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WVU is providing additional guidance to students, faculty and staff as campuses prepare to fully reopen

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Photo credit: WDTV(WHSV)
Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 9:37 PM EDT
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - West Virginia University is providing additional guidance to students, faculty and staff as campuses prepare to fully reopen for the fall 2021 semester.

With COVID-19 cases increasing and the delta variant gaining momentum, WVU’s highest priority is still to offer a fully in-person, on-campus academic and student experience this fall. At this time, 59% of WVU faculty and staff and 60% of students on the Morgantown campus have verified they are fully vaccinated and as always, the safety of students, faculty, staff and guests will continue to be an important guiding factor.

WVU strongly encourages everyone to be vaccinated and to verify their vaccination at http://myhousing.wvu.edu. As of today, WVU’s campuses have the following vaccination rates: Morgantown has 58.75% of staff and faculty vaccinated and 59.79% students, Keyser has 27.88% staff and faculty vaccinated and 26% of students, and Beckley has 59.29% staff and faculty vaccinated with 34.49% of students.

The university’s goal is still to attain 80% vaccination rates for employees and students. If they do not reach this goal before September 1, 2021 then they will develop additional enforcement and safety protocols.

Please note the following details for the fall semester may be adjusted based on infection and hospitalization rates and input from health experts. The University has re-instituted its COVID-19 incident command center and will be monitoring local and campus trends throughout the 2021-22 academic year.

Vaccines

All employees and students will be required to take a new COVID educational module before August 17. The module will be available later this week at go.wvu.edu/covidmodule.

Vaccinations are not required for WVU students and employees at this time. The university says this will be reevaluated upon FDA approval of the vaccinations.

Students that have verified their vaccination will not have to have a COVID-19 test at the beginning of the semester. They will also be exempted from random sample testing throughout the semester.

Students, faculty or staff who believe they are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons may apply for an exemption and accommodation.

Testing

All students who will be on campus this fall and/or who are not fully vaccinated or did not verify their vaccination by August 1, have to submit a negative COVID-19 test result before attending any classes.

Additionally, faculty, staff and students who have not verified that they are vaccinated must: Comply with random sample testing until they become fully vaccinated, quarantine for at least 14 days following close contact with anyone diagnosed, get tested if symptoms develop, quarantine for five days following out-of-state travel, and wear a mask indoors and when outdoors and around others.

Individuals, including those who are fully vaccinated, who are close contacts of someone who has tested positive, will need to be tested, according to new CDC guidelines.

Students and employees who fail to comply with COVID-19 testing requirements may be subject to discipline in accordance with the University’s policies and procedures.

WVU will resume weekly COVID-19 updates through a dashboard on the their website, which will feature testing information as well as vaccination rates.

Masks

The University is following CDC guidelines which outlines protection measures in light of the delta variant. The CDC has recommended that fully vaccinated people wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission. Although not a requirement, the University is recommending that both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals wear a mask in public indoor settings.

Consistent with federal guidelines for public transportation, masks will be required for everyone on all WVU transportation including the PRT and buses through at least September 13.

Academics and Research

Classrooms will be at 100% capacity this fall. The University will follow a regular academic calendar, grading scale and attendance policies.

Everyone in the classroom – including fully vaccinated individuals – are recommended to wear a mask. However, vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a mask.

The University will continue to evaluate study abroad opportunities on a case-by-case basis.

Student Life

The PRT and WVU buses will run on normal schedules at 100% capacity.

Dining halls will be open at 100% with safety measures and enhanced cleaning procedures. The Student Rec Center will also be at 100% operation capacity. Unvaccinated people are expected to wear a mask.

Student organizations can organize and gather but should keep the delta variant in mind when thinking about their membership. Hybrid meetings are a good idea if possible during the semester.

Additionally, club and intramural sports can resume practice and competition without restrictions, but it is recommended that general meetings be held virtually. Individuals who are unvaccinated and travel outside the state (for competition or other purposes) are subject to a 5-day quarantine/self-monitoring period upon return.

Residence Halls

Residence hall move-in will take place from August 12 through August 14. There is no limit to the number of family members who can help move students into their residence hall rooms, but masks are expected for unvaccinated people.

A limited number of volunteers will be available to assist those moving into residence halls during move-in.

The move-in process for University Apartments began on August 1 and will continue through August 13.

Welcome Week

The University will offer a variety of activities beginning on August 12 and continuing through August 20. Due to the delta variant of COVID-19, masks are recommended at larger events.

Employee Expectations and Parking

To prepare to reconfigure the workspace within many campus buildings and introduce new programs, policies and services for remote, hybrid or on-site employees, supervisors were asked their long-term work arrangements to prepare for employees who will continue working in a remote or hybrid capacity.

WVU also deployed a special parking program for hybrid and remote employees that includes a daily parking pass/rate versus an annual pass/monthly rate.

Travel

Fully vaccinated individuals may resume non-business travel activities. However, they should note travel restrictions and safety guidance in the intended travel area.

Events

In-person events have resumed on campus at 100% capacity. The Health and Safety Committee does not need to approve events, but does recommend organizers use best practices. Athletics events will also be held at 100% capacity.

Visitors on Campus

Departments and units will be responsible for sharing University policy and practices with visitors they invite to campus. All visitors, including vendors and contractors, will need to continue to follow the University guidelines.

More Information

Questions can be submitted or emailed to returntocampus@mail.wvu.edu and you can also visit the Return to Campus website for the latest information.

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