Announcements

: In-person class update

West Virginia University will resume in-person undergraduate classes on the Morgantown campus Monday, Sept. 28.

“The data drove our decision and I am so delighted all indications are we can safely return to in-person instruction,” President Gordon Gee said.

The same percentage of courses will be conducted in-person as when WVU initially began the semester. Those students with in-person instruction should resume their schedules on Monday, Sept. 28.

“We are pleased that the measures we’ve taken will allow us to bring students back to the classrooms,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed said. “Now we can move forward with our original plan for delivering high-quality instruction, regardless of modality, while also giving our students an on-campus experience.”

In-person instruction for undergraduate students was canceled and a temporary shift to online learning was announced Sept. 7 in response to an increase in positive cases in students, as well as concern about a potential spike in cases following several reports of parties held over the Labor Day holiday weekend where groups should have been in quarantine.

The University and Monongalia County health experts have closely monitored a number of factors during the two-week pause. Positive COVID-19 tests in the county are trending down, as is the Rt rate.

“The student daily positive case numbers are down, including those tests conducted outside the WVU system,” Dr. Jeffrey Coben, associate vice president of health affairs and dean of the School of Public Health, said. “Additionally, we have seen consistent declines in student quarantine and isolation cases.”

Read the full announcement on WVUToday. 

: Message from Dean Coben

I’m grateful for the many of you who have been doing your part to ensure our safe return to campus. This includes adhering to the many “Absolute Must-Knows” and, thus, leading by example as a future public health professional.

As we embark on another weekend in Morgantown, it’s a good time to be reminded of a few important details, some of which have been introduced or updated earlier this week:

As I’ve said before, the entire world now understands the important role of public health in all that we do. This pandemic has amplified a core fundamental of our discipline: good health is not simply a matter of choice or genetics. Rather, it is impacted by the conditions in which people live, work and play.

To our students: you have made the astute choice to dedicate yourselves to improving those conditions – and now, more than ever, it is our opportunity to “meet the moment” by helping do just that: improve those conditions by helping to ensure the safety of our own community, right here on campus and in Morgantown.

Be well and stay safe.

Dean Coben

/ Jeffrey H. Coben, MD 

Associate Vice President for Health Affairs

Dean, School of Public Health

West Virginia University

: In-Person Class Update

Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in students, in-person classes will be canceled Tuesday, Sept. 8. Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 9, the majority of in-person undergraduate courses will be taught online for at least two weeks through Sept. 25. Online classes will continue as usual.

The University will re-evaluate the public health situation on Sept. 23 and advise whether on-campus learning will resume. If it is deemed safe to return, on-campus learning will begin again on Sept. 28.

Read the full announcement.

As indicated in President Gee’s letter, the Health Sciences Center academic units would receive additional guidance from their respective deans and/or program directors. Following is an update to help provide clarity as it reinforces some of the University-level details and confirms information specific to the School of Public Health (SPH). 

  • All undergraduate and graduate courses will begin on Aug. 26. While there are some exceptions throughout the University (e.g., clinical courses and labs), all SPH courses, including the online MHA program, will begin on Aug. 26.
  • Freshmen courses will be held in-person or, when necessary, via hybrid mode. Upper-division undergraduate courses will be transitioned to online or hybrid delivery whenever possible. Please continue to monitor your email and the Return to Campus site for additional updates. 
    • Note: Learn more here about "upper-division" courses and WVU's process for determining which courses were appropriate to move online. 
  • Professional Field Experience course will be delivered virtually, with some exceptions. Community Partners are working to develop opportunities that can be completed off-site or virtually. There will be a small number of community partners who can host students for in-person service hours while maintaining all safety guidelines; those placements will be made on an individual basis in coordination with the SPH director of practice and service learning.
  • New Student Orientation for graduate students will be held virtually on Aug. 13-14. The SPH Office of Academic and Student Affairs is finalizing details, and will continue to communicate information to incoming graduate students and faculty. 
  • All instruction for the fall semester will be completed online following Thanksgiving Break. As previously announced, classes will be held through Tuesday, Nov. 24. Students will not return to campus following Thanksgiving break. One week of online instruction will follow (Nov. 30-Dec.4), with finals conducted online Dec. 7-11.

Please be sure to tune into the remaining Return to Campus Conversations; the next one will be held Thursday, Aug. 13, at 10 a.m. Visit the Return to Campus site to see previously recorded sessions, FAQs and other helpful resources.

