COVID-19 Messages to the Community

  • Oct. 28, 2020: Weekend Risks: Don’t Let Halloween Ruin Our Successful Semester

    Dear Students,  

    I am so proud of all you have accomplished this semester. I am writing to remind you of our shared responsibility to protect our web as we enter the final weeks of our on campus semester, especially this Halloween weekend. 

    Over the last two weeks we have seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among students, some of which are connected to small social gatherings where students did not wear masks or maintain 6 feet of physical distance. This experience proves that we cannot become complacent. We must continue to follow our health and safety protocols, wear masks, maintain physical distance, and avoid unapproved gatherings, including this weekend.

    Traditional gatherings that come with celebrating Halloween simply cannot happen. Such gatherings would expose our community to the risk of COVID-19 transmission and jeopardize our collective health. 

    Here is what we are asking you to do to protect our web and enable us to finish this semester in person: 

    • Avoid attending parties or social gatherings, other than approved events happening on campus; 
    • Do not go to bars, restaurants, or off-campus houses to celebrate Halloween; and
    • Avoid using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors.

    It is also important for you to contact the Student Health Center if you are having any symptoms and to be honest with the Student Health Center physicians about your activities. Under our interim conduct policies, information shared with the Student Health Center, contact tracers, or the University’s Rapid Response Team will not be used as evidence in any conduct hearing. 

    The University is offering several safe and fun ways to celebrate Halloween. Please do take part. The list of activities can be found here: UR Halloween Activities.

    We know that so many of you are really trying to keep our campus safe, and we are deeply grateful, but we need everyone to recommit to this effort. Rumors of off-campus parties are already swirling, and we want to be clear that we will not hesitate to impose our student conduct actions to sanction those who put our community at risk. Some of the violations, such as hosting and attending gatherings, come with harsh penalties that include suspension for the remainder of this semester and all of the spring semester.   

    We are now into the final stretch before Thanksgiving. I know you are tired. I’m tired, too, which makes me all the more proud of our work together thus far. Let’s keep up our good work this weekend and throughout the remaining weeks on campus this fall. 

    Sincerely,

    Steve Bisese
    Vice President for Student Development

  • Oct. 16, 2020: Avoiding Activities that Increase Risk for COVID-19

    Dear Students,

    I hope you are all well as we enter the second half of our fall semester. I’m so grateful for your continued commitment to the health of our community and for the care you’ve shown one another.

    Unfortunately, October has brought a surge of new COVID-19 cases across the country, and cases have recently been on the rise in Richmond, increasing the possibility of infection for all of us. We know that COVID-19 is most easily spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze, so any situation where you may be without a face covering or not able to physically distance, especially for an extended period of time, is a risk. In addition to remaining vigilant about avoiding large crowds and other high risk situations, please keep in mind that the following activities carry risk:

    • Dining at restaurants
    • Attending a backyard gathering
    • In-person shopping
    • Public transportation

    Students are strongly encouraged to stay on campus in the Orange Stage. Use your GrubHub app to eat on campus or get take-out for something different. And, of course, masks on and physical distancing remains vital to health and safety.

    We are all feeling the fatigue of the semester, the heaviness of the pandemic, and the anxiety of the election season. You have done such a remarkable job navigating these difficult days thus far. The rest of the semester will be the most challenging yet, and I have no doubt you will rise to the occasion.

    Stay vigilant. Finish strong. Let’s protect our web together.

    With Gratitude,

    Steve Bisese
    Vice President for Student Development

  • Oct. 8, 2020: Spring 2021 Semester Plans

    Dear Students and Families,

    As we work together to help ensure the safe progression of our fall term on campus, University staff and faculty are also busy with preparations for our spring semester. We are writing today to update you on several key components of that planning.

    Our plans continue to reflect the pandemic environment, and we remain committed first and foremost to the health and well-being of our community. As a result, we will continue to be vigilant about our health and safety protocols — most importantly our mask and physical distancing requirements as well as all the steps we are taking to clean and sanitize our facilities. The ongoing health and safety of our community is something we monitor daily, and we will adjust our plans as needed along the way.

    Just as we did for the fall, our plans for the spring semester involve an approach that maintains the University of Richmond’s commitment to providing a top-quality, residential, educational opportunity while also doing all we can to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection within our campus community. We are confident that all our students will continue to do what is necessary to support a safe spring semester, just as you have been doing this fall.

    In line with current conditions, we want you to know the following about our spring plans:

    Spring Semester Calendar and Course Specifics

    • The first day of classes will be Jan. 19, 2021, and classes will conclude April 23. Finals will take place April 28—May 6.
    • There will be no spring break in order to protect our campus community from COVID-19 and allow for the later start to the spring semester.
    • As was the case this fall, many courses will be offered in-person while some will be offered fully online or use a combination of approaches. Students may view the spring schedule of classes on BannerWeb beginning Wednesday, Oct. 28.
    • In-person classes will continue to be offered in classrooms modified to support active learning while adhering to physical distancing and related safety protocols.
    • Advising for spring courses will begin Nov. 2, with priority registration beginning Nov. 9.
    • At this time, we plan to hold Commencement ceremonies as detailed at commencement.richmond.edu on the weekends of May 1-2 and 7-8, though those events and their format will depend on the course of the virus.
    • More details about the calendar, advising, and registration can be found at registrar.richmond.edu.

    Remote Learning

    • We recognize some students will not be able to join us in-person for spring term, and the University will offer those students the opportunity to study remotely.
    • Students will need to inform the University of their remote study plans by completing this form. More details are available at Studying Remotely - Spring 2021.
    • Students studying remotely are strongly encouraged to review and enroll in courses being offered by faculty online, but access to most in-person classes through technology will also be available, as they were this semester.

    Spring Housing

    The arrival process we followed in the fall was successful, so we intend to replicate it in the spring. Once again, we are planning for a staggered move-in with COVID-19 testing upon arrival. Move-in dates are being finalized, and more specific information and instructions are forthcoming from Student Development and Residence Life. Key information to be aware of right now includes:

    • Students will not be allowed to move in except during their assigned time. More details will be available from Residence Life soon.
    • New first-year students who are beginning their enrollment in January, as well as first-year students who were enrolled in the fall and who will transition to campus in January, will receive information in the coming weeks on orientation activities. These activities will occur after the assigned housing move-in date.
    • Students who were not on campus in the fall and wish to move to campus for the spring semester should apply for housing by Nov. 1 via the Spring Application available in the StarRez Portal.

    International Students

    We are closely tracking the State Department and CDC websites for information related to travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, and we encourage students traveling internationally to do the same. Please reach out to the Office of International Education with questions or concerns.

    Winter Break Period

    While we expect that most students will vacate the campus according to our fall calendar, we also recognize that a small number of students may need to remain on campus during the period from Thanksgiving week through the beginning of the spring term. If you need to remain on campus, please complete the “Winter Break Housing Request” available in the StarRez portal by Wednesday, Oct. 14. Late requests will not be accepted. Completing a request does not guarantee approval. Students will be notified of the status of their request by the Office of Residence Life & Housing by Friday, Oct. 23.

    Spring Study Abroad

    This spring UR will offer limited study abroad programming. The Office of International Education is working with students accepted for study abroad and will also continue to offer opportunities for international students who may not be able to travel to the United States.

    Of course, all our planning is contingent upon the containment of the virus on our campus and prevailing conditions elsewhere. We continue to carefully and regularly monitor health conditions at the University, in Virginia, and across the country. Our plans will adapt to changing conditions. We remain grateful for your resilience and personal commitment to our well-being as a community. We all have a shared responsibility for making our fall and spring semesters productive and sustainable.

    Thank you for caring for your fellow Spiders and our campus community.

    Take good care,
    Jeff & Steve

  • Oct. 7, 2020: Take care -- and take a break! -- in October

    Dear Students and Families,

    We have reached October! The campus is beginning to feel like fall, and before long the trees along Westhampton Lake will take on their beautiful fall colors. Thank you so much for your continued good work to help keep our Web safe — we know how much effort it takes, and we appreciate you every day!

    We are approaching what would usually be fall break, an opportunity for our community to have a few days of a slower pace in the middle of the semester. Today we are writing to check in with you, to see how you are, and offer some thoughts. While we will all miss an official fall break, we wanted to think together about other ways each of us can rest, reflect, and recharge our batteries.

    Below we are sharing some of the many possibilities to take care of yourself, meet new people, have fun, try something new or expand your horizons, think about a career or work on new academic skills to make the rest of the semester easier, or just have some down time. As always, if you would like to speak to us for any reason, please just let us know. We are thinking of you — please take a moment and take care of yourself!

    With Spider Pride,
    Your Deans

    Dr. Joe Boehman
    Dean of Richmond College
    RCDean@richmond.edu 

    Dr. Mia Reinoso Genoni
    Dean of Westhampton College
    WCDean@richmond.edu 

    Want to meet new people? Come to Café con leche at 7 p.m. on Oct. 9, to hang out, play Lotería, and win prizes — cohosted by SOLS, WC, OMA, and LALIS! Register with this link no later than Oct. 7 (today!). And check out Speed-Friending, a chance to grow your web, and meet new people on campus through a fun series of games and activities, including a raffle, co-sponsored by International Ed, LGBTQ Campus Life, OMA, and Spider Firsts. Please register and join us at 8 p.m. on Oct. 16 on Zoom. There will also be a SpiderNight event on Oct. 17 — stay tuned!

    For warm conversations and a festive autumn pack of goodies, drop by the Office of International Education from 12–2 p.m. every weekday. Enjoy a break even without fall break!

    Looking to host a virtual movie night or watch party? CSI can help!

    Interested in Rugby? How about Ultimate Frisbee or Crew? Several Sport Clubs are practicing and recruiting new members. Love hiking and the outdoors? Join OAR and participate in Blue Sky Fund’s Hike for Kids. You can also take a Yoga, Body Pump, or Zumba class, outside or physically distanced in the Weinstein Center for Recreation — see the schedule or use the FusionGO App!


    Learn from our alums! Check out how to make Jersey Dirt or Zorch Pizza! Or get some tips on nutrition or golf! Peruse the Welcome to the City series, and explore Richmond, DC, NYC, or Boston! The Office of Alumni Relations offers opportunities throughout the week, including an upcoming interview with actor Jamie McShane, R’88, on Oct. 12. For details about this event and other upcoming programs, please visit Stay Connected.

    Want to work on your academic or career-building skills? Feeling a little unfocused, tired of Zoom, and procrastinating more than usual? Check out MACademic Skills: Self-Management for Success, at 5 p.m. on Oct. 14, Part of the SpiderFirsts Right Before Dinner Series — all are welcome, and more information to come in SpiderBytes. Or join one of Career Servicesprograms, including Harris Williams Virtual Coffee Chats on Oct. 8, Major & Career Workshop on Oct. 12, or Careers in IT: Stories from SPCS Alumni on Oct. 15.

    Nourish your mind, body, and spirit — join the Chaplaincy for Sacred Pause at 4 p.m. on Oct. 9 and 16 (at this Zoom link), Welcoming Shabbat at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 9 and 16 (contact Josh Jeffreys), Midday Prayer at 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 14 (contact Bryn Taylor), or Weekly UR Zen Zoom, at 7 p.m. on Oct. 11 and 18 (at this Zoom link, ID: 861 5517 4492).

    Take care of yourself overall! You can go to Student Health for a flu shot, other immunizations, allergy shots, and other care, or get flu shots elsewhere in Richmond. Disability Services and Health Promotion are raffling off a Zen Room Bundle to encourage you to engage in healthy mental well-being activities! Learn how you could win your very own StarLite, diffuser, and essential oil dropper. CAPS has a great YouTube Channel with videos on getting better sleep, calming emotions, improving relationships, and self-care, and you can also check out the NOW New Normal Webinar and Discussion Series; at noon on Oct. 9 (Zoom 991 0906 0333 passcode f58d2fe1). Follow CAPS Outreach Interns for daily tips on motivation, mindfulness, election-season well-being management, and general mental health awareness. Or consider Mindful Monday at noon on Oct. 12.

    Thinking about upcoming elections in the United States, or activism and advocacy in general? Want to take care of yourself AND your community? Come to the CCE Brown Bag discussions at 1 p.m.: Power for the People on Oct. 9 or The Politician on Oct. 16. All are invited to Westhampton College’s 2020 Connecting Womxn of Color Conference: Care! Sustainable Activism & Advocacy, held virtually from 2–5 p.m. on Oct. 16. Or watch Jess Morales Rocketto’s talk On Fire: Intersectional Feminism and the 2020 Election, part of the 2020–21 will + WGSS Speaker Series and Latinx Heritage Month.

    Interested in Discovering Richmond now that you are more settled on-campus? Join the CCE for virtual Drop-In Advising Monday–Thursday from 2–4 p.m. You can also learn how some Richmond-based advocates and organizers have mobilized networks across the Richmond region to develop networks for mutual aid in the CCE Brown Bag at 1 p.m. on Oct. 8. One way to connect with the greater Richmond region is through direct service — you can learn more from current students about their service work and how to continue it even during a pandemic during Community Hour: Direct Service on Oct. 9 from 3 p.m.

    Are you a music fan? The Richmond Folk Festival will celebrate its 16th anniversary on Oct. 9–11, with a virtual event celebrating the roots, richness, and variety of American culture.

    For more ideas, information about UR and RVA, and resources for support, keep checking the Smart Spiders Seek Support page on Blackboard, now and all semester long.

  • Oct. 6, 2020: Moving to Orange Stage: 4 Key Points

    Dear Students:

    Yesterday the University shared that we are moving from the Red Stage to the Orange Stage in our COVID-19 response later this week. I’m writing to highlight four key points as we make this move.

    First: Thank you!

    The move to Orange is a testament to the commitment you’ve shown to care for yourselves and others by following our health and safety guidelines. These last several weeks on campus have been an extraordinary test for all of us. You’ve risen to the challenge thus far. Thank you!

    Second: Don’t let up!

    The move to the Orange Stage is a modest step that maintains most of the health and safety protocols from the Red Stage. Just last week we received word that two more colleges in Virginia are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks. We do not want to have to move back to the Red Stage or end our residential experience before Thanksgiving. It’s up to each of you to help us avoid those situations. So many of you have shared with me how grateful you are to be on campus. I am grateful, too. Now we all must remain vigilant as we near the halfway mark of our time on campus this fall. Let’s finish strong. Don’t forget, you are required to wear your mask properly, fully covering your nose and mouth. Don’t let up!

    Third: Remember!

    We need your help to keep the campus community safe. An addendum to our Interim Student Conduct Policies for COVID-19 Compliance has been created which encourages students to share information in a timely manner and of their own volition without the fear of that information being used against them in a subsequent conduct hearing. This addendum can be found here.

    Unfortunately, we received reports of two off-campus gatherings over the weekend, which are deeply concerning. Please remember that the consequences for hosting events off campus or for having gatherings on campus outside our established guidelines are serious. Aside from the health risks these gatherings introduce to the campus, you face suspension or eviction. We are frequently notified by City/County police and neighbors if such activity is suspected off campus, and will follow-up. Remember!

    Fourth: Orange Changes

    While continuing strict adherence to mask and distancing protocols, the following are specific changes to student life as we enter this phase:

    • Students now have increased opportunity for visitation to other on-campus residence halls.
    • Lounges are now open, subject to capacity limits, and masks and physical distancing are required.
    • Meeting capacity is increased to 25, but meeting locations must be reserved and approved, and masks and physical distancing are required.
    • Outdoor events sponsored by the University or a recognized student organization may include up to 100, but must be approved and held in designated locations, and masks and physical distancing are required.

    Thank you for being such wonderful members of the Spider community. Now, let’s work together and keep one another safe so we can finish the semester together.

    Best wishes,

    Dr. Steve Bisese
    Vice President for Student Development

  • Oct. 5, 2020: Transition to Orange Stage and Prevalence Testing Update

    Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

    We continue to be grateful for the commitment of our Spider community to persevere during this challenging semester and do what is necessary to ensure the continued health, well-being, and safety of our campus. Even a short walk across campus is a confirmation of our shared commitment to and compliance with the health and safety protocols that protect us all. Thank you.

    We are writing to notify you that the University will move to the Orange Stage of its Physical Distancing Framework on October 7 and to provide you with an update on our plan to expand prevalence testing. As you see below, the move to Orange involves very modest changes in our rules to support student well-being, which is intended to strengthen our health and safety resilience.

    TRANSITIONING TO THE ORANGE STAGE OF THE PHYSICAL DISTANCING FRAMEWORK

    The four stages of the University’s Physical Distancing Framework are intended to promote the health and safety of our community while permitting the University to tailor its requirements to the prevailing conditions on campus and in the local community. We began the academic year in the Red Stage of the Framework, which is the most restrictive of the four stages. It was important to start the school year very cautiously as students, faculty, and staff returned to campus to allow all of us to adjust to the sweeping changes brought on by the pandemic.

    We have now completed six weeks of the semester. The incidence of COVID-19 among students, faculty, and staff remains low; the campus community in general is complying with our health and safety protocols; incidents of non-compliance are being addressed; and COVID-19 trends in the local community are currently favorable — though as you will read below, we will have to remain vigilant. Given these conditions and our realistic planning expectation that the pandemic will be with us for the foreseeable future, we have concluded that it is in the best interest of our entire community to take the modest step of moving to the Orange Stage of the Framework on Wednesday, October 7, barring a material change in circumstances prior to that date.

    We know students, among other members of the campus community, are, understandably, seeking additional opportunities to engage with each other. We have received reports of students feeling isolated and limited in their ability to connect with other students given some of the requirements of the Red Stage, rules required by conditions prevalent during our opening and first few weeks. The move to the Orange Stage, as described below, will provide additional options for students that are reasonable, prudent, and consistent with prevailing circumstances, reinforcing a commitment to the health, safety, and well-being of our community.

    Our ability to move to and remain in the Orange Stage, however, depends on conditions both on and off campus, which we will closely monitor, and continued compliance with the University’s health and safety protocols by everyone in our community. News reports of recent positive cases at the highest levels of government remind us how transmittable the virus is and how quickly health conditions can change. We will be compelled to move back to the Red Stage if we see an upward trend in COVID-19 cases on campus or in the local community. Our ability to remain in the Orange Stage (and avoid a return to Red) will depend on all of us complying with all the applicable health and safety protocols associated with the Orange Stage.

    We want to emphasize that the move to the Orange Stage does not mean we are relaxing our important health and safety protocols or letting down our guard. By design, this is a small step. The Orange Stage maintains the vast majority of the health and safety requirements of the Red Stage, including requirements for maintaining 6 feet of physical distance, continuing to wear face coverings, maintaining all existing classroom protocols, maintaining the daily symptom and temperature screening, and continuing our cleaning and disinfection practices. The key differences between the Red and the Orange Stage are listed below and are subject to the important limits detailed in the Physical Distancing Framework:

    • Residence Hall Visitors. Students may have other on-campus students visit their residence hall, subject to capacity limits and the requirement to wear face coverings. Students may not have off-campus visitors or overnight guests in their residence hall or apartment.
    • Residence Hall Lounges. Residence hall lounges will be open subject to set capacity limits, the requirement to maintain 6 feet of physical distancing, and the requirement to wear face coverings at all times.
    • Indoor Meetings, Programs, and Gatherings. The maximum attendance at indoor, on-campus meetings, events, programs, and gatherings will increase from 10 to 25. Attendees of all such meetings, events, programs, and gatherings are required to maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance and must wear face coverings. The host(s) of such events will be responsible for adherence to all safety protocols. They must reserve space and receive approval from the University for the event. The host(s) must also comply with all required training, attendance, oversight, cleaning, and other protocols.
    • Outdoor Events. The maximum attendance at University-sponsored outdoor events and approved outdoor events hosted by recognized student organizations will increase from 50 to 100. All such events are required to be registered and approved. Attendees of all outdoor events must maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance and wear face coverings. These events may only be held in locations that have been identified by the University for that purpose and are large enough to permit physical distancing. The host(s) must also comply with all required training, attendance, oversight, cleaning, and other protocols.
    • Remote Work. As in the Red Stage, remote work is still encouraged, but, if there are compelling needs, department leaders may begin to increase the number of staff working on campus to the extent necessary to support students, faculty, and staff. It is important to note that the capacity of all work areas is limited to 50% of normal staff levels, wherever possible. Physical distancing and the use of face coverings are required. Supervisors who determine that there is a need to increase the number of employees working on campus should take the necessary time to develop a careful plan and communicate that plan to their teams. Our Human Resources business partners are available to help supervisors develop and communicate plans. Appropriate accommodations will be provided or will remain in place for at-risk employees.

    PREVALENCE TESTING

    As we move to the Orange Stage, we also plan to modify our plan for prevalence testing of students, faculty, and staff. Prevalence testing involves testing a randomly selected group of asymptomatic people to assess the likely incidence of COVID-19 on campus. Prevalence testing is one component of the University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing strategy, which also includes diagnostic testing, testing of close contacts, and outbreak-related testing. Under our updated prevalence testing plan, we will increase the percentage of undergraduate students tested from 10% to 15% and increase the percentage of law students and faculty and staff tested from 5% to 10%. SPCS and MBA students will remain at 5%. We are grateful to all of the students, faculty, and staff who have participated actively in our first two cycles of prevalence testing.

    We have fared well as a community to date due to our shared responsibility and commitment to the health and safety of all Spiders. We have been vigilant in following the steps necessary to reduce transmission of the virus and have taken seriously our responsibility as a community to protect the health of all. Our great hope and strong intention to finish the semester with our in-person, residential experience intact will depend on our continued efforts and vigorous attention to the health and well-being of each other and our community. So please: Six feet. Mask up. Protect our web.

    Take good care,

    David Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • Oct. 1, 2020: New COVID-19 Testing Options for Faculty and Staff

    Dear Colleagues,

    I’m writing to inform you of two new COVID-19 testing options available to all faculty and staff, and a change in the use of the on-campus testing clinic.

    Concierge service with BetterMed

    The University of Richmond has partnered with BetterMed Urgent Care to provide a COVID-19 concierge testing service for all faculty and staff. Under this arrangement, University faculty and staff will need to schedule a telehealth visit with a BetterMed provider and, if the provider determines that a COVID-19 test is appropriate, faculty and staff may schedule a COVID-19 test at a conveniently located Better Med facility within 24 hours after the telehealth visit with the BetterMed provider.

    To schedule an appointment register for your appointment online at www.bettermedcare.com/telecare.

    1. TeleCare Evaluation: After completing the online registration process, you will receive a phone call from a BetterMed Registration representative. Make sure you tell the representative that you are a University of Richmond employee.
    2. Exam: A provider will contact you at your designated appointment time to perform a medical exam and evaluation via telehealth.
    3. Scheduling of In-person Test: Better Med will confirm a COVID test appointment time and direct you to a BetterMed Urgent Care facility for an in-person test. Every effort will be made to schedule the testing at the most convenient location, but site capacity may not accommodate your first choice.
    4. In-person COVID-19 Test and Results: BetterMed will likely administer a rapid antigen test with results available within 15 minutes. If a PCR test is recommended by the physician, results will typically be available within 48 – 72 hours. The results will be communicated to you at the site shortly after your test or through the Better Med patient portal.

    At home testing through Pixel 

    Self-initiated, FDA-approved, at-home specimen collection kits from Pixel by LabCorp are covered by the University (cost share waived).

    To order the Pixel by LabCorp test kit: Go to: https://www.pixel.labcorp.com/at-home-test-kits/covid-19-test 

    1. Complete a screening
    2. Provide your Cigna insurance information or health insurance/payment information if you do not have health insurance through the University.
    3. Receive your specimen kit from LabCorp
    4. Collect your own specimen following detail instructions.
    5. Return the specimen to LabCorp using the provided materials.

    Results are usually available 1-3 days after sample is received at lab. You must be 18 or older to participate in this testing option.

    Coverage for COVID-19 Testing

    The University is waiving out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 visits through Cigna, whether you use the two options above, go to your primary care provider (PCP), urgent care center, local health department, or use virtual care. While a diagnosis of COVID-19 cannot be confirmed through virtual medical care, it is still the most convenient and safest way to get the medical attention you may need without leaving home. Contact your PCP, or connect with a virtual care provider on myCigna.com. Employees who do not participate in the University’s health plan are urged to contact their health insurer for information about coverage of COVID-19 related care.

    On-Campus Testing Clinic

    In light of the superior options available in the community for faculty and staff seeking COVID-19 diagnostic care and consistent with the University’s objective of preventing the spread of COVID-19 on campus, the use of the on-campus testing clinic will be limited to:

    • diagnostic testing for students eligible to use the Student Health Center
    • testing of asymptomatic close contacts of a member of the University community identified through contact tracing
    • prevalence testing
    • outbreak testing.

    If you have further questions about this new benefit, please call our Covid Care Coordinator at x8811 or email to hr-health-screens@richmond.edu

    Laura Dietrick
    Director, Benefits & Compensation
    Human Resources

  • Sept. 18, 2020: First Milestone Met: 117 Days of Protecting Our Web

    Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

    Last month as the fall semester officially began with the start of classes, we wrote to you about the “117 Days of Protecting Our Web” campaign. Led by the University’s Health Promotion and Compliance Team, this campaign focuses on some of the most important aspects of our health and safety guidelines for our community and reinforces accountability, action, empowerment, and gratitude.

    We are delighted to have reached our first milestone date today — Sept. 18 — as we continue with our fall semester, with options both in person and remotely.

    These past few weeks have focused on our shared responsibility in keeping our web safe and reinforcing our community’s social norms. Wearing a mask and proper distancing protects the entire web, and these actions showcase respect for our community.

    Our progress highlights that we are all committing to and respecting our mantra: “Six feet. Mask up. Protect our web.”

    We appreciate the partnerships with several community and campus partners to celebrate this first milestone date and support our efforts. For example, Papa John’s has partnered with Dining Services to provide pizza for students in the Heilman Dining Center today at lunch. Details about how other areas are supporting this campaign are available via SpiderBytes.

    As we acknowledge our achievement, we also need to remember that our work is far from over. Our shared responsibility of wearing masks and physical distancing must continue. Additional milestone dates include the following:

    October 9 — Navigating Social Situations

    Protecting your web protects our web.

