Weekend parties involving students raise red flags at WVU

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University’s dean of students reminded members of the student body Monday failure to follow COVID-19 guidelines could result in charges and sanction under the university’s Student Conduct Code.

Corey Farris

Dean of Students Corey Farris said it was disappointing to see reports of numerous parties around Morgantown over the weekend.

“Being a Mountaineer means living our values. We expect our students to show their respect and appreciation for others by wearing their masks and following the rules. There will be consequences for those who refuse to do the right thing – including expulsion,” Farris said in a university news release.

The Office of Student Conduct is reviewing the reports of the parties.

“To be clear – the University will not tolerate behaviors that violate local and state public safety orders or WVU’s own health and safety guidelines putting our campus community and the greater Morgantown community at risk,” the news release said.

“The University is serious about protecting the health and safety of our campus community and has implemented a variety of measures in order to have on-campus classes this fall,” Farris said. “If students do not follow the guidelines, then perhaps they are not serious about being on campus for their studies and should re-evaluate their reasons for being here.”

WVU has already announced that only freshmen, graduate students and some professional students will begin on-campus classes when the fall semester begins Aug. 26. Upperclassmen will be taking mostly online classes but it’s believed thousands of those students may return to Morgantown and stay in already rented apartments.

The state currently restricts social gatherings of more than 25 people. There are also a number of university guidelines.

WVU is strongly discouraging off-campus parties especially if social distancing is not maintained and face masks not worn.

“We have stepped up patrols on campus, and we are working with our law enforcement partners in Morgantown and Monongalia County to better respond to off-campus incidents,” WVU Police Chief W.P. Chedester said. “Bottom line, our UPD officers are committed to keeping everyone – students, faculty, staff and visitors to our campus – safe.”

According to the Monday news release, a report of a large gathering or a house party close to campus should be made to University Police at 304-293-COPS. Reports can also be made anonymously through the LiveSafe app.

Meanwhile, state Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch said Monday any WVU student that tests positive for COVID-19 while in Morgantown will be counted as part of Monongalia County’s positive case numbers.

“We do show those as active case in Mon County,” Crouch said. “There’s also communication back to the county of residence if a student who has just moved in to Mon County, whether that’s in-state or out-of-state so contact tracing can happen in both locations.”

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