MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In the aftermath of a statewide work stoppage of teachers and service personnel, West Virginia University staff are doing everything they can to make sure their students still meet K-12 education-based requirements.

Students majoring in programs such as education, counseling and speech pathology at WVU are required to complete student teaching hours in the state’s public schools, which could have been affected by the nine days of school closures as a result of the statewide work stoppage.

April Kaull, director of news at WVU’s University Relations, said the College of Education and Human Services has reached a solution. Requirements will be modified for students in school placement this semester.

“Normally, the program requirements at West Virginia University for school placements actually exceeds the state requirement of 12 weeks. It’s 14 or 16 weeks,” Kaull said. “Because of the work stoppage, they’re going to modify that for this semester, so students are going to be just fine in terms of meeting that state certificate requirement.”

While other tweaks may need to be made as well, Kaull said departments have been evaluating those needs since the work stoppage began Feb. 22.

“They’re going to work with those entities to make sure that people are whole at the end of the semester,” she said.

It’s not only current students that are worried of potential affects.

With FAFSA and scholarship deadlines quickly approaching, Kaull said many high school seniors throughout the state who rely on open schools for computer and internet access now have less time to complete those applications.

“We want to make sure that students and parents feel like they have opportunities to fill out the information, the forms that they need to and meet the deadlines, and we’re here to help in any way possible,” she said. “We have people at our College of Education and Human Services, at the hub over at Evansdale Crossings who can answer a lot of those questions and out and around, our regional recruiters are in the schools and are able to talk with students, parents and guidance counselors.”

To better help those students, some deadlines have been either extended on laxed.

While the FAFSA deadline is traditionally March 1, Kaull said WVU will still process the applications after that date, and the university’s scholarships will not be affected.

“For first time freshmen, the admission is May 1 at West Virginia University. Basically, if you’re a first-time freshmen, the scholarship deadline for admits is May 1,” Kaull said. “That’s far into the future. That means there should not be any issues as it relates to the work stoppage for that.”

Additionally, the Higher Education Policy Commission announced that the deadline for Promise Scholarships will be pushed until March 30.

“Which is really important because we know that a lot of students in West Virginia apply for and rely on the Promise Scholarship, and so for those students, they have an extension,” Kaull said. “They have until the end of this month to work with their teachers, counselors, parents and others to get those applications in.”

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