Health, Safety, & Resilience

The health and well-being of our community remains our primary focus. With this objective in mind, we will continue to carefully monitor the status of COVID-19 on our campus and in the local community. While we remain hopeful, we are prepared to modify our health and safety protocols to adjust to any changing conditions. Health and safety plans for the fall semester include the following: 

Arrival Testing

All students who are not fully vaccinated or who have not reported their vaccine status before move-in for the fall semester will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing upon arrival on campus, even if they are not living on campus. Students who are fully vaccinated and have reported their vaccine status are exempt from arrival testing. Detailed information on arrival testing will be provided in July.

Prevalence Testing

All students who are not fully vaccinated prior to the start of the fall semester or who have not reported their vaccine status will be required to undergo regular prevalence testing, to the extent conditions warrant such testing. We will determine the scope and frequency of prevalence testing as we get closer to the beginning of the fall semester. We will also assess prevalence testing for faculty and staff at that time. Students, faculty, and staff who are fully vaccinated and report their vaccine status will be exempt from prevalence testing. 

Masks on Campus

The University’s policy on masks is consistent with prevailing public health guidance and will be updated as such guidance may change. The current policy is available here. Currently, and in accordance with CDC guidelines and Commonwealth of Virginia Executive Orders, people who are not yet fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask in indoor settings and in outdoor settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

We recognize that even those who are fully vaccinated may wish to continue wearing a mask while on campus for any number of reasons, and we strongly support your decision to do so. Additionally, during the fall semester, faculty will have the discretion to require all students to wear a mask in their classroom or lab.

Physical Distancing Framework

We will maintain the Physical Distancing Framework for the fall semester and will update it as appropriate. We are currently in the Lime Stage of the Framework. We do not yet know what stage we will be in at the start of the fall semester, but it is our hope that with high rates of vaccination among students, faculty, and staff — and continuing low case numbers in the community — that we will be able to open in either the Lime or, even better, the Green Stage.

Other Health Measures

We will continue several key health and safety measures that we put in place during the past year, which include maintaining enhancements to the air handling systems in our campus buildings, including increased outside airflow, UVC filters, and bi-polar ionizers. We will continue to have isolation and quarantine accommodations for students on campus should these become necessary and a process for contact tracing. We will also ensure adequate and easily accessible supplies of hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes and will continue our disinfecting and cleaning protocols. 

While we are fully committed to residential education in a mode of operations closely resembling the pre-COVID Richmond experience, we understand that public health conditions may change again in unexpected ways. Should conditions require further adaptations, we are prepared to implement changes to our health and safety protocols in order to support the continued academic progress of our students.