WVU Faculty Senate leader talks face-to-face classes

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU officials, health experts and education professionals have been planning for the return of in-person classes. Now with start dates looming, educators are opening up about the process and COVID-19 concerns.

On Talkline, chairperson of the WVU Faculty Senate Natalie Singh-Corcoran said the entire process of preparing for in-person learning has taken many professionals out of their comfort zones.

“We’re all used to our rhythms, we’re used to having the things we always do, and those things have been repeatedly disrupted,”Singh-Corcoran said,”And that’s a challenging place to be.”

The recent steps taken by the university to delay the start of classes has been well received by faculty and staff, according to Singh-Corcoran.

“The effort to try to de-densify the campus even further are the right ones,”Singh-Corcoran said,”Given what’s happened over the past few weeks in Mon County with our virus rates.”

The university has reserved Arnold Hall with a 170 person capacity to serve as quarantine site and Singh-Corcoran believes staff, faculty and students will be exposed to the virus at some point.

“Some of those students may indeed be positive for COVID and then have the potential to pass around the virus to others,”Singh-Corcoran said,”Others who may be vulnerable, particularly faculty who are teaching face-to-face.”

The abrupt switch to online classes in the spring was a proving ground for remote learning and Singh-Corcoran says many were lessons were learned that will be put into practice.

“Our fall online courses will be far different from what happened in the spring,”Singh-Corcoran said,”Because, we will have had more time to think through how to translate our in-person courses to online courses.”

The COVID risk will be shared by all- students, staff, faculty and Morgantown residents and all the guidelines do is limit the possibility of infection.

“There’s some reluctance to teaching in-person,”Singh-Corcoran said,”It’s because risk can only mitigated, it can’t be eliminated.”