UPDATE: WVU Assembly meets to discuss potential COVID-19 vaccine mandate for the university

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 10:32 PM EDT
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Updated Story: 09/03/2021

The Faculty Assembly released the results of their meeting from Monday. According to a survey released, 1094 faculty members were for the recommendation and 185 were against it.

They have decided to recommend vaccinations for all students and employees by January 1, 2022. Ultimately this is an administrative decision and West Virginia University released this statement about the results of the survey:

We always appreciate and consider input from our campus community. Ultimately it is an administrative decision made in consultation with our Board of Governors.

We took a proactive stance by announcing additional measures on Aug. 17, anticipating an 80% vaccination verification rate would likely not be achieved by Sept. 1. Today, the overall rates for the Morgantown Campus are as follows:

·         Staff/Faculty – 73.46%

·         Students – 75.91%

We are encouraged by the steadily increasing vaccination rates among our students, faculty and staff with our current approach, and importantly, the University’s percent positivity rate is low especially when compared to state and national averages. The latest data, updated each Wednesday, is available at our public dashboard on the Return to Campus website.

We continue to monitor conditions and strongly encourage students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated and wear masks where required.

As of now the university will not implement a Covid-19 vaccine mandate.

Original Story: 09/01/2021

MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - West Virginia University faculty met on Zoom to discuss a resolution that would mandate the COVID-19 vaccine at the university.

In the past 50 years the University Assembly had only been called to vote twice.

The meeting was held to make amendments and ask questions before the final vote on the resolution.

There were many mixed opinions on the topic.

Law professor, Joshua Weishart shared that the faculty needed to make the decision as soon as possible.

“Delta is surging now. The hospitals are filling up now. I think there is a sense of urgency that we need a vaccine mandate now,” he added.

One question brought up in the meeting was what to do if someone already had COVID-19. Did they need to be vaccinated?

Chemistry professor Dr. Blake Mertz said he felt that natural immunity from the virus was just as good as being vaccinated.

“It’s a personal issue for me because I spent four weeks recovering from COVID this spring. I don’t understand why I would want to get vaccinated because I have natural immunities.” he said.

Many members of the faculty referenced different studies when sharing their thoughts on the mandate.

However, Division Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases-Director Dr. Kathryn Moffett talked about local Morgantown statistics from Ruby Memorial Hospital.

“90-95 percent of those hospitalized are unvaccinated. All deaths we’ve had at Ruby, except one have been unvaccinated people,” Moffett shared.

Voice professor Dr. Hope Koehler said she’s not totally against a mandate. However, she wasn’t sure it was the time to implement it.

“When students are already here paid their tuition and given an implied promise that this is what their education is going to be this year. It would be unfair and unethical in my opinion to ask them at this point,” she said.

Over the course of the meeting, they approved a final resolution to be voted on.

Faculty members received a link where they were able to vote for or against the finalized resolution.

Faculty was told the results would be shared within 48 hours of the meeting on September 1.

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