high traffic locations or where people are likely to queue;
  • Modifying water fountains so that they can only be used to fill bottles and adding bottle fillers in buildings without them; and
  • Installing at least one no-touch faucet in public restrooms

Health & Temperature Screening for Faculty and Staff

The University requires all faculty and staff members, whether working on campus or not, to begin monitoring their symptoms and temperature on a daily basis beginning on August 10th and document their daily efforts by responding to a daily e-mail provided by Human Resources. Faculty and staff who have symptoms will not be permitted to come to campus and should contact their health care provider. If the health care provider suspects or confirms that the faculty or staff member has COVID-19, they may not return to campus unless they and meet the following criteria: 

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, AND
  • At least 24 hours have passed with no fever, defined as less than 100° F, without fever-reducing medication, AND
  • Symptoms have improved.

If the faculty or staff member’s health care provider determines that the symptoms are caused by a condition or illness other than COVID-19, the faculty or staff member may not return to campus unless they meet the following criteria:

  • At least 24 hours have passed with no fever, defined as less than 100° F, without fever reducing medication, AND
  • Symptoms have improved.

Any faculty or staff member who has symptoms of COVID-19 or is in close contact of a COVID-19 positive individual will have the option to seek a clinical evaluation and testing through their own health care provider or have a telemedicine visit with a health care provider from BetterMed Urgent care at the University’s on-campus testing clinic. Testing for individuals identified as close contacts of an infected person shall be conducted in accordance with Virginia Department of Health guidelines. The results of this testing will be reported to the University (with a signed authorization), the Virginia Department of Health, and to the individual who tests positive. 

Employees Unable to Work On-site Due to COVID-19 Illness or Exposure

The Office of Human resources will maintain supportive contact with employees required to be in quarantine or isolation at home. Return to work will depend on completion of recommended days of quarantine after exposure, negative COVID-19 testing at an appropriate point in time, and/or completion of an appropriate period of isolation for COVID-19 infection.

Isolation and quarantine are both ways to limit your interaction with others to prevent the spread of disease.

  • Isolation is separating individuals with COVID-19 from people who are not sick. Individuals are separated for a period of time until they are no longer infectious.
  • Quarantine is separating individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 but haven’t been tested. They are separated for 14 days after possible exposure to see if they develop symptoms.

Anyone with a fever (100° F or higher) or other possible COVID-19 symptoms (such as cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, chills or new loss of sense of taste and/smell) must remain at home and notify their supervisor. Any employee who develops a fever or other symptoms while at work must leave immediately and contact Human Resources immediately by calling 804-289-8811 or emailing In addition, employees with fever or other symptoms should stay away from others and contact their health care provider or utilize the CDC Self-Checker for advice about assessment and COVID-19 testing, if indicated.

Supervisors must notify Human Resources immediately by calling 804-289-8811 or emailing should an employee develop possible symptoms or report they have been tested for COVID-19, regardless of whether the test was positive or negative.

Please use these Decision Trees to determine when it is safe to return to campus after potential exposure to COVID-19.

Testing for Faculty and Staff

Initial Testing

The University will provide COVID-19 testing for all faculty and staff who will be teaching or working on campus during the fall semester, on either a full-time or part-time basis. All faculty and staff who will be teaching on campus or coming to campus for business purposes this fall are strongly encouraged get tested, but testing is not mandatory. The testing will be made available at no cost and will be conducted by SecureHealth.

The testing will be conducted on Aug. 26, 27, and 28, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the West Concourse of the Robins Stadium. The testing check-in entrance will be located at Gate 3. Faculty and staff must register in advance for a testing appointment. When registering, please be sure to accurately enter your registration information so that your appointment can be validated upon arrival, which will limit your wait time.

Faculty and staff who wish to be tested must also complete a consent and authorization form. By signing this form, you consent to testing and to providing University officials with access to your test result. Please print and bring a signed copy of the consent and authorization form with you to your appointment. For those who are unable to print the form in advance, we will have hard copies available at the testing location.

Faculty and staff will be notified of the test results when they are available. We expect the results to take at least 48-72 hours, but turnaround time will depend on the capacity of the lab that will run the tests.

We are also seeking volunteers to help staff the administrative responsibilities associated with the testing. To learn how you can help, please visit our volunteer sign-up page. Thank you to those willing to volunteer.

Symptomatic Testing

Faculty and staff who experience symptoms of COVID-19 while on campus will have the option of seeking care from their own health care provider or going to the on-campus testing clinic where they can have a telehealth visit with a health care provider from BetterMed urgent care. In either case, the treating physician will be determined whether a COVID-19 test is appropriate. Faculty and staff covered by the University’s health plan will not incur any out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 visits with in-network providers, whether at a provider's office, urgent care center, emergency room, or via virtual care, or for COVID-19 FDA-approved testing through October 31, 2020. Faculty and staff who are not covered by the University’s health plan should consult their plan for information about COVID-19 diagnostic and testing coverage. All faculty and staff are required to notify Human Resources by calling 804-289-8811 or emailing with the results of their COVID-19 test, whether positive or negative.  

Testing for Close Contacts

Faculty and staff who are identified through contact tracing as being a close contact of a person infected with COVID-19 should contact their health care provider or the Virginia Department of Health about being tested for COVID-19. In general, a close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of a person infected with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes. Guidance from the Virginia Department of Health provides that close contacts must self-quarantine for 14 days from the last date of contact with an infected person any may be tested for COVID-19 5-7 days after exposure. They must remain in quarantine for the full 14 days even if they test negative.

