COVID-19 University FAQs
Q. Why did WVU decide to suspend in-person classes and move to online instruction for the rest of the semester?
A. It is clear the pace of this pandemic will only continue to grow across the United States. 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.” Our governor has declared a state of emergency and the City of Morgantown has issued an ordinance requesting citizens take all necessary precautions.
We are taking this action to protect our students, faculty, staff and communities.
This decision was not made lightly. However, our highest priority is the safety of our campus and our community. We do realize that it may create a hardship for some students and parents, and we will work quickly to address issues and concerns.
This situation is unprecedented and ever-evolving. We are committed to keeping you informed as developments occur and appreciate your patience and understanding.
Q. What about students who live in residence halls and do not have other housing options or places they can safely go when student housing is shut down?
A. The Office of Student Life is making preparations to house some students who find themselves in that situation, although space will be limited. For more information, go to Housing.
Students who live in off-campus housing should confer with their landlord.
Q. When will I be able to come back to get the belongings I left when I went on spring break?
A. The University will plan a coordinated move-out process from residence halls and the schedule will be communicated when set. We ask that you not try to return to campus to move your items from your residence hall room or apartment at this time. All facilities will be securely locked. If you have any concerns about an item left in your residence, please contact ResLife@mail.wvu.edu.
Q. Will WVU refund tuition or room and board?
A. There will be no tuition refunds. While the modes of delivery have changed, instruction is still being delivered and credit is still being earned.
In response to the devastating effects the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is having on our nation, Congress passed a $2 trillion stimulus package on Friday, March 27. Included in the package were resources to assist higher education institutions and their students. West Virginia University is expecting further guidance from the Department of Education on how those dollars can be used to provide assistance to our students. We anticipate being able to announce a plan by Friday, April 3. We know this is a stressful and frustrating time for all; we appreciate your patience as we continue to work through this together.
Q. Why are residence halls closed, but University Apartments (University Place, College Park Apartments, University Park and Vandalia) open when students have been strongly discouraged from returning to Morgantown?
A. West Virginia University is taking a different approach to students returning to WVU residence halls and University Apartments because of the inherent differences between the environments. That does not, however, change the primary recommendation that students not return to Morgantown.
However, if students do, they will have to self-quarantine for 14-day, and University apartments’ environment is better suited to complying with that and other current public health guidelines about protecting yourself and others from the coronavirus.
Additionally, apartment residents have their own kitchens and bathrooms; their own separate sleeping spaces and are accustomed to cleaning their own living spaces.
While WVU has closed the residence halls for the rest of the year (March to May), we are hopeful that students will be able to return to their University apartments before their leases expire.
Q. When will campus reopen?
A. Not this semester. A decision on summer sessions will be made at a later time.
Q. Will students be charged online fees?
A. There will be no additional fees for taking classes online because of this decision.
Q. What if students do not have ready access to the internet, or equipment to do so? Can I return to Morgantown if this is the case?
A. The Provost’s Office has asked professors to consider a variety of methods to deliver instruction, some of which do not necessarily involve the internet.
Some other options include:
- Sometimes you can use your cell phone as a WIFI hotspot.
- There are some options for people for whom cost has been an obstacle to having internet service. Here are a few:
- There is a federal government program to provide a discount on the cost of basic internet connectivity, subject to financial need qualification. Details are available at this link.
- Comcast offers an introductory offer of two months free service that the company serves. Check this link for information.
- Xfinity is making its hotspots available to anyone. For information, visit Xfinity.
- Altice, parent of Suddenlink, is also offering a free 60-day service to its service area. Follow this link for more information.
- Charter also has a offer off two free months: Charter Free Internet offer for 2 months
- AT&T offers open hot-spots, unlimited data to existing customers and $10/month plans to low income families: AT&T COVID-19 response.
- Several carriers are following an agreement with the Federal Communications Commission that providers will waive late fees, not cutoff service for lack of payment, and open hot-spots. Those include Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. Each has slight differences.
- Check with other internet service providers in your area for similar programs.
- If none of these options work, send an email describing your situation to email@example.com.
Q. How will grading be done for this semester?
A. With the shift to distance learning, WVU is implementing changes to some of our academic policies. Below are the highlights:
- The deadline to withdraw from a course with a “W” is now April 24.
