Skip to main content

WVU updates, recaps Morgantown Return to Campus information

man puts Don't sit here sign on chairs

Facilities Planning and Scheduling student worker and Senior Industrial Engineering Major Ben Hawkins, installs guideline policies for classrooms in Brooks Hall August 10th, 2020. (WVU Photo/Brian Persinger)

Download full-size

West Virginia University released updated Return to Campus information today (Aug. 11). A Return to Campus Conversation will also be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 13 where senior administrators will continue to answer questions and address concerns.

Read the letter. 

Dear West Virginia University Campus Community:

As we approach the beginning of classes this fall, please note the information below that has been updated since our announcement on Tuesday, Aug. 4. If you have additional questions, visit the Return to Campus website or send your questions to returntocampus@mail.wvu.edu. In addition, a Return to Campus Conversation will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 13 where senior administrators will continue to answer questions and address concerns. Thank you for your patience as we continue to work together toward a successful return.

The COVID-19 pandemic is always evolving. Policies, procedures and information are likely to change as we go through the fall. For that reason, it is important you know the latest information. This is part of your personal responsibility for your safety.

For general updates, visit our Return to Campus website.

Please check your MIX or University email accounts for updates from the University around the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s very important that you open and read all emails related to the topic to keep you as safe as possible.

It is crucial that everyone on our campus is alert to phone calls and emails, especially those that contain critical information about COVID-19. For example, if you’re considered to be a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted by the Monongalia County Health Department to quarantine; it’s important that you respond to that call and take immediate action to quarantine, otherwise the risk of community spread of COVID-19 increases on campus.

If you have questions throughout this fall, please email us at returntocampus@mail.wvu.edu.

You can also ask us questions or learn more information on social media (@WestVirginiaU). You can also learn more from reading ENEWS (employees) and UNEWS (students).

The University will release daily updates and weekly trend reports from each of our campuses on current COVID-19 cases. You’ll find this information at http://go.wvu.edu/testresults, at http://twitter.com/wvusafety and at http://facebook.com/wvusafety.

If you are not signed up for the University’s emergency text alert system, you can do so at https://alert.wvu.edu/. You can also follow http://twitter.com/wvualert for updates in a crisis.

Testing

Recurring testing

For Morgantown students, faculty and staff, there will be ongoing COVID-19 testing. These tests will be used for cluster, outbreak and surveillance testing. The Rec Center will serve as a testing site through the remainder of the fall semester. Recurring testing will be free. Additional details regarding dates and times will be available on Sunday, Aug. 23. 

For faculty and staff unable to be tested in Morgantown at the Coliseum site over the last three weeks, walk-up testing will be available at the Rec Center Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Saturday, Aug. 22. You will not need to schedule an appointment, but you will need to complete the HIPAA and Terms of Services forms in person at the testing site.

Additional information regarding recurring testing at WVU Tech in Beckley and WVU Potomac State in Keyser will be shared at a later date.

Test results

Some students have reported issues in receiving COVID-19 test results. Here is the process for those who have yet to be tested.

To check results from Quest Diagnostics:

●      Create your MyQuest account. If you are under the age of 18, you will need your parent or legal guardian to create a Quest account on your behalf.

    ○  Important: When asked how Quest Diagnostics should stay in touch with you, use your ****@mix.wvu.edu email address, your permanent address and the phone number on file with WVU. This will speed up your verification process allowing you to skip step 4 below.

●      Check your email for a message from Quest. Click the link to confirm your email address and activate your account.

●      Log in to your MyQuest account using the username and password that you chose when you registered.

●      If you are prompted, select the "Verify Your Identity" option and complete the Identity Verification Process. If you cannot complete it successfully, please do not contact Quest Diagnostics the same day. Quest will be checking nightly for new MyQuest users from WVU and verifying them. If, after a day or two, you are not verified, you can message Quest within the application.

●      Accept the Patient Authorization (HIPAA Authorization).

●      You're set! You will now get your Quest Diagnostics test results through your MyQuest account.