While no one ever imagined 2020 to turn out like it has, the SPH is deeply grateful for everyone's patience, flexibility and collaboration as we all work together to provide our students with the best – and safest – learning experience possible. 

: Fall 2020 Schedule: Important updates and reminders

As the University continues to make adjustments to the modality of courses for the fall semester due to necessary precautions in response to COVID-19, be sure to frequently reference the Return to Campus website for the most up-to-date information. 

Additionally, please check your STAR account to review your schedule for any possible changes.

Note the schedule reflects three types of courses.

  • Face-to-face courses are listed with designated location, day(s) and time.
  • Online asynchronous courses typically appear with no location, day(s) or time listed.
  • Online synchronous courses usually include day(s) and time during which the course will convene online.

You are encouraged to reach out to your instructors to inquire about the delivery mode for their courses and review the updated definitions of these modalities in the WVU catalog.

The following two public health courses have been canceled for the fall:

  • PUBH 334: Emergency Preparedness
  • PUBH 325: Injury Prevention

If you were registered for either of these classes, please contact Sarah Opatz, SPH developmental advising specialist, as soon as possible. The rosters for those classes are no longer available, so you must reach out to her to make changes to your schedule.

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

West Virginia University leaders Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Rob Alsop and Drs. Clay Marsh and Jeff Coben today (July 7) sent a letter to the campus community outlining safety procedures for students’ return to campus scheduled for Aug. 19.

Read the letter.

: WVU issues additional guidance related to COVID-19 outbreak

WVU continues to work with the Monongalia County Health Department to investigate new cases of COVID-19 that have occurred in the past several days. Since testing results and contact tracing may require additional time to complete, we provide the following interim guidance to address situations that may arise while these investigations continue.

  • Students or employees who are diagnosed with COVID-19 should contact their primary care provider and (for students) WVU Student Health, to receive guidance and additional health information. Employees should also contact WVU Medical Management. These individuals should wear face coverings at all times, self-isolate and follow the guidance provided by their healthcare professional.

  • Until a formal case investigation and contact tracing can be completed, all those who are known or suspected to have been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 should undergo a 14-day self-quarantine/self-monitoring period. In these situations close contact includes:

  • Having been within 6 feet of someone diagnosed with COVID-19 for a period of at least 15 minutes in any environment, regardless of the use of face coverings or masks; or

  • Having been in a closed indoor space with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 for a period of at least 15 minutes, regardless of the use of face coverings or masks

  • Contacts of contacts (e.g., secondary contacts), or brief contacts with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 are generally not felt to be at high risk of infection. Therefore, unless the health department identifies that a specific outbreak situation warrants further action, the University will not seek to identify casual contacts or secondary contacts.  Units may advise employees and students to monitor their own health for the development of any symptoms, but quarantine procedures are not required for these types of contacts. 

  • Individuals who meet the above criteria for close contacts may be released from quarantine if they have no symptoms for a 14-day period or if they have no symptoms for a period of 7-days and receive a negative test result from COVID-19 testing. Employees and students should follow the procedures on our website for assistance in seeking testing:  https://coronavirus.wvu.edu/who-do-i-contact/

  • Additionally, all Units and supervisors should ensure that the privacy and confidentiality of all students and employees is maintained during any efforts to identify potential close contacts.

RELATED

: WVU announces plans for return to campus for fall semester, communication timeline released

Students will return to West Virginia University’s three campuses to begin fall classes on Wednesday, Aug. 19, the University announced Wednesday (June 3).

Students will remain on campus, with no fall break, through Nov. 24, then depart for Thanksgiving Break, not returning to campus for the rest of the fall semester. There will be one week of online instruction following Thanksgiving Break, with finals also conducted online.

For the full story, visit WVUToday.

For additional Return to Campus details and resources, visit: wvu.edu/return-to-campus.

If you have a question and can't find an answer under Common Questions on the Return to Campus website, then please email returntocampus@mail.wvu.edu

 

Health Sciences community encouraged to complete Building Access Log and wear masks

School of Public Health faculty and staff no longer need to inform Crystal Rhodes when they visit the HSC in person.

To try and minimize the potential spread of COVID-19, Health Sciences leadership is asking all faculty, staff and students to document their building access via the Building Access Log form as well as wear proper personal protective equipment, such as a mask or face covering. 