    Sept. 19–Oct. 9 will zero in on navigating social situations. The choices we all make in social situations will not only affect our own health but also the health of everyone we come into contact with.

    October 30 — Importance of Contact Tracing

    It’s not just about you. It’s about all of us.

    Oct. 10–30 will focus on the importance of contact tracing. Contact tracing slows the spread of COVID-19 by letting people know they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and then providing help with testing and support.

    November 20 — Being Thankful for Our Healthy Web

    Many Spiders, One Web

    Ahead of the Thanksgiving break, Oct. 31–Nov. 20 will focus on being thankful and showing gratitude for keeping our web healthy. By committing to the Healthy Web Compact, we will keep our campus and each other safe.

    December 18 — Carrying Community Home

    Your actions make or break our web.

    Safely completing the semester will signal that we have all done our part in protecting our web. We will celebrate this major milestone and begin looking forward to the spring semester.

    Additional information is available on the COVID-19 response website, and please continue to look for more information on how individual areas are engaging with the 117 campaign via SpiderBytes, emails, and campus social media channels.

    We thank you for understanding, accepting, and activating our shared responsibility.

    We are Many Spiders, One Web.

    Sincerely,

    University of Richmond Health Promotion & Compliance

  • Sept. 16, 2020: Updates from the College Deans

    Dear Students and Families,

    We are in the fourth week of the semester, and we wanted to take a moment to touch base with you. Whether you are a new or returning student, the beginning of the semester can bring both joy and challenges. This semester, the challenges we are facing are significant — as we said in our August letter, the United States continues to grapple with weighty issues of racism and intersectional oppressions, equity, and social justice, and the world is struggling in the face of so many challenges to the health and well-being of individuals and communities. On campus, we are all working hard to take care of ourselves and each other, which requires a lot of effort on each of our parts, every day.

    We know that coping with these challenges can be tough, and we want to thank you for all you are doing and let you know that we are thinking of each of you. Today we would like to share some updates about in-person and virtual opportunities, including extracurricular and community-building programs and organizations, and also academic and individual support and resources.

    Starting this week, student organizations can host meetings for registered members — a list of student organizations can be found here. There are also opportunities to get involved with student government: the University of Richmond Honor Councils, the Richmond College Student Government Association, and the Westhampton College Government Association.

    Programs and events can be found on the UR Calendar or by using the Center for Student Involvement’s URInvolved app, available at the Apple Store and Google Play. The Offices of Common Ground and Multicultural Affairs have great support and programming for all students and for affinity groups, including celebrations in honor of Latinx Heritage Month that have just started, SpiderFirst events for first-generation students, LGBTQ Campus Life events, programs, and groups, and SpiderNights, hosted each weekend by peer Cultural Advisors. International Education is holding in-person advising and conversation from noon to 2 p.m. every weekday, as well as is available for appointments.

    The Office of the Chaplaincy offers individual and community engagement through a wide range of religious and spiritual activities; conversations about life, faith, and meaning; and personal attention and support. Many of the larger activities are taking place virtually while smaller gatherings are happening in person in accordance with University guidelines. Register here to sign up for their weekly newsletter, which includes a calendar of programs, or visit their website for more details.

    The Weinstein Center for Recreation is open and there are a number of classes offered, including both in-person options held outside and virtual ones. Sports Clubs have just started meeting and practicing this week; to get involved, please check out the listing of active clubs.

    The Center for Civic Engagement is dedicated to facilitating connections to the people and organizations that are helping our region thrive. They are hosting virtual Drop-In Advising, Monday through Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m., where you can ask questions about how to connect with community organizations. Weekly programming, including Brown Bag Discussions and Community Hours, are great ways to connect with others. Students can sign up for their newsletter, Spiders in the City. For election-related programming, check out We the People.

    CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) is offering ongoing and same-day appointments. CAPS also offers drop-in Well-Being Seminars (three days a week) and many wonderful Groups and Programs. The Thriving in College group (Mondays, 2:15 to 3:45 p.m.) may be especially useful for first-year students navigating their adjustment to college life. Students interested in the Thriving in College group should email Dr. Peter LeViness at plevines@richmond.edu.

    Other resources include reservable study rooms in the Library and elsewhere on campus, the Academic Skills Center, Alumni & Career Services, the Speech Center, Student Employment, and the Writing Center.

    And, as always, we are here to provide support and guidance — please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Again, thank you for all you are doing to take care of yourself and others. This semester we are truly many Spiders, one web.

    With Spider Pride,
    Your College Deans

    Dr. Joe Boehman
    Dean of Richmond College
    RCDean@richmond.edu 

    Dr. Mia Reinoso Genoni
    Dean of Westhampton College
    WCDean@richmond.edu 

  • Sept. 15, 2020: Fall Semester Update: Data Illustrating the Efforts of Our Shared Responsibility

    Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

    Thank you for contributing to the launch of the semester and the record of campus safety to date. We recognize the sacrifices that are being made by each and every member of our web to make this semester possible, and we remain impressed by the resiliency of our community.

    From the beginning, we have known that resuming an in-person, residential educational experience would take an unwavering sense of shared responsibility of all faculty, staff, and students to follow important health and safety guidelines. While we have only started the semester, and have weeks to stay strong together, we are grateful for your continued commitment, as the health and safety of our entire community remains our highest priority.

    We want to continue to keep our community informed of our progress related to our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are sharing the following data to highlight some of the outcomes of our collective efforts thus far.

    COVID-19 DASHBOARD

    Our dashboard is a regularly updated source of information providing the most recent COVID-19 data related to our campus community. As the dashboard presently notes, we have been fortunate to have a low number of cases among students, faculty, and staff. The dashboard is updated weekly, and the metrics will help inform continued decision-making related to campus operations. We know our COVID-19 response website is an important resource for our community. For example, COVID-19-related videos have been viewed nearly 200,000 times. We will continue to update the website with current and helpful information.

    PREVALENCE TESTING

    Our COVID-19 prevalence testing process is now underway. Prevalence testing involves testing a randomly selected group of asymptomatic people to assess the incidence of COVID-19 on campus. Prevalence testing is one component of the University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing strategy, which also includes diagnostic testing, testing of close contacts, and outbreak-related testing. We started prevalence tests the week of Sept. 7, and 329 people have been tested, all of whom have been negative for COVID-19. Testing will continue weekly. Results will be reflected via data on the dashboard. The prevalence testing process is detailed here. We appreciate the students, faculty, and staff who will be part of prevalence testing.

    STUDENT AND COMMUNITY CONDUCT

    We have stressed the collective commitment to making our campus as safe as possible, and we are all taking precautions to ensure the well-being of our campus. Given this commitment, we have made expectations as clear as possible to students about the disciplinary consequences of violations to our Healthy Web Compact. To date, about 150 students have been cited for violations to our safety protocols. Some of these citations have been to students living off campus. Most of those sanctioned have received written warnings, but the penalties for some students have been more severe, including suspension. We are grateful that students, faculty, and staff are completing the daily health survey as diligent attention to one’s health is a crucial aspect of the University’s Healthy Web Compact.

    We must all take the continued well-being of our campus seriously. Being respectful of one another and caring for the health of our web means making the sacrifices that are necessary and doing the right thing for all of us. The choices we make not only affect our own safety but also the safety of everyone with whom we come in contact. A successful and healthy semester is a goal we all share.

    CLASSROOM ADAPTATIONS

    From the basketball courts in the Weinstein Center for Recreation to large conference spaces across campus, students are learning and faculty are teaching in just about every suitable space on campus to allow for proper physical distancing. Each of these nearly 150 classrooms has been outfitted with technology, including cameras and microphones, to support our hybrid learning model and the academic quality of our classes whether in person or remote. We have students logging in from across the country and from all over the world, including China, the United Kingdom, and Pakistan. All faculty, staff, and students have access to Zoom, which is being used to support not only classes but also the many virtual presentations, events, forums, and open houses that are used to keep our communities informed. Since Aug. 24 when classes started, more than 11,000 meetings have been held via Zoom. We know these adaptations can be challenging, and we have seen how hard everyone is working to make improvements each week. We are grateful for everyone’s spirit of cooperation as the pedagogy continues to adapt and improve.

    PROTECT OUR WEB

    As we continue on the path of 117 Days of Protecting Our Web — the length of the fall semester — we must continue to focus on our shared responsibility to keep our campus safe through face coverings and physical distancing. We know these efforts are working because you — our faculty, staff, and students — are actively responding to the needs of the community by dedicating yourselves to keeping one another healthy and well. Our work is far from over, and we continue to thank you for these actions, which not only protect our web but also demonstrate the distinctiveness of the Spider community. Let’s keep it up.

    We recognize that we have not gotten everything right, and we continue to adapt in order to improve and invite folks to access the feedback form that is on the COVID-19 website. We acknowledge we are all facing challenges, and we know it’s hard. We are asking a lot of everyone, and we are grateful that so many have risen to the occasion, which showcases the remarkable strength of our University.

    Six feet. Mask up. Protect our web.

    Take good care,

    David Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • Sept. 4, 2020: Prevalence Testing

    Dear Faculty, Staff, Students, and Parents,

    The University of Richmond will begin COVID-19 prevalence testing next week. Prevalence testing involves testing a randomly selected group of asymptomatic people to assess the incidence of COVID-19 on campus. Prevalence testing is one component of the University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing strategy, which also includes diagnostic testing, testing of close contacts, and outbreak-related testing.

    Under our prevalence testing plan, we will test 10% of undergraduate students and 5% of Law, SPCS, and MBA students every two weeks. Testing for students will be limited to those who are taking classes on campus this fall. We will also 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. Student-athletes and athletics staff members in medium- or high-contact sports will be tested every two weeks in accordance with NCAA protocols. Undergraduate students will be tested one week, and everyone else subject to prevalence testing will be tested the following week.

    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. Under the Healthy Web Compact, students are required to take a test if selected. We strongly encourage employees, in order to benefit the health and welfare of our entire community, to participate in testing if selected.

    Our plan for prevalence testing is based on guidance from local public health officials and will be adjusted as conditions on campus warrant and as alternative types and methods of COVID-19 testing become available. We recognize that some members of the campus community have advocated for a much broader testing regime. The advice we have received from public officials does not support such an approach at this time. They note a high incidence of false positives with such broad testing and caution that such testing could have an adverse impact on the availability of tests and the turnaround time for test results in our local community. As noted, we will continue to adjust our methodology for prevalence testing in light of new developments and as conditions warrant.

    The health and safety of our community requires continued strict adherence to our existing safety protocols by everyone. Testing is only one component of our multi-layered approach to promoting the health of the campus community. Please remember to protect our web. Wear your mask and stay six feet apart.

    Thank you.

    David Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • Aug. 24, 2020: 117 Days of Protecting Our Web

    Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

    Today is an important milestone. It’s the first day of classes for the fall semester — a day we have all been preparing for almost since the global pandemic changed all of our lives back in March. Classes are currently in session, both in person and remotely.

    As the University of Richmond resumes the in-person, residential educational experience, it is the shared responsibility of the entire campus community — faculty, staff, and students — to follow our important health and safety guidelines.

    Wearing a face covering and physical distancing will help us all stay healthy and keep our community safe. It will take all Spiders to respect this responsibility and protect our web. As President Crutcher shared in his email last week, we have an important call to action: “Six feet. Mask up. Protect our web.”

    We will safely start and finish the fall semester over the course of 117 days — today to Dec. 18 — only if all faculty, staff, and students understand, accept, and activate our shared responsibility. We are Many Spiders, One Web.

    Led by the University’s Health Promotion and Compliance Team, and engaging partners across campus, the campaign outlined below focuses on some of the most important aspects of our health and safety guidelines and five important milestones throughout the fall semester that we look forward to celebrating.

    The 117-day campaign reinforces and highlights accountability, action, empowerment, and gratitude. Milestone dates include the following:

    September 18 – Our Shared Responsibility
    Six feet. Mask up. Protect our web.

    Now through Sept. 18, we will focus on our shared responsibility in keeping campus safe and establishing our community’s social norms. Wearing a mask and proper distancing protects the entire web, and these actions showcase respect for our community.

    October 9 – Navigating Social Situations
    Protecting your web protects our web.

    Sept. 19–Oct. 9 will zero in on navigating social situations. The choices we all make in social situations will not only affect our own health, but also the health of everyone we come into contact with.

    October 30 – Importance of Contact Tracing
    It’s not just about you. It’s about all of us.

    Oct. 10–30 will focus on the importance of contact tracing. Contact tracing slows the spread of COVID-19 by letting people know they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and then providing help with testing and support.

    November 20 – Being Thankful for Our Healthy Web
    Many Spiders, One Web

    Ahead of the Thanksgiving break, Oct. 31–Nov. 20 will focus on being thankful and showing gratitude for keeping our web healthy. By committing to the Healthy Web Compact we will keep our campus and each other safe.

    December 18 – Carrying Community Home
    Your actions make or break our web.

    Safely completing the semester will signal that we have all done our part in protecting our web. We will celebrate this major milestone and begin looking forward to the spring semester.

    Additional information is available on the COVID-19 response website, and look for more information and specific details about how these achievements will be celebrated via SpiderBytes, emails, campus social media channels, and more throughout the semester.

    Of course, it’s important to note that 117 days is just the beginning. While this initial goal focuses on a successful fall semester, our shared responsibility will continue on and off campus for the remainder of this academic year and beyond.

    Sincerely,

    University of Richmond

  • Aug. 20, 2020: Six Feet, Mask Up, Protect Our Web

    Dear Students,

    Welcome back! As we prepare to start classes Monday, I feel the excitement and energy of the new academic year. Yet, I also recognize that we all face daunting challenges as we strive to live and learn responsibly with a virus that has disrupted nearly every aspect of our lives. The University has marshaled its resources to the greatest extent possible to promote the health and safety of our shared web. Now it is up to each of us — you, me, faculty, and staff — to take care of ourselves and one another, and to protect our web during our 117 days of on-campus learning.

    School reopenings across the country demonstrate that we must embrace our shared responsibility from day one, or we will fail. So, put on your mask, especially when traversing busy walkways and corridors between classes. Stay six feet apart, even in large, open areas such as campus tents and dining spaces. And, kindly, but clearly, remind others to comply with the rules. Even me. None of us is perfect. And all of us need support and encouragement as we learn to adapt to these new behaviors that help keep us healthy.

    Speaking up is a powerful way to protect our web, but I know it can be uncomfortable to do so. I encourage you to keep it simple. As I walk or ride my bike across campus, I think, “Six feet, mask up.” This simple phrase reminds me of what I need to do, and you may hear me or others say it aloud if folks need reminding. I encourage you to employ either this phrase or your own creative and respectful approach to inspire your fellow Spiders to embrace our shared responsibility.

    The University fully supports you to speak up respectfully, but also to report good faith concerns or questions regarding compliance with our new norms and behaviors. While we encourage you to discuss concerns or questions with your college and student deans (undergraduate, MBA, SPCS, and Law), we also recognize that may not always be an option. If you wish to report concerns anonymously, please use this form, or call the University’s Ethics and Compliance Helpline at 804-287-1800. (For immediate assistance with an emergency, please call URPD at 804-289-8911.) Our goal with these tools is not to be punitive, but rather to help empower community members to preserve community health.

    To be sure, our extra precautions can be inconvenient; masks are sometimes irritating to wear; and it is undoubtedly more difficult to socialize with your peers in a world of physical distancing. We will all feel the pull to engage in otherwise typical behaviors that now jeopardize community health, not because we are selfish, but because we are human and find meaning in connection. When you feel the temptation to fall back to pre-COVID-19 behavior, think about how socializing safely will protect you, your friends, and community members, including the families and loved ones of our faculty and staff. Don’t get stuck in quarantine or contribute to an outbreak; let’s have a successful semester.

    As we navigate the challenges ahead, please know that the University will be here for you. Thank you for your commitment to caring for yourself and for all your fellow Spiders. And remember: Six feet. Mask up. Protect our web.

    Sincerely,

    Ronald A. Crutcher
    President

  • Aug. 14, 2020: University of Richmond COVID-19 Dashboard

    Dear Faculty, Staff, Students, and Parents,

    As you know, the University of Richmond has been actively planning for the fall semester and continuing to respond to the challenges presented by COVID-19 as we begin the 2020–21 academic year.

    Every element of our COVID-19 response has been guided by two fundamental priorities — promoting the health and safety of our community and ensuring an excellent academic experience. Planning teams have considered all federal, state, and local health and safety guidance, including from the Virginia Governor’s Office, the State Council for Higher Education, and public health organizations like the CDC and Virginia Department of Health.

    As we welcome our students, faculty, and staff to campus and virtually, we are introducing a new tool to keep you informed. The University of Richmond COVID-19 Dashboard is a source of information to keep you updated on COVID-19 data specifically related to our campus community. The dashboard includes cumulative data about total number of tests, total number of cases, and total number of active cases, as well as information about positivity rates. Additional details and links out to local, state, and national COVID-19 data are also included.

    The dashboard will be updated weekly and pulls data from multiple sources to illustrate and track various metrics, which will help inform our continued decision-making related to campus operations. Weekly updates will allow the University to protect the privacy of student and employee information while enabling us to observe and share campus health trends. Students, faculty, and staff will receive a reminder about the availability of new information on the dashboard each Friday in SpiderBytes, our daily digital campus communication.

    In addition to this dashboard, the COVID-19 Response website remains a valuable resource for cumulative information about our community standards, health and safety guidelines, and the many steps the University is taking to help reduce the spread, risks, and uncertainties relating to COVID-19.

    We thank you for your commitment to keeping our campus community safe. 

    Take good care,

    David Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • Aug. 13, 2020: Fall Letter from the College Deans

    Dear Students,

    We are writing to you during a momentous time in our lives. None of us thought six months ago that the fall semester would begin with students studying both on campus and remotely from around the world. The United States continues to grapple with weighty issues of racism and intersectional oppressions, equity, and social justice, and the world is struggling in the face of so many challenges to the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities.

    Never has the idea of community been more important. Community is not only a sense of place, but an action, a coming together in support of a thriving and just community - treating one another with respect and kindness, and helping everyone around us to do the same. We remain dedicated to fostering a campus community that is safe and welcoming for people of all backgrounds, experiences, and identities - a campus of compassion, care, and love.

    This year, we have the added responsibility to take care of one another as part of a shared web. If you are studying on campus, you have signed and agreed to abide by the Healthy Web Compact. It is vital that we all do our part to help keep the web safe - by wearing a face covering, maintaining physical distance, and washing our hands. The actions you take, and decisions you make, will not only affect you, but can impact all those around you. Please take care of yourself, each other, and this place. If you witness behavior that does not follow the Healthy Web Compact, you are encouraged to report it using the form that is located at richmond.edu/compliance/hotline

    We want you to thrive this year, to be mindful of what works for you, and what helps you be your best self. Please remember to take care of yourself - in mind, body, and spirit, in ways big and small. As you know, there are many resources on campus that can help you — from the College Deans to your academic advisor, from Wellness Coaches to CAPS and Student Health, from the Chaplaincy to University Recreation, and more.

    The idea of community as action means taking care of one another; the well-being of each member of our community is the responsibility of everyone. If you see someone who needs help, please help them get help — you can contact our offices, our partners across campus, a hotline, or peer resources. We would also like to remind you of the opportunity to gather together virtually every Friday at 4:00 pm for Sacred Pause, a time to share the sorrows and hopes of our lives and world — all are welcome.

    Please be proactive in reflecting upon and discussing our shared values, and doing your best to put those values into action. If you witness or encounter behaviors contrary to these values, as expressed in our mission and regulations, we ask that you reach out to us or one of the many campus resources available.

    As the semester starts, we will be offering our full range of student support virtually. We encourage you to contact us to talk about whatever is on your mind, or anything that is important to you. 

    Sincerely,

    Dean Genoni and Dean Boehman

  • Aug. 11, 2020: Interim Student Conduct Policies

    Dear University of Richmond Students and Families,

    I am writing to follow up on the letter I sent last week regarding our Healthy Web Compact. In that letter, I shared the importance of our collective commitment to making our campus as safe as possible. That commitment is shared by all students, faculty, and staff, and reflects our care not only for students, but for all members of our University and city.  The health and safety of our entire campus and surrounding community is our highest priority. 

    Given this commitment, I want to ensure your awareness of and be as clear as possible about the disciplinary consequences for violating our Healthy Web Compact. We have developed a set of Interim Student Conduct Policies that outlines our expectations. These policies should be considered with the gathering numbers and regulations as outlined in the various color phases of the University’s Physical Distancing Framework. I will highlight a few of the more egregious violations given the consequences that could have significant implications for your college career.

    If you live off campus and host a gathering that violates our safety protocols, you risk automatic suspension from the University for at least one semester. If you live on campus and host a gathering that violates our safety protocols, you will be evicted for the rest of the year. If you attend a gathering of this sort on or off campus you are also at risk of significant disciplinary action.  Other violations of our health and safety guidelines related to physical distancing, contact tracing, and the like could result in being put on formal conduct probationary status.

    Since these behaviors involve an immediate risk to the entire campus community, the University may also impose interim actions, such as quarantine, isolation, or revocation of campus privileges.

    Please consider this letter as your official notification about these guidelines, since a warning will not be given for a first offense for more significant violations.

    My earnest hope is that we will not have to take any of these steps. And I trust each of us will exhibit care, concern, and support for one another during these difficult days. The strength of our web depends on each of us. Thank you for doing your part.        

    I wish you well in the few remaining days of summer, and I look forward to seeing you soon.  

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Steve Bisese
    Vice President of Student Development
    University of Richmond

  • Aug. 10, 2020: Information About Initial Testing and COVIDWISE

    Dear Faculty and Staff,

    As we draw closer to the start of classes, we want to thank all of you for your tremendous work to prepare to welcome students back to our campus both in person and virtually. We also write to provide an update on COVID-19 testing for faculty and staff and to share information regarding a new COVID-19 tracking app available from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    INITIAL COVID-19 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 by going to this link: bit.ly/UREmployeeCovidTesting. 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. The consent and authorization form is available here. Please print and bring a signed copy of this 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 bit.ly/UREmployeeCovidTestingVolunteers. Thank you to those willing to volunteer.

    PREVALENCE TESTING

    As noted in the University’s Return to Work Guide, the University is developing a plan to conduct prevalence testing of students, faculty, and staff. Prevalence testing involves testing of people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and have not been identified as close contacts through contact tracing in order to identify cases of COVID-19. We know that many of you are anxious for details on our plan for prevalence testing, but the public health officials with whom we are consulting regularly have advised us to wait for the results of our initial testing of students, faculty, and staff before designing an effective plan for prevalence testing.

    VIRGINIA’S COVIDWISE APP

    The Commonwealth of Virginia has developed a new tool to notify people if they are potentially a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19. COVIDWISE is Virginia’s COVID-19 exposure notification app. You may have already heard about COVIDWISE in the news, as Virginia is the first state in the nation to use the Apple-Google contact-tracing technology built into iPhones and Android phones.

    In support of the Commonwealth’s efforts, we have added information about COVIDWISE to our COVID-19 response website.

    The COVIDWISE app is a tool that may serve to augment our campus community’s extensive prevention strategies. The app uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology to quickly notify users who have been within six feet of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes and, as a result, may have been exposed to COVID-19. If the app notifies you that you may have been exposed, it will provide further instructions from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) on how to keep you and the people around you safe. VDH notes that the app does not track your location or identity, and it does not store location data.

    We ask you to consider downloading the COVIDWISE app on your personal device to contribute to Virginia’s efforts to fight COVID-19. Additional details about exactly how the app works, privacy and security concerns, and much more are available here.

    Thank you again for all that each and every staff and faculty member is doing to help safely further the University’s educational mission.

    Please take good care.

    David Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • Aug. 7, 2020: Important Information for Parents & Families

    Dear Spider parents and families:

    My colleagues and I are eager to welcome your students to the University this month. As you know, we’ve been diligently preparing to offer the exceptional educational experience for which Richmond is known, despite our extraordinary circumstances.

    Central to our ability to achieve that goal within a safe and healthy environment is establishing a shared set of expectations for all Spiders, outlined in our Healthy Web Compact. We have also asked our faculty and staff to commit to practices and behaviors that research demonstrates will help mitigate health risks within the campus community.

    Below is a letter addressing the importance of our Healthy Web Compact and the commitment it represents, recently sent to your student from Dr. Steve Bisese, Vice President of Student Development. I hope you will read this letter and find an opportunity to discuss it as a family before your student returns to campus. As you know, the mission of the University of Richmond is to prepare students for lives of purpose and responsible leadership. The Healthy Web Compact embodies this mission.

    To be sure, we understand that the behavioral changes the pandemic necessitates will be hard for your students, and indeed, for all of us. The University is working to ensure students will have mental health support and social activities adapted to our current realities.

    Thank you for all you are doing to help prepare your students for this most unusual year, and the support you will provide to them from a distance as we navigate the semester together. You, too, are an important part of our Web, and working together, we will make this the best year possible for all of us.

    Sincerely,

    Ronald A. Crutcher
    President

  • Aug. 7, 2020: Message about textbooks from the SpiderShop

    Greetings from the SpiderShop,

    As preparations are well underway for campus to come to life again, I wanted to send you some important information on how the SpiderShop is handling textbook purchases this semester. In order to keep our staff safe and be able to adhere to physical distancing guidelines set forth by the University, the SpiderShop will only be selling textbooks online. Orders can be placed at www.urspidershop.com. Please be sure to chose the textbook reservation option at checkout.

    When you return to campus, you will find that we have a SpiderShop branded trailer located on the forum between Gottwald and Heilman Dining Center. This is where we will be handling our textbook pickup, starting Monday August 17. The trailer will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please plan accordingly to pick up your books during those hours. We will not be able to fill any orders in the store or ship to your University post office box. We will also have a small selection of school supplies available for sale at the trailer.

    If you live locally but cannot make it to campus during those hours, we can ship your books to you at no cost if your order is over $75. If it is under $75, ground shipping rates will apply. If you have chosen “online learning,” please let us know in the comment section of the checkout page, and if we have digital versions of University printed course packs, we will send them to you digitally versus printed.

