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SPCS-Specific Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Last updated: January 6, 2021

The School of Professional & Continuing Studies remains open for business with most staff and faculty working remotely. The University of Richmond remains in modified operating status and is operating in the Red stage of our Physical Distancing Framework, which calls for working remotely to the fullest extent possible. Review the content on this page, and if your question isn’t answered here, contact us at (804) 289-8133 or for assistance. 

SPCS follows the University’s lead and public health guidance to monitor conditions to ensure continuity of instruction. The health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff are our priority throughout this pandemic. We’ll follow the University’s lead in planning for the Spring 2021 semester. As we develop guidance unique to SPCS for the spring, we’ll share it here and across our standard communication channels.

The resources below apply to SPCS audiences. They link to and supplement the University’s official COVID-19 response page including the COVID-19 DashboardSpring 2021 Planning, and the Return to Work Guide.

SPCS manages Summer School on behalf of the University of Richmond, but Summer 2021 information is provided on the main University response page.

To report a potential COVID-19 case, please contact your healthcare provider and notify Gretchen Flynn Morris in the SPCS dean’s office at or or (804) 289-8133.

Spring 2021 Plans
Degree program class format
Spring 2021 Changes

Spring SPCS degree-program classes will be offered fully online or as in-class/online hybrids with limited in-class meetings. The class schedule is now available online and registration is open in BannerWeb. Review the announcement about Spring 2021 plans.

On-campus instruction will feature physical distancing following the Physical Distancing Framework. The semester’s academic calendar has also been revised as follows:

  • The first day of classes will be delayed to Tuesday, January 19, 2021.
  • There will be no Spring Break to allow for a later start to the semester.
  • Classes will conclude April 24, with exams held April 26–May 1.
  • SPCS Commencement ceremonies are scheduled for May 8, formats TBA.
Options for studying remotely as a degree-seeking student
Remote Study Request

For SPCS students who are unable to study in-person, we’re offering two options for remote learning:

  1. Register for fully online classes, which automatically classifies you as studying remotely (recommended).
  2. Register for hybrid courses and request to study remotely using the Remote Study Request Form by January 4, 2021

Students who complete the Remote Study Request Form should plan to attend all of their courses remotely during the scheduled class meeting times. Students studying remotely are strongly encouraged to review and enroll in courses being offered fully online, but access to hybrid classes with in-person class meetings through technology will also be available, as they were in the fall semester.

Studying remotely will not affect a student's ability to participate in graduation.

Students who are studying remotely will not be permitted to come to campus; however, you will have virtual access to academic and technology support services, including but not limited to the Library, Online Writing Lab (OWL), technology support, Career Services, Academic Skills Center, Speech Center, Writing Center and the SPCS Student Resources Blackboard Site.

Remote Study Waiver

If you are only taking online classes, you’ll be automatically be classified as a remote study student and will not have access to campus. If you are only taking online classes and do not want to be classified as a remote study student, you must request a waiver in writing. If you request a waiver, you must complete COVID-19 testing before the start of the semester and be available for prevalence testing throughout the semester. Please email Gretchen Flynn Morris (, Director of Strategic Management for Academic and Student Affairs, no later than January 4, 2021, to request a waiver.

COVID-19 testing for spring 2021
Degree-seeking Students Enrolled in In-Person Classes

Degree-seeking students returning to in-person classes in the Spring are required to be tested for COVID-19 prior to the start of spring classes. All students must be tested on campus.

Unlike the fall, students cannot be exempted from testing by providing the results of a test taken prior to arrival.

Testing for SPCS students will be held January 11-15 (this is a change).  If you are scheduled for a class that will meet in-person and have not yet heard from SPCS staff, use the Testing Sign-Up Form to schedule a testing appointment.

Who Doesn't Get Tested

Degree-seeking SPCS students who’ve opted for remote study status for the semester, or who are enrolled in online-only courses, are not required to complete COVID-19 testing. However, remote study status prohibits campus access for the entire semester with remote services available.

