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WVU provides updated COVID-19 guidance for fall 2022 semester

West Virginia University is sharing updated COVID-19 health and safety guidance as campuses across the WVU System prepare for the start of the 2022-23 academic year and the first day of fall semester classes Aug. 17.
“Throughout the summer, we have closely monitored data related to COVID-19, including the highly infectious BA.5 Omicron subvariant,” said Dr. Arif Sarwari, associate dean for clinical affairs and professor of infectious diseases in the School of Medicine. “With so many individuals now using rapid home antigen testing for diagnosis, case counts have become a less reliable indicator of disease spread. However, we can say with confidence that we have not seen any sustained significant increase in severe outcomes associated with COVID-19 in West Virginia. Fatalities and cases requiring ventilator care have remained low and relatively stable throughout the summer.
“We are using the tools and knowledge we’ve gained throughout the pandemic as our guide, and each of us is now in a better position to make individual decisions about how to protect ourselves and others,” Sarwari added.
Five key areas to be aware of include:

·      testing, vaccines and reporting procedures;

·      mask requirements;

·      isolation procedures;

·      classroom seating charts; and

·      pandemic information/resources website.

The University will continue to monitor public health data and re-evaluate campus guidelines, if necessary.

Vaccination

WVU strongly encourages, but does not require, everyone to stay optimally protected against COVID-19 by getting their primary vaccine series and staying up-to-date with a booster dose if they are eligible to receive one.

To determine when they are eligible and due for a booster shot (or any COVID-19 shot), West Virginians are encouraged to use the WV COVID-19 Vaccination Due Date Calculator, a free online tool that helps anyone figure out when they may become due for a COVID-19 shot. Access the calculator by scrolling down at vaccinate.wv.gov.

WVU Medicine Student Health will continue to offer the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for WVU students at its clinic in the Health and Education Building on the Morgantown campus. Vaccines are also available through a variety of local health departments and private sector pharmacies.

Students and employees are not required to verify or update their vaccination status with the University.

Those on the Health Sciences Campus involved in patient care, including residents, fellows and students, are required to follow separate WVU Health System or other clinical provider’s policies, including those related to COVID-19 such as vaccinations, masks and PPE.

Testing, reporting and isolation

WVU will not require testing prior to attendance on campus; however, students and employees are encouraged to take advantage of self-antigen testing or community testing opportunities before and during the semester.

COVID-19 tests are available through local health departments, pharmacies and through the federal government's website, covidtests.gov, which allows people to sign up for free COVID-19 tests, and will be shipped directly to the individual’s household.

Students and employees are not required to report positive test results to the University, but they are expected to follow CDC guidelines for isolation and notify close contacts.

Any student living in a residence hall who tests positive for COVID-19 must notify WVU Shared Services via email at Careservices@mail.wvu.edu or call 304-293-6006 to initiate a process to move the student into isolation housing provided at Lyon Tower. The University will provide access to transportation and meals for those in campus isolation. Residence hall students may also choose to isolate off campus.

Masks, classrooms and research

Masks are not required on WVU campuses but are always welcome. The University will stock dispensers with disposable masks and hand sanitizer.

If a person contracts COVID-19, they must isolate for 5 days and wear a mask for an additional 5 days while in the classroom or other indoor spaces. 

While faculty and advisors may not require masks, they may share that they prefer masks be worn in their classrooms and offices. Virtual options for non-class office meetings are available for those not comfortable meeting without a mask.

Faculty are not required to create seating charts this semester. 

Students who contract COVID-19 will be responsible for alerting instructors and working with them on a plan for missed classes and course work.

Those participating in human subject research should follow the recommended CDC guidelines.

For personal safety and the safety of others, students and employees should not ignore symptoms of COVID-19. Those with any COVID-19 symptoms should not report to campus for work or class.

Pandemic information, resources

WVU will no longer maintain a University-specific COVID-19 dashboard since data is available through the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources

Pandemic information, related resources and links to previously archived WVU dashboards are available at wvu.edu/covid.

Questions related to COVID-19 and WVU’s health and safety protocols can be sent via email to SharedServices@mail.wvu.edu or by calling 304-293-6006.