ICYMI: WVU issues updated travel guidelines for campus community

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, all University-related international travel remains prohibited and domestic business travel for WVU employees will be extremely limited and require prior approval by the unit’s vice president or the dean of the college/school.
 
Individuals returning to the WVU campus from any location outside of West Virginia are subject to a 5-day
self-quarantine/self-monitoring period.

Reminder: Portal and most WVU applications will be offline May 22-24

Portal, MAP, eCampus, STAR and most other WVU services will be unavailable from 8 p.m. Friday, May 22 through noon on Sunday, May 24 while electrical equipment is replaced in the One Waterfront Place Data Center.

: COVID-19 Testing and Campus Update

As the University begins to increase some on-campus research and clinical activities, particularly at the Health Sciences Center, it is important to remember that current COVID-19 testing capacity remains limited and needs to be managed carefully by those overseeing testing facilities.

The testing of symptomatic individuals, pre-operative cases, and other groups (e.g., nursing homes, assisted living and daycare facilities) is a high priority. At the current time, testing is not being offered to asymptomatic individuals, or those not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

Students and others who are returning to Monongalia County from any location outside of West Virginia are subject to a 14-day self-quarantine/self-monitoring period. State and local public health authorities have established these requirements, and this information is included on the University's coronavirus website. ​In alignment with the Governor's reopening plan, these requirements may be modified in the near future.  

Please be advised that Monongalia County continues to limit the size of gatherings to no more than five (5) individuals. Please continue to practice social distancing guidelines including staying six (6) feet apart from other people, wear a face covering and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.

West Virginia University students may return to campus to collect their belongings from residence halls and to complete the check-out process beginning May 18 and continuing through June 6. 

The move-out process was developed with guidance from public health officials and medical professionals to limit contact and expedite the process. Increased cleaning of public spaces and high-touch items, including any available moving carts, will take place throughout the day. 

Residents must schedule a time for their move-out to prioritize the health and safety of our students and staff; however, if residents experience COVID-19 symptoms in the days before their scheduled time slot, they must notify reslife@mail.wvu.edu. 

Scheduling process:

  • Registration must be completed at least 48 hours prior to arrival. Directions for registration will be emailed to residents.
  • Time slots are available Monday-Saturday with the exception of Memorial Day Weekend: May 23-25. 

Health and safety measures:

  • Personal protection equipment is required in all public areas. Residents and helpers should bring a mask and gloves. The CDC has guidelines on cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Suitemates/roommates cannot select the same time slot.

Onsite move-out process:

  • Only one family member/support person may accompany the resident into the building to maintain the highest possible level of health and safety.
  • WVU will not provide assistance in moving items between student rooms and personal vehicles.
  • Buildings will be minimally staffed; staff will assist with monitoring and controlling building access and managing supplies.

Additional information regarding the move-out process is available at go.wvu.edu/register-for-2020-spring-move-out. 

Separate guidance is available for students planning a move-out from an off-campus apartment 

Move-out information for University Apartments, including College Park, University Park, University Place and Vandalia, will be provided at a later date. 

As West Virginia begins to lessen restrictions due to COVID-19 and as WVU Medicine ramps up clinical operations, please know that WVU Health Sciences Center academic faculty and staff are expected to follow the current guidance set forth by the University. This includes the continuation of telecommuting for faculty and staff as well as the delivery of student instruction remotely.

Over the next few weeks, the WVU Health Sciences Center may resume ​some off-site clinical student experiences, limited pre-approved on-site educational/research activities and the ​expansion of our dental and physical therapy services. However, before any plans are implemented, the appropriate resources must be in place. It is important to emphasize that all of these efforts will take significant coordination across the WVU Health Sciences Center schools and support units. Please be mindful of our interconnectedness and to the guidance that is being issued.

Moving forward, please know that efforts will be made to notify you in advance of any significant changes to the current guidance so you can plan accordingly. Our primary concern is for the safety and wellbeing of our faculty, staff and students. While we navigate this sea of change, your cooperation and patience is greatly appreciated.

Please direct any questions or concerns regarding resuming operations to the Health Sciences Incident Command at HSIC@hsc.wvu.edu.

Academic Update

Revised final exams schedule for Spring 2020 semester now available

Due to the University’s transition of all course delivery to distance learning platforms, the Offices of the Provost and the University Registrar have released a revised schedule for Spring 2020 final exams. The revised schedule is for all WVU-Morgantown undergraduate courses.

