With widespread concern still prevalent among the Morgantown community, West Virginia University has announced continued adjustments on campus for the fall semester.
In a letter sent on Monday, University president E. Gordon Gee wrote that a phased return to campus is necessary to keep residents and students safe.
"However, there is concern among local and state public health officials, as well as University leadership, that a full return to campus in Morgantown would place both the campus and local communities at a greater risk for an increase in positive cases and transmission rates," Gee wrote. "If this were to occur, the probability of an all online semester would escalate."
One of the most notable changes is that the start of the semester will be pushed back one week, with classes now starting on-campus on Aug. 26. Residence hall move-in will also be delayed, taking place from Aug. 15 to Aug. 22, and additional COVID-19 testing opportunities for students will be available during the week of Aug. 17.
According to the letter, a portion of upper-division undergraduate courses will be transitioned to hybrid or online delivery. A final version of the academic schedule will be released on Aug. 5.
The University also plans on making financial adjustments. Students who will be moved to having courses delivered entirely online, as opposed to in-person, will see their student fees drop from $440 to $220. Additionally, an approximate 6% reduction for room and board and select dining plans will be issued to students.
Additionally, the in-person commencement ceremony for the fall semester has been canceled.
"West Virginia University is committed to providing each of you with a safe environment to teach and to learn," Gee wrote. "This is an interim measure to allow us to do that. We are hopeful that we can return more students to in-person instruction as the semester continues.
"While we are taking the necessary health and safety precautions with this changed approach, it is important to understand that some members of our West Virginia University community who are returning to campus will contract SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. Therefore, we will base all future decisions on what is best for the health and safety of our community."
The letter, in its entirety, can be read here.