Officials announce more changes WVU fall 2020 semester

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU officials focused on the phased return to Morgantown during the Return to Campus Conversation on Thursday.

Campuses in Beckley (WVU Tech) and Keyser (WVU Potomac State College) will return to campus as originally planned on Aug. 19.

Typically, the return at all locations includes an elaborate Welcome Week to acclimate students to campus, but due to the pandemic nearly all those events have been cancelled. During a Return to Campus Conversation, Dean of students Dr. Corey Farris said more announcements are coming in the future, but as the impact of the virus is understood some events will be scheduled.

“Entering class of the fall of 2020, once we know we’re safe and able to do it, we have plans to work with you and have a special welcome for you,”Dr. Farris said,” As we’ve welcomed our other freshman and first time classes.”

Mandatory free COVID testing for students and faculty is continuing. The final day for faculty testing is August 8 and the final scheduled day for student testing will be August 18. Vice president of strategic initiatives, Rob Alsop any student that plans to access campus resources will be required to take that free COVID-19 test.

“Even if you have all online courses and you intend to be in Morgantown and being in our library, using our transportation or dining facilities you will be required to take that test,” Alsop said.

The move in period for the incoming class will be from Saturday, August 15 through Saturday, August 22. Students with an assigned move in slot between between Friday, August 8 and Saturday 15 must confirm through email or schedule an alternate day and time.

In addition to mandatory masks, social distancing, increased disinfecting and COVID testing, provost Maryanne Reed says they will be looking at ways to accommodate the student needs.

“We are looking at erecting a large tent behind the Mountainlair which will have access to high-speed WiFi,”Reed said,”So students can access their courses outside and not be close to one another inside.”

The commencement planned for December 19 has now moved to a virtual ceremony and will also recognize August graduates.

Alsop noted that the situation is extremely fluid, changes are happening all the time and students and faculty can control how those changes unfold.

“The more you can do everyday to keep those rates of infection down and prevent you and the folks you care about in your university community from getting this virus,”Alsop said,”The better position we’ll all be to get more people on campus.”

Members of the freshman class and grad students will make up the campus population in Morgantown for the fall as of now.

“We have around 5,000 freshmen, we have around 3,000 grad students, when you mix in some of the upper-level experiential learning or other for accreditation courses,”Alsop said,”We think we’ll have between 8,000 to 10,000 students with some type of face-to-face experience for the fall.”