    The main store will be opening soon for purchases not related to course materials. We will, however, be limiting the number of customers in the store at one time. There is a chance that we will have to ask you to wait outside of the building or return at another time. There will be other changes to the store, all in the name of keeping everyone safe. Please keep in mind that all dates and times listed are subject to change based on the directives coming from the University.

    We very much look forward to seeing you all on campus. We are here to help, so if you have questions about your books or any of the changes to the store or campus, please reach out to us either by phone or email.

    Be well and travel safe, 

    Liz St. John
    SpiderShop Director

  • Aug. 6. 2020: Support for Remote Students

    We hope this email finds you well. We are writing because you have chosen to study remotely for the fall semester. We are looking forward to the fall, with students joining us both in person and from locations around the world. In this letter we are providing some details and information, and we also wanted to take a moment to remind you that while you are studying remotely we will continue to provide support and guidance to you and all members of our global Spider community.

    By now you have registered for classes. If you continue to change your schedule during general registration through the add/drop period, please remember that you may enroll in courses offered in either an online or in-person format, with the exception of a few classes that cannot be conducted in a remote format; these few courses are clearly noted as such in BannerWeb. We would also like to add that, whenever possible, we recommend that you try to select online courses, as professors who are teaching fully remote classes have adapted syllabi and class content specifically to this mode of instruction. Please also remember that you must participate synchronously in all classes, meaning you must attend at the time the class is taught, so please consider any differences in time zones when you select your courses. If you are a first-year student studying remotely and you have not yet selected a First-Year Seminar, please contact us as soon as possible, and we can help you register in available spaces in an FYS.

    As you prepare for this semester, please remember that you will need reliable internet service, a computer with a camera and microphone, and access to Zoom, both to attend and participate in classes and for advising and other support meetings. You can refer to the Learn Remotely Checklist for additional information on technology needs for remote learning. If you have questions about or difficulties obtaining the technology needed for remote learning, please contact us for assistance.    

    Please make every effort to order course materials and textbooks as soon as possible to ensure they are delivered to you before the first day of class. The UR SpiderShop can ship books directly to you. Their website contains course listings and associated textbooks for purchase, and also provides information about electronic versions and external sellers, so that you can determine the best option for you. Course listings are updated frequently as professors finalize syllabi, so if you do not see your classes listed, please check back regularly. Please also note that for some courses all reading materials will be provided online, as PDFs on Blackboard or online resources, and thus these courses will not have materials you will need to order. Boatwright Memorial Library stands ready to assist students studying remotely and has developed their own FAQ page.    

    A few notes about the spring semester: information regarding spring housing will be available in October, and registration for the spring will be held in late October. In addition, first-year and transfer students will participate in a spring New Spider Orientation program, to continue to welcome you and help you get settled and acclimate to life on campus. 

    This fall our remote student community is truly global, with students living within just a few miles of campus and all around the world. It is important to know that, as a remote student, you may not live on or have access to campus. This requirement is in the interest of the health and safety of the campus community, as you will not be participating in the University’s COVID-19 testing programs or daily health screening requirements. If you nonetheless think that you have a need to be on campus for any reason, please contact us to discuss your request. 

    You will, of course, continue to have access to the full range of student support services, resources, and student life programming. We, your deans, are happy to speak with you by phone, Zoom, or another method that works for you, as are your other advisors and mentors. In addition, information about online and virtual programs can be found by contacting offices directly, including tutoring in the Academic Skills Center, Academic Advising, and Career Services. The Center for Student Involvement can help students connect to campus clubs and activities that are available remotely. Please also look for the “Spider Support” option on Blackboard, to find information and resources on myriad topics. Additional services and information are being added as we near the start of classes, so please check back frequently for updates. In particular, we encourage you to continue to look at the Remote Study FAQs website, since new content is added frequently. 

    There are some remote student employment positions available, should you wish to have a University of Richmond job while studying remotely. Please be aware there may be complexities related to student employment based on where you are residing and whether or not you have worked on campus in the past. Job listings can be found at https://studentjobs.richmond.edu/, and a virtual job fair will be announced early in the semester. 

    You will hear more from us, as you do at the beginning of every semester, so please keep your eye out for future emails. As you look at the information available and plan your semester, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. As always, it is a joy to be your deans, and we look forward to our new semester together. 

    With Spider Pride,

    Dean Boehman and Dean Genoni 

    Dr. Joe Boehman, Dean of Richmond College
    RCDean@richmond.edu
    (804) 289-8061 

    Dr. Mia Reinoso Genoni, Dean of Westhampton College
    WCDean@richmond.edu
    (804) 289-8468

  • Aug. 6, 2020: Don’t break our web

    Dear UR Students,

    As Vice President for Student Development, I oversee twelve offices that have been working diligently to prepare for your arrival on campus. We are so excited to welcome you for the semester. And yet, we all know the year ahead will be unlike any other and will require our very best efforts inside and outside of the classroom.

    One of our core values as a Richmond community is that we care for one another. Now, more than ever before, our belief in this value will be on full display. The coronavirus has made clear what we have always known, our health and well-being depend on every member of our community. We are indeed all part of the same web.

    Sending students home to finish the semester remotely last spring was devastating for all of us, but especially for our seniors who were not able to experience the great joy of goodbyes, celebrations, and well-deserved recognitions. Completing this year on campus will require diligence and perseverance, and when we do, we will all be justly appreciative and proud.

    And that is why we are requiring all students to sign the healthy web compact before beginning the semester. A positive semester on campus depends on every one of us following health and safety guidelines and maintaining a commitment to the continued well-being of our community.

    To be clear: activities such as hosting or attending on or off campus parties or gatherings that violate our shared responsibilities will represent a serious violation of our compact and have significant disciplinary consequences. Breaking the compact will also result in having to isolate for 14 days, significantly disrupting the semester. Even more significant than discipline and isolation, however, will be breaking trust with our community by risking the well-being of others. Even as we are all excited to see one another and begin our semester, strict adherence to safety protocols must begin immediately upon your return to campus.

    There is great cultural cynicism about the ability of college students to place the health and safety of others before their own desires. I see it differently. Together we have an opportunity to rise to our best selves, to make small personal sacrifices to ensure the well-being of others, and thus to care for each other during difficult times. That’s what the Richmond Web means. We are bound together as Spiders.

    So, please do your part. Don’t break our Web. Instead, make it stronger.

    Have a wonderful rest of the summer.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Steve Bisese
    Vice President for Student Development

  • Aug. 5, 2020: Important Information About COVID-19 Testing

    Dear Students and Families,

    We write to provide an important update on the initial COVID-19 testing for all degree-seeking students who will be taking classes on campus this fall. Students who plan to study remotely during the fall semester and will not be on campus for other reasons may disregard this message.

    REGISTRATION FOR INITIAL TESTING

    All students should have registered for testing. Students should report to the west concourse of Robins Stadium at their designated time. If you have not yet done so, please do so as quickly as possible.

    • Residential students will be able to sign up for testing and a move-in appointment on StarRez, our online housing software tool.
    • Undergraduate students who do not reside on campus must schedule a time for testing by August 10, 2020, using this form.

    CONSENT TO TESTING AND AUTHORIZATION TO RELEASE TEST RESULTS

    All students undergoing COVID-19 testing must sign a COVID-19 Screening and Testing Authorization for Release of Testing and Screening Results at least three days prior to their scheduled testing date. The Screening and Testing Authorization for Release of Testing and Screening Results is available in the Student Health Portal and may be signed electronically. The parents and guardians of students under the age of 18 will receive the Screening and Testing Authorization for Release of Testing and Screening Results by email with instructions on how to execute and upload the signed document to their student’s portal.

    EXEMPTIONS FROM TESTING

    A student may be exempted from initial COVID-19 testing under the following circumstances:

    • The student will be studying remotely during the fall semester and will not be on campus for other purposes (e.g., use of the library or recreation center);
    • The student has a negative viral PCR test administered no more than 72 hours prior to arrival and provides a copy of the lab report upon arrival at the Robins Stadium testing location; or
    • The student had a positive viral PCR test for COVID-19 not more than 90 days prior to arrival on campus, has completed their isolation, and provides a copy of the lab report upon arrival at the Robins Stadium testing location. Students who have a positive test within 10 days of arrival on campus should not come to campus until: (1) they have no fever, defined as less than 100 degrees F, for at least three days (that is 72 hours of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers, such as Tylenol, Motrin, aspirin, ibuprofen, paracetamol, etc.); (2) other respiratory symptoms have improved (for example, cough or shortness of breath); and (3) at least 10 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared or they have and provide documentation of two negative COVID-19 PCR viral tests done at least 24 hours apart.

    We look forward to welcoming you back to campus and are grateful for your prompt attention to completion of the Screening and Testing Authorization for Release of Testing and Screening Results.

    Sincerely,

    Steve Bisese
    Vice President for Student Development

    Patrick Benner
    Director of Residence Life & Housing

  • Aug. 5, 2020: Student Training: Returning to Campus

    Dear University of Richmond Students,

    As we prepare to reopen the University of Richmond campus, all faculty, staff, and students are required to complete an online educational module about COVID-19 and the University’s health and safety protocols.

    The purpose of this training is to provide you with the information you need to live, work, and learn in the now normal coronavirus environment while maintaining your health as an individual, and the health of our community. After all, we are Many Spiders, One Web.

    You can access and complete the training, in approximately 15 minutes, before returning to campus here.

    More details about our health and safety plans are available on the COVID-19 Response site.

    Sincerely,

    Steve Bisese
    Vice President for Student Development

  • Aug. 3, 2020: Staff/Faculty Guidance for Return to Campus

    Dear Staff and Faculty,

    We write to provide you with an update regarding the University’s approach to safely reopening the campus for the fall semester. Our top priority remains promoting the health and well-being of all students, staff, and faculty, which continues to inform our decision-making and planning. It is a shared responsibility to keep our campus community safe in the months to come.

    HEALTHY WEB COMPACT AND COVID-19 EDUCATION

    Taking care of ourselves, each other, and the University requires the full attention and daily dedication of everyone. 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 available in Talent Web later today.

    ARRIVAL OF STUDENTS ON CAMPUS

    >More of our talented students will begin returning to campus Monday, Aug. 10. Part of the methodical campus arrival process allows for every student who will be taking classes on campus this fall to be tested for COVID-19. The move-in process will begin Aug. 10 for residence and orientation advisors and other students who need to return to campus early. First-year and transfer students will have staggered move-in dates Aug. 14–16 and upper-class students will move in Aug. 19–21. Classes begin Monday, Aug. 24.

    RETURNING TO CAMPUS AND WORKING REMOTELY

    We extend our sincere gratitude to all of you who have worked so diligently on campus all summer to prepare for the return of students and sustain the important operations of the University. We also want to acknowledge many of you who graciously adjusted to working remotely and have remained busy preparing to teach and provide support to our students this fall.

    We anticipate that the University will remain in the Red Stage of our Physical Distancing Framework at the beginning of the semester in which employees are expected to work remotely to the fullest extent possible. With the return of students to campus, however, essential work will involve an in-person presence. Offices and departments should develop schedules that ensure in-person support necessary to fulfill our residential educational mission while continuing to support as much remote work as is practicable.

    SUPPORT FOR CHILD CARE AND RESOURCES FOR CHILD AND ELDER CARE

    In order to address the challenges that parents and caregivers are facing, the University will contribute $1,200 to a tax-free spending account for all regular full-time employees with children 12 years old and younger. These monies may be used to help offset child care expenses incurred between Aug. 10 and Nov. 30, 2020. We understand that finding daycare services will be more difficult than usual, and to help address that problem, the University will also provide for all regular full-time employees access to Care.com, a national network of child, elder, pet, home, and other care providers, which has an extensive network of providers in the Richmond region. Care.com will help regular full-time employees of the University identify vetted day-care providers. Look for more information from Human Resources about how to access these programs in the upcoming weeks.

    RETURN TO WORK GUIDE

    A Return to Work Guide has been developed to provide you with details pertaining to the extensive steps the University has taken to mitigate health and safety risks and to inform you of the steps all of us must take every day to take care of ourselves, our fellow colleagues, and our students. The workplace policies and expectations described in the Return to Work Guide are aligned with the University’s reopening plan, which was certified by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia earlier this month. Thanks to the incredible work and contributions of so many staff and faculty since the University transitioned to remote instruction in March, the University has been able to comprehensively prepare for delivering on our signature educational mission during the upcoming fall semester. Of course, if conditions on campus or within our community require the University to move to full or partial remote education in the fall, the University is prepared to do so.

    It is important to note that a message addressing student behavioral expectations and requirements was sent to all students on July 20 by Vice President for Student Development Steve Bisese. A shared commitment to individual and community well-being among all students, faculty, and staff is essential for a safe and successful semester. Selected key aspects of the Return to Work Guide are summarized below:

    HEALTH AND TEMPERATURE SCREENING FOR FACULTY AND STAFF

    The University will require all faculty and staff to begin monitoring their health and temperature on a daily basis beginning Aug. 10 and document their efforts by responding to a daily email provided by Human Resources. Certain departments will also continue their practice of daily in-person temperature and health screenings. Please refer to the Return to Work Guide for more information on Health and Temperature Screenings.

    COVID-19 TESTING FOR FACULTY AND STAFF

    The University has updated its plan for testing of faculty and staff.

    Initial Testing. The University strongly encourages all faculty and staff who will be teaching or working on campus this fall to be tested for COVID-19. We are fine tuning details on a plan for initial testing for those faculty and staff who will be teaching or working on campus in the fall. We will be sharing additional details as soon as we finalize details and carefully consider all available options.

    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 scheduling an appointment with the on-campus testing clinic where they can have a telehealth visit with a health care provider from BetterMed urgent care.

    Prevalence Testing. The University is developing a plan to conduct prevalence testing of students, faculty, and staff. Prevalence testing involves testing of people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and have not been identified as close contacts through contact tracing in order to identify cases of COVID-19.

    There is much more information in the Return to Work Guide, including additional details on the topics mentioned above, plus information on personal health and safety guidelines; workspaces; meetings; travel; temporary work accommodations; and more. There is also an overview of the incredible work performed throughout the summer to prepare our facilities for an in-residence fall semester.

    Thank you for all that each and every staff and faculty member is doing to help safely further the University’s educational mission.

    Please take good care.

    David Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • July 30, 2020: Daily Symptom Tracker

    Dear Student and Parents,

    As we eagerly continue our preparation for our return to in-person, residential education this fall, we write to share with you an update on an important component of our reopening plan.

    As noted in our Fall Health and Safety Reopening plans, all students will be required to compete a daily health and temperature screening through an online platform, which will launch tomorrow, July 31.

    Starting tomorrow, all students will receive an email from Qualtrics, the online survey system housing our daily symptom tracking form. We ask that all students begin completing this survey on a daily basis starting 14 days prior to arrival on campus. Students, except remote study students, will be required to complete this daily survey both prior to their arrival on campus for the fall semester and during the fall semester.

    We have posted below an example of what the email will look like. Once you complete the survey, you will receive a completion notification with any additional instructions for follow-up based on survey responses.

    Hi Student Name,

    All UR community members including students, faculty, and staff are required to monitor their health status daily by completing this daily temperature and symptom screening survey. We suggest you follow a daily routine and always respond to these questions first thing in the morning.

    Follow this link to the Survey:
    Take the Survey

    Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:
    www.SampleSurveyURL.com

    Thank you in advance for participating in our shared responsibility to keep our web safe.

    Additional details about the University of Richmond COVID-19 response are available on this dedicated website.

    Sincerely,

    University of Richmond

  • July 20, 2020: Fall Health and Safety Reopening Plans

    Dear University of Richmond Students: 

    As we eagerly await your return to the University of Richmond, I want to share with you more information about our plans for promoting the health and safety of our students and all members of the campus community. I also want to assure you that we are carefully monitoring the conditions in Virginia and across the country. While we are all excited to return to campus this fall, we recognize that the fall semester will be different in many ways from what we have experienced in the past and we must come together as a community to work to address two of the most significant issues of our time — the COVID-19 pandemic and racial inequality highlighted by national events this summer. I believe that the creativity, determination, and ambition of the Spider community will bring us together in new ways to make our campus a more inclusive and equitable place that puts the health and wellbeing of our fellow Spiders at the top of our collective priorities. I cannot state plainly enough or more strongly that in order for the planned return to be successful, the prevailing attitude must be that each of us is responsible for not only our own health and safety but also the health and safety of fellow students, faculty, and staff.

    The heart of the Richmond experience is personal care and attention coupled with high impact programming, advising, and mentoring. As President Crutcher has stated: “we have sought to preserve these hallmarks of a Richmond education while making necessary adjustments to conform to public health guidance to promote health and safety.” While things will, of necessity, be different in the fall, students will return to find a campus dedicated to academic excellence, student-centered care, and wellbeing.

    THE UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND REOPENING PLAN

    On June 11, 2020, the Commonwealth of Virginia issued Higher Education Reopening Guidance, which specified 26 components that colleges and universities in Virginia need to address in their plans to reopen campuses. The Guidance also required each college and university to submit their reopening plans to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) for review and certification. The University of Richmond’s plan has been reviewed by SCHEV and has been found to be compliant in containing the 26 required components of the Higher Education Reopening Guidance.

    Our Reopening Plan provides detailed information about the many actions we have taken and will take to promote the health and safety of our campus community as we return to in-person education in the fall. For example, the Reopening Plan describes the University’s Physical Distancing Framework and how areas like dining will be modified to support physical distancing. The Reopening Plan provides detailed information on the requirement for wearing face coverings, our plans for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and providing isolation and quarantine housing for students. It also includes information on our cleaning and disinfection practices and the engineering controls that we are installing in campus buildings to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including the installation of UV-C filters and bi-polar ionization within the air handling systems.

    Our commitment to the wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff has caused the University to allocate significant financial and other resources to prepare for the reopening of our campus. I am grateful to the many faculty and staff members who have worked tirelessly to develop our plan. I strongly encourage all students and parents to review our Reopening Plan before returning to campus.

    THE HEALTHY WEB COMPACT

    All Spiders — every student, faculty, and staff member — play a vitally important role in protecting the health of our campus community — what we affectionately call our web. We will be asking all Spiders to act in a way that promotes and protects our web. The choices you make about physical distancing, wearing a face covering, and even washing your hands will have consequences for everyone you come in contact with — friends, professors, staff members, and even your families back home. I cannot stress enough how important it is that each of us takes individual and collective responsibility to take care of one another.

    In support of this shared responsibility, all students who wish to return to campus in the fall must sign and abide by the Healthy Web Compact. The Compact provides an overview of the actions all Spiders need to take to ensure the safety of our web. These steps include daily health checks, practicing physical distancing, wearing a face covering, and letting University officials know if you are not feeling well. You can sign the Healthy Web Compact electronically by using this link. If you are under 18, please print the Healthy Web Compact, ask your parent or guardian to sign it, and return it to us following the directions provided here

    We are also instituting interim student conduct policies to help encourage students to abide by the Healthy Web Compact, the Physical Distance Framework, and other health and safety policies and protocols. Please become familiar with these interim policies when they are posted to our website, as they are a reminder that there will be consequences for putting the health and safety of others in jeopardy. 

    PREPARING TO RETURN TO CAMPUS

    Pre-Arrival Health and Temperature Monitoring

    We want to make sure that students are healthy and well when they return to campus. As a result, all students must monitor their temperature and symptoms for at least 14 days prior to arrival on campus. Information about a health monitoring online platform designated by the University to record this information will be made available in the coming days.

    For your own health and wellbeing and that of other students, faculty, and staff, all students are asked to reduce potential exposure to COVID-19 by avoiding large crowds and gatherings, keeping a safe distance (at least 6 feet apart) from people outside your family unit, washing hands often and not knowingly coming into contact with a person who has been diagnosed with the virus for at least 14 days prior to returning to campus. 

    Any student who has symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted to move in until they meet the following criteria:

    • No fever, defined as less than 100 degrees F, for at least 3 days (that is 72 hours of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers, such as Tylenol, Motrin, aspirin, ibuprofen, paracetamol, etc.), AND
    • Other respiratory symptoms have improved (for example, cough or shortness of breath), AND
    • At least 10 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared or two negative COVID-19 PCR viral tests done at least 24 hours apart 

    If family members or persons assisting with move-in have experienced any of the above outlined symptoms, they are not permitted on campus.

    Everyone is expected to follow CDC guidelines.

    We will all have to adjust to new ways of socializing due to the importance of physical distancing. Staff in student life are committed to developing social activities that follow these health and safety guidelines.

    What to Bring and What Not to Bring to Campus

    Students should make sure they bring the following items with them to campus:

    • A thermometer to conduct daily temperature screenings;
    • We will provide each student with two cloth face coverings, but students should also bring at least two with them;
    • Hand sanitizer;
    • Fever-reducing medication;
    • Allergy medication (if necessary); and
    • Disinfecting cleaning supplies for rooms and private bathrooms.

    In order to maintain physical distancing in student residences, students should not bring furniture or large items that will reduce floor space in rooms. For more information visit the Move-In Guide

    TESTING UPON ARRIVAL ON CAMPUS

    All full-time, degree seeking students will be required to be tested for COVID-19 prior to the start of classes. The University has engaged SecureHealth to administer viral PCR tests to full-time degree seeking students upon their arrival on campus. This testing will take place in the west concourse of Robins Stadium, and all students must be scheduled in advance. The University will also have an on-campus location for COVID-19 testing for students throughout the semester. Students will be exempted from this testing requirement if they have and provide documentation of a negative viral PCR test upon arrival, provided that the test is administered no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.

    Residential Students

    Students who will reside on campus will have staggered times for testing and move-in, as described in the Move-In Guide. Residential students will be able to sign up for testing and a move-in appointment on StarRez, our online housing software tool. Residential students should report to the west concourse of Robins Stadium at their designated time.

    The first step in the process will be COVID-19 testing. Following testing, residential students will continue through the move-in process and receive their SpiderCard, a welcome pack, and all necessary information and be permitted to move in to their assigned room. Students are able to remain with their roommate while awaiting test results, but must wear a face covering in their room and practice strict social distancing until their test results are received. The results of the COVID-19 test will be provided to students by the Student Health Center. The time for receiving the results may vary, but we expect to have the results within 48 to 72 hours.

    If a student has a temperature or symptoms of COVID-19 upon arrival at the testing location, they will be instructed to leave campus and quarantine with their family in a local hotel pending the receipt of test results. If that is not possible, those students will be placed in the University’s designated isolation rooms to await test results before taking any further action. Should this be necessary, the student will be provided further information about ordering meals and accessing the on-campus isolation space.

    Nonresidential Students

    Undergraduate students who do not reside on campus must schedule a time for testing using this form. Students are able to remain with their roommate or apartment mates while awaiting test results, but must wear a face covering in their off-campus residence and practice strict social distancing until their test results are received. The results of the COVID-19 test will be provided to students by the Student Health Center. The time for receiving the results may vary, but we expect to have the results within 48 to 72 hours. 

    If a nonresidential student has a temperature or symptoms of COVID-19 upon arrival at the testing location, they will be instructed to leave campus and quarantine at their off-campus residence pending the receipt of test results. Should this be necessary, the student will be provided further guidance.

    DAILY HEALTH AND TEMPERATURE SCREENING 

    All students will be required to conduct a daily health and temperature screening using an online platform approved by the University. The University will provide more information regarding this online platform shortly. Students will be instructed to contact the Student Health Center if they experience symptoms of COVID-19. 

    STUDENT HEALTH CENTER AND CAPS

    As with other areas of campus, there will be some changes in the operating plans for the Student Health Center and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), but our focus on accessible student-centered care remains unchanged.

    The University’s Student Health Center physicians, nursing staff, and practice manager have been integral to the University’s resilience planning and fall reopening preparation work. In addition to providing and maintaining its standard menu of services for eligible students, the Student Health Center has developed clinical protocols for caring for students exhibiting COVID-like symptoms. The Student Health Center will use its electronic medical record platform for scheduling student appointments and will not permit walk-in visits for students with respiratory illnesses or potential COVID-19 symptoms. Students will be asked pre-screening questions via their electronic medical record portal and appointments will be scheduled in staggered slots to avoid potential contact between symptomatic patients.

    The University will have an on-campus location for COVID-19 testing for students referred for testing by the Student Health Center. Any student who has symptoms of COVID-19 or is a close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual will be tested at the on-campus testing clinic.

    CAPS will continue to offer a wide range of mental health services to currently enrolled, full-time, degree-seeking students. To promote physical distancing and health and safety, CAPS will offer services through tele-counseling and will supplement traditional offerings with programming and services responsive to the mental health needs of students navigating the pandemic. CAPS will continue to offer counseling services via telehealth and other online support services during the 2020-2021 academic year, as conditions warrant.

    For additional information regarding our health and safety plans, please review our Reopening Plan and visit the University’s COVID-19 Response website, and the University’s online Move-In Guide

    Spiders are known for their resiliency, and for their strength. We are all very proud to be the only university in the United States to have a Spider as our mascot, and to demonstrate that same resiliency. We are all part of one web, and it is up to us to protect it and all the Spiders who enrich, enliven, and sustain the University of Richmond.

    We are looking forward with great anticipation to your return.

    Enjoy the rest of your summer.

    Sincerely,

    Steve Bisese
    Vice President for Student Development

  • July 17, 2020: Announcement Regarding Fall Athletics

    Dear Spider Community:

    I write to inform you that after extensive review and deliberation, the member institutions of the CAA and the A-10 have voted to suspend conference competition for 2020. Announcements of this decision were made by the conferences and by our athletics division earlier today. The CAA is the conference in which our football team competes, while the A-10 is Richmond’s home conference for the fall sports of field hockey, soccer, and cross country. Student-athletes will be able to continue to train on campus according to health guidelines.

    These were, of course, terribly difficult decisions for our Athletic Director, John Hardt, and me, along with our conference colleagues, to render. Our student-athletes are many of our finest university representatives, and the scholar-athlete experience is a point of great pride and distinction for our University. Our student-athletes work with incredible resolve and diligence throughout the year to prepare to succeed both in the classroom and in their respective sports. We know that this news is especially difficult for them, and we share their profound disappointment.