The revised schedule was created to manage the load on eCampus as well as to minimize student conflicts arising from having multiple exams during the same time slot. The new schedule is available the WVU Registrar’s website and is searchable by course name. All undergraduate students on the Morgantown campuses should review the schedule and make note of the new exam times.

Important details to keep in mind:

  • Final Exams will run Friday, May 1, through Sunday, May 10.
  • There will be exams scheduled on Saturdays – May 2 and May 9.
  • Sunday, May 3, and Sunday, May 10, are dedicated for make-up exams only.
  • Instruction in all undergraduate courses originally scheduled for face-to-face delivery ends on April 30.
  • Not all courses have scheduled final exam times so they may not appear in this schedule.
  • To accommodate large course sections and to distribute system load, the revised schedule includes “lockdown” timeslots every day (except Sundays) 7:30 – 10:30 p.m. eCampus will be closed to all other courses during these “lockdown” timeslots.
  • An additional April 23 lockdown will occur for some math common exams from 7:30 – 10:30 p.m. eCampus will be closed to all other courses during this “lockdown” timeslot.
  • Course exams that have been moved to the “lockdown” timeslots are more likely to have students with conflicts than in the rest of the schedule.
  • Instructors and students should work together to identify any scheduling conflicts and arrange make-up exams. Students who cannot resolve a particular scheduling conflict with their instructors should contact their dean's office for assistance.
  • Final grades will be due at noon on Wednesday, May 13. Grades should be available to students when processing is completed on Friday, May 15. 

Students should direct questions about their final exams to course instructors. 

Additional information for Faculty and Staff is available here

WVU students testing positive for COVID-19 confirmed

The Monongalia County Health Department and West Virginia University were notified today (April 8) that more than a dozen WVU students have tested positive for novel coronavirus COVID-19. 

Although investigations and contact tracing are ongoing, it is believed 14 students returned to private, off-campus residences upon returning to Morgantown. As a reminder, WVU campuses have been closed and access to buildings has been unavailable since March 20, with limited exceptions. There is no indication that the students have been on campus.

MCHD and WVU have been working in partnership to contain spread of this virus. Local health officials are quickly working to retrace affected students’ movements, and outreach is being made to those with whom the students may have been in close contact.

Students who have tested positive for Covid-19 are encouraged to contact WVU’s Office of Student Life at (304) 293-5611 so that the University can best support the students if they are presenting with symptoms and to ensure our community is safe. 

“We cannot reiterate enough that students need to be taking this virus seriously and follow all of executive orders issued by Gov. Jim Justice as well as health precaution guidelines outlined by our local health officials,” Dean of Students Corey Farris said. “To not do so is putting not only your fellow students’ health at risk, but the health and well-being of our entire Morgantown community.”

Gov. Justice has ordered that:

  • Groups be limited to a maximum of five people;  
  • Citizens stay home, only leaving for essential needs (i.e., grocery shopping and medical needs).
  • Citizens continue to practice good handwashing and other hygienic measures.

WVU’s campuses closed on March 20 and remain closed. The University has maximized the number of employees who are working from home, and alternative instruction for students began Monday, March 30. 

Read the full story here. 

Technology Update 

  • HSC ITS shares information on COVID-19 themed scams: New COVID-19 themed email and text phishing scams are circulating the networks. If you receive an e-mail or text asking you to click a link related to COVID-19 and are not expecting the email, please check with the HSC Help Desk to validate the email.

Health and Wellness Update 

  • Mindfulness program offering free online classes: In effort to support well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, the HSC Mindfulness Program is offering several levels of engagement to enhance relaxation response and resilience — all free of charge.

Important University-wide update

  • No in-person classes through summerWest Virginia University President Gordon Gee sent a letter Wednesday, April 8, to the Mountaineer family announcing no in-person classes through the summer while praising the WVU community's COVID-19 response. The letter also noted measures will continue through June 30 to ensure safety and well-being of students, faculty, staff and community. He highlighted the following University decisions: 

Important University-wide updates

Technology and Academic Resources 

Important University-wide update: WVU health officials update mask guidance

University health officials are now recommending that all employees and students wear face coverings such as bandanas, scarves or homemade masks while in public spaces or when accessing any University building. 

