MORGANTOWN, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia University is canceling in-person classes Tuesday, Sept. 8 on its Morgantown campus and moving most of its undergraduate courses online for the next three weeks.
University officials say online classes and university operations will continue as usual Tuesday.
Officials say all undergraduate courses in Morgantown except Health Science courses where students are already in clinical rotation will move online beginning Wednesday, Sept. 9 through Friday, Sept. 25.
This will only affect the Morgantown campus and activities on WVU campuses other than those in Monongalia County will continue as planned, according to the university.
“If any students traveled home for the holiday weekend and have their materials to learn remotely, we ask those students to remain where they are right now,” Dean of Students Corey Farris said. “However, we are strongly advising students who did not travel over the weekend to remain in Morgantown during this time. We have every intention of bringing our students back to campus to resume in-person classes, but that all depends on how our campus community responds in the coming days.”
According to university officials, graduate and professional courses will still be offered in person. No changes will be made to research activities and courses already offered online. Morgantown campus operations will also continue as planned unless otherwise indicated by a supervisor.
University officials say the temporary move to online courses is a direct response to a recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases among students on the Morgantown campus and concern for the possibility of increased cases following several reports of parties over the weekend.
“This pause in face-to-face undergraduate instruction will give us time to monitor the steadily climbing cases of COVID-19,” Dr. Jeffrey Coben, associate vice president of health affairs and dean of the School of Public Health, said. “There is increasing evidence that crowded indoor gatherings, such as those that occurred over the weekend, can serve as super-spreader events.”
Sunday, Sept 6, WVU placed 29 students on immediate interim suspension amid ongoing COVID-19 investigations and additional sanctions are pending. These actions followed similar announcements from the university Sept. 2 and 3, Aug. 20 and 26.
WVU officials say they are working to identify others attending large off-campus gatherings and will respond quickly to bring charges against students they find violating the Student Code of Conduct. The university says it is also working with local officials to see what other measures could be implemented for those not following the rules.
If conditions allow, university officials say they plan to return to in-person courses Monday, Sept. 28. The university will reevaluate the situation Wednesday, Sept. 23 to make the decision.
University officials say they will suspend and reduce the number of in-person recreational activities as well as further limit capacity at events planned on campus. However, more activities will be offered virtually.
On-campus students are asked to avoid leaving the Morgantown campus area except under emergency circumstances and off-campus students are asked not to visit campus and stay in their Morgantown area residence except when necessary until further notice, according to university officials.
More information on the university’s COVID-19 updates is available at WVU’s Return to Campus website.