In response to an increase in positive COVID-19 test results within Mineral County and neighboring Allegany County, Maryland, WVU Potomac State College continues to work closely with the Mineral County Health Department (MCHD) as administrators monitor the situation both on campus and in the community.
“We believe that our measures of containment, which include surveillance testing, contact tracing, isolating positive cases and quarantining those in close contact, are working,” Potomac State College President Jennifer Orlikoff said. “We remain confident in the safety protocols we have in place for our classrooms, residence halls, library, dining and other services across campus to allow us to presently continue with an on-campus experience for our students.”
However, in order to meet the goal of in-person learning, the College is emphasizing the need for heightened vigilance asking students to limit indoor gatherings with others, movement on campus, and trips into the community. The Recreation Center will remain closed and athletic activities suspended throughout the end of the semester. Commuters are asked to take extra precautions when traveling to and from home and when in their hometown communities.
"With the rise in case counts in the state and county, it's essential that our students, faculty and staff continue to follow public health guidance and cooperate with the Mineral County Health Department in contact tracing efforts," Dr. Jeffrey Coben, associate vice president for health affairs and dean of the School of Public Health, said.
Currently, there are three students isolating on campus. Students who were quarantining due to close contact have been released; therefore, there are no students in quarantine on-campus. College administrators are aware of 31 students and three faculty/staff quarantining or isolating at home.
“Surveillance testing of faculty, staff and students continues this week with results coming in by Saturday. If there is a significant spike in positive results, we may need to move instruction online before the scheduled date of Nov. 30,” Orlikoff said.
Also, the College is encouraging all students to get a COVID-19 test prior to leaving campus to return home for the holidays to help prevent the spread of the virus to students’ hometown communities.
Plans are now in place for free testing of all residence hall students next Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the J. Edward Kelley Complex, and Thursday, Nov. 19, at the Student Health Center. Invitations will go out Monday to the residence hall students from the Office of Student Experience. This allows students to get their results before the last day of in-person classes and departing for home for Thanksgiving.
Students who test positive or are identified as a close contact to someone who tests positive should contact PSCstudentexperience@mail.wvu.edu. Student Experience staff will be available to assist with housing options for those who choose to remain in Keyser to isolate or quarantine. Free testing is also available at Mineral county sites through Saturday, Nov. 14.
"We are monitoring increases in the number of cases on the campus and in the community, and we strongly encourage everyone to wear a mask when away from home, wash your hands frequently and watch your distance with others," Coben said.