    The health and safety of all our students, including those who compete in our athletics programs, and our campus community must remain our highest priority as we prepare to return to campus in the fall and begin a new academic year. After extensive consideration, we were not convinced that we could ensure the health and well-being of the community in the context of the many complexities associated with a competitive intercollegiate athletic schedule.

    No decision has been made at this time concerning a schedule for resuming Spider athletic competition for our fall sports, although we are actively exploring the possibility of moving some of the fall athletic schedule to the spring. We are eager to return to conference-based competition as soon as we are convinced that we can do so safely. We also look forward to a time when all of us can once again gather together to cheer our student-athletes as they continue the tradition of excellence that is the hallmark of Spider Athletics and the University of Richmond.

    Go Spiders.

    Sincerely,

    Ronald A. Crutcher
    President

  • July 17, 2020: Campus Reopening Plan

    Dear Staff and Faculty, 

    We write today to share with you the University of Richmond’s campus reopening plan. As many of you know, on June 11, 2020, the Commonwealth of Virginia issued Higher Education Reopening Guidance which specified 26 components that colleges and universities in Virginia must address in their plans to reopen campuses. The guidance also required each college and university to submit their plans to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). The University of Richmond’s plan has been reviewed by SCHEV and has been found to be compliant in containing the 26 required components of the Higher Education Reopening Guidance. 

    Our reopening plan is available on the COVID-19 Response website. It provides detailed information about the many actions we have taken and will take to promote the health and safety of our campus community as we return to in-person education in the fall. For example, the reopening plan describes the University’s Physical Distancing Framework and the changes that are being implemented in classrooms, student housing, and dining to support physical distancing. The reopening plan provides detailed information on the requirement for wearing face coverings and our plans for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and providing isolation and quarantine housing for students. It also includes information on our cleaning and disinfection practices and the engineering controls that we are installing in campus buildings to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including the installation of UV-C filters and bi-polar ionization in the air handling systems of campus buildings.

    A number of you have inquired about the criteria that the University will use to assess conditions on campus and in the local community and to determine whether it is necessary to transition to remote education and work. The reopening plan includes a list of the metrics that will be actively monitored by the Resilience Working Group and its Situation Management sub-committee as it makes recommendations regarding the operating status of the University. 

    We encourage all faculty and staff members to review the University’s reopening plan.

    We are continuing to make excellent progress on our preparations for the return of students to our campus in the fall. On July 15, 2020, we conducted the first round of COVID-19 testing for the students who have remained on our campus this summer and a small group of student athletes. Our colleagues in facilities are installing UV-C filters and are preparing for the installation of the bi-polar ionizers in buildings across campus. We have identified locations for 12 tents to be installed across campus. The tents will be available for academic purposes, as dining locations, and for co-curricular planning. They are expected to be in place by August 10, 2020, and we will provide further information on accessing the tents for academic purposes. The modular housing units that will be used for isolation and quarantine are expected to arrive on campus this weekend.

    While we are moving aggressively to prepare the campus for the fall, we are also carefully monitoring COVID-19 cases nationally, at the state level, and locally, and we are in regular contact with our local public health officials. While the conditions in Virginia, and especially central Virginia, are much better than in some other states, we recognize that conditions here could change rapidly. We also recognize that the conditions in other states could have an impact on our community. The health and safety of the campus community remains our highest priority, and we will continuously monitor conditions and adjust our plans as necessary to meet changing health conditions.

    We remain deeply appreciative of the efforts of faculty and staff during this arduous and unprecedented time as our community collectively works to safely provide its outstanding educational program to our deserving students this fall and throughout the coming academic year.

    Sincerely,

    David Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer 

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • July 14, 2020: Fall Class Plans

    Dear Students and Families,

    We are very much looking forward to welcoming students back to campus next month. You received information recently about on-campus housing, the move-in process, and plans the University is developing to support campus health and safety. We write today with information primarily about your academic coursework during the fall semester. The University has developed an approach that maintains the University of Richmond’s commitment to excellent instruction while also mitigating the risk of COVID-19 infection within our campus community.  These adjustments require change to campus routines and at times will be inconvenient, but we are confident that University of Richmond students will contribute to the necessary steps to support a successful on-campus semester. Students will also have the option to complete the academic semester fully online as described below.

    As a follow up to the information in this letter, we hope you will also join President Crutcher and others for a Zoom conversation on July 22 at 4:30 p.m. EST. You can register for that conversation here.

    HEALTH AND SAFETY

    The health and safety of the campus community is our highest priority as we plan for the coming academic year. The University has developed and will continue to develop robust protocols and policies intended to promote the health and safety of all members of the campus community. For 14 days prior to arrival on campus, students are required to monitor their temperature and symptoms and to engage in risk reduction practices, such as avoiding large crowds and gatherings and maintaining safe distance (at least 6 feet apart) from people outside of their family unit. UR is also following the CDC recommendations regarding quarantine after international travel. Students should not come to campus if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. All students will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival on campus, and additional testing will be conducted throughout the semester. Students may be exempted from testing upon arrival if they have a negative test result from a test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival on campus.

    We are also closely monitoring national, state, and local COVID-19 trends. At present, Virginia is not experiencing the surge in COVID-19 cases that other states are seeing. We know that our community’s behavior will be essential to maintaining campus health and safety this fall. All students, faculty, and staff will be asked to sign a Healthy Web Community Compact, which is a commitment to following the University’s health and safety procedures and a demonstration of our shared responsibility for the health of the Spider community. The University will circulate the Healthy Web Community Compact and provide more detailed information regarding our health and safety policies and protocols over the next few weeks.   

    ACADEMIC CALENDAR 

    As previously announced, Fall 2020 classes will begin on August 24. There will be no fall break this year, and students should plan to return home for the semester on Saturday, November 21, or Sunday, November 22. There will be no classes the week of Thanksgiving (Monday, November 23–Friday, November 27). Students will complete the last week of fall classes, November 30–December 4, and the study period and final exams remotely. A small number of students who are unable to return to their home and/or for reasons of visa continuity will remain on campus through the end of the semester and the break. 

    MODES OF LEARNING

    The University of Richmond is known for its small classes and highly accessible faculty who put student learning first. Faculty are spending the summer preparing for your arrival and carefully considering the best way to deliver an outstanding learning experience under the constraints imposed by the current health situation. There are some subjects and approaches that cannot be accommodated in existing spaces given physical distancing guidelines (e.g., some labs) or that are not suited to the new spaces/safety guidelines (e.g., some language instruction), and these classes will be taught partially or fully remote. In addition, faculty who are at high risk or living with someone at high risk will be teaching their courses remotely. But all of our courses, no matter how they are delivered, will retain the hallmarks of a Richmond education — interactive, student-centered, and personal. In addition, our student support services — such as student involvement, career services, academic skills, counseling and psychological services — will be in full operation.  

    While we are eager to reconvene our academic community in person, we recognize that not all students will choose to or be able to return to campus. We are committed to helping each and every student continue to make academic progress, even if they are unable to be in residence this fall. International students face particular challenges this year. Our hybrid approach this fall includes most of our in-person classes also being available to non-resident students who need to study remotely. Students who will not be in residence on campus and wish to take fall term classes remotely may submit a request here.

    CLASSROOMS 

    To support the health and safety of our community, many classes will take place in larger spaces, and some courses have moved partially or fully remote. Because of the limited number of large spaces available for classroom use, some classes have also changed the time at which they are offered or the building in which they typically meet. Face coverings and physical distancing will be required for both faculty and students in all classrooms.

    REGISTRATION

    Registration for returning students will begin on Monday, July 20, and will follow the registration rotation schedule here. During this registration period, students may register for up to 5.5 units. Students may view the updated schedule of classes and their current schedule, which include courses for which they previously registered, on BannerWeb beginning Wednesday, July 15. As noted, a number of classes had to be moved to meet physical distancing guidelines. Some classes have been moved online as well; these classes will be marked in BannerWeb. Students will need to review their schedules for potential time conflicts due to these changes and be prepared to rectify the conflicts during the registration period. Additional information and instructions may be found here.

    Registration for first-year students will begin on August 3. Additional information about registration and course selection for new students can be found here. 

    As our planning work continues, we recognize that conditions may continue to change. We intend to provide the excellent, personalized education for which Richmond is known while protecting our campus community and remaining adaptable and responsive to change. To do this, each of us must commit to the practices and procedures necessary to safeguard community health and to limit the spread of COVID-19. Indeed, every student has a role to play and a shared responsibility for making our fall semester successful and sustainable. Thank you for your commitment to caring for your fellow Spiders and our campus community. We look forward to reconvening the University in this most unusual year.

    Sincerely, 

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

    Steve Bisese
    Vice President for Student Development

  • July 8, 2020: Supporting International Students

    Dear Members of the University Community,

    I write to share with you a letter of support I sent this evening to our international students. The restrictive new regulations proposed this week by Immigration and Customs Enforcement are antithetical to our University’s shared values, and we will do everything in our power to protect the ability of our international students to live and learn with us. I am grateful to the many community members who have offered creative suggestions and expressions of care and support as we work together to ensure international students can participate in the full range of learning opportunities offered at the University.

    With gratitude,

    Ronald A. Crutcher

    *****

    Dear International Students:

    I am writing to you, and will share this message with all members of our community, because of our deep and shared concern about the new regulations proposed this week by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which would restrict the ability of international students to participate in the full range of learning opportunities offered in the United States. You are valued and integral members of our community, and we will do everything in our power to protect your ability to live and learn with us, even as our nation and the world confront the global pandemic.

    During this challenging time, we assure you that the University of Richmond stands with you and is advocating strongly on your behalf. We are working with other universities and with influential educational associations — the American Council on Education, the Institute for International Education, the American Association of Colleges & Universities — as well as our elected representatives, to change these rules. Harvard and MIT late yesterday filed a lawsuit challenging the regulations. All told, the current moment presents a critical opportunity for higher education in the United States to reaffirm its commitment to you, our international students, who bring invaluable and diverse perspectives, dedication to learning, and intellectual energy to our campuses.

    Under these new guidelines, the University’s plans for the fall are classified as a hybrid model since we are committed to our signature face-to-face classroom teaching with some online learning. We want the full range of this blended learning experience to be available to you and will continue to do everything we can on your behalf. My own life and career were forever changed for the better through my deep engagement with Germany as a young musician and scholar. You deserve a similarly rich and immersive learning experience at the University of Richmond, and we are proud to have you as Spiders and vital members of our community. 

    UR’s Office of International Education will contact you with more detailed information soon, and Dean Merritt and her colleagues will continue to respond to your questions as you make your plans during this difficult time. I am grateful for the many expressions of care and support and creative suggestions from our faculty and staff as we seek to address the current travel restrictions and now these new guidelines, which may still be amended in the next few weeks.

    Thank you all for bringing the world to Richmond and enriching campus life. Please know that we are thinking of you and look forward to sharing the best that higher education has to offer, even at such a challenging time.

    Sincerely,

    Ronald A. Crutcher
    President

  • July 2, 2020: Arriving on Campus: Health Monitoring, Testing, and Move-In Information

    Dear Students and Families,

    Whether we are welcoming you to our campus for the first time as an incoming student or welcoming you back as a returning student, we are excited to be communicating with you about arriving to campus for the fall semester. 

    In anticipation of your arrival, our staff in residence life and housing, facilities, dining, and campus operations and services have been working around the clock to ensure a meaningful and inviting experience while also preparing for the physical distancing that is absolutely required to keep our community safe. We know the importance you place on the learning that occurs within a fully residential setting. This letter contains a wealth of important and helpful information. We encourage you to read it thoroughly to ensure that it informs your arrival plans.

    PRE-ARRIVAL HEALTH MONITORING AND TESTING AT MOVE-IN 

    As the health and safety of our campus community is paramount, all students must monitor their temperature and symptoms for at least 14 days prior to arrival on campus. Information about a health monitoring form or app designated by the University to record this data will be made available in the next few weeks. Any student who has symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted to move in until they meet the following criteria:

    • No fever, defined as less than 100 degrees F, for at least 3 days (that is 72 hours of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers, such as Tylenol, Motrin, aspirin, ibuprofen, paracetamol, etc.), AND
    • Other respiratory symptoms have improved (for example, cough or shortness of breath), AND
    • At least 10 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared or two negative COVID-19 PCR viral tests done at least 24 hours apart

    If family members or persons assisting with move-in have experienced any of the above outlined symptoms, they are not permitted on campus. All persons are expected to follow CDC Guidelines. 

    Upon arrival to campus, each student is required to go through a designated COVID-19 testing area. Following the testing process:

    • If a student is asymptomatic, they will continue through the move-in process and receive their SpiderCard, a welcome pack, and all necessary information and be permitted to move in to their assigned room. Students are able to remain with their roommate but must wear a face covering in their room and practice strict social distancing until their test results are received, which may take up to 48 hours.
    • If upon arrival a student is symptomatic, they will be instructed to leave campus and isolate with their family. If that is not possible, those students will be placed in the University’s designated isolation rooms to await test results before taking any further action. Should this be necessary, the student will be provided further information about the requirements for appropriate isolation per University guidelines.

    As students get settled in their rooms and await test results, a range of dining options will be available. Resident assistants and orientation advisors will reach out to students to touch base and offer support. Students will also be able to enjoy time outside on our beautiful campus while adhering to our campus health and safety guidelines, including wearing a face covering and physical distancing.

    More information about the testing process will be made available in the near future as details are finalized. This website contains the most updated information, so we encourage you to check it regularly. 

    MOVE-IN DATES, REQUIREMENTS, AND GUIDELINES

    In order to maintain the required physical distancing within our residential area, as well as decrease congestion during the move-in and COVID-19 testing process, the University of Richmond has staggered move-in for new and returning students. Students will be able to sign up for a move-in appointment on StarRez, our online housing software tool.

    New Students

    • Move-in for students participating in transition programs (Roadmap/Endeavor, Multicultural Pre-O, and Appalachian Trail Adventure) will be Friday, Aug. 14, as these programs will begin Saturday, Aug. 15.
    • Move-in for entering first-years and transfers will occur Saturday, Aug. 15, and Sunday, Aug. 16.
    • Incoming international students should make every effort to arrive to campus Friday, Aug. 14, to provide adequate time for testing on campus, which ends Sunday, Aug. 16. You will be receiving emails from International Education throughout the summer about the international orientation program, including how to participate if you cannot make it to campus by the arrival date. Please contact International Education at international@richmond.edu with questions. 

    Returning Students

    • Returning students will move in between Wednesday, Aug. 19, and Friday, Aug. 21.
    • Returning students will sign up for a time slot based on their residential area, and appointments will be limited for each time slot to increase physical distancing.
    • Returning students who have a first-year or transfer sibling may sign up for a time slot at the same time as their sibling by contacting residencelife@richmond.edu to submit a request.
    • All continuing international students should plan to arrive on campus no later than Wednesday, Aug. 19, to provide adequate time for testing on campus, which ends Friday, Aug. 21. If your arrival will be delayed beyond this timeframe or you have questions or concerns, contact International Education at international@richmond.edu.

    To select a move-in time, all students must sign in to StarRez and complete the Move-In Appointment application that will be available in the top red bar of the webpage. Before signing up for a time slot for move-in, each student must read and accept the Housing Addendum. This step is required for all students. Students who do not accept the housing addendum will not be permitted to sign up for a time slot or complete the move-in process.

    Roommates may not move in during the same time slot. Students may sign up for a time slot before they receive their housing and roommate assignment; however, students must coordinate their time slot with their roommates and change their time slot if necessary to ensure they are not arriving at the same time. If necessary, Residence Life and Housing staff will adjust a student’s time slot to ensure appropriate health protocols. If a student needs to change a time slot, please log back into StarRez and choose a new time. Students will be permitted to change their time slot 48 hours in advance of scheduled move-in.

    Students will be given three hours to complete their testing and move-in process. Students will register for a one-hour time slot to ensure they have adequate time to get through the testing and check-in process. Following completion of this step, each student will be given two hours to complete the move-in process to their room or apartment. At the end of the two hours, all helpers will need to depart the residential areas to allow for physical distancing. We recognize this time will not allow for immediate decorating of rooms, but room decoration can occur during the period students are awaiting test results.

    Early Arrivals

    New students will not be permitted to arrive on campus prior to Aug. 14. Returning students will not be permitted to return to campus prior to Aug. 19, with the following exceptions:

    • Student athletes approved by Resident Life & Housing and Athletics
    • Resident Assistant and Orientation Advisor staff
    • Siblings (or students living at the same permanent home residence) if one is a new student

    We know we are providing a lot of information and some components of this process require more time for our staff to finalize details. As mentioned above, to further assist students and families, we have created a dedicated website that will be updated as information becomes available. Please be sure to check this site regularly prior to your arrival in August to ensure you have the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding the move-in process and amenities that will be open and available to students and families during move-in and orientation.

    We appreciate your understanding and commitment to adapting to these policies and procedures. Both the health and safety of our campus and the quality of the residential educational experience will depend on our community coming together with everyone doing their part. In advance, we thank you for your partnership. 

    Sincerely,

    Steve Bisese
    Vice President for Student Development

    Patrick Benner
    Director of Residence Life & Housing

  • June 30, 2020: Campus Operating Status Update - Red Stage Continues

    Dear Staff and Faculty,

    As we approach the 4th of July holiday weekend, we write to provide you with an update of the University’s return-to-work expectations for the month of July. For over four months, the University of Richmond community has risen to the occasion with everyone working with empathy, determination, and flexibility so that the University may successfully and inclusively continue to pursue its educational mission. This is an extraordinarily challenging time for higher education in the United States, and the University of Richmond, while better positioned than many colleges and universities, is not insulated from the risks and uncertainties presented by COVID-19. Our campus community has demonstrated remarkable resiliency and we are extremely grateful for your efforts during this continuing challenge.

    As you may know, the Commonwealth of Virginia plans to transition to Phase 3 — also called “Safer at Home” — of the Governor’s Forward Virginia plan, beginning July 1, 2020. The University will, however, remain in the Red Stage of our Physical Distancing Framework to provide time to implement the health and safety measures identified through our resilience planning. During the Red Stage, employees are strongly encouraged to work remotely to the fullest extent possible, but some faculty may need to return to campus and division and department leaders may begin to bring back to campus employees whose work is essential to preparing campus for the fall.

    In fact, the campus preparation work has picked up over the past two weeks as the University’s outstanding Campus Operations team, working in shifts to accommodate appropriate physical distancing, has begun the immense task of planning for and implementing a wide array of health and safety interventions. This work includes the installation of modular housing units on campus to serve as isolation and quarantine spaces for our students; connecting UV-C and ionizing filters to building air-handler systems; creating signage and physical barriers to encourage appropriate physical distancing; identifying spaces throughout campus that can serve as classrooms; and deploying hand sanitizing and disinfecting wipe stations across campus. The University is remaining in the Red Stage, in part, so that this critically important work can be executed as efficiently as possible.

    We are pleased to convey that temperature screening processes have been successfully established for the University facilities, dining, and public safety personnel when they arrive on campus for their work shift. The University is currently working to implement an automated daily health monitoring process that will be required of all faculty and staff for the benefit of the entire campus community.

    We recognize that some of the University’s non-exempt, hourly employees may continue to experience a reduction in hours worked. We are pleased to confirm that the University will continue to pay regular full, part-time, and limited term non-exempt employees based on their regularly scheduled hours until informed otherwise. Division and department leaders should continue to determine how offices will be staffed and responsibilities fulfilled during July, consistent with the Physical Distancing Framework. Staff should not return to campus unless they have been asked by their supervisor to return.

    Finally, we wanted to update you that beginning July 15, approximately 120 student-athletes will return to campus. These students will follow the University and NCAA health and safety guidelines, which include daily health monitoring and temperature screening for 14 days prior to campus arrival; COVID-19 testing and strict physical distancing upon arrival; and participating in small groups for physical conditioning during the first two weeks of being back on campus.

    Thank you again for your efforts to support the University during this very challenging time, and we wish you the very best for a restful and safe 4th of July holiday weekend.

    Sincerely,

    David Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • June 23, 2020: Class of 2020 Commencement Celebration

    Dear Class of 2020,

    Congratulations once again on your graduation from the University of Richmond. In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you completed your education with determination and grace. I write to you today with an update on plans for an on-campus celebration of your Richmond graduation and all of your accomplishments.

    Class of 2020 Commencement exercises and corresponding graduation weekend activities will take place in spring 2021. Please save the following dates and times:

    Saturday, May 1, 2 p.m.
    Richmond School of Law

    Sunday, May 2, 2 p.m.
    Jepson School of Leadership Studies
    Robins School of Business

    Friday, May 7, 5:30 p.m.
    Master of Business Administration

    Saturday, May 8, 9 a.m.
    School of Professional and Continuing Studies

    We are aware that some schools around the country and here in Virginia have promised commencement ceremonies for 2020 graduates this fall. The health and safety of the Spider community, including our graduates and their families, is our top priority. We are implementing significant and rigorous health protocols for the fall semester that include limitations on the size of gatherings, events, and meetings. These protocols preclude us from hosting traditional commencement exercises on campus this fall.

    In surveying and talking with members of the Class of 2020, we know there is strong desire for a true weekend celebration, full of the traditions in which you had hoped to participate. We want the Class of 2020 to enjoy all the programs and celebrations we traditionally offer during commencement weekend, and our commencement committee will work hard to make it a very special experience for graduates and their families.

    As we continue to finalize our plans please visit commencement.richmond.edu for updates. The health and safety of our community continues to be our top priority, and public health guidance will continue to inform our planning for your commencement events. If conditions change that affect our ability to welcome you back to campus on these dates, we will inform you as soon as possible.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work to create a safe and healthy home for all Spiders to learn, live, and celebrate. We wish you good health and look forward to welcoming you back to campus next spring.

    Sincerely,

    Ronald A. Crutcher
    President

  • June 15, 2020: Campus Operating Status Update - Red Stage

    Dear Faculty and Staff, 

    As noted in President Crutcher’s letter last week, the University is planning to resume in-person instruction and our residential educational experience this fall. Given this news and the release of reopening guidelines from Governor Northam for institutions of higher education in Virginia, we are pleased to share with you our next steps.

    RED STAGE OF PHYSICAL DISTANCING FRAMEWORK

    The University remains steadfast in our commitment to the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff.  In accordance with Phase Two — also called “Safer at Home” — of the Governor’s Forward Virginia plan, beginning on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, the University will formally initiate the red stage of our Physical Distancing Framework. During the red stage, employees are strongly encouraged to work remotely to the fullest extent possible, but division and department leaders may now begin to bring back to campus employees whose work is essential to preparing campus for the fall.

    Division and department leaders will continue to determine how offices will be staffed and responsibilities fulfilled during this stage, consistent with the Physical Distancing Framework. Employees should not return to campus unless they have been asked by their supervisor to return. Faculty and staff who may be at high risk for COVID-19 as defined by the CDC are encouraged to request an accommodation by completing the Request for Modified Work Arrangement form

    GOVERNOR’S REOPENING GUIDELINES 

    The Governor has announced specific guidelines for Virginia’s college campuses, acknowledging that reopening higher education in a safe and sustainable manner is a statewide priority.

    Campuses opening throughout the Commonwealth must:

    • Continue to follow the phases of the Virginia Forward plan outlined by the Governor
    • Meet health criteria outlined by public health officials, including enhanced social and physical distancing, cleaning measures, and efforts to mitigate infection spread
    • Address the health needs and special circumstances of students, faculty, and staff
    • Submit a comprehensive reopening plan to the State Council of Higher Education that considers the population of the campus and outlines plans for monitoring, detecting, and addressing infection

    The University of Richmond will work closely with the Virginia Department of Health, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, and local health departments to ensure adherence to these guidelines and will be submitting our plan for reopening to SCHEV in the coming weeks. Details of our health and safety plans are available at http://www.richmond.edu/coronavirus.

    As our community plans for this transition, the health and safety of the campus community will remain our primary concern and a successful semester will require a shared commitment from all of us. We appreciate your support, collaboration, and resilience, and will continue to keep you updated on developments as our planning continues.

    Stay well,

    David Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • June 11, 2020: Fall Semester (To Students)

    Dear Students,

    The University of Richmond has continued to engage in careful and comprehensive planning in recent weeks as we prepare to reopen our campus and begin the new academic year. Our planning is guided by two fundamental priorities: promoting the health and safety of our entire campus community and ensuring an excellent academic experience for you. Today, I write you to share important updates about our plans for the fall semester.


    FALL SEMESTER

    I am pleased to affirm that the University intends to resume in-person instruction and the residential educational experience at the beginning of the fall semester, as originally scheduled. Consistent with the published academic calendar, fall semester classes will begin August 24 and the semester will end December 18. We are, however, making two important modifications to the academic calendar, informed by public health guidance. Fall Break will be eliminated and in-person courses and student residency will end prior to Thanksgiving. The final week of classes and the study and exam period will occur remotely after Thanksgiving.

    More specifically, our plans are as follows:

    • In-person classes will conclude on Saturday, November 21.
    • Students will move out of campus housing following their last in-person class in order to return home prior to Thanksgiving.
    • There will be no classes the week of Thanksgiving (Monday, November 23 to Friday, November 27).
    • Classes will resume remotely on the Monday after Thanksgiving (November 30).
    • Classes conclude for the fall semester on Saturday, December 5.
    • Reading days and the exam period will be held remotely from December 6–15. Please see the official academic calendar for more detail.

    As always, provisions will be made for students who cannot return home at Thanksgiving or between semesters, overseen by the Richmond and Westhampton College deans’ offices. No decision has been made at this time about the spring calendar.

    Let me offer some additional information on issues that I know are important to you, and, indeed, crucial to the success of the coming academic year: academic life, student housing, our robust health and safety planning, and the new norms that we all must adopt given the continued presence of COVID-19. 


    Academic Life

    The University of Richmond is known for dynamic instruction in small classes organized around robust discussion, group problem-solving, and personal faculty attention. In our planning, we have sought to preserve these hallmarks of a Richmond education while making necessary adjustments to conform to public health guidance to promote health and safety.

