Staying safe in off-campus experiences
Let's face it: these are uncertain and unprecedented times to be in college. We know staying safe and healthy is everyone's #1 concern.
While the One VCU: Responsible Together website outlines all the steps the university is taking to keep you safe on campus, we also want you to know all VCU is doing to ensure your safety in off-campus academic experiences as well. The content below outlines guidelines for staying safe in off-campus experiences, as well as how you can do your part to help keep VCU and our communities healthy.
Key takeaways for students
- Risk acknowledgment form: All students participating in an off-campus activity in fall 2020 will be asked to sign this acknowledgment of risk form. This agreement lets you know what you can expect at a learning site, and what to do if you feel precautions aren't being followed so that VCU can help.
- Safety first: No student will be forced to complete a required academic activity with an outside partner if the partner does not follow the requirements outlined in the collaboration agreement.
- Return to Campus training: Don't forget the protocols outlined in your Return to Campus training! You'll be expected to abide by those while in your off-campus experience as well.
Key takeaways for partners
- Health and safety notice: VCU's Health and Safety Notice lets you know the steps VCU is taking to mitigate risks to members of your organization, as well as the university's expectations from your end. Please read this notice throughly.
- Safety training: Partner organizations are responsible for providing VCU students, faculty and staff with any additional health and safety training required for participation at your site.
- Flexibility: VCU, students and partners need to remain flexible and adjust as new information and developing state and federal guidance emerges. It is highly encouraged that program directors work with partners to plan potential alternative options in the event of future extenuating circumstances.
- Ethic of care for others: Safety takes a team effort. We can all do our parts in helping create a safe, productive environment for each other.
General guidelines for students
- Do not report to a site if you are feeling sick, think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, or have recently traveled through a “hot spot” area experiencing high volumes of COVID-19.
- Notify your site supervisor immediately (as well as University Student Health Services) if you test positive for COVID-19.
- Inquire about any type of documentation needed from your site in the event of your absence, whether due to self-isolation or a required quarantine (based on a positive case or exposure to a positive case).
- If you live on campus, notify your employer or site supervisor about the increased possibility of needing to self-isolate or quarantine if your residence hall experiences students who test positive for COVID-19.
- Be sure you understand your site’s policies related to required quarantine, masking, and social distancing. Please explicitly follow the guidelines established by your site and do your best to minimize your own exposure for returning to campus.
- Understand your site’s policies regarding cleaning and sanitization, practice proper hand hygiene, and clean surfaces/items you come into contact with.
- Inquire about the site’s procedures for monitoring the health and safety of its employees/volunteers.
- Contact your supervising faculty member or program director if your site is not following CDC guidelines regarding masking, social distancing, or anything else that makes you uncomfortable so we can discuss your best course of action.
- What are the site’s policies regarding cleaning and sanitization?
- Will there be expectations for me to participate in cleaning or sanitizing?
- Will supplies for cleaning and sanitization be provided?
- What are the site’s policies regarding masking and social distancing?
- Will I be expected to provide my own face covering/mask?
- Are there expectations of the kind of face covering/mask I wear?
- What are the site’s procedures for monitoring the health and safety of its staff? Where can I find this information?
- What is the procedure if someone at the organization is diagnosed with COVID-19?
- What is the procedure if I am diagnosed with COVID-19?
- What documentation will I be required to present if I need to be absent for an extended period of time, whether due to self-isolation (from personal case of COVID), or request to quarantine (based on exposure or campus directive)?
- If you are a residential student, it is advised that you alert your employer/site supervisor that your living environment puts you at a higher risk for self-isolation or quarantine, due to the density of students sharing common spaces.
- How much potential exposure to the general public will I have in this role?
- If a lot, what protections are in place for volunteers/employees?
- If I have concerns about fellow employees/volunteers not complying with the health and safety regulations put forth, where do I report compliance issues?