Questions about testing and campus access as a remote-study student may be directed to Gretchen Flynn Morris at

Requirements for attending in-person degree program classes

All degree-seeking students who plan to attend in-person classes, or visit campus for academic support or co-curricular activities, must meet the following requirements before coming to campus:

  • Review the Spring 2021 Web Ready Checklist
  • Sign the new version of the Healthy Web Community Compact (VPN required)
  • Monitor your temperature and symptoms via the daily symptom tracker that you receive each morning.
  • Participate in the University’s COVID-19 testing (if attending in-person classes) before the start of the semester.
  • Follow all of the University's health and safety protocols.
Classroom and instructional technology
Standard Configuration

All campus classrooms now have a standard technology configuration that includes the ability to share the live class experience via Zoom. Should students enrolled in campus-based classes be unable to attend classes, technology enables instruction and interaction to occur simultaneously in the classroom and remotely.

Technology training for degree program instructors is available in person for specific locations and remotely for general training. Registration is required and spaces are severely limited. The Classroom Technology Tips and Training Resources is provided for reference.

Instructional Technology Support

Information Services has worked with the Faculty Technology Committee to develop a Teaching, Learning, and Classrooms service section in SpiderTechNet, providing self-help and support options for instructional and classroom technologies. Covers instructional technology in classrooms and computer labs, training materials, the Technology Learning Center and Blackboard.

New degree-seeking student onboarding

Instead of a New Student Orientation for newly admitted degree-seeking students, SPCS is providing a New Student Onboarding experience in Blackboard as part of the existing SPCS Student Online Support Community. All newly admitted students are added automatically to the support community, and the New Student Onboarding module is available effective January 6. All degree-seeking students are invited to review these resources.

Campus-Wide Updates
Our shared responsibility & Healthy Web Compact

As we continue to live into the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of the campus community is of paramount importance. Ensuring the health of the campus community is our shared responsibility, and it will require a sustained commitment from all of us as we modify the way we live, learn, and work together. We have made necessary adjustments to conform to public health guidance to promote health and safety.

To ensure we follow and enforce our safety policies and protocols, all students studying on campus, as well as faculty and staff, have been asked to sign the spring 2021 updated Healthy Web Community Compact for students and faculty & staff.

COVID-19 dashboard

The University of Richmond has created a COVID-19 dashboard that provides updates on COVID-19 data specifically related to the campus community.

The dashboard will be updated weekly and pulls data from multiple sources to illustrate and track various metrics, which will help inform continued decision-making related to campus operations. Weekly updates allow the University to protect the privacy of student and employee information while enabling us to observe and share campus health trends.

Virginia's COVIDWISE app

The Commonwealth of Virginia has developed a new tool to notify people if they are potentially a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19. C OVIDWISE is Virginia's COVID-19 exposure notification app. The COVIDWISE app is tool that may serve to augment our campus community’s extensive prevention strategies. The app uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology to quickly notify users who have been within six feet of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes and, as a result, may have been exposed to COVID-19. If the app notifies you that you may have been exposed, it will provide further instructions from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) on how to keep you and the people around you safe. VDH notes that the app does not track your location or identity, and it does not store location data. The University asks you to consider downloading the COVIDWISE app on your personal device to contribute to Virginia’s efforts to fight COVID-19.

Daily health screening

Degree-seeking students taking classes with on-campus sessions, along with all faculty and staff, are required to complete a daily health screening. The brief, two-question health survey is sent by email each morning and must be completed daily, whether or not you plan to be on campus that day.

Remote study students (those who’ve opted for remote only instruction in hybrid classes) and students enrolled only in online classes will not be required to complete a daily health screening.

Face coverings

Cloth face coverings will be required while on campus, including in classrooms while teaching and learning. Students will be required to wear cloth face coverings during class, and instructors have authority and responsibility to enforce this requirement in their classrooms.

All University community members — faculty, staff, and students — will be provided 2 free cloth face coverings. Distribution methods will be provided as the start of the semester draws closer.

Instructional faculty teaching face-to-face in-person classes may also request 1 additional clear face covering. The procedure for ordering and collecting an additional clear face covering will be sent directly to those scheduled to teach on campus.

Operational updates and interim policies

The University has announced a number of interim policies and operational changes in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Additionally, the University has developed general FAQs along with topic-specific FAQs for faculty and staff, events and travel, and mail operations that apply to SPCS audiences.

SPCS-Wide Updates
SPCS staff & faculty working remotely

Most members of the SPCS staff and faculty are working their normal schedule remotely. Although phone calls to individuals may be forwarded to accessible phones, email contact is generally more reliable.

