Dear Colleagues-Friends,

We are eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is understandable that many are feeling the effects of what’s being referred to as “COVID fatigue.” The alterations of daily routines, the barriers to in-person connection and the extra stress so many of our colleagues with school-age children are feeling as they try to balance work responsibilities with their children’s schooling and as teleworking continues – all of these struggles have taken a toll.

However, now is not the time to let down our guard. In the last two weeks, we have seen an 18.5% jump in COVID-19 cases nationwide and are getting almost daily reports of potential exposures within our own School of Medicine.

Since we began our Return to Campus efforts in June, our SOM community overall has done a fantastic job of taking the risk of transmission seriously. So, it is important for all of us to continue to practice the preventative measure that we know have been working:

  • 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.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting personal and shared spaces before and after use.
  • Limiting the size of in-person gatherings to fewer than 10 people.
  • Respecting room occupancy requirements, especially in meeting rooms, breakrooms and classrooms.
  • Leaving signage in place to help us all remember these measures.

Additional safety information can be found on the university’s One VCU: Responsible Together website. 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.

The next few months will be critical as the seasonal flu season converges with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, so I encourage you to continue to take care of yourselves and those around you. Get your flu vaccine. Take time to relax and recharge. Find ways to stay connected to your co-workers, family and friends. Ask for resources.

It is up to each and every one of us to do our part to stay the course and stay safe so we can stay on campus.

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