These face coverings may help contain the spread of COVID-19 by reducing droplet spread and reducing face touching. This measure is in addition to maintaining social distancing, frequent hand washing, and other preventive actions.

Technology and Academic Resources 

  • Zoom Security Update 04.05.20: Effective April 5, Zoom is highly encouraging (and mandating for some accounts) that passwords and waiting rooms be turned on by default for all Zoom meetings. These changes are recommended by Zoom to help ensure privacy and security. 
  • HSC ITS shares tips to keep teleconferences, online classes safe: The FBI has shared a warning about teleconferencing and online classroom highjacking threats.
  • Grading policy changes: 
    • Grading policy changes for the current semester allow undergraduate students to opt for pass-fail grades in one or more courses they are currently taking as outlined below: 
      • HP (High Pass = C- or higher); 
      • P (pass with D+, D or D-); or
      • F (Fail)
      • Additional detail on how these grades are calculated is available here
    • If  interested in this option for one or more of your courses, complete the request form, available here, between now and April 24.
    • All submitted forms will be reviewed by the School of Public Health to ensure there are no negative consequences for these decisions.
    • For all academic policy changes, refer to this page
    • Questions? Contact: 
      • Janet Hunt, MPH, assistant dean for program development and operations / E: jhunt@hsc.wvu.edu / Ph: 304-889-2614 (preferred) or 304-889-2614 (cell) 
      • Sarah Opatz, project coordinator / E: sarah.opatz@hsc.wvu.edu / Ph: 304-293-0299 

 

Important reminders and updates for School of Public Health Students

Below you will find a number of useful resources as you transition to an online learning environment. We hope this will serve as an all-inclusive resource, providing links to all the services you might need to thrive for the remainder of the semester.

Academic/Program Updates

  • Grading, Withdrawal and Suspension Policies: With the shift to distance learning, WVU is implementing changes to some of its academic policies. You can find them here. Please review thoroughly. 
  • Registration: Registration dates and information about time ticketing including frequently asked questions can be found here. If you have questions about the registration process, please contact Sarah Opatz
  • Doctoral Defenses and Poster Presentations: To comply with all applicable protocols and directives, academic events are being transitioned into virtual experiences. Please tune in to support your fellow Public Health students as they showcase their hard work:
    • Doctoral Defenses:
    • Undergraduate Poster Presentations: Details TBA.

Technology and Academic Resources 

There are various resources available to help you stay on track. In addition to technology support, WVU also provides additional academic support, including library resources and career services.

Health and Wellness Resources

Adjusting to a new way of living during this global pandemic can be stressful. It’s important to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. Below are resources to help you feel better, no matter if you’re under the weather or feeling overwhelmed.

  • Carruth Center: Psychological services will continue to be provided through telehealth and other online methods.
    • If immediate assistance is needed, the Crisis Text Line is available by texting WVU to 741741 to reach a live, trained counselor. It is free, confidential and 24/7.
    • BeWell with Dr. Jen: For students in health sciences programs, Dr. Jen discusses mental health in a series of blogs and vlogs.
  • Collegiate Recovery: Free weekly activities for all WVU students in recovery and supporters of recovery.
  • The Rack: WVU Student Food Pantry: Provides non-perishable and perishable food items to all WVU students who are in need of assistance. Please visit the linked page above to see its updated hours of operation, effective March 30. 
  • Student Rec Center: Online resources for keeping an active lifestyle while at home.
  • WellWVU: Social distancing resources.
  • WVU Medicine: WVU Medicine Urgent Care is offering virtual video visits at no cost for adults. Patients must be physically located within the state of West Virginia at the time of treatment, due to licensure regulations.

If you have any questions, please reach out to our Office of Academic & Student Affairs team in the School of Public Health. Also, remember to find ways to virtually connect with your classmates and support each other as you go through this experience together.

As soon-to-be public health professionals, we encourage you to be a role model for other members of your community and take all the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your family members.

Please keep in mind to visit coronavirus.wvu.edu for the most current coronavirus information from the University. For updates related to the School of Public Health, visit publichealth.wvu.edu/coronavirus

WVU Gov. Justice names WVU’s Clay Marsh to lead COVID-19 efforts for West Virginia

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice named Clay Marsh, M.D., West Virginia University’s vice president and executive dean for Health Sciences, the state’s COVID-19/Coronavirus Czar during a press conference at the Capitol Complex in Charleston on Thur., March 26. Marsh was asked to take this role, supported by West Virginia University, to coordinate activities related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

As part of this transition, Dean Jeffrey Coben, M.D., who also serves as associate vice president for health affairs, will assume the responsibilities and duties of managing the oversight of the Health Sciences Center.