If you need immediate assistance, you may contact our main number during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday-Friday) at (804) 289-8133 or contact the school by email at

If you are looking for assistance or information about UR Summer School, managed through SPCS, please send an email to

Staff & Faculty Resources
General resources for faculty & staff
Our shared responsibility

Ensuring the health of the campus community is our shared responsibility, and it will require a sustained commitment from all of us as we modify the way we live, learn, and work together. We have made necessary adjustments to conform to public health guidance to promote community health and safety.

All members of the University community are asked to sign the Healthy Web Compact to demonstrate their commitment to their individual health as well as the Spider community.

General resources

The majority of resources for faculty and staff can be found on the University of Richmond COVID-19 response page. However, the following links from among those resources may prove convenient. 

Staff & faculty expectations
Healthy Web Compact & COVID-19 Education

All University staff and faculty will be required to complete an online educational module about COVID-19 and the University’s health and safety protocols. As part of that online education, all faculty and staff will be asked to commit to the Healthy Web Compact to demonstrate their shared responsibility for the health and safety of the Spider community. The online education is available in Talent Web.

Health Screening & COVID-19 Testing

Monitoring: The University will require all faculty and staff to begin monitoring their health and temperature on a daily basis beginning August 10 and document their efforts by responding to a daily email provided by Human Resources.

Initial Testing: The University strongly encourages all faculty and staff who will be teaching or working on campus this fall to be tested for COVID-19. Details will be forthcoming.

Symptomatic Testing. Faculty and staff who experience symptoms of COVID-19 while on campus will have the option of seeking care from their own health care provider or scheduling an appointment with the on-campus testing clinic.

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

More details are available in the Return to Work Guide.

Return to Work Guide

The Return to Work Guide provides details the steps the University has taken to mitigate health and safety risks and identifies the steps all staff and faculty must take every day to take care of ourselves, our fellow colleagues, and our students. The workplace policies and expectations described in the Return to Work Guide are aligned with the University’s reopening plan, which was certified by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

Support & Resources for Child Care

In order to address the challenges that parents and caregivers are facing, the University will contribute $1,200 to a tax-free spending account for all regular full-time employees with children 12 years old and younger. These monies may be used to help offset child care expenses incurred between Aug. 10 and Nov. 30, 2020.

The University will also provide for all regular full-time employees access to, a national network of child, elder, pet, home, and other care providers, which has an extensive network of providers in the Richmond region. will help regular full-time employees of the University identify vetted day-care providers.

Online teaching resources from UR
Hybrid & online teaching support

These resources are developed for the entire University of Richmond faculty and require netID and password to access.

The University of Richmond Faculty Hub provides instructional support to faculty in all schools of the university.

Available Hub & Information Systems (IS) Resources

Virtual library & research support

The liaison librarian team will offer a range of flexible support options to accommodate all instruction scenarios. With the social distancing and capacity limitations in place, all research support will be provided via email, chat, and Zoom during Fall 2020. Librarians are unable to interact in person with students by walking around a classroom, working together in groups or offering library tours.

Library liaisons will need to provide identical asynchronous modules for instructional support to meet the needs of remote, quarantined, or isolated students.

Resources for SPCS faculty & instructors
Online & Hybrid Teaching

SPCS full-time and adjunct faculty who teach in college credit-earning classes (course numbers with a “U” suffix) have access to resources developed by and for SPCS faculty.

Classroom Technology for Remote Instruction

Information Services has implemented a standard technology configuration that addresses the need for simultaneous in-room and remote instruction (essentially the use of Zoom for video teleconferencing needs). This configuration enables students to participate in in-room activities and lectures remotely.

Review fall 2020 classroom technology FAQs for additional information.

Faculty guidelines
Faculty Guidelines

University Faculty Guidelines for AY 2020-2021 may be found on the Provost Office Resources page. The following guidelines apply to campus-based courses:


  • Either assign seating for the semester or keep a daily record of student placement in their classrooms
  • Take attendance each day of in-class instruction
  • File a student concern report or contact a Dean regarding any students who are absent from classes with no response or communication.

Classroom Hygiene

In addition to reviewing the physical distancing framework, faculty and students should disinfect frequently touched surfaces within classrooms at the beginning and end of each class.

