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VCU details August return with in-person, online courses, free COVID-19 testing

As colleges across the country determine if classes should be held online to prevent the coronavirus spread, Virginia Commonwealth University is planning for students to return in August with a mix of in-person, hybrid and online courses. One dorm will be used as a low-acuity hospital while some first-year students are housed in a nearby hotel.

Capital News Service

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By Hannah Eason

Virginia Commonwealth University’s fall semester classes are slated to begin Aug. 17 with a mixture of in-person, hybrid and online courses, per a release from President Michael Rao on Tuesday.

Students received updated information to their VCU emails on Wednesday morning regarding courses and resources available to “navigate any changes.”

“We recognize that not every member of our community has equal access to the technology, support, and personal space that makes remote learning possible,” Rao said. “We will leave no one behind because our mission needs the vital perspectives and clear voice of all of us.”

The release stated that to ensure a safe return to campus, every member of the VCU community must adhere to safety guidelines like social distancing, wearing masks, disinfecting spaces and frequent hand-washing.

The university will provide masks, hand sanitizer and other items to help students and employees stay healthy. Before returning to campus, all students and faculty members will complete online safety protocol training and undergo daily health assessments.

Students who plan to live on campus must test negative for COVID-19 before moving in. On-campus housing is available to students enrolled in both in-person and online classes, and online-only courses do not break a student housing contract, per VCU Residential Life and Housing. Students can cancel fall-semester housing contracts by visiting this site.

The Graduate hotel at 301 W. Franklin St. is listed as a residence hall for first-year students. Honors College students can choose to stay in either the hotel or the Gladding Residence Center. The Honors College Residence Hall will hold low-acuity patients for VCU Health Systems during the academic year.

Students will receive move-in details through their VCU emails by the week of July 20. VCU will provide COVID-19 testing kits for students moving on campus. Non-residential students and employees with COVID-19 symptoms will also receive free testing. Asymptomatic students and employees will receive COVID-19 testing for an undetermined fee.

“This is, and will continue to be, a time of necessary adherence to safety measures and to supporting our classmates and colleagues. This includes continued access to mental health resources,” Rao stated. “And it includes remaining flexible and recognizing that our circumstances and plans may change, and we all may need to adapt to the changing situations around us.”

Virtual appointments and other mental health resources are available to students at the Health Promotion and Well-Being Center and University Counseling Services.

Additional information from VCU on COVID-19 and fall semester can be found at together.vcu.edu/protocols.

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The Capital News Service is a flagship program of VCU’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture. In the program, journalism students cover news in Richmond and across Virginia and distribute their stories, photos, and other content to more than 100 newspapers, television and radio stations, and news websites.

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UR political science professor honored nationally for excellence in teaching and mentorship

This award is given annually to recognize an individual who has demonstrated innovative teaching and instructional methods and materials specifically on topics regarding law and courts.

RVAHub Staff

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University of Richmond Associate Professor of Political Science Jennifer Bowie has received the Law and Courts Teaching and Mentorship Award from the American Political Science Association, the Law & Courts section.

This award is given annually to recognize an individual who has demonstrated innovative teaching and instructional methods and materials specifically on topics regarding law and courts.

Bowie, who has taught at UR since 2011, specializes in judicial decision making in federal, state, and comparative courts.

She is the pre-law advisor at UR and regularly teaches courses on the American legal system, civil rights and liberties, constitutional law, and judicial politics and decision making. Additionally, she teaches a First-Year Seminar on the rights of the criminally accused, and a senior seminar titled “The Notorious RBG: Gender Discrimination and the Courts.”

In her courses, Bowie is known to consistently find ways to give her students the opportunity to speak with judges, including members of the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts.

“I am truly grateful to my colleagues and students who nominated me for this prestigious award and it is especially meaningful as it represents my passion for teaching and mentoring,” said Bowie.

“Jennifer is an outstanding teacher who is thoughtful in the design of every aspect of her classes,” said Richard Dagger, professor of political science and the former department chair, who was one of many who nominated Bowie for the award.

“She goes to great lengths to afford her students diverse learning activities, both inside and outside of the classroom, and her students often attest to the deep and meaningful ways that she has touched their lives.”

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Following comprehensive review, Douglas Freeman High School to retire ‘Rebels’ nickname

“Following several months of listening, dialogue, and careful reflection with the help of a thoughtful and passionate committee, there is no need to wait,” said John Marshall, Douglas Freeman principal, in a letter emailed to members of the school community. “It is clear that now is the time to retire the ‘Rebels’ mascot, to leave it as a part of our history and not carry it into our future.”