Read the full announcement

Grading, withdrawal and suspension policies adjusted amid COVID-19 pandemic

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.

Remote Teaching, Learning and Work-from-Home Resources 

Zoom

For those unfamiliar with Zoom, WVU Teaching and Learning Commons has provided a Zoom Help Sheet.

HSC IT Resources 

Additional resources can be found in the 'resources' section of this page, as well as below: 

Library Resources

WVU Library resources be found here, including an Online Chat feature.

HSC-specific resources are located here. If you have questions, feel free to contact the SPH library liaison, Virginia Desouky by emailing Virginia.Desouky@mail.wvu.edu. 

Health and Wellness

WVU Medicine Urgent Care: Video visits 

To help lessen the spread of COVID-19, all WVU Medicine Urgent Care locations are now offering virtual video visits at no cost for adults and children ages 5 and up.

Carruth Center: Telehealth and online delivery of services

The Carruth Center has closed its physical office. Services will continue to be provided through telehealth and other online methods. 

You can still reach them at 304-293-4431 if you have questions or are interested in scheduling services. Other ways to contact them and additional resources:

Commencement

West Virginia University will hold a “virtual commencement experience” for graduates in May, then have an in-person celebration in December.

The plans were announced in a letter and video from President Gordon Gee to the Class of 2020.

“You are truly a special class,” Gee said. “And this experience will be just one of many that will shape you throughout your life. Though the time in which we find ourselves is one of the most challenging our nation has ever faced, we know that our campus, our state and our country will come together again – stronger and more resilient than ever before. After all, we are Mountaineers.”

The online commencement experience is titled Mountaineer Graduation Day and will be held Saturday, May 16.

The event will include ways for graduates to share their celebration with classmates, family and friends, as well as special moments to connect them with the University. More information will be shared soon with candidates and their families.

The University will hold a special commencement ceremony for all May graduates on Saturday, Dec. 19 to recognize and celebrate their achievements. Details will be forthcoming. 

The extraordinary action was taken as part of the University’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world. Last week, the school announced that it would move to alternate delivery of classes for the rest of the spring semester. It had previously delayed a return after spring break.

“No one understands and empathizes with your disappointment more than we do,” Gee said in the letter. “We love and treasure you for all the energy, ideas and joy you bring to our campus. We have watched you take your first steps on campus, find your bearings and blossom into brilliant, young minds who have pursued their dreams with passion and with purpose.

“And that is why we cannot imagine sending you out into the world without a proper celebration,” he added.

MPH Field Practicum

Public health responses at the local, state and federal levels continue to evolve and are unpredictable for the foreseeable future. This may affect those of you enrolled in the MPH Practicum (PUBH 630) scheduled to occur during the summer term (May 13-August 7, 2020). 

At this time, students should continue to plan with potential preceptors to the extent possible. However, keep in mind that many sites and preceptors are working remotely or working to address the imminent demands of the pandemic, thus may not be available for an immediate response. As you connect and develop proposals, be sure to discuss potential tasks you could work on remotely, if needed. 

The Council on Education for Public Health continues to monitor the situation and will issue guidance about allowable Applied Practice Experience modifications beyond the spring 2020 semester. Director of Public Health Practice and Service Learning Audra Hamrick will continue contingency planning for the PUBH 630 class in the event we are still unable to report in-person for practical experiences this summer. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact her directly

Message from Dean Coben

Dear Students and Colleagues:

As many of you have probably learned by now, West Virginia University announced yesterday (March 18) it will not hold in-person classes for the remainder of the semester and will shut down the campus, requiring all employees – except for those needed to keep online operations running and a select few others – to work from home. President Gee outlined many of the specifics in a letter released yesterday. Below are a few reminders and highlights from his message: 

  • For the remainder of the semester, all classes, except some clinical rotations and related programming for certain programs at the Health Sciences Center, will not be conducted in-person and will be delivered in an alternative format beginning March 30.
  • All supervisors are directed to maximize the number of employees who are to work from home, effective no later than Friday, March 20. This is not an option. Please work with your supervisor and HR partner to develop a work plan if you have not done so already.
  • To ensure social distancing, all on-campus events and programs, including all athletic competitions, have been canceled through the end of the semester.
  • The University is still evaluating and will announce on Wednesday, March 25, as to whether holding commencement will be possible. Please check the Commencement website for updates.

