A scene on the downtown campus on March 24, 2021.

West Virginia University announced Tuesday many COVID-19 restrictions previously in effect will be significantly reduced when students return to campus for the fall 2021 semester,

Many of the restrictions will operate on a sliding scale, dependent on the vaccination rate for students, faculty and staff. WVU said members of the campus community must confirm vaccination through an online portal and the goal is to reach an 80% vaccination rate. 

“Our best defense against COVID-19 is for everyone to get vaccinated,” The University wrote in a press release. “Striving for community immunity allows us to begin to open our campuses and resume activities and events.”

The University is not requiring vaccinations at this time, but said it is “strongly recommended.”

Students will return to the classroom on Wednesday Aug. 18 for the fall semester and the University said Tuesday that classrooms will operate at full capacity as they did pre-pandemic.

Residence hall move-in will begin on Monday, Aug. 9 and continue through Saturday, Aug. 14 and students must pre-register for time slots. The University also plans to fully reopen dining halls in the fall.

Masks will still be required for students, faculty and staff. The University said it anticipates current policies regarding contact tracing, quarantining, and travel will remain the same for those who are unvaccinated but there will be less restriction for those who are vaccinated. 

Immunized people who verify their vaccination through the University will not be required to get tested before the semester or during the semester. They will also not have to quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19 or traveling outside of West Virginia. 

“Having accurate information about how many people are vaccinated is critical to establishing appropriate health and safety protocols for our community going forward,” the University wrote in a press release Tuesday. “It will guide decision-making on what aspects of our campus we can reopen.”

Students and employees can verify their vaccination here.

When half of the students and faculty populations are vaccinated, the Rec Center, Up All Night and arts shows will reopen at 50% capacity. With this level of vaccination, the PRT will start running at a limited capacity.

When 60% of the campus community is vaccinated, a large number of student activities will return, including Greek life recruitment, Fall Family Weekend, and in-person events for student organizations. The Rec Center, PRT, and Up All Night will run with increased capacities.

When 75% of WVU students and employees have been vaccinated and verified it through the University system, almost all campus services will return to the pre-pandemic normal.

The University plans to create a web page with the vaccination rate on campus that will be updated weekly.

WVU will host a walk-in, first come first serve vaccine clinic this Friday, May 7 from 1-4 p.m. at the Student Rec Center in the upper gym.

There will also be a Return to Campus Conversation on Thursday, May 6 from 10-11:30 a.m. with administrators.