    All in-person classes will be assigned to a classroom that allows for appropriate physical distancing. Some classes will need to be rescheduled to provide an appropriately sized room. To that end, the University will hold classes at all available times (including evenings) and days of the week, as well as convert many campus spaces that have traditionally been used for other purposes to academic classrooms.

    Our faculty, where possible, will offer classes simultaneously in person and remotely for students who are high risk for COVID-19 and wish an accommodation or need to be out of class due to illness or quarantine. Students who are high risk for COVID-19, as defined by the CDC, may request an accommodation by completing the University’s request for disability accommodations. Finally, some classes, such as those taught by faculty who are at high risk for COVID-19, will only be offered remotely (and will be noted as such in the online catalogue).


    Residential Life

    In addition to resuming on-campus instruction and safeguarding the health of our community, we also set a goal of safely housing as many students on campus as possible, given the University’s commitment to offering a meaningful residential education experience. After carefully analyzing whether our residence halls have the capacity to allow for necessary physical distancing, we have determined the University is able to offer its customary residential experience in a manner consistent with public health guidelines. All students who registered to live on campus this fall will be able to do so.

    In the majority of cases, students’ original room assignments will remain unchanged, since nearly all our rooms, apartments, and suites have sufficient square footage to allow for full occupancy under the physical distancing guidelines required for residential education. We have, however, eliminated triple rooms and converted them to doubles, while also converting some additional rooms to singles. The Residence Life and Housing Office will work directly with all students affected by these changes, as well as with students who had planned to study abroad in the fall and will now enroll on campus. We are currently evaluating the opportunity for students who had intended to study abroad to reside in a nearby hotel. More information about these plans will be provided to impacted students in July.

    In the event that any students contract COVID-19 during the semester, we have secured sufficient residential capacity for isolation and quarantine. These rooms will be on campus in modular units, not within residential buildings. Please know that if you do become ill, the University will be there for you to ensure you receive the proper care and support.


    Health, Safety, and Resilience

    As we continue to prepare for the fall, I cannot stress enough that the health and safety of the campus community has been of paramount importance in our planning efforts. Ensuring the health of the campus community is a responsibility we all share and will require a shared commitment from all of us as we modify the way we live, learn, and work together.

    The University’s Resilience of Operations Working Group, in consultation with an infectious disease specialist and other physicians, has identified complementary interventions to mitigate the campus risks associated with COVID-19. The University will invest aggressively in a series of strategies, which taken as a whole, will augment community health and safety. They include:

    • A rigorous and phased Physical Distancing Framework that will apply to all aspects of campus life, including dining facilities, libraries, and classrooms
    • COVID-19 testing and contact tracing protocols
    • Daily health and temperature screenings for students, faculty and staff
    • Plans and resources for isolating students who test positive for COVID-19 and quarantining close contacts, including the provision of health care and the ability to participate in classes remotely
    • Clinical protocols for treating COVID-19 and meeting student health care needs in the Student Health Center
    • Cleaning and disinfecting protocols consistent with CDC standards
    • Plans designed to promote healthy building environments, including enhancements to air handling systems

    We will write you throughout the summer with more information about our health and safety measures for the fall, including details about how our Physical Distancing Framework will work in practice. These measures may be eased during the fall if conditions on campus and in the local community permit.


    Returning to Campus and Community Life

    Appropriate testing and screening protocols will be in place for all faculty, staff, and students. To promote physical distancing, student move-in for all classes will be phased over a period of several days, rather than having all first-year students arrive on campus on the same day, followed by all upper-class students returning on the same day. Other adjustments to daily life will be necessary beyond the classroom precautions outlined above. Campus dining operations and formats, for example, will be adjusted. Cloth face coverings are, at present, required (and may likewise be required in the fall semester) in all buildings, including classrooms, dining facilities, common areas within residence halls, and in outdoor settings where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain. We will provide additional information about returning to campus and community life over the summer.


    A Shared Responsibility

    We have always been a community of Spiders inhabiting a shared web that connects and sustains us all. That will never be truer than in the coming academic year. Each of us must do our part to take care of ourselves and one another — remaining flexible in ever-changing circumstances, adopting new norms, and adhering to public health requirements that will limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable among us. This semester will be unlike any other, but the reward for embracing our shared responsibility will be great: a return to our treasured residential and academic community where all members can thrive


    Contingency Planning

    It is important to note that while we are fully committed to resuming residential education, we understand that public health conditions and the course of the pandemic may change at any time. Should conditions ultimately preclude campus residency, we will be prepared to support the continued academic progress of our students as well as job and internship placements, student activities, clubs, and counseling.

    NEXT STEPS FOR STUDENTS

    From now through July, you will receive additional information about the fall semester, including: the timeline and process for open registration when students are informed of schedule and classroom reassignments that have been made in order to ensure adequate physical distancing — and will be able to make changes to their schedule; details regarding our anticipated staged move-in process; and for first-year and transfer students, facts about orientation and transition programs. In addition, we will continue to provide information about health and safety measures, including instructions related to screening for COVID-19. And we will continue to confer with a student advisory group on plans for the fall.

    In the meantime, we invite you to attend a Zoom-based conversation about our fall plans:

    • Incoming student and parent meeting: Wednesday, June 17, at 4:30 p.m. EST
    • Returning student and parent meeting: Thursday, June 18, at 4:30 p.m. EST

    Incoming students may register for the Wednesday meeting here, while continuing students may register for the Thursday meeting here.

    These meetings will be recorded for those who cannot attend live. When you register for a meeting, you will have the opportunity to submit questions. University leaders and I will respond to your questions and discuss the University’s continued planning for the year ahead.

    I would like to conclude by reassuring you that all of us are working intently to prepare for a safe and enriching fall semester for our students. Much has already been asked of every member of our community, including our students and their families, and there are surely more challenges ahead. But I know that together we will continue to meet this moment with creativity, determination, generosity, and success — and, once again, demonstrate the distinct and transformative power of a Richmond education.

    I look forward to staying in touch with you over the summer and to welcoming our new and returning students in the fall, to an active and vibrant Richmond campus and to another academic year of significant achievement by our students.

    Please continue to take good care of yourselves and each other.

     
    With best wishes,

    Ronald A. Crutcher
    President

  • June 11, 2020: Fall Semester (To Faculty & Staff)

    Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,

    It has been an unbelievably tumultuous spring. In my 43 years of experience in higher education, I have never seen anything like the staggering array of challenges that have coalesced over the past three months. We have experienced the worst public health crisis since 1918; the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression; and the most widespread civil rights activism since 1968. As we, as a nation, grapple with this moment, I know everyone is experiencing great uncertainty. Among the many hopes we share are a yearning to return to our intellectual home at the University of Richmond to do what we do best: preparing students for lives of purpose and making a difference in our community and beyond.

    Today, I write you to affirm that the University intends to resume in-person instruction and the residential educational experience this fall. Consistent with the published academic calendar, fall classes will begin August 24 and the semester will end December 18. We are, however, making two important modifications to the academic calendar, informed by public health guidance. Fall Break will be eliminated and in-person courses and student residency will end prior to Thanksgiving. The final week of classes and the study and exam period will occur remotely thereafter. Please see the official academic calendar for more details.  

    We reached these decisions guided by two fundamental priorities: promoting the health and safety of our community and ensuring an excellent academic experience for our students. During our planning process, we considered numerous scenarios and formats to determine how best to adapt to COVID-19 and achieve these priorities. Strongly supported by a number of working groups and more than 75 faculty, staff, students, and administrators, we examined alternatives to the traditional semester format, including block and module structures that would allow students to complete a smaller number of classes on a compressed schedule. We also considered scenarios that would reduce density on campus at any given time. I am grateful to our colleagues for exploring those options in schools and divisions across the University and offering candid assessments. I am also grateful to everyone who participated in discussions, asked questions, and offered feedback at Spiders in the Know, Faculty Senate meetings, and other forums. I am likewise grateful to our student advisory group for their thoughtful input.

    The extensive work of our colleagues — enhanced by consultation with faculty, staff, and student leadership; public health experts; the academic deans; members of the President’s Cabinet; and the Board of Trustees — generated two primary findings:

    • First, based on the work of the Resilience Group and the best available public health information, we can implement interventions consistent with public health guidance to mitigate risk.
    • Second, shifting to a different, unfamiliar academic format for just one year would not serve the quality of our education, would be burdensome for faculty and staff, and should be avoided unless necessary for health reasons.

    Consequently, the Contingency Planning Steering Committee and I concluded that our traditional format is the best structure for the University of Richmond at this time — and that, with assiduous planning and the diligence of all of us throughout the semester and academic year, we can return to our treasured residential academic experience while adhering actively and consistently to crucial public health guidance.

    The University is known for dynamic face-to-face instruction in small classes organized around robust discussion, group problem-solving, and personal faculty attention. We believe that we can preserve these hallmarks of a Richmond education while making necessary adjustments to promote the health and safety of all in our community. We recognize that these changes will place additional demands on our faculty and staff. Please know how incredibly grateful I am for your dedication, which makes this all possible.

    As conveyed in Jeff Legro and Dave Hale’s May 29 update on academic preparations, we will ensure that all classes are assigned to a classroom that allows for appropriate physical distancing. As their message also noted, however, it is still important for faculty to prepare to teach their courses both in person and remotely for several reasons: 

    • There will be students who are at high risk for COVID-19 who will need to take classes remotely.
    • Other students may need to take classes remotely at some time during the semester because they are in isolation or quarantine or are appropriately staying away from class due to illness.
    • We must be prepared for the possibility that the course of the pandemic and public health circumstances may compel us to resume full remote instruction, though we certainly hope that will not be the case.

    I am grateful to our Remote Working Group for working to identify and ensure we address challenges and suggestions faculty and students have raised based on their experience this past spring. The University is — and will remain — committed to supporting and equipping faculty and students to succeed in both a remote and blended learning environment. 

    Below you will find useful additional information related to next academic year, from teaching preparations and classroom assignments to ongoing contingency planning and health, safety, and resiliency planning. I encourage you to review this information carefully. I also encourage you to read the letter I am sending to students and parents about the fall semester, which can be found here. In addition to information about classes, its key points are:

    • Appropriate COVID-19 testing and screening protocols will be put in place. These will include some screening measures that students must implement prior to their return to campus.
    • Student move-in for first-year and upper-class students will be phased over a period of several days to facilitate rigorous screening and physical distancing as students return to campus.
    • In the event that they are needed, we have acquired modular units that will provide for appropriate isolation and quarantine space for students, outside of the residence halls.

    We are emphasizing to students their shared responsibility for sustaining the circumstances that will make residential education and on-campus instruction possible amid the pandemic. We will continue to make clear that students’ adherence to new norms and public health guidance is imperative. That is likewise true of all of us as faculty and staff. Each of us must do our part to take care of ourselves and one another. The year ahead will be different — and at times surely difficult — but the reward of once again being together will be significant.

    In all my years in higher education, I have never looked forward more to the beginning of a new academic year. Like you, I am hearing regularly from our students that they are eager to return to campus — and in the case of our first-year students, to take their places in our community and make it their home. And like you, I am excited to help them grow and thrive as we reanimate our vibrant community. Thank you for everything you have done — and will do — to make this fall semester possible. As I wrote to our students, much has already been asked of each of you — and there are surely more challenges ahead — but I know that together we will continue to meet this moment with creativity, determination, generosity, and success.

    It is a privilege to be part of this exceptional academic community and to work alongside you daily to advance our shared commitment to academic excellence and the transformative power of a Richmond education.

    With best wishes and deep gratitude,

    Ronald A. Crutcher
    President

     

    FALL SEMESTER

    Academic Calendar

    Consistent with the published academic calendar, fall classes will begin August 24 and the semester will end December 18. Fall Break will be eliminated and in-person courses and student residency will end prior to Thanksgiving. A decision was made not to start the fall semester earlier than the 24th to allow time for critical health and safety preparations and for international students facing visa and travel hurdles to arrive.

    More specifically for traditional undergraduate students, in-person classes will conclude on Saturday, November 21; students will move out of campus housing following their last in-person class in order to return home prior to Thanksgiving; there will be no classes the week of Thanksgiving (Monday, November 23 to Friday, November 27); classes will resume remotely on the Monday after Thanksgiving (November 30); and classes conclude for the fall semester on Saturday, December 5. The full number of instructional days is preserved in this model due to the elimination of Fall Break. Reading days and the exam period will be held remotely; please see additional detail in the full academic calendar. As always, provisions will be made for students who cannot return home at Thanksgiving or between semesters, overseen by the Richmond and Westhampton College deans’ offices. No decision has been made at this time about the spring calendar.

    Classroom Assignments

    All classes will be assigned to a classroom that allows for appropriate physical distancing. It will be necessary to reschedule some classes to provide the appropriately sized room. The University will use all available times and days of the week to schedule classes, and will convert many campus spaces not traditionally used for class meetings into classrooms.

    The University completed an inventory of all existing spaces to determine the capacity for each room in keeping with our physical distancing guidelines. The Registrar’s Office will contact department chairs and schools in mid-June with information about physical distancing arrangements for classrooms and scheduled classes that will need to be relocated. The office will collaborate with departments and faculty to identify the most appropriate teaching spaces for their courses and associated schedule changes. Students will also be advised of the likely need to make adjustments to their course schedules, given changes that are likely to be associated with classroom reassignments. 

    Teaching Preparation

    Though we are committed to resuming face-to-face instruction in the fall, it will be important for all faculty to be prepared to teach their courses in both in-person and remote formats for several reasons: 1) there will be students who are at high risk for COVID-19 who may need to take classes remotely (and as with faculty and staff, a process will be established for students who are at high risk to request an accommodation); 2) other students may need to take classes remotely because they are in isolation or quarantine or are appropriately staying away from class due to other illness; 3) we must be prepared for the possibility that the course of the pandemic and public health circumstances will compel us to resume full remote instruction.

    In preparing syllabi, faculty should also be mindful that for safety reasons our policies this fall will discourage any travel, even local off-campus travel, contingent on conditions and prevailing health guidelines at the time. This will affect Community-Based Learning courses and Sophomore Scholars in Residence courses, among others. 

    In preparation for the unique demands of the coming year, the Provost’s Office will continue to augment and communicate to faculty about a variety of development opportunities offered through the Faculty Hub beginning in June. The University is also working to equip as many teaching spaces as possible with the technology needed for faculty to offer simultaneous face-to-face and remote instruction. Additional spaces will be available for small group meetings, office hours, and similar gatherings of limited size in which social distancing protocols can be observed.

     

    ACCOMMODATIONS FOR HIGH-RISK FACULTY AND STAFF

    Faculty and staff among the groups the CDC has identified as at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19, or who live with someone who is high risk, may request an accommodation. For course planning purposes, faculty were asked to indicate their intention to do so by submitting a form by this past Monday, June 8. Information for staff seeking to request an accommodation will be issued shortly. The University is in the process of developing guidelines for evaluating any COVID-19 related requests from staff and faculty for accommodations. We will provide further guidance to departments, divisions, and schools related to requests of faculty and staff that arise as a result of the extraordinary circumstances of COVID-19 while ensuring that the University is able to meet its obligations to our students.

    HEALTH, SAFETY, AND RESILIENCE

    The health and safety of the campus community is our paramount concern. Promoting the health of the campus community will require a shared commitment from all of us as we modify the way we live, learn, and work.

    The University is implementing the best practices identified in the Governor’s phased “Forward Virginia” plan for gradually easing public health restrictions in Virginia, as well as the current recommendations from the University’s Resilience of Operations Working Group. This Group is consulting with an infectious disease specialist and other physicians to identify a range of complementary interventions designed to mitigate the campus risks associated with COVID-19, which, taken as a whole, will promote community health and safety. These include: 

    • A rigorous and phased Physical Distancing Framework
    • Cleaning and disinfecting protocols consistent with CDC standards
    • COVID-19 testing and contact tracing protocols
    • Daily health and temperature screenings for students, faculty, and staff
    • Plans and resources for isolation of students who test positive for COVID-19 and quarantine for close contacts
    • Clinical protocols for treating COVID-19 and meeting student health care needs in the Student Health Center
    • Plans designed to promote healthy building environments, including attention to air quality

    Physical Distancing Framework

    One key aspect of the University’s resilience planning is a Physical Distancing Framework, a summary of which is available here, and the entire Framework can be viewed here. It provides staged requirements for all key aspects of campus life. Color-coded from red to green, the framework allows physical distancing protocols to be relaxed as the situation improves. The implementation of the framework will correspond, generally, with the Governor’s Forward Virginia plan. We will notify the campus community as we move carefully and deliberately through the stages of the framework based on the conditions and needs of our campus community.

    Face coverings

    A reminder that effective June 3 and until further notice, the University requires faculty, staff, students, contractors, and visitors on University property to wear a face covering in University buildings, classrooms, common areas of residence halls, and in outdoor settings where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Additional information can be found here. We will procure additional face coverings for faculty, staff, and students for the fall, and students will be required to wear face coverings in the classroom if public health circumstances require.

     

    CONTINGENCY PLANNING

    It is important to note that while we are fully committed to resuming residential education, the University must and will continue to plan for the possibility that public health conditions and the course of the pandemic may change at any time. Should conditions ultimately preclude campus residency, either prior to the beginning of the fall semester or during the fall semester, full remote learning would again be the necessary recourse. We certainly hope that will not be the case. Nevertheless, informed by the experience of this past spring, and the valuable perspectives that students and faculty have provided, several working groups are focusing on essential elements of planning for the remote contingency. Their work addresses means to ensure that remote instruction is of the highest possible quality and ways in which the most meaningful student activities can be adapted to a remote environment.

  • June 5, 2020: Phase 2 of Governor Northam’s Forward Virginia Re-Opening Plan

    Dear Faculty and Staff,

    We write to provide an update regarding Governor Northam’s Forward Virginia phased re-opening plan and the University’s continued focus on ensuring the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff.

    Governor Northam’s Forward Virginia Guidelines

    Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order 65, Phase Two of the Governor’s plan will go into effect today for most of Virginia, with the exception of the City of Richmond and the Northern Virginia Region. The Phase Two Forward Virginia Guidelines, Safer at Home, provide guidelines for all business sectors, including best practices for physical distancing, cleaning, and disinfection, as well as enhanced workplace safety. Executive Order 65 encourages institutions of higher education to continue remote learning where practical. Executive Order 65 does permit institutions of higher education to offer in-person classes and instruction, provided an institution complies with all applicable requirements under the "Guidelines for All Business Sectors."

    The Impact to the University

    The majority of our campus resides in the City of Richmond and, as a result, the University remains in Phase One of the Forward Virginia plan. At this time, the University will remain in the current modified operating status, with employees working remotely to the fullest extent possible. We recognize, however, that a number of you have responsibilities relating to essential functions, research, and facilitating remote learning that cannot be accomplished remotely. We also recognize that the nature of essential functions and critical research will evolve as we move through the summer and begin preparations for the fall. Individual division and department leaders will continue to determine how offices will be staffed and responsibilities fulfilled under the current modified operating status.

    Resilience of Operations

    As our community plans for a transition back to work and residential education on our campus, the health and safety of the campus community is our paramount concern. Promoting the health of the campus community will require a shared commitment from all of us as we modify the way we live, learn, and work.

    The University is at work implementing the best practices identified in the Forward Virginia guidelines for Phase Two, as well as the current recommendations from the University’s Resilience of Operations Working Group, which is consulting with an infectious disease specialist and other physicians to identify a wide variety of complementary interventions designed to mitigate the campus risks associated with COVID-19, which, taken as a whole, will promote community health and safety. These include:

    • A rigorous and phased Physical Distancing Framework
    • Cleaning and disinfecting protocols consistent with CDC standards
    • COVID-19 testing and contact tracing protocols
    • Daily health and temperature screenings
    • Classroom space configured to provide six feet of space between students and a larger buffer area between the faculty member and the students
    • Plans and resources for isolation of students who test positive for COVID-19 and quarantine for close contacts
    • Clinical protocols for treating COVID-19 and meeting student health care needs in the Student Health Center
    • Plans designed to promote healthy building environments, including the enhancements to air handling systems

    A Physical Distancing Framework has been developed for the University and will serve to guide our approach to gradually resuming operations on campus. A summary of the Physical Distancing Framework is available here, and the entire Framework can be viewed here.

    The Physical Distancing Framework provides staged requirements for all key aspects of campus life. Color-coded from red to green, the framework allows physical distancing protocols to be relaxed as the situation improves. The implementation of the framework will correspond, generally, with the Forward Virginia phases, but we will move in a careful and deliberate manner through the stages of the framework based on the conditions and needs of our campus community.

    We are finalizing the implementation of those measures needed to begin adjusting the University’s modified operating status and work within the Red Stage of the framework. We will notify the campus community when we commence the Red Stage and as we move through the subsequent stages of the framework.

    We appreciate your continued patience, support, and resilience as our campus community adjusts to the evolving circumstances presented by COVID-19.

    Stay well,

    David Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • May 29, 2020: Academic Preparations for the Upcoming Year

    Dear Faculty and Staff,

    Across the University, in each of the schools, and in every division, you have done what is needed to assist our students in getting the best education possible and prepare for lives of purpose. Thank you for that and for all the effort and concern you are contributing to address this incredibly demanding situation.

    Today we write to share information and guidance regarding academic matters and necessary preparations related to the upcoming year in order to address some of the uncertainty and questions we now face. While we continue to consider three broad scenarios for the fall — fully residential, fully remote, and hybrid — the University aims to complete a full academic year on campus, if this is possible consistent with our commitment to health, beginning in fall 2020. Our labors and attention now will be critical to meeting the challenges the University will face in the coming year and continuing to provide our students with an extraordinary education, even in these new circumstances. We will be sustained by our commitment to our students and the supportive collaboration that has strengthened our community to respond to the effects of COVID-19.


    CAMPUS HEALTH AND SAFETY

    As the University plans for a return to residential education in the fall, the health and safety of faculty, staff, and students is our primary consideration. In consultation with infectious disease and health care experts, the University’s Resilience of Operations Working Group is identifying a wide variety of complementary interventions designed to mitigate the campus risks associated with COVID-19, which, taken as a whole, will support community health and safety. The University is working to implement, among other things:

    • Rigorous and phased physical distancing guidelines
    • Cleaning and disinfecting protocols consistent with CDC standards
    • COVID-19 testing and contact tracing protocols
    • Daily health and temperature screenings
    • Classroom space configured to provide six feet of space between students and a larger buffer area between the faculty member and the students
    • Plans and resources for isolation and quarantine of students who test positive for COVID-19 and close contacts
    • Clinical protocols for treating COVID-19 and meeting student health care needs in the Student Health Center
    • Plans designed to promote healthy building environments, including cleaning and disinfecting protocols

    Face coverings: Although Governor Northam’s May 26 Executive Order regarding cloth face coverings does not apply specifically to higher education, we will begin to require wearing cloth face coverings. We have ordered cloth face coverings for those faculty and staff currently working on campus and for those students currently residing on campus. We will provide additional information regarding the effective date and requirements for wearing cloth face coverings and how to obtain a cloth face covering in the next few days through a SpiderByte message and via the COVID-19 webpage. We will procure additional face coverings for faculty, staff, and students returning in the fall, and students will be required to wear face coverings if so designated by public health and University guidelines.

    There have been many questions about ordering COVID-19 supplies. Please know that the Resilience of Operations Working Group is the sole University entity tasked with planning, procuring, and appropriately distributing necessary health supplies and equipment, including hand sanitizer; cloth face coverings for students, faculty, and staff; and PPE for health care providers and other designated staff. The sourcing and purchasing of COVID-19 supplies and equipment will be done centrally by the University’s COVID-19 Procurement Team. We will continue to provide updates to the campus community on health and safety plans and policies.


    ACCOMMODATIONS FOR HIGH RISK FACULTY AND STAFF

    The CDC has identified groups of people who are high risk for serious illness from COVID-19. Faculty and staff who are at high risk for complications from COVID-19 or who live with someone who is high risk may request an accommodation. For purposes of scheduling classes for the fall semester, faculty who wish to request a high-risk accommodation should complete the attached form by Monday, June 8, 2020. The University will provide the same form to staff members who wish to seek an accommodation later in the summer. The University is also in the process of developing guidelines for evaluating any COVID-19 related requests from staff and faculty for accommodations.

    We will provide further guidance to departments, divisions, and schools related to requests of faculty and staff that arise as a result of the extraordinary circumstances of COVID-19 while ensuring that the University is able to meet its obligations to our students.


    TEACHING PREPARATION

    Though we are preparing to provide face-to-face instruction in the fall, faculty should also be preparing to teach their courses in a remote format. After such a challenging spring, this is a hard pivot, but as President Crutcher has noted, this will be a summer like no other.

    If we are fully residential in the fall, there is still a need to prepare to teach beyond simply face-to-face residential instruction. For example, even in a full residence scenario there will be students who will have to take classes remotely because they have a high-risk condition for COVID-19. Other students may need to take classes remotely because they are in isolation or quarantine or are being safe by staying away from class due to other illness. In some circumstances, instructors may find it desirable to offer parts of their course online while saving class time for meetings with smaller groups of students to better facilitate discussion in a classroom suited to physical distancing requirements. And of course, we must be prepared for the possibility we will have to switch all our instruction to full remote should health circumstances require it.

    We cannot fully know ahead of time what courses will have students that require remote learning. To support our students who are at high risk or who are isolating for shorter periods for safety reasons, and to ensure the ability of all students to make progress regardless of the circumstances, it will be important that all instructors prepare to teach simultaneously both face to face and remotely in the same class. Instructors should also begin to think about how they would offer their course remotely should conditions before or during the semester require a rapid shift.

    In preparing syllabi, faculty should be aware that for safety reasons our policies this fall will discourage any travel, even local off-campus travel, contingent on conditions and prevailing health guidelines at the time.