  • Ask any student not wearing a face covering to leave the classroom and inform the dean’s office
  • Develop a plan for entering and exiting the classroom to avoid crowding at the door(s)
  • Encourage students to take their seats immediately
  • Release students on-time to prevent clustering in the hallways
  • Instruct students waiting in the hall to stand six feet apart

Classroom Hygiene To-Do List

The Faculty Senate has worked with Brittany Schaal, Director of Emergency Management, and colleagues to develop Managing Classrooms and Labs During COVID, a resource you’re encouraged to reference as a handy to-do list for maintaining classroom safety.

Faculty Checklists for Returning to Work & Teaching

The FAQ Committee of the University Faculty Senate (Karen Kochel, Tze Loo, Cassandra Marshall, Thad Williamson, Eugene Wu) has produced a Faculty To-Do List to help all colleagues in finalizing preparations for the fall semester.

Please review this document closely as it covers critically important steps that should be taken to help the semester get off to a good start both in your courses and in the university as a whole. Many thanks to Sandra Joireman, Linda Boland, and other faculty and staff who contributed information to this document.

Instructor attendance & class preparation

The School seeks to be as responsive and flexible as possible to instructors’ experience during this unique time. Should an instructor be unable to complete their teaching assignment for health and safety reasons, the School will work to find a substitute to complete instruction.

To support this intent, instructors should provide as much information as possible about theirs courses in their syllabus. Additionally, instructors should maintain a Blackboard site that includes (at minimum) the course syllabus, required readings, assignments, and student grades.

Library resources for faculty, staff & students
Library Closed through August 16

Although closed to the public through August 16, the Library remains committed to serving the campus community. The following information may be helpful: resources listed may require netID and password.

Library Reopening Plans

Boatwright Library will open Monday–Friday, August 17–21, 9am–4pm.

Fall Semester Hours begin Monday, August 24. There will be no 24/7 hours for Fall 2020.

  • Sunday 11am–10pm
  • Monday–Thursday 7am–10pm
  • Friday 7am–6pm
  • Saturday 11am–5pm

Parsons Music Library will open on Monday, August 24. Fall hours are:

  • Monday–Friday 9am–5pm

The following rules and procedures apply at all times:

  • Physical distancing should take place in the library at all times by observing signage and furniture restrictions. Masks are required.
  • Study rooms are limited to one person occupancy and reservations are required.
  • UR ID required for entry to Boatwright. No outside visitors.
  • Use self-check machine to check out books.
  • Use bell at the desk for in-person assistance.
  • Users are encouraged to consume food and drink outside of the library.

For all research and reference appointments during the fall term, use the library’s chat service, text, email, or by appointment (via Zoom) with a liaison librarian. Persons who are sick should not come to the libraries.

Resources for SPCS professional education instructors

Professional education and community engagement instructors teach in classes and programs that provide continuing education units (CEU) or contact hours, but not college credit. SPCS programs include the Beer Brewer Professional Certificate, GIS, UR Au Pair, and more.

Program managers will contact instructors with guidelines for online instruction. Available resources:

Two primary tools for online instruction will be available to instructors

  1. Blackboard with Panopto (asynchronous)
  2. Zoom video classroom (synchronous)

Instructors should use UR login to access Blackboard and to set up a Zoom account.

Additionally, our online partner LERN offers live and recorded free online teaching webinars, among them the following:

  • Teaching Online: The Ten Step Model
  • Continual Engagement: Fostering Online Discussion
  • Designing Visuals for Deeper Learning
Degree Program Updates
Online resources for degree-seeking students
General resources

SPCS students with a University of Richmond email address — generally in the form of — have access to university online resources using their UR netID (usually 6 characters) and password. Read the Learn Remotely Checklist for basic requirements to access online instruction. Included on this page are a growing list of specialty software for use on student computers.

Online learning resources & support

All degree-seeking students are enrolled in the SPCS Student Online Support Community (AD878), an online student support site in Blackboard. Tools and resources are updated regularly, and discussions forums are monitored to provide quick responses to questions.

To access the support site, log in to Blackboard and look under My Courses for “SPCS Student Online Support Community.”

Getting help with technology and remote learning

Students in college-credit earning classes (course numbers ending with “U”) may contact the Information Systems Help Desk for assistance with access to online tools.

