Dear WVU Potomac State College Campus Community:
As we approach the beginning of classes this fall, we want to provide you with the following additional information and reminders. If you have additional questions, visit the Return to Campus website or send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Mineral 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 email@example.com.
You can also ask us questions or learn more information on Potomac State’s social media. You can also learn more from reading ENEWS (employees) and your MiX email (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.potomacstatecollege.edu/
PSC plans to complete surveillance testing throughout the fall semester in collaboration with Potomac Valley Hospital and the Mineral County Health Department.
QLabs is providing all tests at WVU Potomac State and all tests at WVU Tech.
To check results from QLabs:
1. Go to wv.getmycovidresult.com.
2. Review the agreement and click "I Agree" to continue.
3. Enter your name, birthdate and the registration number you were given when you were tested.
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 Potomac State College Office of Academic Affairs at PSCAcademicAffairs@mail.wvu.edu. and Talent and Culture at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- To report a staff member who is not following the protocols, email email@example.com.
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 Davis Hall. 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 Davis Hall. It can be found at:
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://studentexperience.potomacstatecollege.edu/what-to-do-if-your-roommate-tests-positive.
Please note: Extra measures will be taken to ensure the safety of those learning and working in Davis 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 Potomac State College’s Health Services at 304-788-6913. 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.
Residence hall protocol
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) or visitation of residents of different residence halls (residence hall-to-residence hall)
- 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, can be found at: https://studentexperience.potomacstatecollege.edu/housing-residence-life/faqs
Student permit registration is on-line at https://studentexperience.potomacstatecollege.edu/university-police/parking-vehicle-registration
Permits will be issued at the drive/walk-up location next to University Police behind Davis Hall on August 17,19, 21, 25, 27 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Please exercise recommended Covid-19 practices by using a mask and social distancing. Student parking permits may also be picked up at the front entrance of University Police from 8 to 11 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. on those same dates. Use the intercom at the front door to contact the officer concerning your permit.
Faculty/staff permits will be processed through campus mail only.
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:
- 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.
- 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 green 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
More information on Rec. Center activities will be shared prior to the start of the fall semester.
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. 17. 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.
Note: Faculty are encouraged to wear a mask while lecturing and staying behind plexiglass. If a faculty member has difficulty lecturing with a mask on, they can opt to use a face shield instead, while still staying behind plexiglass and staying 6 feet away from the closest student.
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.
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.