    It is highly recommended that faculty members take advantage of the variety of development opportunities offered though the Faculty Hub beginning in June, and as well as any training in our schools, to prepare for remote and synced face-to-face/remote teaching. The University is aiming to equip all teaching spaces with the technology needed for faculty to offer simultaneous face-to-face and remote instruction. The University will support both faculty and students who use the variety of institutionally-designated tools such as Blackboard, Zoom, Panopto, etc. Information Services will continue providing training in coming months.


    CLASSROOM ASSIGNMENTS

    As we prepare for fall courses, we seek to ensure that all classes are assigned to a classroom that provides appropriate physical distancing. An inventory of all existing spaces is currently underway to determine a capacity for each room that is in keeping with our physical distancing guidelines. Once that inventory is complete, the Registrar’s Office will be working with each department and school to discuss the physical distancing set-up for classrooms, identify classes that need to be relocated, and to collaborate with departments and faculty about the most appropriate teaching space for their courses. Given the importance of physical distancing, many classes may need to be rescheduled to provide the appropriate size room, and the University will be using all available times and days of the week. Many rooms that have not traditionally been used as teaching spaces may also be utilized. The Registrar’s Office will be contacting department chairs and schools in mid-June with information about classrooms for their courses and to collaborate on revised classroom assignments and associated schedule changes.

    It is unusual to be at the end of May and already turning our attention to the fall semester. Yet is also true that the work we do now will be important for our success in offering the best education to all our students, supporting those in residence and those that cannot be in residence, and meeting the other challenges these uncertain times impose. We will be communicating more about the academic year in the weeks to come while continuing to consult with stakeholders as the University finalizes plans.

    Thank you for the extra effort this entails and for all you are doing in your own work and beyond to contribute to the efforts of our whole community to do what we do best: educate Spiders for an unpredictable and complex world.

    Take good care,

    David B. Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer<

    Jeffrey W. Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • May 27, 2020: Update on Summer Activities and Fall Planning (Students)

    Dear University of Richmond Students,

    We hope that all of our Spiders and their loved ones are staying well during this challenging time and as we look ahead to the 2020–21 academic year. As we continue to plan for your return, we write with some important updates from campus. Below you will find information about summer academic activities (including Summer Session II, summer research, and internships); health and safety planning for the new year; our plans for future meetings and events on campus; and the timeline for further decisions.

    SUMMER ACTIVITIES

    Summer Residency: Courses and Research

    As you know, the University remains in modified operating status with employees working remotely to the fullest extent possible. The Commonwealth has only just entered Phase One of the Governor’s Forward Virginia plan of reopening, and the City of Richmond has delayed implementing Phase One. These conditions — and the status of the pandemic that informs these conditions — unfortunately do not allow the University to offer students summer residency for Summer Session II. As a result, all Summer II course instruction will be conducted remotely.

    We realize that this decision also affects the planned research projects of many students and faculty. We regret that in-person research opportunities will not be possible this summer. 

    Students who were planning to participate in faculty-mentored research on campus after June 15 should consult with their faculty research advisor about the possibility of deferring their award to summer 2021. Students who have begun their research remotely and had planned to be on campus for research later in the summer should consult with their faculty research advisor to determine if the project will conclude or remain online.

    Internships

    Students who are interested in pursuing University-sponsored internships with external employers and organizations may apply for a UR Summer Fellowship by Monday, June 1, at 5 p.m. Remote internships may begin as soon as the fellowship is awarded. In-person internships are permitted to begin as early as June 15, contingent on compliance with local public health guidance and the availability of opportunities with external employers and organizations. Students may only pursue a University-sponsored in-person internship in their home community or in Richmond. For Richmond-based internships, on-campus housing will not be available. Please direct questions to ursf@richmond.edu.

    FALL PLANNING

    As conveyed in President Crutcher’s April 29 message (below), the University intends to complete a full academic year of instruction on campus if at all possible beginning in fall 2020. To that end, we are eagerly but intently focused on preparing for the safe return of faculty, staff, and students to campus.

    Health and Safety

    Indeed, the ability to implement plans designed to protect the health and safety of the campus community, and which comply with available public health guidance, is the determining factor for resuming campus operations and residential education in the fall. A Resilience of Operations Working Group is charged with developing robust plans to help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 as we work to resume campus operations and residential instruction. This group and its subcommittees, working in consultation with an experienced infectious disease specialist and other external health care experts, is developing:

    • Physical distancing guidelines, based on public health guidance, that will apply to all aspects of campus life and operations
    • Policies for accommodations for those students at higher risk from COVID-19
    • COVID-19 testing protocols and contact tracing plans
    • Plans and resources for isolation and quarantine of students who may test positive for COVID-19 and close contacts
    • Clinical protocols for treating COVID-19 and meeting student health care needs in the Student Health Center
    • Plans designed to promote healthy building environments, including cleaning and disinfecting protocols

    We will continue to provide updates on health and safety plans and policies as they are finalized.   

    Ultimately, the success of our resilience planning depends on the participation and support of every member of our community. Fortunately, our students, faculty, and staff have repeatedly demonstrated this spring that we are up to this challenge.

    Interim Space and Events Policies

    To enable the University to meet the expected physical distancing requirements for classrooms, academic needs will be the first priority for much space on campus this fall. Accordingly, interim policies have been developed for University meetings and events on campus for this summer and fall. These policies pertain to all University meetings and events, including those of student organizations. We encourage students to review these policies at the earliest opportunity to learn how they apply to your organizations and activities. Unfortunately, with few exceptions, the University will not host any third-party events on campus during summer or fall 2020. 

    NEXT STEPS

    As we continue to wait on further guidance from officials, we expect to provide definitive information regarding the 2020–21 academic year no later than early July. We will continue to provide regular updates on all of our planning work in the coming weeks.

    With President Crutcher, we look forward to welcoming our new and returning students to your campus home in the fall. In the meantime, faculty, staff, and administrators here will continue steadfast work to prepare for your arrival and to resume the unparalleled experience that is a hallmark of a Richmond education.

    With best wishes, 

    Jeffrey W. Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

    Steve D. Bisese
    Vice President for Student Development

  • May 27, 2020: Update on Summer Activities and Fall Planning (Faculty and Staff)

    Dear Faculty and Staff,

    As a follow-up to our message on Friday, May 22, we write today with an update on summer activities and fall semester interim event/meeting policies.

    Summer Residency: Courses and Research

    All Summer II course instruction will be conducted remotely. As you know, the University remains in modified operating status with employees working remotely to the fullest extent possible. The Commonwealth has only just entered Phase One of the Governor’s Forward Virginia plan of reopening, and the City of Richmond has delayed implementing Phase One. These conditions — and the status of the pandemic that informs these conditions — unfortunately do not allow the University to offer students summer residency for Summer Session II. 

    We realize that this decision also affects the planned research projects of many students and faculty that are so important in our education and scholarship. We regret that in-person research opportunities will not be possible this summer.

    Students who were planning to participate in faculty-mentored research on campus after June 15 should consult with their faculty research advisor about the possibility of deferring their award to summer 2021. Students who have begun their research remotely and had planned to be on campus for research later in the summer should consult with their faculty research advisor to determine if the project will conclude or remain online.

    Internships

    Students who are interested in pursuing University-sponsored internships with external employers and organizations may apply for a UR Summer Fellowship by Monday, June 1, at 5 p.m. Remote internships may begin as soon as the fellowship is awarded. In-person internships are permitted to begin as early as June 15, contingent on compliance with local public health guidance and the availability of opportunities with external employers and organizations; students may only pursue a University-sponsored in-person internship in their home community or in Richmond. For Richmond-based internships, on-campus housing will not be available. Please direct questions to ursf@richmond.edu.

    This information about Summer II courses, research, and internships has also been communicated to students.

    Summer Camps and Youth Programs

    It is also necessary to cancel all camps and conferences scheduled to be held on campus during summer 2020, including overnight and day camps sponsored by Athletics and and Little Scholars camps for children of faculty and staff. We recognize the importance of these camps to faculty and staff families, but like many other organizations and institutions, we have come to the conclusion that it is not feasible to offer these opportunities safely in the current and anticipated public health circumstances. 

    Events

    Finally, all summer events and performances at the Modlin Center have been cancelled and, with few exceptions, the University will not host any third-party events on campus during the summer. In addition, the annual employee appreciation trip to Busch Gardens scheduled for July 31 has been cancelled. To express the University’s appreciation for everyone’s efforts during this challenging time, Friday, July 31, will be a paid holiday. Employees needed to work that day to perform critical systems maintenance will be able to take the paid holiday at another time.  

    While we know many of these decisions about summer activities may be disappointing, we believe these steps are the right and necessary thing to do to ensure the safety of our community and help the University appropriately prepare for a return to campus residency and instruction as soon as practicable. 

    Fall Space and Events Policy

    Looking ahead to fall, as discussed at Spiders in the Know and other meetings, we are focused on preparing for the safe return of faculty, staff, and students to campus and putting in place the policies and capacity necessary to allow a full academic year of instruction on campus. The Resilience of Operations Working Group is charged with developing robust plans to help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 as we resume campus operations and residential instruction. As you know, these plans will include detailed physical distancing guidelines, based on public health guidance, that will apply to all aspects of campus life and operations, including classrooms, co-curricular programs, housing, dining, student activities, and offices.

    To enable us to meet the expected physical distancing requirements for classrooms, academic needs will be the first priority for much space on campus this fall. Accordingly, interim policies have been developed for University meetings and events on campus for this summer and fall. Please review these policies at the earliest opportunity to learn how they apply to your program. As you will see, with few exceptions, the University will not host any third-party events on campus through fall 2020. 

    As always, we thank you for your ongoing vital contributions to helping ensure the University’s ability to navigate the considerable challenges the pandemic presents and to continue to offer an exceptional educational experience to our students this summer and in the coming academic year. 

    Sincerely, 

    David B. Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer 

    Jeffrey W. Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • May 22, 2020: Planning for the Fall Semester and Contingencies

    Dear Faculty and Staff,

    We have appreciated the opportunity to talk with many faculty and staff at recent meetings — including the May 11 end-of-year Faculty Meeting and today’s Spiders in the Know program and Faculty Senate meeting — about the University’s planning for the coming academic year in response to continuing COVID-19 challenges. We want to make certain that all faculty and staff have access to the same information and so write now to summarize important information conveyed at these meetings. We want to make certain you are aware of our ongoing fall planning, including planning to ensure the safest possible environment when campus operations and instruction resume; the FY 21 budget and further financial planning; and the timeline for additional decisions. 

    FALL PLANNING

    The intention of our planning, as conveyed in President Crutcher’s April 29 message (see below), is that the University will complete a full academic year of instruction on campus if at all possible beginning in fall 2020. To that end, we are intently focused on preparing for the safe return of faculty, staff, and students to campus. We are grateful to the more than 75 faculty, staff, and administrators on working groups and to the many others in schools and divisions working aggressively on essential aspects of planning.

    Health and Safety

    The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our central concern. The ability to implement plans designed to protect the health and safety of the campus community and which comply with available public health guidance is the determining factor for resuming campus operations and residential education in the fall.

    As you know, a Resilience of Operations Working Group is charged with developing robust plans to help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 as we resume campus operations and residential instruction. This group and its subcommittees, working in consultation with an infectious disease specialist at VCU and other external health care experts, are developing protocols for the phased return of employees and students to campus after the current stay-at-home order is lifted. As part of its charge, the Working Group is developing:

    • Detailed physical distancing guidelines, based on public health guidance, that will apply to all aspects of campus life and operations, including classrooms, co-curricular programs, housing, dining, student activities, and offices
    • Policies for accommodations for those at higher risk from COVID-19
    • COVID-19 testing protocols
    • Contact tracing plans
    • Plans and resources for isolation and quarantine of students who test positive for COVID-19 and close contacts
    • Clinical protocols for treating COVID-19 and meeting student health care needs in the Student Health Center
    • Plans designed to promote healthy building environments, including cleaning and disinfecting protocols

    In addition, the group is charged with ensuring the procurement and appropriate distribution of necessary supplies and equipment, including hand sanitizer; cloth face coverings for students, faculty, and staff; and PPE for health care providers and other designated staff. The sourcing and purchasing of COVID-19 supplies and equipment will be done centrally by the COVID-19 Procurement Team, in collaboration with the Office of Procurement and Strategic Sourcing. Additional information about the process and how to make requests will be made available in the next couple of weeks.

    Ultimately, the success of our resilience planning depends on the participation and support of every member of our community in adhering to new norms — and to adapting to further changed circumstances presented by the pandemic as those circumstances arise. Our community has repeatedly demonstrated this spring that we are up to this challenge.

    SUMMER ACTIVITIES

    Next week, we will communicate a final decision about summer activities on campus after June 15.

    FINANCIAL PLANNING

    The financial impact of COVID-19 on higher education is profound, as the mission and business model of many colleges and universities in the United States is built around a core commitment to residential undergraduate education. That is certainly the case for the University of Richmond, and while our financial resources allow us to address the pandemic from a position of financial well-being, the University will face potentially very painful budgetary decisions if we must again provide a non-residential, remote learning educational program in the fall of 2020 and/or the spring of 2021.

    FY 21 Budget

    Last week, the Board of Trustees approved the University’s operating budget for the 2020–21 fiscal year (FY 21). While this budget reflects significantly reduced revenue — and thus significant cost reductions were required to ensure a balanced budget — it nevertheless represents the financial “best-case scenario” for the coming year, as it assumes resuming residential operations and on-campus instruction.

    The FY 21 budget also assumes, as outlined in our April 9 message, a decrease in tuition, room and board revenue, as enrollment may be below original projections and we anticipate increased need for student financial aid due to the economic impacts of COVID-19 on families. Annual fund contributions are also expected to be lower than originally anticipated due to changed economic circumstances. Finally, steep declines in the financial markets require a decrease in expected spending from the endowment in FY 21. Nevertheless, we have maintained the FY 20 level of budget support from the endowment, and we are grateful for the Board’s support of this recommendation to help the University address the extraordinary and sudden challenges caused by COVID-19.

    A balanced budget for FY 21 was achieved primarily as a result of the following previously announced budget reduction measures, in addition to the temporary change to our endowment support policies, which combined will offset a nearly $15 million shortfall:

    • Eliminating faculty and staff merit pay increases for FY 21
    • A 10% reduction of non-compensation budgets for every school and division at the University
    • A significant reduction to the University’s capital project plans for FY 21
    • Voluntary salary reductions taken by the President, Executive Vice Presidents and Vice Presidents, Academic Deans, Spider Management Company leadership team, and three of the University’s head coaches
    • A hiring freeze

    These actions obviously affect every area of the University, and we are grateful for the commitment all schools and divisions have demonstrated to adjusting to these new financial realities while protecting the excellence of a Richmond education.

    Additional Financial Planning

    As noted above, the budget recently approved is the best-case scenario. We are also continuing to pursue other permanent budget savings across the University, as we must assume that the University will experience additional financial stress as a result of COVID-19-related issues and that a rebound from the economic collapse associated with COVID-19 will be long and slow.

    The most serious scenario is if external conditions do not permit the University to resume residential education and classroom instruction for the coming academic year. Again, the safety of our community is paramount, and while it is our intention to resume on-campus instruction, we must be prepared for fully remote instruction if that is required to ensure the safety of our faculty, staff, and students.

    As we have conveyed in recent meetings, if the University must continue remote instruction, the revenue shortfall could exceed $40 million per semester; remote instruction for the entire academic year could represent a loss approximating more than 25% of the FY 21 operating budget. This shortfall would primarily be the result of receiving no room and board revenue and significantly reduced tuition revenue for remote instruction.

    We, along with President Crutcher, want to be candid with you about this possibility and about the difficult decisions the University would face to withstand these enormous financial challenges. Financial steps that could be necessary include the following:

    • Temporary reduction or elimination of University contributions to retirement accounts for all employees and perhaps adjustments to other employee benefits
    • Salary reductions for all faculty and staff
    • Employee furloughs and/or position eliminations
    • Reduction of non-essential spending

    As you know, faculty and staff compensation and benefits represent more than 60% of our operating budget, and thus, a significant decline in revenue would likewise require reducing those costs. We fully recognize that our talented faculty and staff are what make a Richmond education and student experience exceptional, and the University is committed to supporting our employees to the extent possible in implementing these decisions. We certainly would not take any of the steps outlined above lightly, but some combination will likely become necessary, and all may prove necessary in scenarios where we have reduced students enrolled and/or not on campus. In our financial planning work, we will continue to consult with faculty and staff through the Faculty Senate, the Planning and Priorities Committee, and the Benefits Committee on matters that fall within their respective areas.

    It is our hope to have sufficient information by early July about expected public health conditions, which, combined with the conclusions of the working groups, will enable President Crutcher to make and announce a decision about whether residential education will be possible in the fall as envisioned. While that planning continues, President Crutcher, the President’s Cabinet, and the Academic Deans will also develop a framework to guide any decisions about employee furloughs or position eliminations that might be necessary should we confront demanding financial circumstances. We all will be working very hard to avoid this. We recognize the strain that this uncertainty adds to an already stressful situation for faculty and staff and their families, and the University will proceed with the greatest care and will communicate developments as expeditiously as possible.

    As we work toward a definitive announcement regarding the 2020–21 academic year no later than early July, we will continue to provide regular updates on all of our planning work. We also encourage you to contact working group chairs with any suggestions or information you would like to share with them. And we welcome your ideas via the Contingency Planning website here

    Finally, as always, we thank you for your partnership, leadership, and determination as the University navigates these extraordinary circumstances. Our success will depend on the engagement of every member of our community. We are enormously fortunate to have such talented and dedicated faculty, staff, students, and alumni, and we are committed to working with you to ensure that the University meets the challenges immediately before us, emerges stronger than ever from the global crisis that COVID-19 has engendered, and continues to offer our students a life-changing education and experience — in the academic year ahead, and indeed, for generations more to come.

    Sincerely,

    David Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • May 18, 2020: Contractor Working On Campus Diagnosed with COVID-19

    Dear Members of the University of Richmond Community,

    I am writing to notify you that we learned late last night an employee of a painting contractor who recently worked on the Queally Athletics Center construction project was diagnosed with COVID-19. The individual was last at the construction site on Thursday, May 14. The individual is in isolation and receiving care following protocols from their health care provider and the Virginia Department of Health. The other employees of the painting contractor who were on-site with the diagnosed employee are in quarantine and will not return to campus until they have been tested. 

    While the painting contractors were not in direct contact with members of the campus community, the University will reach out to any individuals who may have been on the job site recently. Early this morning, an outside company cleaned the area where the individual worked, the stairs leading to the site, as well as handwashing sinks and porta-johns the individual may have used.

    The health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and all individuals who work on our campus is our highest priority. We realize a case of COVID-19 on campus creates a heightened sense of anxiety and concern. The University coronavirus page offers a number of resources to help community members stay healthy and cope with the strain this period is placing on all of us.

    As a reminder, as we work together to mitigate the spread of this disease, it is important that you continue to practice healthy habits:

    • To the fullest extent possible, follow physical distancing practices by remaining at least 6 feet away from others.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
    • Wear a face covering in public.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments.
    • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

    Additional information is available from the CDC.

    Thank you all for your continued support and compassion during this challenging time.

    Stay Well,

    Brittany Taylor Schaal
    Emergency Management

  • May 15, 2020: Governor Northam’s Forward Virginia Phased Re-Opening Plan

    Dear Faculty and Staff,

    We write to address Governor Northam’s Forward Virginia phased re-opening plan. As we continue to respond to the evolving COVID-19 situation, our focus remains on ensuring the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff and contributing to the community-wide effort to “flatten the curve” of the pandemic. 

    Governor Northam’s Forward Virginia Guidelines

    Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order 61, Phase One of the Governor’s plan will go into effect today for most of Virginia; however, the Governor has granted a two-week delay for the City of Richmond and localities within Northern Virginia. The Phase One Forward Virginia Guidelines, Safer at Home, outline general and certain industry-specific standards. Executive Order 61, however, requires institutions of higher education to continue to “cease all in-person classes and instruction, and cancel all gatherings of more than ten individuals.” Executive Order 61 does permit institutions of higher education to continue to operate in order to facilitate remote education, perform critical research, or perform essential functions, provided that physical distancing requirements are met.

    Phase One reminds individuals that it is safer to stay home, while easing some of the restrictions currently in place. The guidelines permit, among other things:

    • Non-essential brick and mortar retail establishments to open if established mandatory requirements are met.
    • Beauty salons, barbershops, spas, massage centers, tanning salons, tattoo shops, and other locations where personal care or personal grooming services are performed to open if mandatory requirements are met.
    • Religious services to be conducted according to specified requirements.

    The Impact to the University

    At this time, the University will remain in the current modified operating status, with employees working remotely to the fullest extent possible. We recognize that a number of you have responsibilities relating to essential functions, research, and facilitating remote learning that cannot be accomplished remotely, such as supporting our students who remain on campus, remote learning, research, the student residence move-out process that begins Monday, and other essential University functions. Individual division and department leaders will continue to determine how offices will be staffed and responsibilities fulfilled under the current modified operating status. Modified work schedules should continue for those employees who have responsibilities that cannot be accomplished on a remote basis. Additionally, meetings should continue to be held virtually. 

    Future Plans for a Gradual Resumption of Campus Operations

    The health and safety of the community remains our priority. The Resilience of Operations Working Group is developing a staged framework that will guide our approach to gradually resuming campus operations. Additional information about this approach will be shared in the coming weeks. 

    We are continually updating the University’s COVID-19 response webpage with the latest information available. We invite you to review the page here.

    Thank you for your continued patience, support, and resilience as collectively we adjust to our now normal environment.

    Stay well,

    David Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • May 8, 2020: Move-Out Plan and Options

    Dear Students and Families,

    Thank you for your patience and understanding during these difficult times as we have worked to develop a safe plan to allow students and families to return to campus to retrieve belongings. The office of the Governor of Virginia has now confirmed that colleges and universities may permit students to return to campus to retrieve belongings, providing that appropriate physical distancing measures are put in place. Accordingly, the Office of Residence Life & Housing has developed the following schedule for retrieving belongings that includes all on-campus residents. It is important to read the following plan, schedule, and instructions carefully.

    PERSONAL/SELECTED INDIVIDUAL TO RETRIEVE BELONGINGS

    Provided that conditions permit, the University will allow students to return to campus to retrieve their belongings on a designated schedule beginning the week of May 18. Students will follow the following schedule:

    • May 18–24: Students living in Gateway Village Apartments, University Forest Apartments, Gray Court, and Lora Robins Court may return; and
    • May 25–31: Students living in Freeman Hall, Jeter Hall, Lakeview, Thomas Hall, North Court, South Court, Atlantic House, Pacific House, and Law Housing, may return; and
    • June 1–7: Students living in Dennis Hall, Marsh Hall, Moore Hall, Robins Hall, Wood Hall, Keller Hall, and Westhampton Hall may return.

    Move-Out Guidelines

    • Check-out will occur daily between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Mondays–Sundays.
    • If you, your family member, or designated person are not feeling well or have experienced symptoms such as fever, a cough, and shortness of breath in the last 14 days, please do not return to campus at this time. All persons are expected to follow CDC Guidelines.
    • To allow for social distancing:
      • Students may only bring one additional individual with them to campus to assist with the move-out and/or pickup process, and;
      • Students must follow these additional guidelines to limit the number of persons within each residential area:
        • Residence Hall and Law Housing Move-Out:
          • Students must to sign-up for a two-hour time slot for their designate week to retrieve your belongings. Sign-ups will be limited to 10 students per building during a two hour period. Please plan your travel accordingly. 
          • Sign up for a time slot to retrieve your belongings here.Sign on to StarRez (DUO required), click on Move-Out Appointment in the red bar, and follow all instructions on the page. You will receive a confirmation email of your time slot.
        • Gateway Village Apartments (GVA), University Forest Apartment (UFA) Move-Out:
          • Students in GVA apartments ending in an even number and UFA apartments ending with A, C, E, and G should plan to move out their belongings on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
          • Students in GVA apartments ending in an odd number and UFA apartments ending with B, D, F, and H should plan to move out their belongings on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
          • Limited volume and controlled access will be granted on Sunday for those who were unable to retrieve their belongings on one of their designated days.
          • Access will be controlled and restricted each day as scheduled for safety.
        • Gray Court, and Lora Robins Court Pickup:
          • Gray Court and Lora Robins Court residents will be able to pick up their items in a “drive-thru” fashion at the following locations:
            • Gray Court — Weinstein Center
            • Lora Robins Court — Jepson Alumni Center
          • Students and families in Gray Court and Lora Robins Court should follow the outlined schedule to promote distancing and efficiency:
            • Monday and Thursday — Gray Court 1st Floor and Lora Robins Court 1st Floor residents
            • Tuesday and Friday — Gray Court 2nd Floor and Lora Robins Court 2nd Floor residents
            • Wednesday and Saturday — Gray Court 3rd Floor and Lora Robins Court Ground and 3rd Floor residents           
            • Sunday — Staffing and assistance will be provided for those who were unable to pick up their belongings on one of their designated days.
          • Students/families will pull up and stay in their vehicles and while University staff bring students items to the vehicle to be loaded. Students and families will be provided an information sheet and should depart to sort organize items.
      • Bring a mask or cloth face covering with you, while you are in the building everyone will need to keep their mouths and noses covered at all times. You should also bring hand sanitizer.
      • Roommates should communicate with one another to increase physical distancing/responsible behavior by coming on different days and assist with packing and/or storage arrangements to limit the number of individuals on campus.
      • If a student chooses to designate a friend or family member to retrieve their belongings, the student must provide the person access to the room via remote entry.
      • Students, family members, and/or designated persons will be limited to 2 hours for move out in all halls and 3 hours for apartments. All persons should come prepared to pack/remove items quickly and sort, etc. once they return home.
      • No overnight stays will be permitted. Please explore options for staying in hotels if an overnight stay is necessary. 
      • Students with keys (University Forest Apartments, Atlantic House, Pacific House, and Law Housing) must leave their keys on the desks within their room in the provided envelope. Key envelopes will be taped to each room/apartment door. Students must write their name, room/apartment number, and student ID number on the envelope before they depart their room. Students who must mail their key, in a padded envelope, should do so by Monday, June 15, to the following address: 
        Residence Life & Housing
        246 Richmond Way, Whitehurst 103
        Richmond, VA 23173
      • Please do your best to remove all belongings, dispose of any trash, and clean your room/apartment as best you can. If you are choosing to donate any item(s), please leave them in your room or apartment and ensure these item(s) are properly marked for donation. Any personal belongings left in a room or apartment following the week of move-out will be donated or discarded.
      • University officials will be present on site to enforce safety protocols.