RVAHub Staff

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After a comprehensive review that included considerable public input, Henrico County’s Douglas S. Freeman High School will retire its “Rebels” nickname. A committee of community members, students and staff voted to recommend the change after analyzing community input collected in June and July. The school administration will work with the community in coming months to choose a new mascot for the school.

“Following several months of listening, dialogue, and careful reflection with the help of a thoughtful and passionate committee, there is no need to wait,” said John Marshall, Douglas Freeman principal, in a letter emailed to members of the school community. “It is clear that now is the time to retire the ‘Rebels’ mascot, to leave it as a part of our history and not carry it into our future. We will adopt a new symbol that better represents our school as a forward-thinking, inclusive, welcoming place for all students.

“Now that this decision has been made the best thing to do for our school and students is to focus all of our energies into reuniting as a family. We have been a model in so many ways for many years, academically, athletically, and this summer, a model for how to have a civil dialogue within our family. It’s now time to show the world how a family comes together after an impassioned disagreement. I ask this for the benefit of our students and school. I can think of no better example of putting school over self than rallying behind something we disagree with because it is better for others.”

The full text of Marshall’s message about the decision is available at https://www.freemanmascot.info.

Marshall also announced the creation of the “Freeman Forward Fund” in partnership with the Henrico Education Foundation. The fund will build school culture and support long-term efforts to promote inclusivity and innovation. Members of the public can donate to the fund by going to https://bit.ly/33oNrqu.

Once a new mascot is determined, the school will hold a fall “spirit-wear swap” where students can trade in Rebels gear for items with the new nickname.

Marshall announced in June that the school would conduct the school-based review of the name, in cooperation with Henrico County Public Schools’ superintendent and School Board.

The review process drew more than 2,000 comments, including around 1,500 responses through an online form. The input also included emails, social media posts, handwritten notes, voicemails, videos and an online panel discussion on the topic.

While the school has used the Rebels name since it opened in 1954, it has not used a visual mascot for many years, instead opting for an interlocking “DSF” logo.

The school is named for Douglas Southall Freeman, a Richmond historian, author and journalist. While Freeman won Pulitzer Prizes for his biographies of both Robert E. Lee and George Washington, the school’s nickname was likely inspired by his Confederate subjects.

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Pop-Up School Supply Drive: Help make a big difference for Henrico County students

While Henrico County Public Schools’ 2020-21 school year will begin using a fully virtual format, students still need school supplies. Here’s how you can help.

RVAHub Staff

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While Henrico County Public Schools’ 2020-21 school year will begin using a fully virtual format, students still need school supplies. Besides standard supplies such as highlighters and notebooks, many families also need assistance with supplies that might normally be found in a classroom, such as whiteboards and pencil sharpeners.

You can help by dropping off supplies at a Pop-Up School Supply Drive Thursday from 1:30-3 p.m. at Mad Science of Central Virginia in Glen Allen. To prioritize safety, the drop-off will use a drive-thru format, with social distancing and mask-use in effect. The drive is sponsored by HCPS’ Department of Family and Community Engagement. Some needed items are listed below.

It takes place Thursday, July 30 from 1:30-3 p.m. at Mad Science of Central Virginia, 11551 Nuckols Road. Contact Van-Neisha Johnson at 804-328-8110 or [email protected].

Elementary school items:

  • Wide-ruled notebook paper
  • No. 2 pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Black and white composition notebooks
  • Lined index cards
  • Pocket folders
  • Washable markers
  • Glue sticks
  • Crayons
  • Child-sized scissors
  • Pencil boxes
  • Backpacks

Middle and high school items:

  • College-ruled notebook paper
  • No. 2 pencils
  • Blue, black and red pens
  • Highlighters
  • Spiral notebooks
  • Lined index cards
  • Three-ring binders
  • Colored pencils
  • Four-function calculators
  • Dry-erase markers
  • Washable markers
  • Backpacks

Virtual learning family support items:

  • Calendar anchor charts
  • Flashcards for all grade levels (math, sight words, language arts, shapes, and colors, etc.)
  • Classroom organization charts
  • Pencil boxes
  • Three-ring binders
  • Paint and paintbrushes
  • Workbooks (for all grade levels)
  • Binder rings
  • Index cards
  • Wooden craft sticks
  • Current wall maps and globes
  • Laminators
  • Hole punches
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • Red correcting pencils
  • Staplers and staples
  • File folders
  • Whiteboards
  • Treasure chest/prize box incentives
  • Sharpies
  • Erasers
  • Post-it Notes
  • Printers
  • Ink cartridges
  • Printer paper
  • Magnetic letters and numbers

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