Virginia State University Coronavirus Outbreak Updates

Virginia State University Coronavirus Outbreak Updates

Federal CARES Act Reporting Disclosure

The following is Virginia State University’s Required Quarterly Reporting for Funds Received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act for the Quarter Ending September 30, 2020.

Virginia State University signed the Funding and Certification Agreement for the Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on April 11, 2020.  It was returned to the U.S. Department of Education on April 16, 2020.  Virginia State University used no less than 50% of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

Virginia State University received $3,427,905 from the U.S. Department of Education for Emergency Financial Aid Grants.  As of September 30, 2020 Virginia State University has awarded 3,623 students; 380 of these students received additional emergency grant funds.  All of Virginia State University CARES funds have been awarded at this time.

Virginia State University estimates that it had up to 3,625 Title IV eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students enrolled for the spring 2020 semester.  This estimate is based on the number of potential valid FAFSAs filed by Virginia State University students and their families. 

Virginia State University used the following approach to award the Federal CARES Act funds: (1) Students were automatically selected and awarded 90% of the funds (2) Pell eligible students enrolled in spring 2020 received $995 in emergency aid. Other Title IV students received $565. (Please note: the Federal Pell Grant is usually awarded to undergraduates who have a high degree of unmet financial need. This is determined through the FAFSA application, in which the U.S. Department of Education examines the income and assets of the student and their family.) The remaining 10% of the student funds were distributed to students for emergencies via an application process. The University began accepting additional emergency applications on June 1, 2020.  View the Application. Students were communicated about the Federal CARES Act funds via email, website and other VSU social media.

CARES Act Institutional Funding

Virginia State University received $3,427,905 and $9,803,132 in Institutional support funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  Virginia State University used a portion of these funds to offset the cost of providing refunds to students for spring 2020 housing and meal plans.   View VSU’s report on these funds as required by the Department of Education.

July 16, 2020

As of July 10, 2020, the University disbursed 100% of the funds totaling $3,427,905, to 3,623 students; 380 of these students received additional emergency grant funds.

June 30, 2020

As of June 27, 2020, the University disbursed $3,337,521 of the funds to 3,622 students; 284 of these students received additional emergency grant funds. The remaining 2.6% of the student funds will be distributed to students for emergencies via an application process. The University will continue to accept applications until the funds are depleted. View the application.

June 8, 2020

Update on Fall 2020

The University has been working to develop plans for the fall 2020 semester.  As you can imagine, this task is challenging and will continue to be fluid as we plan and await more information from State and Federal sources regarding best practices.  We expect an announcement from the Governor of Virginia next week regarding requirements and recommendations for higher education.  A VSU announcement will come in the days following. Please know that the health and well-being of our Trojan Community is a priority as we navigate through the best plan to continue providing a transformative educational experience for our students. Thank you for your patience in awaiting our announcement. Continue to be safe.

May 27, 2020

As of May 27, 2020, the University disbursed $3,082,755 of the funds to 3,619 students.  The remaining 10% of the student funds will be distributed to students for emergencies via an application process. The University will begin accepting applications on June 1, 2020.  Click here to view the Application.

May 22, 2020

Student CARES ACT Funds Distributed

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May 18, 2020

VSU signed the Certification Agreement for the first half of the funding on April 11, 2020 and submitted the Certification Agreement on April 16, 2020. The University received a total of $3,427,905 in federal stimulus funds to be distributed directly to eligible Title IV students for emergency aid as a result of disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Distribution of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds began this week. Over 90% of the funds for students were distributed. The estimated total number of students eligible to receive Emergency CARES Act Financial Aid Grant is 3,625. Pell-eligible students enrolled in spring 2020 received $995 in emergency aid. Other Title IV students received $565. (Please note: the Federal Pell Grant is usually awarded to undergraduates who have a high degree of unmet financial need. This will be determined through the FAFSA application, in which the U.S. Department of Education examines the income and assets of the student and their family.) No application is required for these funds.

May 8th, 2020

A VSU Virtual Tribute to Seniors of the class of 2020

May 8th, 2020

The VSU Department of Engineering and Technology has produced a new prototype for protective face shields for our local front line workers.  

