SPCS Coronavirus Response & Updates

Last updated: September 8, 2021

The School of Professional & Continuing Studies remains open for business. The University of Richmond remains in modified operating status and is operating in the Lime stage of our Physical Distancing Framework. Review the content on this page, and if your question isn’t answered here, contact us at (804) 289-8133 or spcs@richmond.edu 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 the pandemic. We’re following the University’s lead in implementing the Fall 2021 semester.

  • Fall 2021 SPCS classes are offered in-person, online and in hybrid formats. Remote access to in-person class meetings is not available.
  • The Fall 2021 academic calendar includes Fall Break and Thanksgiving Break as usual.
  • Vaccines are now required for all students, faculty and staff unless an exemption is granted.
  • Students who have not reported vaccination status must undergo pre-semester testing and may not attend classes until cleared by the University. Review details below.
  • Masks are required in all campus buildings through October 8. Review the updated mask policy.
  • Interim Student Conduct Policies have been updated for fall 2021. Please review carefully.

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

To report a potential COVID-19 case, please contact your healthcare provider and notify Associate Dean Tom Shields in the SPCS dean’s office at tshields@richmond.edu or spcs@richmond.edu or (804) 289-8133.

Fall 2021 Planning

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  • Vaccinations Required

    To promote the health of our community, the University requires all students, faculty, and staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine unless granted an exemption.

    Members of our community who are not vaccinated and who have not received an exemption were required to get their first dose of vaccine by September 8 and, for two-dose vaccines, to obtain their second dose within the specified time period for that vaccine.

    To meet the University’s vaccine requirement, students, faculty, and staff may choose the now FDA-approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which presently remain subject to FDA Emergency Use Authorization. International students who have received a vaccine authorized by the World Health Organization have met the University’s vaccine requirement.

  • Report Your Vaccination Status

    Our planning for the fall semester depends on knowing how many students, faculty, and staff are fully vaccinated. All students, faculty, and staff are required to report their vaccine status to the University immediately and to update their vaccine status within five days of any change in status.

    • SPCS students should report their vaccine status by completing this form.
    • SPCS faculty and staff should report their vaccine status by completing this form.

    If you have already reported to the University that you are fully vaccinated, we are very grateful that you have done so. We will treat information about vaccine status confidentially, consistent with applicable laws and regulations.

    Additional information about the University’s vaccine requirement and reporting, including FAQS, are available on the Vaccine Requirement & Reporting page.

  • Vaccination Exemption Process

    Students, faculty, and staff may seek an exemption from the vaccine requirement if they have a medical condition that prevents them from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine or a sincerely held religious belief against receiving the vaccine. For the COVID-19 vaccine requirement only, students, faculty, and staff may also seek an exemption from the requirement to have a COVID-19 vaccine based on personal convictions strongly and sincerely held by the person seeking the exemption.

    To apply for an exemption from the vaccine requirement:

  • Health & Safety Protocols

    Members of our campus community who are not fully vaccinated, including those who are granted an exemption from the vaccine requirement, will be required to follow the University’s health and safety protocols for unvaccinated individuals in order to mitigate the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to those on our campus who are not vaccinated. Currently, these protocols include arrival testing for COVID-19, participating in University-sponsored prevalence testing, and continuing to wear a mask indoors and in outdoor locations where physical distancing is not possible, as described in the University’s updated mask policy, which is in line with CDC guidelines.

    More information will be sent to students who are required to participate in arrival and prevalence testing.

  • Masks on Campus (Updated)

    Through October 8, the University will require all students, faculty, and staff to wear masks in all campus buildings, regardless of vaccination status. This update is reflected in the university’s mask policy. The key elements of the updated policy include the following:

    • Temporary Universal Masking Indoors. For the time period from August 20, 2021
      through October 8, 2021, all students, faculty, staff, and visitors, regardless of
      vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask in all buildings on campus. Students
      will not be required to wear masks in their residence hall rooms. This policy is subject to
      the exceptions set forth below. The University will revealuate this requirement to
      determine whether it needs to remain in place beyond September 12, 2021.
    • Additional Requirements for Everyone. Students, faculty, staff, and visitors that are
      vaccinated and unvaccinated will be required to wear a mask in the following settings:
      • On public transportation such as planes, trains, or buses, including University shuttles or when in airports, train or bus stations;
      • Outdoors if you experience symptoms of COVID-19 and until you receive a negative COVID-19 test result or, if positive, 10 days after symptom onset; and
      • When students go off campus for extra-curricular or co-curricular activities, including for community-based learning and engagement with K-12 schools, unless an exception has been granted by the University.
    • Requirements for People Not Fully Vaccinated or who have not reported their vaccine status to the University: Students, faculty, staff, and visitors who are not fully vaccinated or have not reported their vaccine status to the University must continue to wear masks that cover both the nose and mouth as follows:
      • In outdoor settings where you are not or cannot maintain physical distance
        between you and others, especially when traversing busy walkways and corridors.