Faculty and staff covered by the University’s health plan will not incur any out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 visits with in-network providers, whether at a provider's office, urgent care center, emergency room, or via virtual care, or for COVID-19 FDA-approved testing through October 31, 2020. Faculty and staff who are not covered by the University’s health plan should consult their plan for information about COVID-19 testing coverage. All faculty and staff are required to notify Human Resources by calling 804-289-8811 or emailing with the results of their COVID-19 test, whether positive or negative.

Prevalence Testing

The University of Richmond will begin COVID-19 prevalence testing the week of Sept. 7. Prevalence testing involves testing a randomly selected group of asymptomatic people to assess the incidence of COVID-19 on campus.

Under our prevalence testing plan, we will test 5% of faculty and staff members who are in student- or public-facing roles, including but not limited to faculty teaching in person and certain dining and facilities staff, every two weeks. The Provost’s Office and Human Resources have identified over 1,100 faculty and staff members in student- or public-facing roles.

Athletics staff members in medium- or high-contact sports will be tested every two weeks in accordance with NCAA protocols. 

Those selected for prevalence testing will receive an email notifying them of the test date and location. The email will include a link to sign up for a specific time slot. We strongly encourage employees, in order to benefit the health and welfare of our entire community, to participate in testing if selected. 

For more information, see COVID-19 Testing

Personal Health and Safety Guidelines

These actions, taken by everyone, will help reduce the risk of contact and spread in our community: 

  • Physical distancing (staying at least 6 feet from other people) will reduce the risk that you will come in contact with infectious droplets in the air.
  • Face coverings protect the whole community by reducing the spread of the virus through respiratory droplets that are generated when we speak, sing, laugh, cough or sneeze. Cloth face coverings that cover both the nose and mouth at all times are required for all individuals inside of University buildings, classrooms, or in common areas of University residence. The University requires individuals to wear a face covering in outdoor settings where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Employees working alone in their individual enclosed offices, with the door closed, do not need to wear a face covering. Employees working in offices with open floor plans must wear a cloth face covering.
  • Daily screening: As noted above, beginning on August 10 all faculty and staff will be required to conduct a daily health and temperature screening by responding, before coming to work, to a two question survey emailed every morning from Human Resources. Staff working in Dining Services, University Facilities, and Public Safety will undergo an in-person temperature screening at the beginning of their shifts.
  • Frequent handwashing
  • Reducing the number of people you have close contact with every day to the smallest number possible will reduce the chances that you will be exposed to someone who is contagious and the risk you might spread the virus to multiple people before you are aware you have it. “Close contact” is defined as any individual within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes.  All employees will be required to keep a log of close contacts on campus every day. This will make it easier for public health authorities to identify and notify people who may have been exposed if you do become ill.

Guidance for Workspaces

  • Offices and work stations: If an employee works in an office, no more than one person should be in the same room unless the required 6 feet of distancing can be consistently maintained. Open work areas require the use of face coverings.
  • Using restrooms: Employees should use their best judgement in restrooms to ensure at least 6 feet distance between individuals. Wash hands thoroughly afterward to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.
  • Using elevators: All elevators are single use only and should be limited where possible to avoid close proximity.


Convening in groups increases the risk of virus transmission. Where possible, meetings should be held virtually using Zoom. Essential in-person meetings should be limited to employees only, and physical distancing is required. In the Red Stage, all meetings, events, and social gatherings are limited to 10 people or fewer, and physical distancing required. Restrictions will change as the University moves through the Physical Distancing Framework.


All local, national, and international University-sponsored travel is prohibited during the Red Stage. Limited exceptions will be considered. Requests may be sent to the Director of Emergency Management for approval.

The University strongly discourages personal travel by air. Adherence to CDC quarantine guidelines following travel is required. All faculty, staff, and students residing and/or working on campus who are planning personal travel to any destination, foreign or domestic, must register that travel using the University’s travel reporting form.

Reporting Safety Concerns

If any member of the University community has a concern about a member of the campus community not complying with the University’s health and safety policies an protocols, they are encouraged to contact the following individuals:

If the concern relates to a student, please contact the appropriate dean’s office:

  • Undergraduate students: the Westhampton College Dean’s Office ((804) 289-8468) or the Richmond College Dean’s Office ((804) 289-8061);
  • Law Students: Associate Dean Student Services (804) 289-8013;
  • MBA students: Associate Director, MBA Program  (804) 289-8012; or
  • SPCs students: Associate Dean, (804) 287-8382.

If the concern relates to a faculty member, please contact the appropriate Department Chair or Dean.

If the concern relates to a staff member, please contact the staff member’s supervisor.

We recognize that under some circumstances, an individual may not feel comfortable reaching out in person or perhaps they wish to remain anonymous. If so, individuals may relay their concerns through the University’s Ethics and Compliance Helpline 804 287-1800 or Ethics and Compliance Reporting Form.

Temporary COVID Work Arrangements for Fall 2020


Three temporary work arrangements have been added for the fall semester:

  • Faculty/Staff Temporary Modified Work Arrangement – Medical Reasons
  • Staff Temporary Flexible Work Arrangement
  • Staff Temporary Leave of Absence

Learn more here.

Caregiving Support

Qualified Disaster Relief - Recognizing that parents and caregivers are facing tremendous challenges during the pandemic, the University will contribute $1,200 to a tax-free spending account for all full-time employees with children 12 years old and younger.

Care@Work by - The University will also provide access for all full-time employees to Care@Work by, a national network of child, elder, pet, home and other care providers to assist in finding child and elder care.