Corey Farris 3/3/20

WVU Dean of Students Corey Farris

Dear Mountaineer:

I am writing to you as someone who cares deeply about your personal safety, health, and well-being. We are facing a public health crisis worldwide, nationwide, and here in West Virginia.

On behalf of the University and larger community, I am asking for your help. If you are in Morgantown, we ask that you return home, and if you are at home, please remain there and be ready to begin online classes on Monday, March 30. Courses that were fully online at the beginning of the semester should continue to follow the original syllabus. We recognize a small number of students may need to be in Morgantown due to unavoidable circumstances, and we will continue to provide them support. We are strongly advising and requesting that students do not return to campus.

We are especially concerned right now if you are out and about. There are significant dangers posed by COVID-19. While you may not become sick or suffer only mild symptoms if you contract COVID-19, you could infect those most at-risk who could become acutely ill. Please take steps to minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus:

  • social distancing,
  • staying away from gatherings of more than 10 people, and
  • avoiding contact with individuals who are elderly or immunocompromised.

Dr. Kathryn Moffett, a WVU expert on infectious diseases, discusses the importance of social distancing in this video.

We made the very difficult decision to move our classes to online instruction not only based on the health and welfare of you and your fellow students, but also because we want to ensure that WVU Medicine is not stretched too thin in the coming weeks and months. Alleviating a population stress point will be better for our health system and, thus, for the health and welfare of everyone in the region. More than half of West Virginia’s population is considered most at risk and so anything we can do to protect our fellow citizens is of the utmost importance.

You will be hearing more from your professors and instructors soon about the transition to virtual classes. We know this will be an abrupt and challenging transition. However, faculty and staff across the University are working hard to make the shift as smooth as possible, and you will have support from the University.

Thank you to each of you for your cooperation, help and understanding. We know for many of our students, this will cause an unexpected disruption and yet it is one step you can take to help keep yourself and your family safe. No matter where you reside, our staff is available to help; please don’t hesitate to contact us.

In my 36 years working in higher education, I have faced many crises, yet none like this. This global pandemic is unlike anything previously seen by any of us. We know that Mountaineers come together to achieve great things, and it is vital we unite around this crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing each of us to make sacrifices and changes. In the end, however, it is not about us. It's about our responsibility to our fellow human beings. Thank you for all you are doing during this difficult time.

Finally, please continue to check our coronavirus website, which is being updated continually with new information: or email


G. Corey Farris, Dean of Students