If you already created a MyQuest account with a non-WVU email address, please go to your account settings and change your email to your WVU email to take advantage of this process. Please wait at least 24 hours before expecting to see test results. Students should call Quest at 877-291-7521 for problems with the result portal.

For those tested through QLabs (employees in Morgantown and students and employees on the Beckley and Keyser campuses), visit https://www.wvu.edu/return-to-campus/what-you-need-to-know/testing#getting-results for more information on receiving test results.


Accountability

COVID-19 enforcement

The University is taking enforcement of COVID-19 protocols very seriously this fall.

●      Employees and students will be accountable for the following requirements:

    ○      COVID-19 education module

    ○      COVID-19 test and subsequent testing

    ○      Self-reporting a positive COVID-19 test result

    ○      Isolation and quarantine periods

    ○      Contact tracing efforts

    ○      Proper use of masks/face coverings

    ○      Local, state and federal physical distancing and maximum crowd size orders

    ○      Wellness checks

●      You can view all requirements and student penalties for failure to comply with those requirements at https://www.wvu.edu/return-to-campus/policies.

●      Employees who fail to abide by the safety protocols (e.g., wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, adhering to WVU’s travel guidelines, etc.) described in the WVU Return to On-Campus Work Playbook will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action including warning, suspension, termination or other disciplinary action as appropriate.

●      Additional policies for students living in residence halls are available at: https://www.wvu.edu/return-to-campus/policies/residence-hall-health-and-safety. Enforcement guidelines for employees will be unveiled closer to the start of the fall semester.

●      To report a student not following COVID-19 protocols, you can submit a complaint to Student Conduct at https://wvu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3pxfwbAg4ofd9Ot.

●      To report faculty who are not following COVID-19 protocols, you can report them to the faculty member’s department chair; a list of department chairs is available on each college/department’s website. We ask that you include the faculty member’s name, how they are breaking protocol and class section/number. If behaviors do not improve, please contact the Provost’s Office at provost@mail.wvu.edu and Talent and Culture at employeerelations@mail.wvu.edu.

●      To report a staff member who is not following the protocols, email employeerelations@mail.wvu.edu.

Incident command

As the University resumes campus activities for the fall, it has developed a comprehensive set of plans to reduce the spread and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. The University has activated an Incident Command System to facilitate these activities.

WVU’s Incident Command System (WVUICS) will organize and coordinate response activities without compromising the decision-making authority of each responsible unit. The WVUICS will seek to ensure that the University’s most pressing needs are met, that precious resources are used without duplication or waste and that the University communicates effectively.

Units across campus involved in the WVUICS include: Health Sciences, Information Technology Services, Provost’s Office, the Research Office, Student Life and University Relations.

Defining “isolation” and “quarantine” at WVU

The University will be using the terms “isolation” and “quarantine” for those who have COVID-19 related matters this fall.

Isolation is defined as: to avoid contact with others for at least 10 days after your testing date as directed by the local health department. If you live in a residence hall, you will be moved to Arnold Apartments. You should not be on campus for class or work at any point during this period, and you must remain in isolation until you are medically cleared. You are likely in isolation due to a positive COVID-19 test result.

Quarantine is defined as: to avoid contact with others to the furthest extent possible for the next 14 days as directed by the local health department. You should not be on campus for class or work at any point during this period. You are likely in quarantine because you’ve been considered a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

What to do if ... “I test positive/quarantine/etc.”

The University has developed detailed instructions for those in certain COVID-19 situations, including being asked to isolate due to a positive test or to quarantine for being a close contact. All of these scenarios can be found in the “What to do if …” section of the Return to Campus website. We will share additional scenarios with instructions to help you as needed.

As students begin to move into the residence halls, the University has a consistent and thorough plan for moving COVID-19 positive students to Arnold Apartments. It can be found at: https://www.wvu.edu/return-to-campus/what-to-do-if/you-test-positive-and-live-in-a-residence-hall. There are additional instructions for those people who are asked to quarantine in the residence halls because of a positive roommate. It can be found at: https://www.wvu.edu/return-to-campus/what-to-do-if/your-roommate-tests-positive. Please note: Students will not be isolated in Arnold Hall. Extra measures will be taken to ensure the safety of those learning and working in Arnold Hall this fall.

