Announcements

For University-wide updates, please visit coronavirus.wvu.edu

While this page will be updated to reflect new information as it is available, students should pay close attention to their email accounts and University channels for the most up-to-date information for this evolving situation. 

Please note the additional information provided on the School of Public Health (SPH) coronavirus page in the 'Resources' and 'Event Updates' sections, as well as all previous announcements here. If you have SPH updates you'd like to share, please send them via email to Nikky Luna

Announcements

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

For University-wide updates, please visit coronavirus.wvu.edu

While this page will be updated to reflect new information as it is available, students should pay close attention to their email accounts and University channels for the most up-to-date information for this evolving situation. 

Please note the additional information provided on the School of Public Health (SPH) coronavirus page in the 'Resources' and 'Event Updates' sections, as well as all previous announcements here. If you have SPH updates you'd like to share, please send them via email to Nikky Luna

Important Updates as of 3/23/20: 

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