- Beginning March 30 through April 24, undergraduate students will be able to apply for HP/P/F grading. High Pass (A, B, or C) and Pass (D) grades do not affect the student’s grade point average (GPA). Students are strongly encouraged to read the complete details on HP/P/F grading before selecting this option. This revised policy applies to undergraduate students only.
- Rather than being suspended, undergraduate students who have below a 2.0 GPA at the end of the Spring 2020 semester will be placed on probation.
- Instructors and students may request relaxed criteria for issuing Incomplete grades.
- For PROMISE scholarship recipients, GPA will not be evaluated as criterion for Fall 2020 scholarship renewal, but 30 credit hours will still be required for renewal.
- For West Virginia Higher Education Grant recipients, GPA will not be evaluated as criterion for Fall 2020 scholarship renewal, but 24 credit hours will still be required for renewal.
- For WV Invests Grant recipients, GPA will not be evaluated as criterion for Fall 2020 scholarship renewal, and community service requirements will be waived for the Spring 2020 semester.
- Undergraduate students under the Academic Common Market or Ohio Reciprocity Agreements will be automatically renewed for Fall 2020.
Students are strongly encouraged to read the complete details about each of these policies online. They should direct their questions to their academic advisor.
Q. Why did the University wait until March 30 to begin alternative delivery?
A. Both the University and faculty need time to develop the processes for the alternative delivery, and the extra week provides that space.
Q: Why was the decision to postpone/cancel May 2020 Commencement made so early?
A. The decision was made now because health experts have advised that it is unlikely for such a large gathering with travel from all over the world to be possible in May. Therefore, we are announcing the alternative plan for May and ceremony in December so our students and their families will have ample time to plan accordingly for travel.
Q: I already bought my regalia. Can I return it and get a refund if I cannot participate in December?
A. You may wish to keep your regalia if you plan to participate in the virtual ceremony in May and/or the ceremony in December. We are planning several ways for you to interact via social media during the virtual ceremony and you may want to wear your regalia to post photos, videos, etc. We also hope that you are able to participate in the December ceremony at the Coliseum.
However, if you know that you will not be able to participate and purchased your regalia through Herff Jones, please follow this link to request your Herff Jones ship-to-store regalia order be rerouted to your permanent address, or for information on returns.
If you purchased your regalia through another source, please reach out to them for their return policy.
Q: Will masters’ candidates be hooded?
A. We are still working on the specific details of the December ceremony.
Q: Will diplomas be mailed out as scheduled?
A. Yes, diplomas will be mailed to your permanent address on file.
Q: When is the virtual ceremony?
A. May 16, 2020 at Time TBD. Updates will be posted to the graduation website when details are finalized. Updates will also be sent to students’ MIX email accounts within the next 2 weeks.
Q: How do we get our honor cords if we’re not on campus?
A. We are currently working through how honor cords and additional recognitions will be managed.
Q: Are there any plans to celebrate the Order of Augusta/Foundation Outstanding Seniors?
A. We are still exploring ways to honor these students and their amazing achievements
Q: Are there any plans for the Honors College to reschedule the Medallion Ceremony?
A. We are still considering ways to honor these students and their amazing achievements.
Q: What about the Lavender Celebration or the International Celebration? Any plans to reschedule?
A. We are exploring ways to honor each of these special groups.
Q: Will there be a program listing names of May grads?
A. We are still evaluating our options regarding the program.
Q: Why couldn’t the ceremony take place in the summer?
A. Given the fluidity and uncertainty of our current public health situation we wanted to choose celebration dates that we were confident could be carried out
Q. I'm still looking for a job post-graduation. Is Career Services still available?
A. Yes. Career Services has made arrangements to continue its full array of career-related services to students and alumni utilizing several different virtual applications. Check your MIX email for information about the updated process. Student requests are immediately distributed to the appropriate career specialist.
Q. What about research activity?
A. Researchers are being required to drive down their lab work to absolute minimal presence. There are specific guidelines for labs and research. Specific questions should be addressed to coronavirus_RO@mail.wvu.edu.
Q. How will advising take place?
A. Advising will continue via telephone and e-mail as they are the more common communication channels for advising. In addition, officials are determining which platform will work best and will be communicated once finalized. Further questions should go to Freddie McDonald, Frederick.firstname.lastname@example.org, or Joe Seiaman, email@example.com.