If you don’t feel well this fall

If you feel sick and/or have symptoms of COVID-19, it’s extremely important that you do not come to campus. Instead, you should call for medical advice. For employees, you should communicate with your primary care physician. For students, you should call WVU Medicine Student Health at 304-285-7200. Next, you should contact your instructors and supervisors, as necessary. 

COVID-19 testing and education module fee

The University is requiring students to complete an online education module and take a COVID-19 test on or before Saturday, Aug. 22. Failure to do so will result in the student being charged a $250 fee and a hold placed on the student’s account until completed. In addition to the fee, the University may deactivate the student’s identification card and/or the student may face sanctions under the Student Code as necessary and appropriate, including additional educational requirements. This fee will be charged to a student’s account on Wednesday, Aug. 26. It will not be removed, even for those who take the education module or COVID-19 test after that date.

Employees who do not complete testing by this date will not be permitted to work and may be subject to employee actions until they complete testing. These actions include but are not limited to being required to use their annual leave and/or being placed on unpaid, unauthorized leave and disciplinary action (if the employee does not have any annual leave available) until they complete testing.

Employees who do not complete the module by Saturday, Aug. 22 will not be permitted to work and may be subject to employee actions until they complete the module. These actions include but are not limited to being required to use their annual leave and/or being placed on unpaid, unauthorized leave and disciplinary action (if the employee does not have any annual leave available) until they complete the module.

Please note that the $250 fee for students is a penalty for missing the deadline. All students, faculty and staff who will be on campus this fall need to be tested for COVID-19. All students, faculty and staff – regardless of whether they will be on campus this fall – are required to take the COVID-19 education module. Additional penalties for employees and students will be considered for those who refuse to take the education module or COVID-19 test.

COVID-19 testing spots are still available for students at http://myhousing.wvu.edu. All students must schedule a time in advance. For more information, visit: https://www.wvu.edu/return-to-campus/what-you-need-to-know/testing.

To access and complete the education module, visit http://go.wvu.edu/COVIDmodule. If you have questions or issues, email COVIDmodule@mail.wvu.edu.

Residence halls and move-in

Residence hall visitation

All visitors must follow all COVID-19 related policies, including masks/face coverings and physical distancing. Visitors must also follow all residence hall policies. These guidelines are subject to change without advance notice. Please note the following when visiting the residence halls during the 2020-21 academic year:

●      Visitation of residents of the same residence hall (room-to-room)

    ○      There may be no more than two visitors in any residence hall room or three visitors in any residence hall apartment at any time. Residents should discuss these expectations as part of their roommate agreement.

    ○      In-hall visitation does not require registration at front desks.

    ○      While in a student room during visitation, occupants and visitors must wear masks/face coverings.

    ○      If at any time any occupant of the room desires the visitors to leave, the visitors must do so.

●      Visitation of non-residence-hall residents (WVU students and non-WVU students)

    ○      Visitation is not permitted within residential areas, including the resident’s room and/or residence hall apartment.

    ○      Visitors are permitted to wait in the front desk/lobby area of the building if physical distancing expectations are met. Residents of the building have priority access to these areas, and if physical distancing cannot be maintained, the visitor will be asked to wait outside the building.

●      Designated public access areas

    ○      Non-residents of the building who need access to a dining hall, classroom or administrative office and other approved areas will be permitted to do so between 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

    ○      All non-residents of the building must leave the residence hall by 9 p.m.

    ○      Visitation is limited to designated areas, and all other areas of the residence halls are off limits to non-residents.

More information about residence hall visitation, including visiting the Lyon’s Den, can be found at: https://housing.wvu.edu/policies/residence-halls/community-standards-of-conduct-residence-halls/community-standards-of-conduct.

Tips for move-in

If you are preparing for a move into a residence hall between now and Saturday, Aug. 22, here are a few last-minute tips:

●      Arrive during your scheduled move-in time slot. If you arrive without a scheduled time slot or at a time you aren’t scheduled, you will be denied access to the building. Our priority is the safety and wellbeing of our students and our staff, and a staggered move-in schedule minimizes the number of people in a building at one time. You can secure a time slot at http://myhousing.wvu.edu if you haven’t yet done so; the deadline is Friday, Aug. 14 at 5 p.m.

