March 5: WVU launches coronavirus.wvu.edu to house information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as University updates.

March 10: President Gee announces a plan to mitigate the spread. There were no confirmed cases in West Virginia, but as Gee wrote, “Our highest priority is always the safety and well-being of our faculty, staff, students and community.” Gee announced the University would suspend classes the week of March 23-27, and beginning March 30, class instruction would be delivered remotely via online or other alternative learning options.

March 12: Officials offer additional guidance for instructors to transition to online learning. Gatherings of 100 or more were postponed. Faculty and staff were asked to reduce in-person meetings, and University-related travel, both international and domestic, was suspended.

March 17: WVU Medicine establishes five drive-through collection points in West Virginia — Morgantown, Parkersburg, Bridgeport, Wheeling and Martinsburg — to collect specimens from pre-screened patients to test for COVID-19. Testing was supported by Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp.

March 18: It is announced that classes would be held online for the remainder of the semester in effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. All employees, except those needed to keep certain operations running, were told to work from home. Less than a week later, on March 24, Gov. Jim Justice issues a stay at home order, directing all West Virginia residents to stay at home and limit movements outside their homes beyond essential needs.

March 19: President Gee announces WVU would hold a “virtual” commencement experience in May and an in-person ceremony in December.

April 1: Gov. Justice names WVU’s Dr. Clay Marsh as the “Coronavirus Czar,” calling on him as an expert and leader in the state’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

April 8: President Gee announces no in-person classes through summer and the cancellation of all events and camps through June 30.

April 17: WVU announces it expects $20.2 million from the federal stimulus package enacted to provide significant relief to higher education. The first installment of approximately $10 million provides emergency assistance to help students with financial need stemming from COVID-19-related disruption of campus operations, including food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare and childcare expenses.

May 1: WVU announces plans to bring students back to its three campuses in the fall.

May 5: The WVU community raises more than $500,000 on #GivingTuesdayNow for a WVU Foundation emergency fund to help students affected by COVID-19.

May 6: WVU announces procedure for students to retrieve belongings from residence halls.

May 8: Temporary furlough is announced, affecting 875 staff employees, as part of cost-saving efforts in response to the pandemic. Employees are expected to be able to return to work no later than the end of July.

May 11: The WVU Foundation launches special fundraising effort for emergency scholarship funds to WVU students who have lost their financial support to attend college.

June 3: Return-to-campus plans are announced. Find out more at wvu.edu/return-to-campus.

June 8: WVU provost discusses academic plans for fall return.

July 7: WVU outlines health and safety protocols for the Return to Campus.

July 20: Mountaineers begin basketball activities.

Aug. 3: WVU launches dashboard to track campus COVID-19 data.

Aug. 17: WVU reinforces seriousness of following COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

Aug. 31: WVU provides additional COVID-19 testing information.

Sept. 4: WVU adds isolation, quarantine and third-party testing data to COVID-19 dashboard.

Sept. 7: WVU moves undergraduate classes online through Sept. 25 on Morgantown campus, reduces in-person activities.

Sept. 18: WVU adapts and plans for the future amid COVID-19 response.

Sept. 24: Hodder, WVU team to lead $1.5 million, multi-state data project to examine COVID-19 outcomes, treatments.

Sept. 30: WVU incorporates student-athletes, Athletics staff testing data into COVID-19 dashboard.

Oct. 19: WVU will offer additional in-person instruction this spring. 

Oct. 27: WVU to shift COVID-19 testing, reporting schedule during holidays.

Nov. 2: Hodder and WV team receive $4.78 million NIH RADX grant to scale up COVID-19 testing in West Virginia communities.

Nov. 4: WVU announces details on residence hall return and COVID-19 testing for spring semester.

Nov. 11: WVU innovation allows patient simulation program to continue through COVID-19.

Nov. 17: WVU to shift undergraduate classes online ahead of holiday break, end of fall semester.

Dec. 7: WVU, CDC finalize mask observation study results with plans to continue in the spring.

Dec. 8: It’s in the water: WVU scientists turning No. 2 into a No. 1 predictor of COVID-19 infections.


Jan. 4: WVU Medicine officials answer frequently asked questions about the COVID vaccine.

Jan. 5: WVU Medicine OB/GYN gives insight into COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy.

Jan. 11: WVU provides updates ahead of spring semester, which begins Jan. 19.

Jan. 15: WVU Pharmacy professor drives effort to administer COVID-19 vaccine to West Virginia teachers.

Feb. 18: WVU provides COVID-19 updates on Rec Center, Commencement and more. 

Feb. 19: West Virginia University, CDC relaunch mask observation study

Feb. 20: WVU confirms presence of COVID-19 variant in community. 

Feb. 20: Variants spur WVU scientists to study, mitigate strain outbreaks

March 1: WVU to continue distributing emergency CARES grants to students.

March 2: WVU experts encourage healthcare providers, institutions to build trust with communities of color to improve COVID-19 vaccination rates.

March 3: WV Prevention Research Center initiatives address COVID-19 pandemic.

March 4: Doubling up on masks doubles down on protection, WVU experiment confirms.

March 5: WVU adjusts amid pandemic-related impacts, plans for the future.

March 10: Lessons from the pandemic: What WVU has learned, accomplished and shared in the year of COVID-19.

March 22: WVU Chambers College data scientists propel West Virginia’s acclaimed vaccine strategy with digital inventory management system.

March 25: Making the pieces fit: How WVU, Marshall and the state of West Virginia detect new COVID-19 variants

March 29: Private support aids efforts to control, contain COVID-19 by studying variants.

April 13: WVU pauses Johnson & Johnson vaccinations based on joint CDC and FDA recommendation. 

April 22: WVU to extend test optional admissions due to impacts of COVID-19.

April 27: West Virginia’s COVID-19 response provides blueprint to limit extreme weather threats

April 30: WVU to resume offering Johnson & Johnson vaccine, shifting COVID-19 operations as semester comes to a close. 

May 11: ‘I’ve cared for children’ hospitalized with COVID-19: WVU pediatrician urges youth to get vaccinated.

May 18: WVU researchers find disparities among COVID-19 testing, positivity rates in Black communities and communities with food insecurity. 

May 25: WVU updates mask wearing and out-of-state travel guidance for fully vaccinated individuals. 

June 4: Dip your toe – or dive right in: WVU psychologists spill advice on reentering the world post-COVID.

June 8: WVU outlines employee expectations for the fall semester.

June 14: Scholarship initiative provides $389K to students affected by pandemic.

June 15: WVU to fully reopen campuses for fall 2021 semester. 

June 17: WVU to offer students, employees incentives for COVID-19 vaccine verification

June 22: Death and religion: ‘Excess deaths’ sweep through Amish and Mennonite communities during COVID-19 pandemic. 

July 6: Personal desire, not shaming, should serve as motivator to arise from the unhealthy pits of COVID

July 21: COVID-19 shapes future of accessibility services at WVU. 

July 26: WVU provides guidance on COVID-19 testing requirements ahead of fall semester.

Aug. 3: WVU provides additional guidance for fall 2021, plans Return to Campus Conversation. 

Aug. 9: WVU to distribute 2021-22 emergency grants to students

The Way Forward

A June 2020 article by WVU Magazine shares vignettes from students, faculty and staff about how they navigated the historic Spring 2020 semester at West Virginia University. To read the full story, visit WVU Magazine