    UNABLE TO RETURN DURING YOUR DESIGNATED WEEK?

    • Alternate Week for Retrieval of Belongings: The number of time slots will be expanded during this time, but will be monitored to limit only 10 students per building per time slot. Students and families will still be required to follow all move-out guidelines as listed above. Sign up for a time slot to retrieve your belongings for the week of June 8–14 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. here. Sign on to StarRez (DUO required), click on Move-Out Appointment in the red bar and follow all instructions on the page. You will receive a confirmation email of your time slot.
    • Storing/Shipping Belongings: For those students who need assistance with storage options, we ask that you work with one of the following vendors. For those unable to return to retrieve their own belongings, collaborate with a roommate and/or designated person. To increase physical distancing and safety, this process will not start until the week of June 8. Students will need to work directly with the one of the following companies to have their belongings stored or shipped to them at the student’s cost. Students that need financial assistance for storing or shipping options, should complete this formand your respective dean will be in touch with you.

    We hope that you and your family remain well. We know that you have been anticipating this information, and we appreciate your cooperation with these plans for a safe move-out.

    Sincerely,

    Steve D. Bisese
    Vice President for Student Development 

    Patrick B. Benner
    Director of Residence Life & Housing

  • May 5, 2020: Contingency Planning for the 2020-21 Academic Year

    Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,

    We hope you are faring well. Thank you for all your efforts teaching and supporting our students, operations, and each other in circumstances that have so profoundly affected our work, our families and friends, and our lives. This was an enormous task: we did it by working together and with our formidable Spiders who resolutely continued their studies from across the country and world. On May 9 we will post a virtual celebration of the Class of 2020, stalwart leaders in UR resiliency. We deeply appreciate all you have done to make the completion of the semester possible and to continue to successfully and safely operate the University during this extraordinary time.

    We all yearn for some semblance of ordinary life. As a University that means looking ahead to the beginning of fall term, to the return of our students, to the renewal of the residential education and meaningful relationships that make UR special. With health and safety our foremost concern, we are intent on having students in residence in the fall, as President Crutcher noted in his April 29 letter to the University community. We will also be ready to offer a full year of credit to our students, no matter what the circumstances.

    Given the current uncertainty around conditions at the end of summer, it is important to plan for multiple possibilities. Our ability to assess the best path forward and then successfully navigate it will be critical to the education we provide next year and to the well-being of our University community. We want to outline briefly the planning process ahead, one that will depend on each of us and our collective efforts.

    Three Scenarios

    Three potential operating scenarios provide the structure for our planning. We are intently focused on some version of a full residential semester, though it may not be “normal” as we anticipate some level of COVID-19 threat will remain. We are preparing to mitigate that risk with a variety of tactics and tools and allow for modified start and end dates to fall semester as needed.

    The second scenario is full remote learning with no students in residence. We would make the choice of remote instruction only if we must. If we have to go with this option, we will prepare to do it well, with the personal attention, services, and support for social interaction that are hallmarks of a Richmond education.

    The third scenario involves a hybrid of reduced student residency mixed with remote learning, or a full year of academic credit offered over twelve months versus the typical nine. In both cases, a hybrid option might be desirable should circumstances require fewer students on campus than a full residential approach.

    Organization

    To explore these scenarios, we have established working groups that will examine the challenges before us along with the possible strategies and approaches to address them successfully. Collectively seventy-five faculty and staff have been asked to participate in particular groups based on the different areas of expertise needed in this complex and expansive planning work. Each group has a specific charge and a steering group will coordinate and integrate their work as needed. The list of the Contingency Planning working groups and their charges can be found here (accessible to faculty and staff; login required).

    What Can You Do?

    We recognize we are asking much of our community during an extraordinarily difficult time. As we move toward the usually anticipated summer, our individual and collective work, as well as our lives, will continue to look different than ever before. This is hard and will continue to be hard. Through collaboration, communication, and self and community care, we can succeed and ultimately strengthen our campus community.

    We are grateful to the individuals in the Contingency Planning working groups for taking on this intense and complicated work in a short timeframe. These groups cannot do the planning and implementation work alone: it will take input, flexibility, and resolve from us all. The stakes for the quality of our education, our ability to serve our students, and the standing of the University are significant. Our success will hinge on our ability to work together to develop and support the best version of Richmond’s exceptional education in the coming year.

    We are also appreciative for the willingness of so many who have sent ideas and offered to help address the unfolding challenges we face. This is critical because each of us has work to do if we are going to succeed — whether it is redesigning a course that might be residential or remote (or both at the same time), preparing how our responsibilities or unit might respond to any of the three scenarios, or communicating with others about how best to partner in this dynamic environment.

    Please do reach out to the appropriate chairs of the working groups with any suggestions or materials you want to share with them. You can also submit ideas and materials on the Contingency Planning website here (accessible to faculty and staff; login required).

    Timeline and Communications

    Our planning will be informed by governmental and public health guidelines and by the latest knowledge on how we can prevent, treat, and manage COVID-19. By early June we aim to finish an analysis of the scenarios and develop a plan of specific options for how we approach next academic year. We envision a more definitive public announcement regarding the 2020–21 Academic Year at Richmond in July.

    The pace of work will be fast but we intend to communicate relevant updates. Groups will be reaching out to different University members and units for information and input on their efforts. We will be meeting virtually with various stakeholders along the way at gatherings such as the University Faculty Meeting, Spiders in the Know, and special forums that may be desirable at particular points.

    Thank you again for all your efforts to date and for all the work that is ahead. The University of Richmond is known for a life-changing education and experience. Together we will ensure that standard for next year and the many years that follow.


    Take good care,

    David Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • April 29, 2020: Planning for the 2020-21 Academic Year


    Dear University of Richmond Community,

    As I write, our students are taking their final exams at the end of an unprecedented spring semester, while the University is engaged in planning for the 2020–21 academic year. The educational aspirations of our student body, along with the health and safety of students, staff, and faculty, remain the University’s highest priorities. Guided by these priorities, we are intent on returning to a residential education this fall. Our commitment to support vigorously the University’s academic mission by providing a high-quality, personalized educational experience for our students is unwavering.

    The seriousness and fluidity of the global and national health crisis reminds us that our plans remain subject to change and that guidelines from government and public health agencies will be essential factors in our planning. Likewise, progress on testing, health monitoring, treatments, vaccines, and strategies that mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be critically important.

    The University’s planning efforts at this point are both purposely expansive and squarely aimed at ensuring that our students will be able to earn a full year of academic credit. We are also committed to sustaining as many of the personal and residential hallmarks of a UR education as possible. Specifically:

    • We intend to complete a full academic year of on-campus instruction beginning in fall 2020. This may require adjustments to our operations and academic calendar.
    • To ensure safety and continuity, we are developing a multi-pronged approach to enhance our community’s capacity and resilience to manage COVID-19 challenges.
    • In order to align with government and public health guidance and/or mandates, we are working through scenarios that allow for flexibility and adjustments to teaching and campus life as needed.
    • Only if necessary will we consider remote learning. If we must pivot to this scenario, we will provide high-quality remote learning and the developmental, social, and career supports that help our students to grow and thrive at UR and beyond.

    We recognize that students, families, staff, and faculty need timely information to make plans. So please know we will communicate regularly about University decisions impacting our students and academic mission. Making prudent, wise, and informed decisions requires time to collect relevant information amid enormous flux and uncertainty. We are grateful for your patience as we identify, plan, and prepare for a range of options. As we strive to provide timely progress updates, we also invite you to visit our dedicated COVID-19 website for updates and answers to frequently asked questions.

    Thank you all for working with us on Richmond’s exceptional education. As I have often said of late, Richmond is such a special place because of you. I wish each of you and your families safety, good health, and moments of calm during these difficult times.

    Sincerely,

    Ronald A. Crutcher
    President

  • April 16, 2020: Gray Court and Lora Robins Court: Packing and Storage of Belongings

    Dear Gray Court and Lora Robins Court Residents,

    We are writing to you to provide information on plans for packing and storing your personal belongings in Gray Court and Lora Robins Court.

    We have been working hard to develop a plan to prepare Gray Court and Lora Robins Court for potential summer housing or other needs. As such, we must pack and store all student belongings that are remaining within each room. We will be working closely with Quality Moving Services, a company that the University has previously had very good experience. They are reliable and licensed professionals that have worked closely with the University community on many past projects.

    The first step in initiating this process is for you to complete THIS FORM by Friday, April 24. The form will help identify your belongings within your room. Beginning, Monday April 27, this information will be used as a much needed guide for our staff and Quality Moving Services to appropriately pack and label your belongings. All belongings will be stored on campus within secure climate controlled locations until we are able to reunite you with your belongings. Due to storage space limitations, bulk items (e.g. personal refrigerators and non-University furniture) will be stored separately in a secure location on campus and held for students until they return for the fall semester. All bulk items will be removed starting next week by University staff in order to create additional room for the moving company to work efficiently and effectively.

    We understand and appreciate you may have concerns and additional questions. Please know we will take genuine care of your belongings. The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff continues to be our top priority. Working within the guidelines provided by the Governor, we are developing a plan for you to pick up your belongings and will communicate it as soon as we are able to finalize the dates. We continue to recognize and regret the disruption that this pandemic has caused our students and their families, and we are grateful for your understanding and patience.

    We wish you and your family the best during these difficult times.

    Stay well,

    Steve Bisese
    Vice President for Student Development

    Patrick Benner
    Director of Residence Life & Housing

     

  • April 9, 2020: Budget and Operational Update

    Dear Faculty and Staff,

    We write to provide the campus community with an important update regarding the financial implications for the University of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    We echo the sentiments expressed last week by President Crutcher in his letter to faculty and staff. Our community’s response to the ever-changing challenges presented by the pandemic has been remarkable as the University community has worked collectively to sustain our academic mission and support our talented students. In recent weeks, faculty have swiftly redesigned their courses to engage students remotely, while staff in every unit in the University have assisted students in getting home, urgently moved critical operations online, and dedicated themselves to supporting the students who remain on campus and those who must now be supported from afar.

    As you know, this pandemic has produced a major global financial disruption with an unpredictable duration and impact. The effects in our country have been sudden, staggering, and for many families and businesses, devastating. The University of Richmond has been a careful steward of its resources — and especially tuition dollars — over many decades, but we are most certainly not immune to this sudden and steep economic downturn. As a result, we must take thoughtful, swift, and appropriate action to ensure that the University is able to advance our educational mission throughout this crisis and beyond.

    The University has incurred significant expenses (totaling several million dollars) this spring in responding to the pandemic, putting significant pressure on our FY20 budget (i.e., the current fiscal year ending on June 30, 2020). Those expenses have included pro-rated room and board refunds and one-time expenses related to the transition to remote learning. We are also committed that through the end of this fiscal year (June 30), we will continue to compensate regular full-, part-time, and limited-term non-exempt, hourly employees based on their regularly scheduled hours even if their schedules have been reduced. Through offsetting savings and other means, however, we estimate that the University can avoid a budget deficit for the current fiscal year ending June 30. That cannot be said for many institutions, and indeed at present, it cannot be said for the University of Richmond for the next fiscal year.

    As we work to finalize the University’s operating budget for the next fiscal year (July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021, or “FY21”), we anticipate that the financial downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will have a material, adverse impact on the University as every significant University revenue source will fall short of what had been planned originally. The current crisis will have unpredictable effects on enrollment. Steep declines in financial markets will require the University to decrease expected spending from the endowment. And students are likely to require more financial aid next year as families also face the financial consequences of this pandemic. As a result, we are forecasting a shortfall in the range of $10 to $12 million in the FY21 University budget.

    Working in consultation with President Crutcher, we have determined that in order to address our budget challenges and ensure that the University can continue to effectively pursue its educational mission, the University must take the following actions:

    1. Effective immediately, the University will implement a hiring freeze for currently unfilled faculty and staff positions. We recognize that it will be essential to fill some positions in the coming months and we will establish a process to review requests from schools or divisions to exempt specific open positions from the hiring freeze policy.
    2. There will not be a merit salary pool increase for employees in FY21 as the University will implement a salary freeze for all faculty and staff for next year. We fully recognize the impact of this measure on our faculty and staff and their families, and we regret that it is necessary. It is especially painful as so many members of our community have worked so tirelessly and effectively this spring in response to the extraordinary challenges COVID-19 presented to our academic mission. In addition to this salary freeze for faculty and staff, President Crutcher, along with the two of us, will take a 10% reduction to our salaries throughout FY21. We are grateful that all vice presidents and academic deans have agreed to take a 5% salary reduction to each of their respective salaries.
    3. Working with the University’s Facilities Management team, we will delay or defer many smaller capital projects originally planned for this summer. The University will also scale back plans for future campus construction projects and associated spending.
    4. We are asking each division and school at the University to identify continuing budget savings equivalent to 5% and 10% of the division/school’s non-compensation operating budgets. The University’s Planning and Budget Office has provided instructions to each vice president and academic dean to identify these specific budget reductions, which are envisioned for FY21 (i.e. beginning July 1, 2020).

    We recognize that these are significant steps, but this is the fiscal reality that all higher education institutions now face. It is imperative that the University responds proactively to the financial challenges associated with COVID-19 so we can sustain our mission, vision, and values in both the near term and, as is our responsibility, for years to come.

    Meanwhile the University must also continue contingency planning work for the coming academic year, as it is impossible to predict at this time the extent and duration of COVID-19 — or its effects in our region — and when we will be able to resume regular operations of our residential community. As you know, we have already reoriented our summer sessions to remote instruction even as we hold on decision-making regarding campus residency after June 15. It is fully our hope and intention — as we know it is yours — that the University will be able to operate in the fall as planned. That will depend, however, on the public health circumstances at that time. Thus, it is imperative to be prepared for a range of scenarios and the operational, financial, and teaching and learning implications of those scenarios.

    We will certainly keep the University community apprised as the FY21 budget and other plans for the coming year continue to develop.

    We deeply appreciate your cooperation and goodwill as we collectively work to successfully navigate this global health crisis and its attendant financial impact on the University of Richmond. The University has, as you know, weathered extreme financial circumstances over its nearly 200-year history. With generosity, determination, and remarkable resilience, the University community has always risen to the occasion and as a result, the institution has, each time, emerged still stronger. With your help, we know that we will do so again. We are grateful for your partnership.

    Sincerely,

    David Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • April 1, 2020: Information on Summer Sessions, Student Research, and Internships

    Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, and Parents,

    Change and uncertainty have become our constant companions, but so has the ability of our community to work together to adapt during these challenging times. It has not been easy, and we have been asked to do many things we never imagined would be needed. Yet our classes are meeting, students are advancing in their coursework, and we are making progress. Thank you for all you have done and for your efforts ahead.

    I write today with important information that will allow you to plan for undergraduate (A&S, Jepson, and Robins students) summer sessions, student research and internships, and activities on campus in the coming months. Due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus, all classes for Summer Session I and most classes for Summer Session II will be taught online. University of Richmond courses for Summer 2020 that are approved for general education credit will count toward general education requirements regardless of the format of delivery (i.e., in-person or online).

    The campus will not open for face-to-face instruction for Summer Session I. This means that there will be no students in residence on campus before June 15. For the period after June 15 and Summer Session II, we continue to plan for the possibility for on-campus residency depending on conditions.

    This has implications for the following:

    Summer Session I Classes

    Most classes in summer school that had been scheduled to begin in May are now scheduled for online delivery. Those that are not offered online will either switch to that format or be cancelled. Instructors should contact their summer program directors for further information.

    Summer Session II Planning: Two Paths

    Many faculty and students are making decisions now regarding Summer Session II. To facilitate their planning, most Summer Session II classes are already listed as being offered online. This provides certainty that courses that may be needed for academic progress or graduation will be available, even as we continue to evaluate the right time to return to on-campus residence for students.

    We have a number of programs and research opportunities for students that would benefit from being on campus even as most classes are remote. We are intent on resuming normal operations as soon as is safely possible and are hoping to return to campus by the start of Summer Session II. A decision for residential opportunities during Summer Session II could be made as late as early June. We are delaying decision-making on residency in the hopes that students and programs that need to be on campus will be able to return to campus for Summer Session II after June 15.

    Those classes or programs that cannot be held remotely, or cannot await a later decision on residency, will either be cancelled, postponed, and/or instructors will be in touch with students with additional information.

    This two-path plan allows for the possibility of residency while providing certainty around the courses and credit opportunities that will be available this summer. Information on summer housing, should it be available after June 15, will be sent later this spring.

    Summer Research with Students

    The current situation raises a number of challenges for faculty-mentored summer research for undergraduate students planned for this summer. Summer research is an important opportunity in a University of Richmond education, but we must prioritize the health and care of our community. Therefore:

    • Given that we are in the midst of a pandemic, some faculty may no longer be able to mentor students either in person or remotely, and some students may no longer be able to participate in the experience.
    • The decision to continue to offer the student research experience depends on both faculty and students. In the first instance, the faculty member must decide if it is feasible. If the faculty member is able to proceed, then the option to continue with the research experience this summer lies with the student.
    • Research projects can be pursued using online mentoring as early as May 11.
    • Research projects may be able to commence in person June 15 and run for 7 weeks, pending the decision on Summer Session II residency.

    For more information on summer research, including details regarding these options for faculty and students, please carefully review the Guidance on Summer 2020 Student Research.

    University Sponsored Internships

    The UR Summer Fellowship deadline for internships, which had been suspended, will be moved to April 17, 2020. In order to provide students with more time to find an internship, students may also submit URSF applications by a second deadline of June 1, 2020.

    Given the current circumstances, in-person internships for which undergraduate students are receiving University funding or course credit (University-sponsored internships) will not be permitted to begin before June 15, and all planned in-person internships will need to occur in the student’s home community or in Richmond, Virginia, to ensure maximum flexibility given the current uncertainties about mobility and safety. Students planning in-person internships should be prepared for the possibility that in-person work will not be able to commence as planned in June, as that decision will be made based on then-current public health guidance.

    If an internship can be pursued remotely, remote internships will be eligible for URSF funding; URSF guidelines, including the requirements for remote internships, can be found here.

    Required information sessions will be available online. Other University-sponsored internship and clinical placement programs for undergraduates will follow the same guidelines, with in-person placements prohibited until at least June 15.

    Students should contact their dean or program director for more information about their specific program. Career Services is also available to assist students as they continue to pursue internship and job opportunities; please find more information and schedule an appointment here.

    Thank you for your adaptability, creativity, thought, and care in how we can best conduct great courses and meaningful research opportunities and internships that work within our circumstances. And thank you for engaging and supporting each other. This online world can be lonely at times; please don’t hesitate to reach out.

    I hope that you and yours are faring well.

    Take good care,

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • March 31, 2020: Governor Northam’s Executive Order and Extension of Compensation for Non-Exempt Employees

    We write to address Governor Northam’s most recent executive order and announce an extension of compensation for regular full, part-time, and limited term, non-exempt employees through May 9, 2020.

    As the University of Richmond conducts its second week of remote education, we encourage each of you to consider the remarkable manner in which you have responded to the ever-changing conditions we face. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the University of Richmond, as it has on colleges and universities across the country. In the past two weeks, you have had to develop and implement practices for the delivery of remote education, assist our students as they return to their homes across the country and the world, maintain support for those students who must continue to reside on campus, and shift to remote work arrangements, even while others remain on campus working to serve our students and maintain the safety of our community. Our shared strength, resilience, and commitment to our students and each other made all of this possible.

    As we respond to the evolving COVID-19 situation, we have been and must continue to be guided by our highest priorities, which are ensuring the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, making certain our students can complete their coursework this term, providing support to students in need, and contributing to the community-wide effort to “flatten the curve” of the pandemic. We are closely following and complying with guidance and directives from the state and federal government.

    Governor Northam’s March 30 Executive Order

    Yesterday, Governor Northam issued a new, temporary “stay-at-home” order that will remain in place until June 10, 2020, unless rescinded earlier. The full text of the order is available here. The order allows people to leave their homes for a number of reasons that are applicable to our work on behalf of the University and to each of you personally. The order permits, among other things:

    • Traveling to and from one’s residence and place of work;
    • Traveling to and from an educational institution; and
    • Institutions of higher education to continue to operate for purposes of facilitating remote learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing requirements are maintained.

    These provisions are critical to us, as some members of our community must continue to have access to our campus for student support and research purposes.

    The University’s Compliance with the Executive Order

    The University is already in compliance with the key aspects of the Governor’s new order. The University has shifted to remote work to the fullest extent possible and will continue remote work through June 10, unless the executive order is lifted. The University has also moved to remote education, prohibited gatherings of 10 or more individuals, and adjusted staff and work schedules. The residence halls, the Commons, the Heilman Dining Center are accessible to the students who remain on campus, but all other academic and administrative buildings are accessible only to faculty and staff. We will monitor our operations to ensure continued compliance with the executive order.

    Support for Employees On Campus

    We recognize that a number of you have responsibilities that cannot be accomplished on a remote basis and your work is critical to supporting the students who remain on campus, remote learning, research, and other essential functions. We are grateful for your dedication to the University and we are committed to protecting your health and safety. We are asking all individual division and department leaders to continually assess their staffing needs and work schedules and to use all possible means to promote social distancing for employees who must remain on or travel to campus.

    We recognize how stressful this situation is on you and your families and know that many of our non-exempt, hourly employees have experienced a reduction in the number of hours worked. As a result, through the pay period ending May 9, 2020, the University will continue to pay regular full, part-time, and limited term non-exempt, hourly employees based on their regularly scheduled hours if their work hours are reduced as a result of the move to a modified work schedule. We are continuing to consider our options for pay periods following May 9. We are continually updating the University’s COVID-19 response webpage with the latest information available. We invite you to review the page here.

    Once again, we are so grateful to all of you. Through your outstanding efforts and your care and compassion for our students and each other, we will emerge from this time of fear and uncertainty as a stronger and more united Spider family. There is no doubt that there will be more questions than answers over the next few weeks, but we will do our best to respond to your questions and concerns and to communicate new information promptly.

    Sincerely,

    David Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • March 30, 2020: Important Update Re: Retrieving Student Belongings

    I am writing in follow-up to the message I sent to you on March 18, 2020, to provide information on plans for reuniting students with their belongings.

    As you are aware, the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. The White House and CDC in recent days issued more stringent guidance regarding social distancing and travel. Today, the Governor of Virginia issued a “stay-at-home” order that will remain in effect until June 10, 2020.

    Given the new guidance and orders, we are suspending the previously shared plan for retrieval of belongings that was to start the week of April 13. The University will communicate with students and families regarding the protocol for the retrieval process once a final plan is determined. Our continued goal is to provide a safe environment and organized procedure for students to retrieve their belongings when we are able to allow them to return to campus.

    We understand and appreciate your concerns. The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff continues to be our top priority. Our Emergency Management Team’s work is informed by the advice of public health experts and guidance from the CDC and Virginia Department of Health.

    We recognize and regret the disruption that this has caused our students and their families, and we are grateful for your understanding and patience.

    I wish you and your family the best during these difficult times.

    Stay well,

    Steve D. Bisese

    Vice President for Student Development

  • March 26, 2020: Important Information Regarding Refunds

    Dear Students and Families,

    I am writing, as a follow up to President Crutcher’s message of March 16, 2020, to provide additional information regarding prorated adjustments of student housing and board charges for the Spring 2020 semester as a result of our community response to the COVID virus. First and most importantly, please accept our sincere gratitude for your grace and patience as we work through the many details associated with the University’s move to remote instruction for the remainder of the Spring semester. We recognize that this decision has significant and varied implications for our students and families but, as President Crutcher shared in his earlier message, ensuring the health and well-being of not only our students, faculty, and staff, but also the wider community, is essential at this time.

    In determining the adjustments for student housing and meal plan charges, the University calculated the time away from campus as constituting 43.75% of the semester. Accordingly, we will be issuing a credit of 43.75% of the Spring semester room rate, adjusted to reflect the pro-rata portion of any University scholarship or grant aid received for the semester. Students living in University housing will receive a minimum credit of $330.

    Credits for meal plans will be calculated in two parts. First, students will receive a credit of 43.75% of the portion of the meal plan not attributable to dining dollars, adjusted to reflect the pro-rata portion of University scholarship or grant aid received for the semester. Second, students with dining dollars will be credited for the unused cash balance as of March 25. Students will be credited dollar-for-dollar for the unspent balance — it will not be prorated nor will it be adjusted for University scholarship or grant aid.

    In addition to housing and meal charges, students will also be credited for parking and graduation fees. Students holding University parking permits will be credited for 43.75% of the cost allocable to the Spring semester. For those students who applied to graduate in May, your graduation fees will be fully credited to you.

    The Bursar’s Office is currently working to update each student’s account for these adjustments. For accounts that have a credit balance after these adjustments have been applied, a refund will be issued in the student’s name no later than Friday, April 3. Students with direct deposit will receive a confirmation email from the University’s Accounts Payable department. All others will receive checks mailed to their off-campus address. The Bursar’s Office (bursar@richmond.edu) stands ready to assist you with any questions regarding these adjustments to your account.

    Once again, thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through the numerous issues associated with the COVID-19 crisis. We are pleased with the effective manner in which our students and faculty have adapted to the educational realities of our current situation. Still, we know that the crisis has disrupted the close level of personal interaction which is and will always remain a hallmark of a University of Richmond education. We look forward to the day we can resume our normal operations and welcome everyone back to campus.

    Sincerely,

    David B. Hale
    Executive Vice-President & Chief Operating Officer

  • March 23, 2020: Changes to Fall Registration

    Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

    As faculty and students reconnect with one another on this first day of remote classes, I write to share some information regarding changes to the undergraduate registration process for fall 2020 courses in Arts & Sciences, Business, and Jepson. We are implementing these changes to provide students with more time to meet with their advisor as we move to remote learning, support students in meeting their academic requirements, and ensure that students who are currently planning to study abroad in fall 2020 also have the opportunity to express their course registration preferences, should they need to have a change in plans. Please note that planning for fall study abroad is proceeding as usual; we are adopting this new process so that all of us are prepared for any contingency.