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May 5, 2020

The Federal Government is providing $6.8 billion of aid to institutions of higher education in order to provide direct, emergency aid grants to students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The funding is available through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.   The purpose of this communication is to update our VSU students on the University’s plans to distribute the first half of the CARES Act. 

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April 30, 2020

Trojans, as a reminder, if you need help, there is a  “Student Online Support” resource created just for you.  There is an email specifically to answer your questions.  If you have questions, concerns or issues and don’t know who to ask, send an email to    is monitored daily to assist our students. This is a great resource if you have questions.

April 27, 2020

VSU President Dr. Makola Abdullah sends letter to Congress requesting an additional $1.5 billion in stimulus funds for some HBCUs including Virginia State University

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April 24, 2020

VSU Ed.D. Students move dissertation defenses to a virtual platform.

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April 17, 2020

There is new information regarding VSU pandemic related funding and other Coronavirus Related updates.  View the latest Video Update from VSU President Dr. Makola Abdullah. 


April 10, 2020

Due to COVID-19 the withdrawal from a course date has been extended to Wednesday, April 29th

Room and Board Rebates

April 7, 2020

In an effort to minimize the financial impact on students and families, Virginia State University will be making adjustments to room and board for all students residing in the residence halls with an effective date of March 18, 2020.  The University has worked to develop a refund/rebate protocol that is appropriate and fair while also taking into consideration the financial obligation for existing contracts and services.  As part of the university’s shared governance model, we had representation from the Student Government Association (SGA), Faculty Senate, and Staff Senate.  All approved the recommendation to move forward with the room and board rebates.

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April 3, 2020

There is new information for students planning to attend VSU in Fall 2020.  View answers to your frequently asked questions.

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VSU Emergency Grading Options for Spring 2020 Semester 

March 31, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The University recently transitioned to remote instruction to ensure the health and safety of the University community amidst the uncertainties of the pandemic.

We recognize the additional stress that this abrupt change may bring and are sensitive to the needs of our students and faculty as we navigate the challenges of this new academic environment.  Therefore, in consultation with the VSU Administration, leadership of the Faculty Senate, the SGA, the Academic Credits Committee, and Staff,  VSU has implemented a set of measures designed to increase flexibility and enhance student success during their acclimation to the new remote instruction learning environment for the Spring 2020 semester. View more information about the new standards.  In addition, view Faculty and Staff FAQs or Student FAQs.

March 30, 2020

VSU President Responds to COVID III Legislation

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March 27, 2020

Virginia State University has received additional guidance as it relates to the usage of Public Health Emergency Leave Policy or PHEL. The Commonwealth of Virginia and consultation with the Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) has increased the amount of PHEL for faculty, staff, students and wage/hourly employees effective March 26, 2020. Faculty and staff are now eligible to receive up to 160 hours in total for PHEL. As a reminder, while wage/hourly employees are eligible for PHEL, the amount of PHEL given will be prorated based on the average number of hours worked in accordance to the Affordable Care Act (see FAQ’s, for specific information related to wage/hourly employees – 1500 Hours Rule).

It is important to note that the President is still strongly encouraging those that can telework, please do so.  PHEL should be the leave of last resort for employees who are well, for those who cannot telework or perform any work remotely, and for those who may need a few days to make child/elder care arrangements. The Office of Human Resources has updated the FAQ’s to incorporate the appropriate changes. It is encouraged that you read through the FAQ’s completely as your question(s) may be answered.  If not, please contact for additional guidance and assistance.

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March 23, 2020

Registration for Virginia State University’s orientation, Trojan Introduction Program (TIP) has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. We will continue to monitor the pandemic and govern ourselves accordingly. If we are not able to open registration in the coming weeks, The Office of Enrollment Management will consider alternative options to orientation and registration.

Please keep up-to-date on our VSU CORONAVIRUS webpage

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VSU President Makola Abdullah shares a new message to the VSU Community

March 20, 2020


Watch the Video

March 19, 2020

The Virginia State University Spring 2020 Commencement is postponed due to the current uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic.  This decision was reached following consultation involving VSU administration, Student Government and Senior Class leadership. 

