WVU announces phased return to Morgantown campus
Monday, July 27, 2020
Below is a letter from WVU President E. Gordon Gee released to the WVU community on Monday, July 27.
Dear West Virginia University Family,
As we near the end of July, we are over halfway through the year. I am certain no one envisioned this is what our world would be like as we rang in 2020. The hope and promise we felt in January has turned into anxiety and stress as we continue to navigate a pandemic that forges onward, wreaking havoc across our country and within our communities.
This is not the year any of us had imagined.
We have been closely monitoring the local health conditions, as well as those across the nation. Monongalia County and Morgantown saw a significant increase in positive cases beginning in early July. Our State leadership took swift action to mitigate the spread, including mandatory masks indoors and closing bars in Morgantown. Those responses have worked, as our community continues to see a decline in cases. We have been testing our West Virginia University employees for the past week and out of 1,531 tests results received thus far, only 3 have returned positive. That is less than a 0.2% positivity rate. We are taking the necessary steps as a community to be safe.
However, there is concern among local and state public health officials, as well as University leadership, that a full return to campus in Morgantown would place both the campus and local communities at a greater risk for an increase in positive cases and transmission rates. If this were to occur, the probability of an all online semester would escalate.
Therefore, West Virginia University will implement a phased return this fall on the Morgantown campus.
In Morgantown, the University will open with a revised schedule of course delivery beginning a week later than originally scheduled – on Wednesday, Aug. 26. Some professional programs may have alternative start dates. The revised schedule will further reduce density, while preserving the on-campus experience for freshmen, graduate and professional students as much as possible.
As a result, the majority of upper-division undergraduate courses will be transitioned to online or hybrid delivery. Hands-on courses, such as laboratory classes, clinical and studio classes, may still be offered face-to-face, as determined by each academic program. We are particularly focused on ensuring that our graduating seniors have the courses they need to successfully complete their degree programs. A final academic schedule will be released on or around Wednesday, Aug. 5, and we appreciate your patience as our colleges and schools make these decisions.