Q. When will students be able to register for the fall semester?
A. Fall registration has been postponed two weeks and students have been a assigned a new date to their time ticket. They can register any time after that date. Each student either has, or will, receive an email to their MIX account with their individualized registration date, which correlates to a student’s classification or priority status.
Registration Dates and information about time ticketing including frequently asked questions can be found here.
Note that you will be unable to register for more than one section of the same course. If you are attempting to register for multiple sections of the same course, a section that is equivalent or cross listed, you will receive the error, "Duplicate Course with Section [CRN]". A course override will need to be given by the department to allow for a second registration of the same course.
Q. Will student employees still be able to work?
A. There will be limited opportunities for remote work for students. Please contact your supervisor for details.
Students in professional programs and other students involved in practical work off campus (internships, practica, traineeships, etc.) should check with their faculty supervisors as well as their on-site supervisors concerning the continuation of their activities.
Q. Will graduate students still be able to work?
A. Graduate Assistants should work with their supervisors to develop a plan for remote work.
GAs will not be allowed to work on campus without Research Office or Provost’s Office approval. Some GAs may need to be on campus to assist with research lab maintenance or undergraduate instruction. These GAs’ faculty supervisors must request approval through their department chair, who will forward the request to the Dean’s Office, and then to the Research/Provost Office.
In addition to those GAs who have worked during spring break according to their letter of appointment, all GAs should resume working (remotely) on Monday, March 23.
GAs will continue to work remotely and be paid through the end of spring semester (check letters of appointment to determine final dates).
Contact the Office of Graduate Education and Life (GradEd@mail.wvu.edu, 304-293-7173) with questions or requests for assistance specific to graduate education.
Q. How will student teaching assignments be handled?
A. All students completing field placement/practicum hours (or hours prior to their clinical, full-time student teaching or school counseling internship) will not attend their school placements for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester.
Full-time student teachers and school counselor candidates (in their clinical placements) will continue remote/virtual collaboration with their mentor teachers/counselors for instruction and support of their students for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. Student teachers and school counselor candidates will maintain online access, where possible, to communicate with their teacher and counselor mentors to maintain instruction and/or services as provided by each school. This will look different for each school building.
These adjustments to field and clinical experiences will not impact students’ successful completion of their clinical placements nor their certification or graduation eligibility. Updates on the edTPA and other standardized testing teacher licensing requirements will be released soon.
Any CIR or TIR (Counselor or Teacher in Residence) positions are technically positions of the county and must follow the county calendar as they are contracted.
Q. How will classes be conducted that cannot be taught remotely, such as labs, clinicals or some College of Creative Arts classes?
A. The Office of the Provost is working to determine the delivery of courses and/or labs that absolutely cannot be moved to a virtual delivery format. We will communicate next steps as soon as possible. Please stay in touch with your course or lab instructor. The Health Sciences Center team is developing guidelines for their students.
Q. Will the PRT be running?
A. No. University bus shuttles will replace PRT service during this time. They will run Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on a continuous loop between the Mountainlair, Towers and Mountaineer Station. Bus service also will be available through Mountain Line; however, some routes also have adjusted schedules and hours of service.
Q. Will summer study abroad programs be affected?
A. Yes. The nine study abroad trips planned for June and July have been canceled. Since registration was halted in mid-February, only 75 students were affected. Earlier, 14 study abroad trips scheduled to begin in May were canceled.
Q. Will student recruitment events still go on as planned?
A. Decide WVU Days (March 28 and April 4) have been canceled and we are working on a virtual experience for April 4. All tours have been suspended until further notice, but we are arranging personal phone calls and appointments via technology. Regional recruiter travel also has been suspended until further notice.
Q. I’ve registered for community service in iServe, but won’t be on campus then. How to I let them know?
A. In iServe, go to your profile menu, click “Need Responses,” which will bring up a list of needs you have responded to. Find the need you will miss, click on the dropdown menu to “options,” then click “unregister.”
Also, we recommend that even if you are available to fill the need, that you contact the organization to make sure it is still scheduled to occur.
Q. What is the latest guidance on travel?
A. All University-related international and domestic travel for WVU employees has been suspended until further notice.
All employees or students returning from travel to any international location or from domestic travel to the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, or Louisiana should remain at home and self-quarantine/self-monitor for 14 days prior to returning to work. The only exceptions to this are individuals who can provide documentation that they have tested negative for coronavirus since returning from international or domestic travel.
