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.
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. A preview can be found below:
Megan Stemple always thought her last year at West Virginia University would be unforgettable. And it was. Stemple, now an obstetrics and gynecology resident physician, envisioned a huge Match Day celebration. “Match Day is a huge event for medical students, and the majority would say even more symbolic than graduation,” Stemple said. “We open envelopes that reveal our future jobs and locations in front of our classmates and family members. I was so looking forward to being surrounded by my family and classmates on this important day.”
To read the full story, visit WVU Magazine.