    Students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to wear masks whenever they are in indoor public places off campus due to the rates of vaccination in our surrounding communities that are lower than what we will have on campus.

    All students, including those who are fully vaccinated, should return to campus with a supply of masks.

    Exemptions: The requirement to wear a mask does not appy to the following situations:

    • While eating or drinking;
    • While exercising outdoors with appropriate physical distance;
    • When seeking to communicate with the hearing impaired and for which the mouth needs to be visible;
    • When temporary removal of the mask is necessary to secure medical services;
    • When experiencing a health condition that precludes wearing a mask; or 
    • When alone in individual offices with the door closed.

    Additionally, vaccinated students, staff, and faculty working or studying alone in closed rooms or isolated areas of campus buildings are not required to wear masks when others are not present

    Other limited exemptions may be granted for good cause.

  • Pre-Semester PCR Testing & Weekly Prevalence Testing

    All SPCS students who received a vaccination exemption, failed to report their vaccination status in advance, or are unvaccinated will be required to complete pre-semester PCR testing and weekly prevalence testing for COVID-19. Only SPCS students who are fully vaccinated and have reported their vaccination status by August 1 will be exempt from pre-semester and weekly prevalence testing.

    Students who are required to complete a COVID-19 test must do so as a walk-up as scheduled below:

    • Thursday, August 19, 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Special Programs Building

    If these dates and times don’t meet your scheduling needs, please contact Gretchen Flynn Morris at gmorris2@richmond.edu.

  • Interim Student Code of Conduct

    As we return to campus, we should all renew our collective commitment to making our campus as safe as possible for all members of our community. The health and safety of our entire campus and surrounding community is our highest priority.

    With this commitment in mind, we have substantially revised our Interim Student Conduct Policies so that they focus only on those requirements that are essential to promoting the health and safety of our campus. We encourage all students and families to review these important conduct policies prior to returning for the fall semester.

  • In-Person Classroom Experience

    In line with general practice in Virginia schools, distancing in classrooms will be three feet (center body to center body) between individual students this fall. Faculty will typically have at least six feet of distance to any student.

    Virginia Department of Health close contact tracing procedures still require identifying contacts within six feet of a positive individual. To enable contact tracing, it is essential to have accurate seating assignments on file. By assigning seats in the classroom and providing the seating assignments to our contact tracers, we can better identify close contacts in the classroom.

    Standard classroom cleaning will occur on a daily basis. Disinfectant wipes will be available if faculty or students wish to use them on surfaces; however, it is not a university requirement that the surfaces be wiped at the start and end of class.

  • Fall Schedule of Classes

    The semester will begin as scheduled August 23, end December 17 and will include the traditional fall and Thanksgiving breaks. Registration will begin Wednesday, July 14. Additional information and key dates are available in the fall academic calendar.

    For the Fall 2021 semester, we are currently planning to offer a mix of fully in-person, fully online, and hybrid courses. This means we will offer these formats:

    • In-person classes: Taught on the UR campus, on weekday evenings
    • Synchronous online classes: Taught through live remote class sessions via Zoom, following a set schedule
    • Asynchronous online classes: A fully remote and online experience, with no scheduled class sessions
    • Hybrid classes: Includes both scheduled in-person class sessions and online classwork

Campus-Wide Updates

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  • 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 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

    The University’s policy on masks will be consistent with prevailing public health guidance and will be updated as such guidance may change. The current policy is available here.

    We recognize that those who are fully vaccinated may wish to continue wearing a mask at all times, and we support your decision to do so.

  • Operational Updates & 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 Updates

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  • Information for Degree-Seeking Students

    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

    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:

  • Information for Professional Education & Lifelong Learning Students

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

    • 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

    Resources for 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:

  • Information for Osher Members

    Many Osher Institute classes are being offered remotely for the Fall 2021 term. A limited number of classes are offering in-person meetings.

    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@richmond.edu.
    • Osher staff will curate additions to the collection.

Getting Online

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  • 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 netid@richmond.edu 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 (Lower-cost Internet Access)

    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 (Lower-cost Internet Access)

    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.

  • UR Help Desk Assistance

    The Information Services Help Desk (contact at helpdesk@richmond.edu 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.