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Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ

Virginia Union University is continuing to monitor updates about coronavirus. We are working with Capital Area Health Network (CAHN), our University-based healthcare provider, and following the recommendations from the Virginia Department of Health(VDH) as well as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

If you need further information, please contact our information center at 804-257-5673 during the hours of 10:00am – 8:00pm.  You can also follow Virginia Union University social media accounts (IG, FB, Twitter) for updated information.   

Below are our responses to frequently asked questions. Please check back often, as we are updating content regularly. Also, all updates and communications will be shared with everyone via their VUU email accounts. Please be sure to check your updates regularly.

COVID-19 

What is a novel coronavirus? 

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. 

Can someone who has had COVID-19 spread the illness to others?  

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others. 

Current CDC guidance for when it is OK to release someone from isolation is made on a case by case basis and includes meeting all of the following requirements: 

  • The patient is free from fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. 

  • The patient is no longer showing symptoms, including cough. 

  • The patient has tested negative on at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart. 

Someone who has been released from isolation is not considered to pose a risk of infection to others. 

How does it spread?  

Droplet/fomites.  Airborne spread has not been reported.   

Person-to-person spread: The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. 

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). 

  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. Please continue to wipe down surfaces with agents that have greater than 70% alcohol.  

How easily does the virus spread? 

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas

Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. 

Can the virus that causes COVID-19 be spread through food, including refrigerated or frozen food? 

Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom. 

In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures. 

Who is COVID-19 affecting?  

COVID-19 can infect ANYONE. Mostly older patients and those with comorbidities having a more severe course. It is likely under detected in younger patients due to the low complication rate in these patients.  

What are the symptoms? 

Based on 55,924 lab confirmed cases symptoms were seen as follows: 

Fever (88%); Dry cough (67%); Fatigue (38%); Sputum production (33%); Short of breath (18%); Sore throat (14%); Headache (13%); Muscle/joint aches (15%); Chills (11%); Nausea/vomiting (5%); Nausea/vomiting (5%); Stuffy nose (5%); Diarrhea (4%); Coughing up blood (1%) 

Can I travel? 

The CDC has travel advisories for COVID-19. These can change as new information becomes available.  

Before you start a trip, check CDC’s travel information for the most current advice. 

How can I keep myself from getting sick with COVID-19? 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. 

  • Avoid close contact with sick people or animals.  

  • Stay home when you are sick.  

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw it away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into your elbow. 

  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that you frequently touch.  

  • Avoid non-essential travel to regions listed in CDC travel advisories 

It is also important to keep your body resilient: 

  • Eat a healthy diet. 

  • Exercise. 

  • Get plenty of rest.

​What should I do if I have experience illness? 

At this time, CAHN is offering telehealth services and acute/sick visits by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, please call at (804)780-0840. Virtual appointments will require that you download the patient portal app (see instructions attached). The need for all in-person visits will first be determined following a virtual appointment.  

If an in-person visit is needed, acute/sick visits will be scheduled between 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday at Northside Medical Center (2809 North Avenue, Richmond, VA 23222) and Vernon J. Harris Medical and Dental Center (719 N. 25th Street, Richmond, VA 23223). In the event that an in-person appointment is required, transportation is being provided on a case-by-case basis.  

Should I wear a mask to protect myself? 

The Centers for Disease Control has recommended that a mask may help reduce the spread and likelihood of infection. Please note that a mask does not guarantee protection. Everyone is encouraged to implement best practices in hand-washing and physical distancing. 

Academics 

How do I complete my coursework if I do not own a computer or have internet service? 

Communication is critical during this time. Please reach out to all of your professors to share your technology limitations.  

Also, you may complete the Academic Success Feedback form at www.vuu.edu/update to inform us of any challenges that you may experience during this conversation. 

I am locked out of my VUU email account. How do I gain access to my account? 

To reset your VUU email account, log onto my.vuu.edu. Once logged in, select the technology tab. On the technology home page, there will be a partially completed “Password Reset” form. Submit the requested information. Within 24 hours, a new password for the VUU account will be emailed to the alternative email address. 

Is there a modified grading policy during the Spring 2020 semester?

Yes, on March 27, 2020 the Office of Academic Affairs informed the campus community of the modified grading policy via email. This “Student Emergency Grading Protocol” is located via https://www.vuu.edu/coronavirus-2020/students .  

How do I return my textbooks? 

We are working with Follett and the University Bookstore to confirm the process for textbook return. 

Is academic support available if I am having difficulty in my coursework? 

Yes, virtual tutoring services are available! Please check your email for the most current tutoring schedule, email the University College at  uc@vuu.edu or follow the UC via Instagram @uc_vuu.  

Housing 

I can’t move home. Can I stay on campus?  

There are three Housing options from which students must choose by March 25, 2020. 

Option 1: Students may request to vacate the campus and remove their belongings.  

Option 2: Students may request to leave belongings on campus through the end of the spring semester.  

Option 3: Students may request to stay on campus. 

Please visit www.vuu.edu/update to select the appropriate option. 

Should I return to campus? 

No, you should not return to campus unless you are approved to do so.  

Will the cafe remain open for students that remain on campus? 

Thompson Hospitality will remain open for take-out service ONLY.  

Student Accounts 

How will Army ROTC students receive their Scholarship Funding? 

ROTC classes are moving to distance learning platforms (Zoom/Blackboard). Scholarships will not be affected due to this change. 

Will I get a refund for tuition?  

No, refunds will not be given for tuition. The teaching and learning process is still on-going and will continue through the end of the semester. 

Will I still receive my refund check? 

Yes, all students who are eligible for a refund check will be contacted when the process is complete. The payments will rendered electronically. If you have a question, please email studentaccounts@vuu.edu.   

Will I still receive work study payments? 

Yes, all students who are eligible work study, and who were actively working in this capacity prior to the emergency management declaration, will receive work study payments. Students are encouraged to contact their  work study supervisor for more information. In addition, students are also encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Aid via phone at (804)257-5882 or via email at finaid@vuu.edu.  

Major Events 

Will I still be able to graduate in May? 

The academic year is the same for all students, including seniors. Course instruction will resume on Monday, March 23, 2020 via virtual learning (students do NOT have to be on campus). All students are expected to engage in all aspects of teaching and learning as indicated on my.vuu.edu and/or via direct communications from your professors. Graduation is based on all students successfully completing the graduation requirements of their academic program(s). 

Will there still be a graduation ceremony? 

The 2020 commencement exercises have been postponed (additional information is forthcoming). The university is actively exploring ways to recognize the graduating class. 

Are campus events still happening? 

All in-person campus activities have been suspended. However, various offices on campus have implemented virtual engagement opportunities. Please check your VUU email for updates, or follow the various offices on social media: @deanmayers_vuu (Dean of Students), @mskatievuu (Office of Student Engagement), @vuuworkforcedevelopment (Office of Workforce Development).  

The student development division is open to recommendations in an effort to maintain a robust student experience.