●      If you need to change your move-in time slot (and it’s before Friday, Aug. 14) log in at myhousing.wvu.edu and choose another. If it’s after Friday, Aug. 14, email reslife@mail.wvu.edu and ask for guidance.

●      There is a 90-minute move-in time limit during which you will be expected to check in, unload and move items to your room.

●      Check in at the front desk (or the designated location) of your residence hall. You will get your room key, your WVU Student ID and any last-minute instructions.

●      Remember only two helpers can assist you during move-in. This is to limit the number of people in the hall at any one time. If you have more than two people with you, they can trade off during the 90 minutes.

●      You can stay within the 90 minutes relatively easily if you pack lightly. Several students who have already moved shared these suggestions:

    ○      Pack lightly – you will be leaving Morgantown at Thanksgiving so you may not need those winter boots or a parka.

    ○      Settle in and see what you really need. You can order from Amazon or major retailers and have items delivered to your residence hall for easy pickup.

    ○      Check with your roommates to see what they are bringing – you can each pack a bit less if you coordinate.

    ○      Think about what you might need if you are self-monitoring or ill with COVID-19 or any other illnesses. Be sure to pack items such as a thermometer, over-the-counter medications or an oximeter. 

    ○      Have your parents send you items from home – maybe they will send some cookies, too.

    ○      Follow the packing list at housing.wvu.edu. It’s a great place to start and help you choose what you really need to bring.

    ○      And from one early arrival, “Trust me, don’t overpack.”

●      Additional information about move-in, including routes and maps to each hall, are available at http://housing.wvu.edu/current-residents/moving-in-out/fall-move-in

Transportation and parking

Temporary parking permits for students

●      WVU Transportation and Parking is offering students a limited number of temporary parking permits for the fall 2020 semester. The temporary permits will be available for the Downtown, Evansdale and Health Sciences areas of campuses and will be valid Saturday, Aug. 15 through Monday, Nov. 30.

●      All temporary permits will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Wednesday, Aug. 12, at 9 a.m.

●      You can purchase a permit by visiting the Parking Portal, selecting “get permits” and logging in with your WVU credentials. Permits also may be purchased in person at the Parking Management office located at 1112 Van Voorhis Road.

Buses

●      The hours of operation will be from 6:30 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. Note: Expect wait times to be approximately 20-30 minutes. These times could increase during hours of heavy traffic. Please plan accordingly to make it to your destination on time.

●      Bus Routes

    ○      Country Roads (Falling Run Rd. - Oakland St. - Mountaineer Station Loop)

        ■      Depart: Buses will load and depart from the bus stop at Falling Run Rd. and travel via University Ave. to the Oakland St. crosswalks, where students will depart for Towers. Buses will continue on University Ave., make a right on Van Voorhis Rd. and proceed to Mountaineer Station.

        ■      Return: Buses will depart Mountaineer Station, proceed to University Ave., stop at the Oakland St. crosswalks and travel via University Ave. back to the designated bus stop on Falling Run Rd.

    ○      Health Sciences Express (Mountaineer Station to Evansdale Crossing Loop)

        ■      Continuous Loop: Buses will operate on a continuous loop between Mountaineer Station and Evansdale Crossing via Van Voorhis Rd.

    ○      Mountaineer (Beechurst Ave. to Evansdale Crossing Loop)

        ■      Depart: Buses will load in the Area 8 parking lot located off the intersection between Campus Dr. and Beechurst Ave. Once loaded, buses will proceed on Beechurst Ave. to Evansdale Crossing.

        ■      Return: Buses will depart via the Evansdale Crossing bus lane and proceed back to Beechurst PRT station (unloading only).

●      Bus Schedule

    ○      A detailed bus schedule can be found at: https://transportation.wvu.edu/bus-services/fall-2020-bus-schedule. Please note that all times are approximate, so allow adequate time to reach a destination, as traffic conditions may result in delays and changes in departure times. 

