RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Some Virginia Commonwealth University students are heading back to the classroom.

VCU students will start in-person and hybrid classes today, but before they do so, all students and employees, whether remote or on campus, are required to complete a daily health survey. The survey must be completed at or by selecting “CampusReady” in your VCUMobile app.

According to Virginia Commonwealth University, Starting March 4, faculty have the option of using the University’s Entry Pass to enforce compliance with mandatory surveillance testing and daily health monitoring. Students enrolled in in-person classes should have been notified in advance. Beginning on January 25, all students and staff members are required to use the digital tool to access certian VCU facilities.

Students with a green check have completed the necessary daily health checks and have complied with aysmptomatic survelliance testing. A yellow warning indicates that a student did not book an appointment for aymptomatic surveillance testing or did not show up for the appointment. A rex X means that the student has not completed the daily health check or has not complied with asymptomatic surveillance testing.

VCU student health test
VCU students are required to take a daily health screening online. (Photo: 8News Reporter Rachel Keller)

University officials said these daily health checks are essential for community safety and a way for the school to monitor symptoms.

“Students must take the survey every day, including weekends, when school is in session. Employees must take it only on days they work,” VCU’s website explained. Failure to fill out the survey can result in disciplinary action.

“They’re doing a pretty good job. They’re being calculated. They’re being safe,” said Sujit Anumukonda, who is currently a junior at VCU.

Anumukonda is studying Biomedical engineering. He believes his lab courses need to be held in-person in order to receive the proper ‘hands on’ aspect and experience inside the classroom.

“I really don’t feel like the students here have been getting the full benefit of online classes. All respect to the teachers. They’ve really been doing what they can with the circumstances they’ve been given. A lot of my teachers have been going way out of their way to try and adjust for the students, but nothing is going to make up for the in-person aspect of classes,” said Anumukonda.

Although he agrees with the University’s decision to begin allowing in-person courses to resume, Anumukonda is concerned about his friends who are from areas outside of the state.

“I have a couple of friends that are not from Virginia and they didn’t anticipate these in-person classes. I have a couple of friends who are sub leasing their apartments so now they have to figure out if they have to come back,” said Anumukonda.

According to the University, while this will be a limited return to campus, most classes will still be held online. Processes are in place to accommodate changes on an individual basis.

VCU campus
VCU students are gearing up for another semester on campus. Hybrid learning and in-person classes met today, March 4. (Photo: 8News Reporter Rachel Keller)

Haley Caldwell is a sophomore studying Exercise Science at VCU. As some students have resumed their in-person classes, Caldwell believes the University’s decision was ‘rushed,’ as many are preparing for midterms.

“I don’t understand why VCU made that decision. In very recent times I’ve had a lot of friends getting COVID on campus. VCU hasn’t put together a plan that I’m aware of, to vaccinate students. It seems like a little bit of an irresponsible decision. It seems like it was a little bit of a rush,” said Caldwell.

She told 8news, if her classes were switched to an in-person setting, she would request the option to continue with virtual learning. Caldwell works part-time as a nanny and helps take care of a 1-year-old.

“It’s not irresponsible to give that as an option, but to expect that people will say yes when a lot of people have circumstances like illnesses where they can’t take that opportunity to come back in-person yet,” said Caldwell.

VCU President Michael Rao said the decision to reopen campus was based on several factors including lower positivity rates on campus. At this time, there are 46 student cases at VCU, compared to the 188 in January. During the fall semester, VCU reported a total of 497 student cases.

Learn more about public health measures VCU is taking here.