Richmond Home

COVID-19 Coronavirus Information & Updates

University updates to the UR Community about COVID-19 will be added to this page.

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


Previous Updates

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