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WVU outlines additional safety protocols for return to campus

Woodburn Circle on West Virginia University's downtown campus

Woodburn Hall is partially seen next to Martin Hall on the Woodburn Circle on the downtown campus on Sunday April 19, 2020 during the Coronavirus outbreak. (WVU Photo/Jennifer Shephard)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—

Rob Alsop, vice president for Strategic Initiatives at West Virginia University, detailed fall campus safety plans for Morgantown, Beckley and Keyser in a letter to the WVU community Tuesday (June 16).

Read the letter:

Dear West Virginia University Campus Community,

As we look forward to returning to our campuses in Morgantown, Beckley and Keyser this fall, your well-being – and the well-being of our communities – is our top priority. In May, we began the phased return of research on our campus. This summer, we are taking another step as campus service workers and many others return to work in preparation for the fall. Just as we’ve started making plans for an engaging and safe academic experience, we are also making plans for campus safety, including cleaning, building protocols, dining and transportation. With that in mind, we want to share what you can expect when you return to campus for education and/or employment.

As President Gee shared in his  previous update , our Vice President and Executive Dean for Health Sciences Dr. Clay Marsh served as the Coronavirus Czar for West Virginia. He also has worked with leaders across the University and with government health and related officials to take a close look at our campus experience — from classroom and common space occupancy to cleaning, dining and transportation — so you can have a rewarding time at WVU with peace of mind. Throughout the fall, our University will make operational updates and enhancements with health and safety in mind, in line with the guidance of local, state and federal health and government authorities. Below are some of the precautions we are implementing to keep you safe this fall.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • As COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets, WVU will require that all faculty, staff, students and visitors wear face coverings or masks while on campus.
  • All physical distancing protocols will be adhered to, to the extent possible, including maintaining a safe distance apart (usually six feet) whenever feasible and maintaining the practice of good personal hygiene (i.e., self-monitoring of symptoms, hand-washing, etc.).
  • All faculty, staff and students will receive a welcome back kit that contains a cloth mask or gaiter, disposable masks, hand sanitizer and a safe touch tool. A distribution plan will be shared at a later date.
  • Additional information on PPE and testing will be shared in July. We do anticipate locating PPE and cleaning materials in buildings across our campuses for our employees and students.

Operations

  • At the Mountainlair, libraries, Student Recreation Center, dining halls and other on-campus dining locations, along with other public areas, we are adjusting services to enable preventive measures and physical distancing, including reducing capacity where appropriate and implementing enhanced cleaning measures. 
  • All campus services workers will receive training on increased cleaning measures throughout the campuses and for residence hall rooms, including updated practices for cleaning tools and high-touch surfaces.

Occupancy

  • Last week, Provost Maryanne Reed announced that classrooms will be at 50 percent occupancy whenever feasible for the fall. We are working closely with the Office of the Provost and Student Life to develop and manage occupancy in classrooms and larger areas (i.e., Evansdale Crossing, Mountainlair, Libraries, Rec Center, etc.) as well as plans for controlled reopenings of these areas.

Cleaning

  • Across all campuses, we are increasing cleaning high-traffic areas and high-touch surfaces such as elevators, handrails, benches, tables, handles, restrooms and more.
  • All horizontal and vertical surfaces will be wiped and disinfected using products approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at a minimum of once a day.  
  • We will also be using Electrostatic Victory sprayers, backpack sprayers and battery pump-up sprayers to clean and disinfect large areas.
  • Public restrooms in large, heavily populated buildings such as the Mountainlair will receive additional cleaning throughout the day.
  • Both communal and suite-style restrooms will be cleaned once a day in residence halls. High-touch areas in communal restrooms will be cleaned every eight hours.
  • Additional emphasis will be placed on high-touch surface areas in restrooms such as water taps, door/towel/toilet handles, seats and cover flaps, wash basins, buttons and switches. These high-touch surface areas in public and communal restrooms will be cleaned every eight hours.
  • We are currently in the process of deep cleaning residence hall rooms after they are vacated and prior to a new resident moving in. This will include cleaning all surfaces and furniture.
  • We’ve also expanded the number of hand sanitizer locations across each of our three campuses.

Dining

  • Dining operations will include physical distancing in customer lines, adjusted seating for social distancing guidelines, expansion of delivery/pickup options, expansion of Grab ’n Go and retail offerings and the elimination of buffets.

Transportation

  • Protocols for transportation are under review, including the operation of the PRT, an increased number of buses and implementing significant restrictions for physical distancing on all transportation. More information will be announced during the University’s announcement of Student Support and Services on July 21.

Additional details about each of these topics can be found on our   Return to Campus website.

Of course, we all have an important role to play in promoting health and safety. We are asking our students, faculty and staff to help by wearing masks at all times while on campus; washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; following physical distancing and other guidelines; and remaining home if you are not feeling well.

We’ll share more information about our Campus Safety measures with you at the Return to Campus Conversation on June 18 at 10 a.m. – and continue to visit   Return to Campus  for information and operational adjustments as appropriate.

While our experience on campus may be a little different, our rugged determination and our commitment to prioritizing health and safety remain at the forefront of everything we do as we build a stronger, safer community for all. We are looking forward to welcoming you to the place you belong – whether you are a first-time freshman, returning senior, recently hired faculty or a dedicated staff member of 30 years.

Sincerely,

Rob Alsop
Vice President for Strategic Initiatives


-WVU-

CONTACT: Erin Newmeyer
Director of Projects for Strategic Initiatives
304-293-5529; erin.newmeyer@mail.wvu.edu

For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, contact our Marketing and Communications office:

Email: EngineeringWV@mail.wvu.edu
Phone: 304-293-4135

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