Who Do I Contact?

If you have questions, please email coronavirus_RO@mail.wvu.edu

Essential personnel

The lead laboratory investigator should designate essential personnel (and a backup) who will be responsible for the care and maintenance of the critical laboratory needs (animals, cell lines, instrumentation, specimens or other research tools that must be maintained or serviced). This list should be shared with department/unit administration.

Graduate Research Assistants  

Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) like other GA positions will need to continue working remotely according to the terms of their appointment letter to be paid under their assignments. GRAs, funded on federal grants are expected to work on the funded project(s). If GRAs travel over spring break, the same travel rules apply to them as for all students. Given the global scope, we can expect that funding agencies are going to be flexible about deliverables, the priority has to be on minimizing transmission in the community. 

Summary of WVU’s response to the coronavirus crisis relevant to graduate and professional students:

  • On-campus classes will resume in an online format on Monday, March 30.
    Students are encouraged to not travel back to Morgantown unless necessary to help limit the spread of the virus.
  • Campus will be largely closed by the end of the day, Friday, March 20.

Graduate assistants (GAs):

  • GAs 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 and be paid through the end of the spring semester (check letters of appointment to determine final dates).

Graduate student workers (hourly workers):

  • Graduate student workers should communicate with their supervisors to determine if there is work that they can complete remotely.

Research labs:

  • Summary of a message from Fred King, Vice President for Research: Research faculty has been asked to reduce their lab work to the absolute minimum by the close of business on Thursday, March 19. In addition, researchers (including graduate research assistants) should NOT be using their offices for work that can be conducted elsewhere. In rare exceptions, waivers will be granted for high-priority activities. Waivers need to be requested by faculty and authorized in writing by VPR King. Concerns or questions should be sent to coronavirus_RO@mail.wvu.edu.
  • Additional recommendations for Health Sciences Center clinical research were issued May 8. 

Access to offices, computer labs, etc.:

  • Graduate students may briefly visit their offices or other locations to pick up needed materials for working and studying from home.
  • Computer labs, libraries, and other campus areas will not be available for graduate student use.
  • Graduate students should not plan to work or study on campus.

Thesis and dissertation defenses and other small group meetings related to student progress:

  • These meetings may take place, but only through remote access to avoid person-to-person contact. The Graduate/Professional Catalog allows remote participation in defenses with Dean’s Office approval. The chair of a thesis or dissertation committee planning a defense with remote participation should email the appropriate Dean’s Office administrator to describe the plan for the defense and to request approval. Dissertation defenses should continue to be posted to the University calendar, with an added comment that community members who wish to observe the defense should contact the committee chair to arrange remote access (which can be provided through live streaming, a conference call, or other strategies). Note that faculty and graduate students have access to both Zoom and Microsoft Teams to facilitate meetings with remote participation. Note that ETDs (Electronic Theses and Dissertations) will still be due on May 1 for May graduates.

Students in professional programs or others engaged in practical work:

  • 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.

Pre-registration for fall classes:

  • Please watch for messages from the Office of the Registrar for changes in the dates for fall pre-registration.


  • No decision has yet been made about whether or not commencement ceremonies will be held in May.

Special Emergency Leave

Special emergency leave will be available to all full-time and part-time faculty and staff across the WVU System beginning today (Thursday, March 19). WVU Research Corporation and WVU Innovation Corporation employees also are included as part of the plan. 

Emergency leave will not be available to student employees, federal work study or graduate student assistants (i.e., teaching assistants, research assistants and service assistants), who are encouraged to work with their supervisor to discuss opportunities for remote work.

Group Meetings

Conduct Lab and group meetings via teleconferencing.


Each laboratory lead should create a communications plan for the research group so that everyone is informed and kept aware of developments.


Consider performing an inventory of chemicals, reagents, and laboratory supplies and ordering a 2-3 month supply.  Some of these may be sourced from overseas and could experience supply chain disruption. Additionally, local deliveries of gas cylinders, liquid cryogens, etc. may be curtailed. Be aware that university shipping and receiving channels may not be operating as usual, so make alternative delivery provisions for critically needed items.


FedEx deliveries will go directly to the WVU mail room at Braxton Towers on Evansdale Campus. Braxton Towers is located at 1047 or 356 Evansdale Drive, depending on your GPS. Apparently, the former address was 356 Evansdale Drive, and it was changed recently to 1047 Evansdale Drive. Once you arrive at the loading dock at the location, you will need to call 304-293-4050, and someone will come out to meet you. 

If you are expecting a package, please email ivia.hensley@mail.wvu.edu (see email below) or mark.simpson@mail.wvu.edu or call 304-293-4050.  They will be able to let you know whether your package has arrived at the mail room. 

Chemicals and Other Hazards Inventory

Please double-check that the chemicals and hazards inventory relevant to your research lab is up to date wherever it is posted and/or maintained (and have a copy that you can access easily). Also, make sure that emergency contact information on your lab door signage and that with your unit/college is up to date.

Call forwarding

Turn on call forwarding to a remotely accessible line for your work numbers (office and lab). See instructions here.

Remote Monitoring

You may want to invest in temperature, water leakage sensors and the like for monitoring critical facilities from home.  Those available for residential use can be found locally and are cost effective (purchase of these items is an allowable expense on sponsored funds, if they are tied to the sponsored research). 

Advance Planning for Laboratory Emergencies

Plug vital equipment into functioning emergency outlets. To the degree possible, get emergency supplies in your lab (flashlights, chemical spill cleanup, emergency extension cords, plastic sheeting for leaks etc.) In the unlikely event that you have to deal with an emergency with minimal staff or access to other rooms, you will be better prepared and will have these emergency items on hand for future incidents.

Shared Research Facilities

Shared Research Facilities across campus will not be providing service to the WVU community. SRF staff will hibernate instrumentation until further notice. They will still be available via email to answer questions and assist in future research planning.