Dear Colleagues-Friends,

Thank you for all that you’ve done to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 on our campus and in our community. Because of your diligence, VCU as a whole registered just 10 new student cases and two new employee cases of COVID-19 last week, a fraction of the numbers reported earlier in the semester. Information about the number of positive cases reported to VCU Student Health Services and Employee Health, as well as other statistics, are available on the university’s COVID-19 dashboard. Additional information regarding VCU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found at

It is important to point out that as well as we are doing, we are still seeing clusters of confirmed COVID-19 cases on our campus and in our health system, and potential cases are being reported on almost a daily basis. Accordingly, I would like to respectfully highlight our safety procedures.

Safety Reminders

As many of us seek to reclaim some sense of normalcy in our daily lives, it is even more important to stay vigilant and continue to practice COVID-safe behaviors, such as:

  • Wearing clean masks or face coverings inside all buildings, including in breakrooms, restrooms and conference rooms, and outside in high-traffic spaces.
  • Maintaining physical distance, including not over-crowding elevators. Elevators generally may be shared with only one other person.
  • Washing our hands frequently.
  • Sanitizing common spaces before and after use.
  • Limiting the size of in-person gatherings to fewer than 10 people.
  • Completing the daily health survey at (Weekends and non-work days, such as vacation days, are excluded.)
  • Leaving signage in place to help us all remember these measures.

Flu Vaccinations

With colder weather moving in and the flu season upon us, public health experts advise that getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever. As the pandemic progresses, a flu shot can help protect you and the people around you from the flu, decrease your risk of other viral infections and help reduce the strain on health care systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. For details, visit I got my flu shot this morning, and it was very efficient.

Please note, anyone who works, provide services or receives training and/or education associated with VCU Health System is required to get an annual flu vaccination. More information is available online.

Supply Refills

Additionally, if you need to replenish COVID-19 supplies, such as personal hand sanitizer bottles, disinfectant wipes and face coverings, you can use your VCU ID card obtain replacement items from one of the vending machines around campus. Vending machines are available at Larrick Student Center, Health Sciences Library, VCU Health Sciences Research Building and Annex, McGlothlin Medical Education Center and Hunton Student Center. There is a limit of one refill per month per item.

Return to Campus Concerns

If you have any school-related questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to Dr. Anita Navarro, our SOM return to campus coordinator. I am grateful to Dr. Navarro for her diligence in helping us stay safe together.

Staying the Course

As trite as it sounds, I want to remind us all that we are “in a marathon, not a sprint.” Your vigilance has been and will continue to be crucial during this situation. As time moves on, burnout is a real risk, particularly as so many of our colleagues with school-age children try to balance work responsibilities with their children’s schooling and as teleworking continues. I share your concerns about these struggles and work-life balance during COVID-19.

We encourage you to take care of yourselves and those around you. Recharge in ways that refresh you. Work with your managers to take time if you need it. If you continue to work from home, find ways to stay connected to your co-workers. Ask for resources. Find gratitude in the big and small things. I feel grateful to be able to work with you, and I am very proud of all your collective efforts during this pandemic. Many thanks to each and every one of you.

As the pandemic continues, it may be tempting to let our guard down, but these safety measures are critical to maintaining our education, research and clinical operations. Thanks again for all you do every day.

Have a safe and healthy weekend.

Pter F. Buckley, M.D.; Dean, VCU School of Medicine; Executive vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System