●      Bus safety guidelines

    ○      Wear a face mask or cloth face covering before entering the bus. Avoid touching surfaces with your hands. Upon disembarking, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol as soon as possible and before removing your mask or cloth face covering.

    ○      Bus drivers also are required to wear a face mask or cloth face covering.

    ○      Hand sanitizer dispensers will be placed in all buses, and shields will be installed to protect drivers.

    ○      WVU transportation will undergo routine DSV (Disinfectant, Sanitizer, Virucide) after each shift.

    ○      All bus riders will be seated every other row in a checkerboard pattern to adhere to the six-foot spacing guideline (layouts may vary).

Campus life

What campus will look like

Campus will look different this fall, as the University has installed several measures for personal safety. Below are some of the ways campus will change:

Campus facilities

●      Separate entries and exits will be designated for larger, heavily used buildings.

●      Personnel workflow and physical structure also may be adjusted to limit crossover in entrances, hallways and common spaces.

●      Individuals will be asked to walk to the right in common hallways, corridors and paths.

●      Plexiglass guards will create safe barriers in classrooms, point of sale locations, service counters and any area that requires or encourages close interaction.

●      Elevator riders should wear face coverings or masks, not overcrowd and exercise extreme caution. Only board an elevator if you feel comfortable with occupancy.

●      Signage will direct flow and traffic to stairwells.

●      As part of reducing density on campus, some facilities will be closed or have reduced hours, and services will be offered more efficiently virtually. You may want to call or email in advance of visiting a campus office to make sure they are available in-person.

●      For classroom buildings, students are asked to remain outside the building until the previous classes have finished and students from those classes have exited the building.

Dining Services

●      Cafe Evansdale, Hatfields and Summit Cafe dining halls are all open. In addition, Chick-fil-A and Which Wich are open in the Mountainlair. For hours of operations and additional information on opening dates for other dining locations, visit: https://diningservices.wvu.edu/about/hours-of-operation.

●      All WVU Dining Services employees will wear face masks at all times. Dining Services employees also will receive temperature checks at the beginning of each shift to ensure they do not have a fever.

●      While dining halls remain all-you-care-to-eat, the food will be served by employees rather than self-serve. This is designed to reduce the high-touch point of public serving utensils.

●      To-go containers will be available. If you would like to stay and eat at a dining hall, you will receive disposable plates, cups and silverware. Guests should use a new plate and new cup each time they go up to a station or beverage machine.

●      Dining Services will have several items packaged for grab-and-go in our dining halls, such as prepared salads and desserts.

●      Any public-use items (e.g., toasters and microwaves) that had previously been set up for customer use will still be available for use. However, these items will be moved behind the lines and operated for our guests by employees.

●      Those eating in the dining halls will notice table dividers separating diners from each other. This will allow for guests to dine safely and be protected if they choose to eat in the dining hall. There also will be directional flow signage at all dining locations to reduce crowding.

●      Dining Services’ new Clean Team, wearing bright yellow shirts, will be responsible for continuous cleaning and sanitation of customer dining areas, counters and machines, as well as the kitchen and serving areas.

Rec Center update

As announced last week, the Rec Center will be closed for indoor fitness activities to start the fall semester. However, the University is planning a significant number of outdoor and virtual fitness options for students and employees.

As part of the Refresh Student Activities Series, the University will offer “Wellness on Wheels” opportunities, including:

●      Cycle classes

●      F45 classes

●      Punt, pass and kick competition

●      HIIT classes

●      Minute-to-win-it challenge

●      Pilates/barre classes

●      Pop-up dance classes

●      Push-up challenge

●      Strava run/walk/ride challenge

●      Three-point contest

●      Virtual guided run/walk

●      Wiffleball home run derby

●      Yoga classes

More information on these activities will be shared prior to the start of the fall semester.

Through Sunday, Aug. 30, the University will offer live virtual fitness classes, including Belly Dance, Body ATTACK, BodyPump, F45 and Zumba. For more information, visit https://campusrecreation.wvu.edu/fitness/group-exercise/class-schedule. Starting Monday, Aug. 31, Campus Recreation will offer more than 40 group classes, all planned to take place outside on the Rec Center turf field. Some of these programs will be streamed live for those who want to take part virtually.

