RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Commonwealth University will reopen in phases for the university’s spring 2021 semester, President Michael Rao, Ph.D., announced Thursday.
Following winter break, Rao says the university will begin a phased reopening of its Monroe Park and MCV campuses in early January beginning with the health sciences schools and college research faculty, staff and trainees.
Spring classes will begin on January 25 and will conclude on May 5 on the Monroe Park Campus and May 7 on the MCV Campus, followed by final exams. VCU senior Bianca Eaton, who is taking classes online, shared her frustration with CBS 6 on Thursday, following the university's announcement.
"It’s going to create so much more suffering, so much more illness for no reason," Eaton said.
The university also announced spring break will be eliminated from the spring semester to "mitigate risk of COVID-19."
Instead, two reading days have been added to the schedule, one near the end of February and another near the end of March.
"A lot of students were upset about this because now we only have two days out of the whole semester to get a mental break, to really come to terms with this transition in life," Eaton said.
“Based on the remarkable efforts of our students, faculty and staff this fall semester, as well as ongoing assessment by VCU’s Public Health Response Team and current pandemic guidance from the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we will proceed with a spring semester very similar to what was offered this fall,” Rao said.
VCU says they will offer classes in-person, online and a mixture of both, to accommodate student and faculty needs.
"Flexibility remains critical in addressing evolving situations presented by COVID-19, including changes in the prevalence of infection in our community, as well as changes in requirements, guidelines and best practices," Rao added.
Eaton believes the university should focus more on online transitioning for students and staff instead.
“If we continue to keep pushing away our students and our faculty, what they are saying we are feeling, we are just going to be in a worse situation and this has to stop," Eaton added.