A proposed date for Spring 2020 Commencement will be forthcoming following continued conversations with VSU administration and VSU student leadership. 

Students who applied for graduation, meet all graduation requirements and who have been cleared and certified, will receive their diplomas by way of US mail following successful completion of the Spring 2020 semester.

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March 18, 2020

VSU Students, ensure that you are properly prepared to receive remote instruction from your professors. See your “Remote Instruction Guidelines” 

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Student Frequently Asked Questions

March 18, 2020

Regarding COVID-19 Public Health Threat
Below you will find frequently asked questions that may be helpful to you as we navigate this public health crisis together as a VSU Community.

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VSU Office of Human Resources Frequently Asked  Questions

March 18, 2020

Virginia State University remains fully operational. However, out of an abundance of caution, some departments are teleworking.  View the latest FAQs from the VSU Office of Human Resources regarding telework, Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL,) etc. during the coronavirus pandemic.

Virginia Department of Health Coronavirus Update

March 18th, 2020

  • The initial source of COVID-19 is still being investigated
  • As of 03/18/2020 at noon-VA 77 cases and 2 deaths.
  • Vulnerable population remains over 60-year-old, chronic comorbidities-heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and immunosuppressive processes. However, anyone is susceptible 
  • COVID-19 is spread via respiratory droplets, person to person. 
  • Incubation period 2-14 days; may present as a mild illness in the beginning.
  • COVID-19 is more infectious than the Flu per World Health Organization.
  • COVID-19 can spread to people less than 6 feet away and within 15 minutes.
  • Practice enhanced precautions with travel Level-Hot spots Washington and New York.
  • VA is ramping up testing capabilities including drive through testing-swabs include oral and nasal screening. Currently test results are reported within 2-7 days. Self isolate while awaiting results.
  • Home isolation is recommended who are medically stable and can receive care at home. Virus may last up to 14 days; worsening conditions proceed to the ED for possible hospitalization.
  • Handwashing soap and water for 20 seconds with friction.

Trusted sources-

Triaging People Reporting Illness

  • A-Are you ill with a fever or have a cough or shortness of breath?
  • B-Have you been in an area with COVID-19 transmission in the last 2 weeks?
  • C-Have you care for or been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 2 weeks? 

If yes to A, ask questions B & C and refer to the local health department for assessment.

Virginia Department of Health call center 877-275-8343.

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March 17, 2020

The VSU Emergency Preparedness Team is actively monitoring the changes involving the developments and impact of COVID-19.  The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.  The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).  The virus is spread 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 which are then inhaled into the lungs.

Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.

Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.  Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.

Call your doctor: If you think, you have been exposed to COVID-19, develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing.

If you have questions, please contact

Important Message on Classes

March 12, 2020

Greetings VSU Faculty, Staff, and Students:

Important message from President:

The VSU Emergency Preparedness Team is actively monitoring the changes involving the developments and impact of COVID-19.  Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the VSU campus; however, out of concern for our VSU Community, the University will take the following actions. 

All classes are canceled for the week of March 16-20, 2020 in an effort to give faculty adequate time to convert classes to an off-campus format.  

Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, Virginia State University will convert to all remote instruction (online/distance education) classes for the remainder of the Spring 2020 academic year.  Students will receive instructions from the professor for each of their classes no later than Friday, March 20, 2020.

All students are required to access and check their VSU issued emails as that will be the primary method of communication with students regarding these continued urgent changes.

VSU strongly encourages ALL students to return home immediately. Residence Halls will close for the remainder of the semester on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 at 5:00pm.  Students will not have access to their rooms beyond that date. We understand that for a limited number of students with extenuating circumstances, going home is currently not an option. Students needing to request an exemption from this directive must submit an exemption form (attached) to the Housing Office in Quad II Room 1107 by 5:00pm Friday, March 13, 2020.

We are in the process of preparing for telework for those staff members whose supervisors deem eligible for that option.

While institutions across the country are weighing these same decisions, the safety of our community is our top priority.  The VSU administration understands there are a number of questions regarding these necessary actions and will continue to share pertinent facts and information as it develops.