Softball, tennis, yard games and esports will be offered throughout the semester. There is a campus walking track around our athletic fields and a marked 5K course, as well.

There may be additional virtual personal training options and other fitness opportunities throughout the semester.

Academics

Understanding and adjusting your course schedule

With the many changes leading up to the fall, we understand that some students may feel uncertain about their course schedule. When looking at your course schedule (see step-by-step directions here), make sure fall 2020 is selected in the term field. You can then click on “Instructor/Meeting Times.” Below is a quick reference for understanding your schedule:

●      A class is a synchronous online course if there is no building location, but there is a specific meeting time.

●      A class is an asynchronous online course if there is no building location and no meeting time or “TBA” for the meeting time.

●      A class is an in-person/hybrid course if there is a building location with a meeting time.

For more in-depth explanation of these course types, please see the newly added descriptions at: https://www.wvu.edu/return-to-campus/what-you-need-to-know/academic-affairs/understanding-your-course-schedule. The site also includes images of sample schedules to help you understand how to read your schedule.

As with any semester, some students may choose to make adjustments to their course schedule.

All students are encouraged to work with their academic advisers to determine what options might be available to secure their on-campus/online schedule of choice. While some students might be able to make a simple course “swap,” others may need to work with their academic department to find another course that fulfills their degree requirement. Advisers are working hard to explore options for all of our students.

First-time freshmen will need to contact their adviser because they will have an advising hold in place until the start of general registration on Monday, Aug. 24. After that date, first-time freshmen can adjust their schedule without an adviser’s assistance, although this is not recommended. Faculty advisers should have greater availability to their students beginning on Aug. 14.

Students who are not first-time freshmen and who have met with an adviser in spring or summer may make changes to their schedule now through STAR and Schedule Builder. Students who have not yet met with an instructor should reach out to their adviser so the advising hold can be removed.

Keeping up with coursework

A detailed process for reporting COVID-related incidents is being developed for both students and instructors. Specific details will be sent to all faculty and instructors later this week and will be shared on the Return to Campus website.

In short, instructors will be notified of any COVID-related incidents among their students. Students, however, are expected to contact their instructors to inquire about how to best complete the course requirements and demonstrate the necessary learning that is missed.

If students are under quarantine because of potential contact but are not ill, they are expected to contact their instructor(s) for direction on how to keep up with the content and required work in the course. They should not go to class.

The COVID-19 Instructor Expectations and Best Practices provide faculty members and instructors guidance on how to plan for instruction in case of student illness or quarantine due to COVID-19.

Seating chart and attendance

All face-to-face, on-campus classes will be required to have assigned seating and recorded attendance for each class meeting. Instructors teaching on campus will be required to complete the assigned seating chart for each class at the beginning of the semester. These will be provided to a centralized unit to use for contact tracing purposes should the need arise. Instructors will need to maintain attendance records for each class meeting and may be asked to provide that information to the contact tracing team. 

Specific details on how to access the seating charts and where to send them, along with guidance on keeping updated attendance logs, will be provided in an email to faculty and instructors later this week.

Managing the on-campus classroom

Faculty and instructors are reminded to review the University’s guidelines for Ensuring Safe Classroom Behavior and the COVID-19 Instructor Expectations and Best Practices when planning for their courses.

The Classroom Behavior guidelines were developed by the Provost’s Office in consultation with the Office of Student Conduct and CARE Team to help faculty members and instructors identify and respond appropriately to disruptive classroom behavior that could endanger the health of others. Step-by-step instructions provide guidance on how to set classroom expectations and handle both minor and major disruptions.

The COVID-19 Instructor Expectations and Best Practices provide faculty members and instructors guidance and approaches to consider while planning their courses for the 2020-2021 academic year.

All instructors of record should approach their course design with a contingency plan for rapidly moving between delivery modalities (on the spectrum of face-to-face to fully online) should circumstances warrant a return to remote-only instruction. Instructors also should be prepared for students to be physically absent from the classroom due to illness or quarantine. Allowing for more flexibility and learner choice in the delivery of course content is strongly advised.

