In a campus-wide email Monday, West Virginia University announced a slew of spring semester updates about intake testing, surveillance testing, campus life and vaccine distribution.
The email began with a word of warning for the coming semester as WVU health experts cautioned that cases will continue to increase. The university stressed the importance of mask wearing, physical distancing and the monitoring of symptoms.
"Across the country, COVID-19 is spreading faster than ever before," wrote the email.
Student testing began on Monday, Jan. 11 and will continue through Saturday, Jan. 16. All students must receive a negative test from campus testing before they can attend in-person classes. Classes start on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
Go to MyHousing WVU to schedule a test.
This spring semester, around 10% of the student body will be tested for COVID-19. Similar to last semester, students who are in higher exposure programs, majors, live in residence halls or participate in sports teams may be tested more frequently.
Students may be asked to perform a self-administered RT-PCR test, but trained clinical staff will also be on hand at testing locations. The Monongalia County Health Department will continue to offer free community testing into the spring.
Faculty engaged in hybrid or in-person teaching can schedule weekly tests if they wish.
WVU will use two types of tests this semester. The first is PCR Tests, known as the "gold standard" of testing and they return results in 24-72 hours. Rapid antigen tests will be used for those with symptoms and deliver same-day results. These will be followed with a PCR test.
Spring break was previously canceled but following a Student Government resolution, two off days have been added to the academic calendar on Tuesday, March 2 and Monday, May 3. However, if the campus is closed due to inclement weather, online instruction will occur on those days for WVU to meet its accreditation requirements.
The SGA also passed a resolution calling for the use of pass/fail grading during the spring semester. This was rejected by University administrators and Monday's email reiterated that a traditional grading scale will be used for the spring semester.
Faculty-led study abroad programs for this summer will be canceled, WVU announced Monday, citing a review of "current travel bans and global infrastructures, such as healthcare and transportation systems."
At this time, students are not eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. WVU said in Monday's email they will continue to follow the guidelines from the state task force that call for those 65 and older to receive the vaccine first.
At this point, WVU has vaccinated 240 employees and will update that number weekly on the COVID-19 dashboard.
In a change from the fall, the daily wellness email survey will not be required for students in the spring. Activities at the Student Rec Center will be similar to those offered in the fall.
Up All Night will be held virtually, beginning on Friday, Jan. 22. As campus conditions improve, the in-person event could return.
The Greek community will prepare for new virtual member recruitment. Detailed information and dates for Greek recruitment can be found on the Center for Fraternal Values and Leadership website.
There will be a Return to Campus Conversation this Thursday over Zoom from 10-11:30 a.m. for questions from the campus community.