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WVU to hold ‘virtual’ commencement experience in May, ceremony in December

West Virginia University will hold a “virtual commencement experience” for graduates in May, then have an in-person celebration in December, the school announced today (March 25).

The plans were announced in a letter and video from President Gordon Gee to the Class of 2020.

“You are truly a special class,” Gee said. “And this experience will be just one of many that will shape you throughout your life. Though the time in which we find ourselves is one of the most challenging our nation has ever faced, we know that our campus, our state and our country will come together again – stronger and more resilient than ever before. After all, we are Mountaineers.”

The online commencement experience is titled Mountaineer Graduation Day and will be held Saturday, May 16. 

Potomac State College in Keyser and WVU Tech in Beckley will make their own announcements about commencement ceremonies separately. 

The event will include ways for graduates to share their celebration with classmates, family and friends, as well as special moments to connect them with the University. More information will be shared soon with candidates and their families.

The University will hold a special commencement ceremony for all May graduates on Saturday, Dec. 19 to recognize and celebrate their achievements. Details will be forthcoming. 

The extraordinary action was taken as part of the University’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world. Last week, the school announced that it would move to alternate delivery of classes for the rest of the spring semester. It had previously delayed a return after spring break.

“No one understands and empathizes with your disappointment more than we do,” Gee said in the letter. “We love and treasure you for all the energy, ideas and joy you bring to our campus. We have watched you take your first steps on campus, find your bearings and blossom into brilliant, young minds who have pursued their dreams with passion and with purpose.

“And that is why we cannot imagine sending you out into the world without a proper celebration,” he added.

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Gov. Justice orders West Virginians to stay home

To further combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice issued a “Stay At Home” order, directing all West Virginia residents to stay at home and limit movements outside of their homes beyond essential needs.

The order will go into effect beginning Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at 8 p.m. and will remain in effect until terminated by subsequent executive order.

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WVU will not hold in-person classes this semester, campus shuts down with all work remote

West Virginia University and its divisional campuses in Keyser and Beckley will extend alternative delivery of classes through the rest of the semester in response to the continued threat of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Additionally, all employees – except for those needed to keep online operations running and a select few others – must work from home, and residence halls will remain shuttered.

“It is clear the pace of this pandemic will only continue to grow across the United States,” President Gordon Gee said. “Our medical experts share that there is little chance of it slowing down – unless we quickly and accurately implement measures that can impede the community spread and ‘flatten the curve.’”

The University previously had extended spring break a week, and, effective March 30, ordered almost all classes to move to alternative delivery, primarily online, along with closing residence halls and University apartments, prohibiting students from returning to campus until notified.

As the coronavirus has spread, however, public health officials have suggested the pandemic may last well past the scheduled end of the semester in mid-May, leading the WVU administration to recommend to the Board of Governors that the current plan continue at least through the end of the semester.

The Board unanimously approved the recommendation at a special emergency meeting on Wednesday.

“This was a carefully considered decision, but in the end is the only responsible one in the face of this worldwide pandemic,” Board Chair David Alvarez said. “Our state looks to WVU for leadership, and faced with the facts, there was no other choice. Our community’s safety and well-being come before everything.”

Gee announced the decision and changes in a letter to the West Virginia University community. 

Please visit WVU Today for more information. 

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