INSTITUTE, W.Va. — West Virginia State University is altering its school calendar due to concerns with the novel coronavirus.
On Thursday, Dr. Anthony Jenkins, the president of the institution, announced the extension of Spring Break through March 24 and cancellation of all campus events until April 12.
“I have made several decisions that I believe will help protect the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff. While we have no reason to panic, there is every reason to take precautions,” Jenkins said in a letter to the public.
West Virginia State (WVSU) was originally scheduled to have spring break March 16-20 with students returning to class on March 23, but now students will return March 25.
During the week of spring break, campus will be closed to all but essential personnel and select students, and staff are being directed to work from home, Jenkins said. Staff are to coordinate with their supervisors and respective vice presidents on assignments that can be worked on remotely.
The residence halls and dining halls on campus will remain open for students who cannot travel home, including numerous international students.
“All the necessities of life will be provided. Food, shelter, water, all of those things our students will have,” Jenkins said to MetroNews.
When classes resume on March 25, any students feeling ill are being asked to not attend class.
“Instead, send an immediate notification to the instructor via email or phone to discuss appropriate adjustments for course work completion,” Jenkins said.
“Faculty will make the appropriate adjustments for course content delivery, including the use of technology to allow students to participate in class discussions remotely, or to move courses to an online delivery method in the short-term, if possible.”
As part of the changes in the school calendar, Jenkins has cancelled all external events on campus until April 13 that may draw large crowds. He said it’s “in order to limit the potential spread of the virus.”
The school further announced that all official University business travel, and/or student related travel, has been suspended. This includes both domestic travel outside the state of West Virginia and international travel.
Jenkins said if someone already made travel plans and need to cancel these arrangements, to refer to the travel guidelines provided by the University and Title III.
Jenkins further said in the letter, “For those faculty or staff planning personal, non-university travel, it is highly recommended that you utilize extreme caution and judgement during your domestic/international travel, taking care to avoid travel to places identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as being high risk for COVID-19.
“Please understand that should you do so against the advice of the University, self-quarantine protocols and testing will be recommended before you are able to return to campus.”
The University has established a webpage with more information about COVID-19.
“I am confident we are going to get through this like all institutions and national entities throughout our country. Everybody is trying to figure this thing out,” Jenkins said.