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Presidential Address -Coronavirus

March 12, 2020

Coronavirus Update

March 11, 2020

Greetings VSU Community,

Virginia State University is proactively responding to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as defined by the World Health Organization. The VSU Emergency Management Team continues to implement measures to protect the well-being of our VSU campus community.  As of today (3/11/20), the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has nine (9) presumed cases of coronavirus in Virginia.  Presently, there are no confirmed cases involving members of the VSU campus.

The VSU faculty are committed to preparing to provide remote instruction should the University deem it necessary.

Currently, the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that all large scale events are modified, postponed or canceled for the safety and well-being of the event staff, participants and the community.

Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, Virginia State University has announced that it will cancel/modify all scheduled large gatherings on campus for a minimum of 30 days.

This includes:

Modified Events

  • There will be no self-serve areas in any campus dining facility including salad bar, deli bar, pasta and pizza station. Instead, those areas will offer prepackaged servings.
  • Student Town Hall meeting will be streamed live March 11
  • New Initiate Presentations (Probates) will be live streamed: more information will be forthcoming
  • Mr. and Miss VSU Pageant will be live streamed: more information will be forthcoming
  • Student Leadership Elections/campaigning will be online
  • No spectators at any at-home sporting events until further notice

Canceled Events

  • Berry School Agriculture Event March 10-11                               
  • Founders Day Convocation and Soiree March 12                               
  • Women’s History Month event on March 16                                           
  • Veterans Farmer Conference March 17-18                       
  • College of Agriculture Marketing Your Farm Event March 24
  • Virginia Association of Residence Halls Conference March 27-28                                       
  • Spring Fling April 5-11                                                                                                                        
  • VSU Open House April 11                                                                                                                               
  • All campus tours                                                                                            
  • Public Sunday Brunch in Gateway Dining Hall                                                             
  • All University Related Travel Abroad

VSU Travel Restrictions

March 11, 2020

Due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States and internationally, effective March 9, 2020, all international travel for VSU faculty, staff, and students is prohibited.  This travel ban includes all business-related and study abroad travel for itineraries after March 9, 2020, including travel paid for using university or philanthropic funding sources.  VSU is following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance on student travel  and CDC guidance on travel in areas affected with COVID-19.  

For domestic travel, VSU Administration will review all upcoming travel requests and previously approved travel authorizations to determine if the travel will be authorized on a case-by-case basis because of the rapid spread of the virus across the United States.  Not all travel will be authorized.

Virginia State University Responds to the Coronavirus Outbreak

March 5, 2020

Virginia State University (VSU) is proactively responding to the coronavirus, COVID-19. The VSU Emergency Management Team met today as a proactive measure to prepare an emergency operational plan.
Presently, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Virginia. However, the University is working with public health officials to be as prepared as possible to protect the health of the VSU community. We continue to follow the guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to align our plans with the most current recommendations from experts. This includes encouraging everyone to monitor their own health, practice good hygiene and stay home if feeling sick.
As a precautionary measure, we are utilizing the same measure of preparations that we would for any other potential occurrence that would disrupt normal campus operations. This includes working with campus leadership and regional public health partners to take steps that can minimize disruptions to student learning as we prioritize the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. Even if these measures are not ultimately needed, ensuring that we are prepared for disruptions now will serve us well in the future.

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VSU Statement on Coronavirus and Student Safety Abroad

February 27, 2020

Virginia State University acknowledges the concerns that students, parents, and other University stakeholders may have regarding the status of the Coronavirus and any potential risks that it may pose for our students studying abroad.  Currently, VSU currently has no students studying abroad in China or in other locations where cases of the virus have been reported.  In addition, the University has been monitoring the progression of the outbreak through information provided by daily communications issued by the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), the U.S. Department of State,  the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and from Safety and Risk Management teams of our study abroad partners who are in touch with health officials in program locations. Because students’ health and safety, while both at home and abroad, are of utmost importance to the University, we will continue to monitor any developments related to his pandemic and remain proactive in our response.   We will continue to keep our VSU community informed through email and our website as the situation evolves.

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