Faculty members, instructors and students are reminded to review the University’s attendance policy and new emergency leave policy to be prepared and informed in the event of quarantine or illness.

Health, wellness surveys and apps

Daily COVID-19 wellness survey

This fall, all students, faculty and staff who plan to be on campus each day are being required to report their current health status through a wellness survey. Your responses are used to determine if you may access campus each day. Without your response and cooperation, you will not be permitted on campus.

Students, faculty and staff will receive an email invitation each day at 5:30 a.m. to complete your daily COVID-19 wellness survey. A reminder email or SMS text with an invitation link to complete the survey will be sent at 9 a.m. each day to those who have not yet taken the survey. 

Each day, you will be asked if you have knowingly been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 24 hours. In addition, you may be asked if, within the last 24 hours, you had symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, chills, sore throat, headache and/or loss of taste or smell. The data you submit is confidential and for internal use only.

Those who answer the wellness survey and receive clearance to come to campus will receive an electronic “pass” for that day on their personal device. Having the electronic pass may be required to access certain areas/buildings of campus. More details will be shared in the next week.

This information will help the University to understand the rates of infection in our campus communities and gather critical information to make appropriate decisions for our University. Please note that filling out this information does not provide the University with any other information, and the University has made the decision not to require a location tracking app. Contact tracing will be completed through the local health department and University personnel through other traditional means. 

Symptom monitoring with apps

In addition to the wellness survey, WVU is encouraging the voluntary use of NOVID, a symptom-monitoring mobile app ​that will allow users to proactively make decisions based on their risk of infection. The NOVID app detects when a user is close to other NOVID app users. If someone reports as positive in the NOVID app, all other users who have been in close contact will receive a notification, encouraging them to self-isolate or get tested even before they experience symptoms. Users can proactively take precautions to keep themselves and those around them safer. Note that the University will not receive any personally identifiable information as a result of you using the NOVID app. For more information, visit: https://www.novid.org/.

WVU also will offer faculty and staff the opportunity to participate in the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute’s research study related to monitoring COVID-19 onset and recovery. Participants will be provided an Oura wearable smart ring and the Rockefeller Health App to track health, wellness and physiological changes, as well as beta test new health forecasting technology, which can predict temperature and onset of symptoms of viral infection days in advance. Researchers would provide this confidential information to study participants only for their own personal wellness management. Voluntary participation is available on a first-come, first-served basis for the first 250 people who respond. For more information or to enroll, please contact RNIresearch@hsc.wvu.edu.

Research on COVID-19 and young people

Despite the myths that are circulating, young people are not immune to this virus and should not expect to bounce right back after a COVID-19 infection.

As the virus continues to spread among young people, a new study published on July 13 by researchers at UC San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospitals indicates that youth may not shield people from serious disease. The study showed that one in three young adults may face severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Another new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that about a quarter of young adults were still not back to their normal health weeks after contracting the infection, even if they had no medical conditions and were not hospitalized. The findings show that recovery from COVID-19 "can be prolonged, even in young adults without chronic medical conditions, potentially leading to prolonged absence from work, studies or other activities," according to the report, released on July 24.

Even for healthy, young adults with no underlying medical conditions, about one in five had lingering symptoms two or three weeks later. Overall, among those who had not recovered, the symptoms that were least likely to resolve were cough and fatigue. The findings show COVID-19 is not “just another flu;” data from previous years has found that more than 90 percent of outpatients with the flu are back to normal within two weeks of a positive test, the report said. 

While the University is taking all precautions to make the campus as safe as possible, there will be COVID-19 cases on our campus this fall, and we must again emphasize that personal responsibility for your health – and the health of others – is paramount to a successful semester. The best protection against acquiring COVID-19 is to wear your mask/face covering, physical distance as much as possible (including not congregating in large groups), wash your hands often and wipe down hard surfaces in your living space.

-WVU-

08/11/20

CONTACT: University Relations/Communications
304-293-6997

Call 1-855-WVU-NEWS for the latest West Virginia University news and information from WVUToday.

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.