SPCS Coronavirus Response & Updates

Last updated: March 18, 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 Orange stage of our Physical Distancing Framework, which encourages working remotely. 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 this pandemic. We’re following the University’s lead implementing the Spring 2021 semester.

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 Plans, Summer 2021 Planning, and the Return to Work Guide.

Although SPCS manages Summer School on behalf of the University of Richmond, Summer 2021 Plans are included on the main University response page.

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.

Spring 2021 Updates

  • Enhanced Red Stage through February 28

    The University of Richmond is operating in the Enhanced Red Stage until at least February 28. In addition to existing guidelines for Red Stage operations in our Physical Distancing Framework, the following enhanced guidelines are in effect.

    Most enhanced guidelines apply to residential students. However, the guidelines recommend the following for off-campus students, which includes SPCS students:

    • Students residing off campus should limit their errands to essentials such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and physician offices.
    • Students living off campus should use take-out or contactless delivery and must avoid going to restaurants or bars.
  • Academic Class Format

    Spring SPCS degree-program classes are offered fully online or as in-class/online hybrids with limited in-class meetings.

    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.
  • New 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.

  • Options for Learning Remotely

    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 (gmorris2@richmond.edu), Director of Strategic Management for Academic and Student Affairs, no later than January 4, 2021, to request a waiver.

  • COVID-19 Testing

    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 gmorris2@richmond.edu.

  • Requirements for In-Person Class Meeting Attendance

    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.

Campus-Wide Updates

  • Classroom & Instructional Technology

    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.

  • Healthy Web Compact & Shared Responsibility

    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 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.

    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 & 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

  • 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 spcs@richmond.edu.

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

  • Information for SPCS Faculty, Staff & Instructors

    Support & Resources for Childcare

    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 during the pandemic.

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

    Guidelines for Faculty Teaching In-Person Sections

    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.

    Instructor Attendance and Class Preparedness

    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.

    Resources for SPCS Professional Education & Lifelong Learning 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
  • Information for Degree-Seeking Students

    SPCS students with a University of Richmond email address — generally in the form of firstname.lastname@richmond.edu — 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.

    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

    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

    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

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

    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

  • 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.