Normalcy inches back into campus life at WVU, in-person graduation ceremonies announced

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University is beginning to take steps towards bringing campus activity back to life.

During a Campus Conversation hosted by WVU officials Thursday, details were released on the restarting of several student activities around campus in response to the efforts made during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the strong efforts by WVU students and staff, officials felt that it was time to begin taking the small steps towards returning to some normalcy.

“As long as everybody is following the guidelines and enforcing our classroom protocols, we truly believe that we can offer our students a high-quality academic experience while keeping everyone safe,” said WVU Provost and VP of Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed on Thursday.

Student activities will be the first piece of campus life that will be returning. Starting Friday, February 19th, student organizations will be allowed to begin having formal meetings and events. Keeping COVID-19 in mind, there will be several limitations to crowds depending on the size of the event space along with required approval form WVU officials before going through with the event.

“Student organizations will be allowed to host in-person events but must be limited to twenty-five people or fifty percent of the venue, if that venue size is less than twenty-five,” said WVU Dean of Students Corey Farris about some of standards in place.

Other activities such as club sports, Adventure WV, and residence hall activities are also scheduled to resume, but will follow the same COVID-19 limited crowd guidelines.

Commencement is also expected to be in-person for Spring 2021. To make up for lost commencement ceremonies in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, the Class of 2020 will have the opportunity to join the Class of 2021 to participate in the ceremonies that will be hosted at Milan Puskar Stadium. The ceremony is scheduled to be held on May 15 and 16 and will be subject to COVID-19 guidelines as well.

“This information is subject to change based on the COVID situation at the time of the event,” said WVU Executive Director of University Events and Liaison to the President Robin Yorty. “But the planning is for these events to take place rain or shine,” she said.

The goal for WVU officials, is to have a normal schedule and services by the Fall 2021 Semester. According to Reed, this goal, is pending on COVID trends between now and then. If vaccination efforts continue, along with the enforcement of safety guidelines, WVU officials feel a level of normalcy can return to campuses by the end of 2021.

“We are hopeful that everyone will be vaccinated by the end of summer, and as such we are planning to return to a normal, on-campus fall semester,” said Reed.