If you have any questions related to the access or use of our facilities at the Health Sciences Center, please direct those to Dr. Sarah Woodrum, senior associate dean for administration. For questions related to technology, feel free to contact Jessica White, SPH professional technologist. For questions related to academic programs, student needs or faculty needs, please contact Dr. Linda Alexander, senior associate dean for academic, student and faculty affairs.

The entire world is now beginning to better understand the importance of public health. I am proud of our Mountaineer family and the proactive steps we have taken to contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

As public health professionals, I encourage you to be a role model for other members of your community and take all the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your family members. I urge you to continue to monitor WVU's COVID-19 website and the School of Public Health’s website. Both will continue to be updated as information becomes available.

Sincerely,

Jeff

Jeffrey H. Coben, MD 

Dean, School of Public Health

Associate Vice President for Health Affairs

West Virginia University

WVU will not hold in-person classes this semester, campus shuts down with all work remote

West Virginia University and its divisional campuses in Keyser and Beckley will extend alternative delivery of classes through the rest of the semester in response to the continued threat of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Additionally, all employees – except for those needed to keep online operations running and a select few others – must work from home, and residence halls will remain shuttered.

“It is clear the pace of this pandemic will only continue to grow across the United States,” President Gordon Gee said. “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.’”

The University previously had extended spring break a week, and, effective March 30, ordered almost all classes to move to alternative delivery, primarily online, along with closing residence halls and University apartments, prohibiting students from returning to campus until notified.

As the coronavirus has spread, however, public health officials have suggested the pandemic may last well past the scheduled end of the semester in mid-May, leading the WVU administration to recommend to the Board of Governors that the current plan continue at least through the end of the semester.

The Board unanimously approved the recommendation at a special emergency meeting on Wednesday.

“This was a carefully considered decision, but in the end is the only responsible one in the face of this worldwide pandemic,” Board Chair David Alvarez said. “Our state looks to WVU for leadership, and faced with the facts, there was no other choice. Our community’s safety and well-being come before everything.”

Gee announced the decision and changes in a letter to the West Virginia University community.

The plan for students, faculty and staff includes:

  • For the remainder of the semester, all classes, except some clinical rotations and related programming for certain programs at the Health Sciences Center, will be delivered in an alternative format beginning March 30.
  • Courses that were fully online at the beginning of the semester should continue to follow the original syllabus. 
  • Students should not return to campus, however if they lack a safe housing alternative, a limited number of rooms will be available. 
  • Students with dining plans, or who currently live in the residence hall or apartment system, will receive a credit as a result of our moving to the period of no in-class instruction. Details will be provided in the coming days. 
  • A coordinated move-out will be scheduled and announced later.
  • With limited exceptions, all campus buildings will be locked and closed to the public at the close of business Friday.
  • All libraries, with the exception of the Health Sciences Library, will be closed, as will the Student Recreation Center and the PRT. (Mountain Line buses will continue to run.) The Mountainlairwill have limited hours for those who need to access The Rack food pantry.
  • All supervisors were directed to maximize the number of employees who are to work from home effective no later than Friday, March 20. Only employees deemed critical to the alternative method of class instruction, or the safety and maintenance of the University whose responsibilities require them to be on campus will be permitted.
  • A special emergency leave plan was adopted for instances where an alternative work arrangement is not possible.
  • All international and domestic travel continues to be banned. Personal travel will require adhering to current guidelines regarding self-monitoring and self-quarantining.

The University is still considering whether commencement will be held and expects to announce that decision by March 25.

Read the full announcement here. 

: Latest Update

Dear Colleagues:

Social distancing is the most important strategy currently available to help keep everyone healthy and mitigate against the spread and surge of COVID-19. I am therefore recommending that anyone who can do their job remotely begin to telecommute as of Monday, March 16. 

At this point, I am also requesting that all in-person meetings, regardless of size, be canceled or transitioned to teleconferences. When on-site, I do recommend social distancing, which includes maintaining at least six feet when interacting with your colleagues. I also can't stress enough the importance of thoroughly washing your hands and not touching your face.

