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WVU announces details on residence hall return and COVID-19 testing for spring semester

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October begins with a blue sky and the beginning of Autumn colors at Stalnaker Hall Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. (WVU Photo/Jennifer Shephard)

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To help students, faculty and staff prepare for a safe return to campus in January, West Virginia University is providing details on the residence hall return process and COVID-19 testing for the spring semester, which begins on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Residence Hall Return Process

In early December, students will receive an email from reslife@mail.wvu.edu with directions on how to register for a time slot to return to the residence halls ahead of the spring semester.

The residence hall return process will begin on Monday, Jan. 11, and continue through Saturday, Jan. 16. There will be time slots for each residence hall on each of these days.  

Time slots are 60-minutes long; residents will be expected to complete their return during this time frame.

These time slots are available daily: 8-9 a.m., 9:30-10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. to noon, 12:30-1:30 p.m., 2-3 p.m., 3:30-4:30 p.m. and 5-6 p.m. There is a 30-minute break between each move-in time slot to allow for carts to be returned and cleaned and to ensure guests have left the building.

The schedule was developed to provide flexibility for students’ and their families’ schedules in conjunction with the process for scheduling COVID-19 testing and space management.

Because of WVU’s ongoing response to COVID-19 and prioritizing the health and safety of our students and staff, you must schedule a time for your return. If you arrive without a scheduled time slot for that day and time, you will be denied access to the building. No exceptions can be made for those who show up without a scheduled time.

Residents may have only two helpers accompany them into their residence hall during the return process to minimize the number of people in each building. Everyone must wear a mask/face covering and practice physical distancing from others.

Resident assistants may return as early as Friday, Jan. 8, and must have completed their return process no later than Monday, Jan. 11.

If any student living in the residence halls has extenuating circumstances related to move-in, please email reslife@mail.wvu.edu. Exceptions will be granted based upon the circumstances and the availability of time slots.

COVID-19 Testing

As with the fall 2020 semester, WVU will provide free COVID-19 testing to all students, faculty and staff who are returning to the Morgantown campus for the spring semester.

The University will require COVID-19 testing for all students who will be taking in-person courses and/or using on-campus resources (e.g., libraries, dining facilities, transportation, etc.) during the spring semester. Testing must be completed by Saturday, Jan 16.

Students must receive a negative test result before classes start on Jan. 19. Students who do not receive a negative test by that date will not be allowed into the classroom for instruction.

Students, faculty and staff who are required to be tested will receive an email in early to mid-December from CovidTesting@mail.wvu.edu with instructions to register for testing. Participants will sign up for their preferred testing date/time at myhousing.wvu.edu

Student testing will begin on Monday, Jan. 11. Testing for students will be available at the WVU Student Recreation Center and the Mountainlair. Note: Resident assistants on campus are encouraged to test on Sunday, Jan. 10, prior to the general residence hall return process commencing on Monday, Jan. 11.

Students taking classes exclusively online will not be required to undergo testing. However, WVU strongly recommends any student returning to Morgantown — regardless of their course schedule — be tested to assist in preventing community and campus spread of COVID-19.

Testing also will be required for employees working on campus this spring in a full-time or hybrid capacity. WVU Extension agents in the field will not be required to test, but they are welcome to travel to a campus testing site if they choose.

Faculty and staff will have access to preliminary COVID-19 testing on Friday, Jan. 8, and Saturday, Jan. 9, at the WVU Student Recreation Center and the Mountainlair. Faculty and staff also will be able to test through Saturday, Jan. 16 at both locations. 

The WVU Keyser and  WVU Beckley campuses will conduct free return-to-campus COVID-19 testing programs separate from the Morgantown program. Students, faculty and staff at these campuses should stay tuned for additional information.

Most students, faculty and staff will receive a nasal live-virus, anterior swab reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, which is less invasive and takes less than five minutes to complete. Test results should be available within three to five days.

Students, faculty and staff should continue to follow the University’s  safety protocols while awaiting their results. Students may leave their residence hall room but should wear a mask/face covering as mandated and stay physically distant as much as possible. Similarly, students living off campus should minimize leaving their apartments or houses, wear a mask/face covering and maintain physical distancing pending the return of their test results. Faculty and staff also should wear a mask/face covering and practice physical distancing.

Because they will be tested frequently throughout the semester as part of sample testing, resident assistants, residence hall coordinators and students living in residence halls may receive a rapid antigen diagnostic test instead of the standard RT-PCR test. Antigen tests typically provide same-day results. As such, antigen tests also may be used with individuals who are symptomatic.

In addition to the on-campus testing options for faculty and staff only, WVU will accept certain COVID-19 test results from other West Virginia State-supported community testing sites as part of return-to-campus testing. The University will only accept live-virus RT-PCR test results dated after Monday, Jan. 4, from other West Virginia State-supported testing centers. Results from out-of-state testing centers will not be accepted.

We will share details on the process for submitting results from other West Virginia State-supported testing centers in the near future.

For students, failure to take a COVID-19 test by Saturday, Jan. 16, will result in a $250 fee being added to the student's account. The student also will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct for follow-up.

Employees who fail to take a COVID-19 test by Saturday, Jan. 16, will be subject to employee disciplinary actions until they take the test. These actions include, but are not limited to, being placed on administrative leave without pay and/or being placed on administrative leave while using the employee’s annual leave.

In addition to return-to-campus testing, WVU plans to continue sample testing throughout the spring semester. Regardless of whether they have a known exposure or are showing symptoms of COVID-19, those who may be asked to take part in sample testing include:

  • students with in-person classes
  • members of fraternities or sororities
  • those living in residence halls and University Apartments
  • those participating in athletics
  • those in the performing arts
  • specific faculty and staff populations
  • random samples of students and employees

WVU will continue to share details on the spring semester throughout the coming weeks. In the meantime, visit the Return to Campus website for more information. If you have questions, you may submit them via this form. You also may email questions to returntocampus@mail.wvu.edu.

-WVU-

UR/11/04/20  

CONTACT: April Kaull, Executive Director of Communications/University Relations
304-293-3990;  akaull@mail.wvu.edu

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