All employees or students returning from travel to any other location must self-quarantine/self-monitor at home for a period of time. Travelers who have no symptoms and no known exposure to individuals with COVID-19 should remain at home and self-monitor for a minimum of 5 days. If symptoms develop during the five-day period, the traveler should either undergo testing or remain in self-quarantine for a full 14 days.
Student-workers and employees must also notify their supervisor of their travel and self-quarantine / self-monitor status.
All employees who have traveled should contact WVU Medical Management at MedicalManagement@mail.wvu.edu at 304-293-5700 ext. 8 to develop a return-to-work plan tailored to their specific situation before resuming normal work activities (on campus or via an alternative work arrangement).
Q. What is involved in self-monitoring?
A. Remain at home. Do not attend any gatherings and avoid public places until 14 days after leaving the hotspot or coming in contact with the symptomatic individual.
Other guidelines include:
- Report any symptoms of COVID-19 immediately to your medical provider – preferably by calling to get advice and instructions.
- Limit contact as much as possible, including those with whom you live.
- Wash your hands with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand rubs after coughing or sneezing or throwing a used tissue in the garbage.
- Avoid sharing household items, e.g. drinking glasses, towels, eating utensils, bedding or any other items until you are no longer asked to self-monitor.
- Keep your surroundings clean. While the virus is not spread very well from contact with soiled household surfaces, try to clean surfaces that you share with others, such as doorknobs, telephones, and bathroom surfaces (or any other object that you sneeze or cough on), with a standard household disinfectant wipe. Wash your hands after cleaning the area.
- Monitor yourself for symptoms at least daily including measuring your temperature. Any symptoms of COVID-19 should be reported to your physician.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with your upper sleeve or a tissue. Never cough in the direction of someone else.
Q. What can I do to keep from getting COVID-19?
A. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following:
- Monitor your health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning to the United States.
- If you were on a cruise, and a case of COVID-19 was reported on your ship, stay home during these 14 days and practice social distancing.
- Stay home if you feel sick with fever, cough or have trouble breathing.
- If you believe you need medical care, seek medical advice by first calling ahead before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room.
- Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Do not travel while sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. Immediately discard the tissue.
- Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 percent to 95 percent alcohol.
Q. Is WVU planning to cancel any events, either athletic or otherwise? And what about gatherings on campus, including special events etc.?
A. To ensure social distancing, all on-campus events and programs, including all athletic competitions, have been canceled through the end of the semester.
WVU Medicine has suspended catering services through April 30.
Q. Is Filelocker a viable tool for sharing instruction materials?
A. No. At WVU, the intended use of FileLocker is for uploading files containing sensitive data. FileLocker is not intended for large and mass document uploads. In fact, the University’s servers cannot handle this type of traffic and will crash. As a result, faculty, staff and students are asked to avoid using FileLocker except for the transmission of sensitive data.
Faculty who want to deliver course content and other large files to students should instead use Google Drive as connected with their university-issued MIX account for delivering or receiving content, or other current instructional tools as they shift to online teaching. Students also have access to Google services. Staff should use OneDrive and Teams for sharing large files with coworkers.
Shifting all teaching and learning to online environments will stress WVU systems and services in unanticipated ways, and Information Technology Services appreciates your understanding as we work toward solutions. Direct questions to the ITS Service Desk at 304-293-4444.
Q. Should I cancel meetings?
A. All meetings should be held by phone or on the web. Microsoft Teams and ZOOM are available for use. Check Information Technology Services for details.
Q. What is “social distancing?”
A. Limiting exposure to crowds and small meeting spaces.
Cover coughs and sneezes. If you cough or sneeze, cover it with a tissue or the bend of your elbow. Do not use your hands. Dispose of the tissue in the nearest waste receptacle. If other meeting participants are coughing or sneezing, stay at least 6 feet away from them.
If you’re sick, stay home. Most importantly, don’t try to ‘soldier on’ and go to work when you are sick. If you don’t feel well, your meeting likely won’t be productive. You also run the risk of getting other meeting participants sick, too.
For other questions not covered here, please contact the appropriate department, your supervisor or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.