Other resources that require UR network credentials (netID and password):

Additional resources available to all SPCS students include the following:

Student attendance in campus-based classes

The student attendance policy in degree program classes has been revised for the fall 2020 semester. The University’s approach is to be as supportive and flexible as possible to the needs of our students to ensure they can make successful progress toward their degrees. The revised attendance policy for instructors appears on page 4 in the Elements of an SPCS Syllabus guidelines.

Our faculty remain committed to your academic progress and have developed a flexible attendance policy for in-person degree program classes, effective for fall 2020.

If students are enrolled in an in-person class and at anytime during the semester feel they can no longer attend the in-person sessions, contact the course instructor. Those teaching courses with in-person meetings will provide other instructional approaches to ensure all students feel comfortable engaging and completing the course, which may include remote access to live lectures, recorded lectures or asynchronous online course content.

Additional information about student attendance in on-campus and remote classes, especially related to COVID-19-related illness, quarantine and isolation, will be provided to students and instructors as the fall semester draws closer.

Professional Education & Think Again Updates
Spring 2021 classes

All Professional Education and Think Again programs and classes scheduled for Spring 2021 will be offered remotely. This includes, but is not limited to, the following programs:

  • Beer Brewer Professional Certificate (all locations)
  • GIS Professional Certificate
  • Institute on Philanthropy
  • Political Campaign Management
  • Coding, Cybersecurity & Data Analytics Boot Camps
  • Fitness Trainer Programs

In most cases, registrants will receive a link to access the remote learning environment via email a few days prior to the start of class.

The following programs have been postponed and are awaiting rescheduling:

  • Estate Planning Seminar
  • Home-Based Business Boot Camp
  • Hospitality & Tourism Fundamentals
  • Latino Leadership Academy
  • PELS
Online resources for professional education students

SPCS students who do not have a University of Richmond email address may be provided access to Blackboard (you would receive a message from your program manager or instructor) along with links to live Zoom video conferences. 

If you received Blackboard login credentials from a member of SPCS staff, please edit your profile after login to include an email address where you will receive messages. Otherwise you won’t receive important messages from the instructor.

Zoom links to classes can be accessed without having a University account.

Additional resources available to all SPCS students include the following:

Osher Institute Updates
Spring 2021 classes

All Osher Institute classes are being offered remotely for the Spring 2021 term. Registration for spring classes remains available in the online registration portal.

Online resources for Osher members

Osher Institute staff have curated a wide range of online resources that are available to Osher members. These include UR Osher recorded lectures, University of Richmond lectures and performances, OLLI National Resource Center contributions, and many more.

  • Members may recommend additional resources by contacting
  • Osher staff will curate additions to the collection.
Getting Online
Eduroam wireless network

The eduroam network, in which the University of Richmond participates, allows Richmond faculty, staff and students to log on to the eduroam wireless network at participating university partners around the country and world. There is no charge to UR community members who have active UR email accounts.

University of Richmond faculty, staff, and students can login to the eduroam wireless network when visiting other participating institutions by authenticating with after selecting the eduroam wireless network from the list of available connections.

Locally, Randolph-Macon College and Virginia Commonwealth University (including the MCV campus) participate in eduroam. Regionally, University of Mary Washington, University of Virginia, Longwood University and the College of William & Mary participate.

Comcast Internet Essentials for eligible low-income households

Comcast offers Internet Essentials by Comcast to eligible low-income households. An application is required. You may qualify if you are eligible for public assistance programs such as the National School Lunch Program, Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, and others.

Cox Connect2Compete for low-income households

Cox offers Connect2Compete, low-cost internet service for qualifying households. You may qualify if you have a K-12 student in the household and participate in a government assistance program.

University Help Desk support

The Information Services Help Desk (contact at or 804-287-6400) can provide self-help assistance via SpiderTechNet with technical and network issues.

  • Remote support available Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.–7:30 p.m.
  • On-call support available Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Recent Update Log

11/13: Shift to Red stage

Spring 2021
12/22: Testing, Healthy Web
12/10: Remote study option
10/12: Course formats
10/12: Calendar changes
9/24: Course registration

Contact Us

Special Programs Building
490 Westhampton Way
Univ. of Richmond, VA 23173
Phone: (804) 289-8133
Fax: (804) 289-8138

Monday-Friday: 8:30am–5pm
Closed for University holidays