    The changes are as follows:

    Students Planning to Study Abroad in Fall 2020
    While the current circumstances have resulted in some students returning to their home communities before their spring 2020 study abroad experience was complete, we know that global learning and reflective experiences in another culture are essential elements of a Richmond education and have long been a hallmark and point of pride for us. For students planning to study abroad in fall 2020, the Office of International Education will be conducting the usual orientations for students remotely. During these meetings and in the materials students receive from IE and/or the program abroad, students will be given information regarding course registration at the university or program in which they plan to participate abroad in the fall. This is all the standard procedure for study abroad.

    While we remain hopeful that students will have these opportunities in the fall, we can’t predict what will happen over the next several months around the world. We recognize that students may choose to change their plans or may be constrained by lingering disruptions in access to global travel. To prepare for these possibilities, we are also inviting students who plan to be abroad in the fall to provide their preferences for fall classes at UR. In order to provide those preferences, please log into BannerWeb to complete the fall 2020 registration survey beginning April 13 (see schedule below). Under the Personal Information tab choose Answer a Survey. The fall 2020 registration survey and related instructions are available there. Please do not attempt to register through the regular process; the system will not be available to those who have committed to a study abroad program.

    Students Planning to Study on Campus at UR in Fall 2020
    For students who are planning to study on campus at Richmond in the fall, there will also be a few adjustments to the registration process.

    Rising seniors will be able to register for up to 5.5 units, as is customary.

    Rising juniors, sophomores, and entering first-year students will be able to register for a maximum of 4 units when registration opens.

    We know that many students enroll in more than four units each term in order to complete their major(s) and degree requirements, and that some programs require additional units for professional licensure or post-graduate opportunities. We plan to expand to the usual 5.5-unit limit for sophomores and juniors during an additional registration period in the summer, but it is important to create a 4-unit limit for the period of spring registration, so that we can adjust for additional course capacity if there are areas to which study abroad remains restricted next fall.

    Registration Dates
    The fall 2020 course schedule will be live Wednesday, March 25, for students and advisors to view available courses. As Provost Jeff Legro mentioned in his update last week, advising and registration dates have been changed to provide students and advisors more time to connect with one another remotely:

    • Begin Advising Monday, April 6
    • Priority Registration Monday, April 13–Friday, April 24
    • Course Preference Survey for Fall Study Abroad Students: available beginning Monday, April 13
    • Extended Registration: Monday, April 27–Friday, May 29

    The link to the Registration Rotation can be found here: https://registrar.richmond.edu/registration/undergraduate/rotation.html. If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Office of the Registrar (registrar@richmond.edu).

    Thank you for your understanding and your flexibility as we make these adjustments to ensure that we can support all of our students and their academic plans for next fall. We are eager to have everyone back on campus and look forward to your return and the reconstitution of our vibrant Spider campus community.

    Thank you,

    Susan Breeden
    University Registrar

     

  • March 20, 2020: Temporary Academic Policies/Advising

    Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, and Parents,

    These days are filled with our efforts to adapt to new circumstances and transition to remote teaching and learning that will begin next week. We face highly unusual and trying times and we need to address them with appropriate measures. Today I write with important and encouraging news about temporary changes to grading procedures and academic rules as well as advising for undergraduate students in Arts & Sciences (A&S), the Robins School of Business (RSB), and the Jepson School of Leadership Studies (Jepson).

    Temporary Academic Policies

    We recognize that the day-to-day turmoil and uncertainty is stressful; conditions students and faculty are facing vary widely both in dealing with the COVID-19 threat and in managing remote learning. To address our unparalleled conditions, forward-thinking faculty have introduced, and yesterday the Faculty Senate thoughtfully deliberated and recommended, proposals to change grading options as a special exception limited to courses undertaken in the spring of 2020. The Senate also recommended a temporary policy change for summer 2020 related to general education credit. I approve of the recommendations (full information here), which provide for the following:

    • For each course they are enrolled in, undergraduate students in A&S, RSB, and Jepson will have the option to receive a standard letter grade (A-F) or to opt for Credit/Credit with a D/No Credit (C/CRD/NC). If a student earns a CR or CRD, they will earn a unit toward graduation for the course. Grades of CR/CRD/NC will not affect a student’s grade point average. Those who opt for a standard letter grade would have those grades count as usual in their GPAs.
    • Students may choose Credit/Credit with D/No Credit until the last day of classes, Friday, April 24, 2020, at 5 p.m. EDT.
    • The withdrawal deadline has been extended. Undergraduate students in A&S, RSB, and Jepson may now withdraw from a course until Friday April 24, 2020, at 5 p.m. EDT. The transcript will note the withdrawal with a ‘W’.
    • For the spring 2020 semester courses only, I, M, and V grades will not be permitted for undergraduate courses offered in A&S, RSB, and Jepson.
    • For students who may be planning to enroll in summer school at the University of Richmond, courses offered for A&S, RSB, and Jepson students during summer 2020 that are approved for general education credit will count toward general education requirements regardless of the format of delivery (i.e., in person or online).

    The aim of these options is to allow students flexibility in deciding what makes most sense for them in these exceptional and fluid circumstances. The spring grading options and extended withdrawal deadline have different implications for student GPAs, plans for subsequent semesters, and post-graduate work, as well as progress toward the degree. Please read this information closely. I strongly encourage students to talk with your academic advisor about your plans for grade options this semester along with your fall schedule during academic advising.

    Advising

    To facilitate the shift to remote instruction and to allow time to prepare for remote advising this year, we will shift the beginning of Fall 2020 registration from April 6 to April 13. Registration advising week will now begin on April 6. The full schedule for registration and advising can be found here. Helpful information for advisors can be found in Academic Advising Online.

    I was proud yesterday to be part of a collective effort and discussion that advanced both student welfare and the quality of our education. I want to acknowledge and thank students who reached out on this issue, our faculty who proposed novel ways to address the challenges, and a Faculty Senate that moved thoughtfully and swiftly to advance recommendations. We will continue to learn, work, and help each other. I am confident that we will make the shift, bumps and all, to high quality remote instruction and learning. We can do this: together.

    Sincerely,

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • March 18, 2020: Retrieving Student Belongings

    I am writing in follow up to President Crutcher’s message of March 16, 2020 to provide information on plans for reuniting students with their belongings.

    As you are aware, the COVID-19 situation continues to worsen, including here in Virginia. The White House and the CDC have just issued stringent new guidance limiting group interactions to no more than 10 and some communities are considering “shelter-in-place” orders.

    The University of Richmond is working diligently to safeguard the health and well-being of the students who remain on campus, as well as its faculty and staff, by adapting our operations to be consistent with the most recent public health guidance. For that reason, students are not permitted to return to campus to retrieve their belongings at this time. We understand and regret the disruption that this has caused our students and their families and we are grateful for your understanding and patience.

    We have developed a plan to allow students to obtain essential materials now and to retrieve their other belongings later this spring. This plan is consistent with public health guidance and minimizes the risk to the campus community. The key elements of that plan are as follows:

    • Academic Materials and Medications. Students who have an immediate need for academic materials or medications, must complete this form. We will gather the requested materials and pack and ship them to you as quickly as possible.
    • Retrieving Belongings. Provided that conditions permit, the University will allow students to return to campus to retrieve their belongings on a designated schedule beginning the week of April 13. Students must follow the following schedule:
      • April 13 – 19: Students living in Lora Robins Court, Keller Hall, Westhampton Hall, Thomas Hall, Robins Hall, and Marsh Hall may return;
      • April 20 – 26: Students living in Gateway Village Apartments, Jeter Hall, Moore Hall, Gray Court, and South Court may return;
      • April 27 – May 3: Students living in Dennis Hall, Wood Hall, North Court, and University Forest Apartments blocks 160, 470, 472, 474, 476, 481, 483, 486 may return; and
      • May 4 – 10: Students living in Freeman Hall, Lakeview Hall, Atlantic House, Pacific House, Law Housing, and University Forest Apartments (blocks 162, 164, 166, 168, 170, 172, 191, and 193 may return.
    • Storing Belongings. The University is developing a plan for those students who cannot return to campus and wish to store their belongings over the summer. Detailed information regarding storage options and assistance will be provided as soon as these plans are finalized with campus and community partners.
    • Extraordinary Circumstances. If you are facing extraordinary circumstances that cannot be met by the plan outlined above, please complete this form. For health and safety reasons, the University will only consider extreme situations for a possible exception to this plan.

    As we have all experienced, the COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly and may necessitate changes in our plan. We will notify you promptly if any changes are necessary.

    Once again, I understand how difficult this is for each of you and appreciate your flexibility and understanding.

    Sincerely,

    Steve D. Bisese
    Vice President for Student Development

     

     

  • March 16, 2020: COVID-19 Update

    Dear Members of the University Community,

    I write to convey important further decisions necessitated by national efforts in response to COVID-19. The University will move to remote learning for the remainder of the spring semester, shift to remote work for employees to the greatest extent possible, and celebrate the Class of 2020 Commencement at a later date this year.

    These are decisions that we do not take lightly, but that we nevertheless believe are important. They are undertaken in response to the now clear guidance from the Centers for Disease Control recommending that throughout the United States for the next eight weeks, any gathering consisting of 50 people or more be cancelled or postponed.

    I know how disappointing this news about classes and Commencement is, especially to our graduating students and their families. During our initial planning, we held open the option for students to return to campus to complete the spring semester and to hold Commencement in May as scheduled. However, the continued rapid spread of COVID-19 in the United States and the quickly evolving guidance from public health officials have forced us to conclude that these options are no longer possible. I regret that these circumstances require us to significantly change how we live, work, and study together this spring.

    Remote Instruction Extended Through Remainder of Spring Semester

    I am so grateful to our exceptional faculty and staff for their efforts to transition to remote instruction while maintaining our standards of educational excellence and close collaboration with our students. The care and concern that our faculty and staff have for our students is a hallmark of a Richmond education, and that commitment will continue to guide us as we teach and engage with students remotely through the regularly scheduled semester and exam period.

    In line with the strong recommendation of public health authorities, I am also notifying the students currently remaining on campus to make plans to return to your home. We recognize each of you has a different situation and some of you may need to reside on campus. Be assured we will take care of you and work with you to find the best possible solution for the remainder of the semester. In the next day or two, Student Development professionals will write to you with further information.

    Students who are no longer on campus will receive detailed instructions in the next couple of weeks for moving or storing your belongings that remain in University housing. Should you have an immediate need for academic materials or medications, please complete this form. I ask that you do not return to campus to retrieve belongings until instructions for how to do so are communicated to you by Housing and Residential Life.

    I know this decision will significantly inconvenience those who traveled to campus to retrieve belongings over the weekend. I am sorry we were not able to make this determination sooner; as you know, public health guidance has changed rapidly and significantly with yesterday’s announcement from the Centers for Disease Control.

    In addition, the University will determine the most appropriate and expedient ways to process prorated adjustments for room and board expenses, as those fees assumed students would remain in residence for the remainder of the semester. More information about this process, which we know is very important to students and families, will be forthcoming as soon as feasible.

    Class of 2020 Commencement Celebration

    As noted above, in line with the updated CDC guidance regarding limiting gatherings, the University will celebrate the Class of 2020 Commencement later in the year. I deeply regret this outcome. Members of the Class of 2020, you have worked so hard and deserve every celebratory moment that traditionally accompanies the final weeks of the semester and our Commencement exercises. You will always be a special class for us, known for your grit and ability to weather difficult circumstances, people you want by your side when there is a challenge. Hear me when I say that I and other University leaders will do everything we can to reunite you on campus and celebrate your many accomplishments and your unique place in University history as soon as we can. We will be in touch directly with information as plans develop.

    Shift to Remote Work for Employees

    As noted above, for our staff and faculty, we are shifting to remote work to the fullest extent possible until further notice. Thank you all for your determination, dedication, and ingenuity in adapting at breakneck speed to support our students and the community. I am especially grateful to those who have worked to ensure the well-being of our students who have remained on campus, those working to ensure the operations of the University continue smoothly, and those supporting our faculty in transitioning to remote education. While we ask that those who can work remotely do so, and at the direction of the leaders of their division, the campus will remain accessible to employees and to students preparing to transition off campus. Facilities such as labs, computer rooms, studios, practice rooms and classrooms, however, are closed to all except faculty who need them for remote teaching and/or research.

    Employee Payroll and Leave Adjustments

    To our faculty and staff, we know the rapid and near-constant changes to the ways we all go about our lives at and outside of work are causing significant distress and difficulties for everyone. We have extended the Interim Pay Policies for non-exempt employees through April 11 and we have broadened employee eligibility for paid leave. Please refer to the University’s Interim Policies for more information.

    Conclusion

    In the days ahead, I humbly ask for your empathy, patience, and understanding. This global public health crisis has upended so many established norms in so many aspects of life, including those that have long governed university life. Responding has required change at a pace unfathomable just a week ago. But please know that caring for our community and delivering on our educational mission will always guide our decisions.

    We realize that this communication will leave you with questions and concerns. We pledge to remain in frequent contact with you in the days ahead, and urge you to visit our COVID-19 response website regularly for updates. I hope that you and your families weather this threat in good health. Please take care of yourselves and one another.

    Sincerely,

    Ronald A. Crutcher
    President

  • March 11, 2020: COVID-19 Update

    Dear Members of the University Community,

    I write with an update on the University’s planning regarding the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19. As president of the University, my highest priorities right now are ensuring the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff — and making certain our students can complete their coursework this term.

    To ensure we can continue to advance these goals, we will suspend classes next week to allow our faculty time to prepare for a likely move to remote instruction beginning March 23. Unless the situation regarding COVID-19 improves dramatically, we plan to continue remote instruction until at least April 3. We will be reassessing conditions during that period to determine opportunities to return to the classroom.

    Students who are currently out of town for spring break should not return to campus during the period of remote instruction. Students presently on campus should return home immediately, if at all possible.

    These are difficult decisions to make, but I believe they are necessary to fulfill our educational mission and protect the health of our community and the many other communities to which we are connected. Public health authorities predict COVID-19 will continue to spread, with potentially severe impacts on the healthcare system’s ability to provide critical care. Our actions will minimize our community’s exposure to the disease and ensure the ability of our students to complete their course work this semester. This action also reduces the risk of substantial disruption in university operations that might arise from a COVID-19 outbreak on campus. In particular, if COVID-19 cases occurred on campus, we would be unable to maintain a quarantine system that meets required public health standards for our students, and successfully conclude the semester. As those entrusted with not only the education but the care of our students — as well as the health of our faculty, staff, and community members — these are risks we are quite simply unwilling to take.

    One of the hallmarks of a Richmond education is the close faculty and student collaboration in which we all take such great pride. I know our actions represent a significant disruption to our educational model, as well as to our daily operations and routines, and will require considerable sacrifices from each of us. I especially regret the impact a transition to remote learning will have on our graduating seniors, whose time remaining on campus is the most limited.

    While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus, a case was diagnosed just today in nearby Hanover. We are taking the following immediate and proactive measures to reduce the risk of community exposure to COVID-19:

    • Classes will be suspended next week. If a student must return to campus to pick up belongings, we ask that they limit their time in their residence halls to no more than two hours. You may access additional information on our student instructions page.
    • Students with extenuating circumstances, such as international students, will have until Friday, March 13, at 5 p.m. to request an exemption to remain in on-campus housing. Those wishing to request an exemption from this directive must submit a petition (DUO login required). We expect that exceptions will be extremely limited.
    • Faculty will prepare next week for the transition to remote instruction beginning March 23. Our community should be prepared for an extended period of distance learning.
    • Currently we are not closing the university campus. We expect most buildings, such as the libraries, to remain open. Recognizing that the situation can change, deans and managers should consult their continuity of operations plans and assess functions that could be supported by faculty and staff working remotely, should that need arise in the future.
    • The University will continue to support a limited on-campus population. Students who are given permission to remain in campus housing should be aware that access to most facilities and services will be limited and student activities and gatherings suspended, until further notice.

    We recognize that our community will have many questions in the days and weeks ahead and have established a dedicated webpage where you can find the latest information and announcements regarding our institutional response to COVID-19. We invite you to refer to the page regularly for updates. We will be in contact at the end of the week regarding additional aspects of our operations, including previously scheduled campus events and university travel.

    I am especially grateful to our Emergency Management Team, who continue to work tirelessly to monitor the situation, assess the risks we face, and develop proactive contingency plans in line with expert public health guidance. I also want to thank all of you for your patience, understanding, and resilience during this challenging time for our campus, our nation, and indeed our world.

    To our students, I know that being away from this place we all call home will be difficult. But I am confident that you are well-equipped to adapt to these unique circumstances and successfully continue to learn and grow.

    To our faculty, I know that transitioning to remote instruction mid-semester presents many challenges. But I am grateful for the extraordinary efforts you will make in continuing to provide our students with the excellent education for which Richmond is known.

    And to our staff, I know that responding to this situation will ask much of you as we work to extend the University’s operations in new ways. But I am grateful for everything you have done and will continue to do to ensure we fulfill our institutional mission and our commitment to our students.

    While today we face a novel health threat, time and again, I have watched our community come together to care for and support one another through extremely difficult situations. I know this moment will be no exception. Take good care of yourselves, and each other.

    Sincerely,

    Ronald A. Crutcher

  • March 9, 2020: COVID-19 Update

    We write with a brief update on the University’s planning regarding COVID 19. We will provide you with a more detailed communication of the University’s plans and interim policies by the end of this week, including policies for travel and returning to campus.

    As you know, the COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly both in the United States and abroad and we are planning for a range of scenarios from now into the fall semester. Currently, there are no cases on campus and three confirmed cases in Northern Virginia. As outlined in our emergency management plans, the University’s Executive Policy Group and Outbreak Control Team are meeting regularly to assess the situation, develop contingency plans, and make decisions to support the health and safety of our community and the operations of the University.

    Planned Travel

    We encourage all members of the campus community to give serious consideration to cancelling or postponing any non-essential professional or personal travel plans that you have between now and June 1, 2020. As noted above the University will be issuing interim policies, including travel policies, relating to COVID-19 by the end of this week. If you are making travel arrangements, you should avoid buying non-refundable tickets.

    All students, faculty, and staff who are traveling over Spring Break internationally or to New York, Washington, or California or other domestic locations significantly affected by COVID-19 must complete University’s travel reporting form before their return. This is required for both University-sponsored and personal travel.

    Recommended Health Precautions for COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

    Risk of contracting COVID-19 is dependent on individual exposure. As we are beginning to see community transmission of COVID-19 in the United States and around the world, it is important to practice good self-care habits, including:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
    • Cover your cough;
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands;
    • Don’t share food or drinks;
    • Get adequate rest and maintain healthy lifestyles (e.g. proper nutrition, exercise) to help ensure health;
    • Avoid close contact, including handshakes and hugging; and
    • If you get sick, stay home and rest.

    If you suspect that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 or are exhibiting symptoms, please call your physician right away and follow the advice that they provide to you.

    Cleaning of Campus Buildings

    University Facilities has made the cleaning of high touch areas, such as door knobs, the priority and established defined cycles for disinfecting. University Facilities continues to closely monitor the situation and follow recommendations from the CDC for higher education settings.

    Signs regarding proper hand washing are being placed in all public restrooms across campus.

    Also, we encourage campus community members to make use of the UR hand sanitizers located in high traffic areas including the Commons, Boatwright Library, Heilman Dining Center, and all other retail dining locations.

    Additional Information, Updates, and Questions

    The University has developed a specific website for University of Richmond COVID-19 policies, updates and FAQ’s, which can be found here. This website will be updated regularly.

    You may submit questions regarding COVID-19 planning to: em@richmond.edu. We are getting a number of questions from across campus and will respond to your message as quickly as possible.

    Thank you for your cooperation as we work to protect the health and safety of the campus community.

    Sincerely,

    David Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • March 2, 2020: Spring Break Travel and COVID-19 Update

    Dear University of Richmond Students, Faculty, and Staff:

    We continue to closely monitor the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The current situation both globally and in the United States is dynamic and we have seen rapid increases in confirmed cases in affected locations. The safety and health of our students, faculty, and staff remains our highest priority. We write today to notify the campus community about the cancellation of University-sponsored student travel over spring break. We also urge all those in our community to be conscientious regarding personal travel over spring break and to register your international travel with the University as indicated below. Additionally, the University’s Outbreak Control Team has been and will continue to meet regularly to prepare for a range of scenarios in which COVID-19 could further impact our campus.

    Update on International Travel

    Regrettably, the University has decided to cancel all University-sponsored international travel involving students over spring break. As we have seen over the last week, COVID-19 cases are increasing rapidly and we expect the situation to remain extremely fluid over the next two weeks. We are concerned about the potential for exposure to COVID-19 and the evolving impact that this health situation is having on international mobility. There is too much uncertainty about the ability of our community members to return to the United States without interruption of travel due to quarantine or other restrictions. We recognize that this decision will be deeply disappointing for the students and faculty scheduled to travel over spring break, but after much consideration we determined that it is in the best interest of the members of our campus community. The Office of International Education will work with affected faculty and staff regarding the cancellation of these trips.

    We will continue to closely monitor this evolving situation and have not yet made any decisions regarding University-sponsored travel during the summer or fall.

    The Office of International Education is in close communication with students who are currently studying abroad to provide support and information, and to help them make informed decisions about their travel plans.

    For those of you planning personal travel abroad over spring break or in the next few weeks, please be advised that the conditions in your international travel destination may change without warning, especially in locations severely impacted by COVID-19. As such, if you are planning an international trip, be mindful of potential disruption to your reentry to the United States.

    All students, faculty, and staff who have recently traveled or are planning to travel internationally this semester for any reason — personal or University-related — are asked to complete the online travel reporting form. The information gathered via this form will help insure the safety of our campus and will be used by the Office of International Education and/or the Office of Human Resources to proactively communicate with individuals or groups as necessary.

    The following general resources may be helpful if you have international travel plans, including:

    As a reminder, the residential buildings and many dining facilities on campus remain open over Spring Break.


    COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

    University officials remain in communication with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) regarding COVID-19. As of today, there have been 86 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States. There are no reported cases in Virginia as of this time.

    Individual risk is dependent on exposure. As with any virus, we remind you of the importance of using good self-care habits, including:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
    • Cover your cough
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
    • Don’t share food or drinks
    • If you get sick, stay home and rest.

    The University’s Facilities team continues its ongoing practice of disinfecting high touch areas, such as door knobs, across campus. Also, we encourage campus community members to make use of the UR hand sanitizers located in high traffic areas including the Commons, Boatwright Library, Heilman Dining Center, and all other retail dining locations.

    For additional information about COVID-19, please see the University’s FAQs. Information is also available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the VDH.

    The University continues to prepare for the potential impact of COVID-19 and will continue to provide updates to the campus community.

    Sincerely,

    David Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • Feb. 14, 2020: Coronavirus and International Travel

    Dear Members of the UR Community:

    We write to provide additional information regarding the coronavirus and University-sponsored travel to China, and to express solidarity with our community members who may be affected by this health challenge.

    Coronavirus Update

    The World Health Organization has officially named the 2019 novel coronavirus COVID-19. You may hear references to the coronavirus or COVID-19 in public health announcements and in the news media.

    University officials have been closely monitoring the evolving news about this illness for several weeks and have been in communication with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). As of today, there have been 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and there are no reported cases in Virginia. All of the confirmed cases involved individuals who either traveled to Wuhan, China, where the virus was first detected, or were in close contact with someone who had traveled to Wuhan.

    For additional information about COVID-19, please see the University’s FAQs. Information is also available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the VDH.

    As with any virus, we remind you of the importance of good self-care habits, including:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Cover your cough.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Don’t share food or drinks.
    • If you get sick, stay home and rest.

    University-Sponsored Travel to China

    The U.S. State Department recently issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory stating “Do Not Travel,” to mainland China. The CDC also issued a warning against all nonessential travel to China. The University of Richmond will not approve University-sponsored travel to China by students, faculty, or staff while these alerts remain in place. It is possible that this situation could change or will continue through the spring and into the summer, and we will provide updates as appropriate.

    The Office of International Education is in contact with and has been supporting students whose study abroad plans for the spring semester included travel to China. The University will also provide support and guidance for UR students who live in China as they contemplate options for returning home at any time.

    The University stands ready to support members of our Spider family who are from or have personal ties to the impacted areas. We recognize this can be an anxious time and encourage you to reach out to any of the resources available on campus including the College Deans Offices, the Office of International Education, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), the Office of Human Resources, or the Chaplaincy.

    The University will continue to closely monitor this health risk with the expectation that guidelines and recommendations will change and will provide updates when warranted.

    Sincerely,

    David Hale
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

    Jeffrey Legro
    Executive Vice President and Provost

  • Jan. 30, 2020: Health Alert

    Dear Members of the University Community,

    Your health and safety is always a priority for us. We write to share that the University is monitoring reports regarding the novel coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, China. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the symptoms for patients with this coronavirus have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

    We are following guidance provided by the CDC and Virginia Department of Health (VDH). The risk to the people currently in the United States is deemed low; however, it is flu season and there are precautions we can take to prevent the spread of all communicable diseases, like the flu.

    All members of the campus community are encouraged to get a flu shot and to see their physician if they develop flu-like symptoms. Additionally, the best preventative steps for any communicable disease include simple but important measures to practice as part of your daily routine, but especially during flu season:

    • Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water;
    • Avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments;
    • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue and wash your hands immediately after; and
    • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

    The University will continue to work closely with partners at VDH to prepare for, screen, and prevent the spread of illness and keep our community safe. For additional information and the most up-to-date details, visit the VDH website (http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/surveillance-and-investigation/novel-coronavirus/). If the situation warrants, we will follow up with additional communication, and we are always available to respond to individual inquiries.

    Sincerely,

    Lynne Deane
    Medical Director, Student Health Center