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WVU extends mask policy, updates COVID guidance

West Virginia University announced on Thursday an extension to its mask policy in addition to updates on its COVID-19 guidance.
Student wearing a mask walks by a safety message on West Virginia University's Morgantown Campus.
Student wearing a mask walks by a safety message on West Virginia University's Morgantown Campus.(WVU)
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 2:28 PM EST
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - West Virginia University announced on Thursday an extension to its mask policy in addition to updates on its COVID-19 guidance.

Due to the continued spread of the omicron variant and increased hospitalization rates in the state and region, WVU officials are providing additional guidance on campus health and safety protocols including masking, testing, vaccines, and isolation.

“Despite the recent surge in cases over the past few weeks, the high rates of vaccination in our campus community has helped to minimize serious symptoms for those who have contracted the virus,” said Dr. Jeffrey Coben, dean of the School of Public Health and associate vice president for Health Affairs. “We hope and anticipate that cases will begin to decline in the days ahead. However, our state’s hospitals are operating at or above capacity, and we must continue to follow the health and safety protocols that have been instituted to keep our communities safe.”

Officials provided the following key takeaways:

  • Mask policy extended through Feb. 25.
  • Get vaccinated and boosted; verify vaccination by Jan. 28.
  • Isolation release date is set at 5 days from your positive test date as long as symptoms have resolved, including fever. Followed by wearing a mask.
  • Testing offered at the WVU Rec Center.
  • COVID-19 Dashboard updated on Wednesdays.

Masks will continue to be required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, indoors in all WVU System buildings and facilities through at least Feb. 25 when public health conditions will again be reevaluated, officials said.

Masks continue to be required for passengers on the PRT and WVU buses through March 18 under federal guidelines from the Transportation Security Administration.

Additionally, masks are required inside the Mountainlair, Evansdale Crossing, and dining halls except when eating in addition to inside the WVU Student Rec Center except when exercising.

Masks are also required in clinical and patient care areas of the Health Sciences Campuses, according to University officials.

WVU Medicine has updated its mask policy and is strongly encouraging non-clinical staff who do not work in patient care areas to switch to a medical-grade mask, not cloth masks, and is also no longer allowing the use of gaiters at any of its hospitals, clinics or non-clinical work sites.

Prior to Friday, Jan. 28, all students, faculty, and staff who are on campus should take one of the following actions to verify their vaccine status with the University.

  • If you’ve already verified your primary vaccine series and have received a booster: Enter your booster details via StarRez (WVU’s housing portal) at myhousing.wvu.edu. Instructions for adding booster information.
  • If you have not verified any COVID-19 vaccine with WVU: Visit myhousing.wvu.edu and enter your information using the vaccine verification instructions.

Officials said if you test positive for COVID-19, you are required to isolate for at least 5 days. This includes any positive PCR test or any positive rapid antigen test. Based on updated CDC guidance, your release date will be set at 5 days from your positive test date as long as your symptoms have resolved. If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves. Continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.

Students living in residence halls on the Morgantown campus will be isolated in Gaskins House or Lyon Tower. Those living off campus will isolate in their residences.

Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 1, free COVID-19 community testing at the WVU Student Rec Center will be available on the following days in February:

  • Mondays (7 a.m. to noon) – Feb. 7, 14, 21 and 28
  • Tuesdays (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) – Feb. 2, 8, 15 and 22
  • Thursdays (8 a.m. to noon) – Feb. 3 and 10
  • Fridays (8 a.m. to noon) – Feb. 4, 11, 18 and 25

No appointment required, and no pre-registration is required for WVU students and employees.

Given the change in requirements for students, faculty and staff to be considered optimally vaccinated for COVID-19 at WVU, the University’s public dashboard will be updated to report the vaccination verification rate on a biweekly basis beginning in early February for the Morgantown, Beckley and Keyser campuses.

The dashboard will be available every Wednesday by 2 p.m. and will share the latest data including testing and isolation numbers.

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