I appreciate that this is a time of great uncertainty. However, I strongly believe that with the appropriate actions we can help to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and minimize the negative effects.  

Please take good care and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Best,

Dean Coben, School of Public Health, West Virginia University

: Latest Update

All School of Public Health classes will resume Monday, March 30 via online platforms. Students will receive instructions from their faculty on how to access instruction remotely.

This page will be updated with additional information about field placement experiences, applied practice experiences and other hands-on learning experiences in the coming days. However, students should pay close attention to their email accounts and University channels for the most up-to-date information for this evolving situation.

Additional information will be sent to faculty and staff from Talent and Culture.

The University’s approach is to limit person-to-person contact while continuing educational programing and managing the health and safety of all involved.

As this situation continues to evolve, please refer to coronavirus.wvu.edu for University-wide information. If you have a specific question regarding general University procedures moving forward, please direct it to coronavirus@mail.wvu.edu.

Undergraduate Program

Students will follow university guidelines for all classroom education. Regular instruction will resume Monday, March 30 via online platforms.

Students should contact their professor with specific questions regarding a class.

Undergraduate students participating in a field placement experience will work with their preceptor to identify opportunities for remote participation. Out of an abundance of caution, students will not continue in-person experiences. Questions regarding field placement experiences should be directed to Audra Hamrick.

Undergraduate student advising will take place via phone. Students will be contacted by Sarah Opatz regarding their appointment.

Graduate Programs

Students will follow university guidelines for all classroom education. Regular instruction will resume Monday, March 30 via online platforms.

Students should contact their professor with specific questions regarding a class.

Master of Public Health students participating in an applied practice experience will work remotely under the guidance of their preceptor. Out of an abundance of caution, students will not continue in-person experiences.

Residency Programs

Clinical learning experiences will continue as planned. Alterations may result in a need to extend training based on ability to meet expectations of the curriculum and your certifying board. Any changes to specific policies for students in the clinical learning environment will be communicated to students directly from their program leadership. In addition, the following clinical protocol will be followed:

  • All students learning in the clinical learning environment are prohibited from direct contact with patients who are people under investigation (PUI) or patients confirmed to have COVID-19.
  • Any student who is exposed to a patient who becomes a PUI in the course of their care is to notify their team and instructor, self-quarantine away from the clinical environment, and notify the WVU Student Health office at (304) 285-7200.
  • If you have a health condition that puts you at higher risk (you are immunocompromised, on immunosuppressive drugs, have a chronic pulmonary condition) or have unique circumstances (you are living with someone who is immunosuppressed, you are pregnant), please contact your instructor so they can help identify educational experiences that reduce your risk while meeting educational requirements.
  • Additional information for healthcare professionals is included in the Healthcare Providers section of coronavirus.wvu.edu.

Travel

Please reference the most updated travel information (professional and personal) on the Students and Faculty and Staff pages at coronavirus.wvu.edu and understand how to protect yourself, report your travel and self-monitor or self-quarantine as necessary.

All University-related international and domestic travel is suspended, unless approved, through March 30.

  • If you must travel for professional or personal reasons, we ask that you complete the Voluntary Travel Form so we can best advise you upon your return.
  • Anyone traveling internationally – professional or personal – must self-quarantine for 14 days upon return.
  • On Thursday, March 12, Gov. Jim Justice announced a travel ban for state employees. He also asked all West Virginians to reconsider out-of-state travel. In accordance with the Governor’s announcement, WVU is suspending all domestic travel for its employees. If you travel out-of-state on personal business, you must follow the guidelines found here. Further discussion is being held to help clarify domestic travel and hot spot locations that may require self-quarantine upon return.
  • If you are traveling in the U.S. to hotspots (e.g., California, New York, Washington state, etc.), you should contact your local health department before returning home for advice on what precautions need to be taken.
  • If you are scheduled to go on a cruise, please note that both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of State are currently recommending against cruise ship travel. Please review the latest guidelines.
  • Please make sure you understand the ramifications of leaving the area in which you live.

School of Public Health Event Information

The following events have been canceled as of March 13.

  • Delta Omega Leadership Meet & Greet: March 26
  • Dean’s Colloquium Series featuring Lawrence O. Gostin, JD: March 27
  • Van Liere Research Conference: April 2 and 3

The following events have been postponed as of March 13.

  • Spring Awards Luncheon and Delta Omega Induction Ceremony: April 3