MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In-person classes at West Virginia University will resume on Monday, university officials announced on Wednesday.
The announcement preceded news of a planned protest against West Virginia University President Gordon Gee over the institution’s coronavirus policies.
West Virginia University began the fall semester with freshmen, graduate and some professional-level students having face-to-face lessons. Those classes shifted online on Sept. 8 because of rising coronavirus case numbers on campus and in Monongalia County.
“The data drove our decision and I am so delighted all indications are we can safely return to in-person instruction,” Gee said Wednesday.
I am so delighted that we can safely resume in-person instruction. We are still in the midst of a serious pandemic and must adhere to the safety guidelines. I want to assure our campus and community that health and safety factors will continue to guide us. https://t.co/ATusUw306t
— E. Gordon Gee (@gordongee) September 23, 2020
Other undergraduate students will continue with virtual lessons on Sept. 28.
University officials and the Monongalia County Health Department have been monitoring coronavirus-related data during the pause with a focus on the virus’s spread.
Arnold Apartments, the institution’s designation isolation space for residence hall occupants, has a 40% occupancy rate. The local hospitalization rate is low, and officials said no students are receiving coronavirus-related care at hospitals.
“We are pleased that the measures we’ve taken will allow us to bring students back to the classrooms,” said Maryanne Reed, WVU’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Now we can move forward with our original plan for delivering high-quality instruction, regardless of modality, while also giving our students an on-campus experience.”
Dean of Students Corey Farris said he expects students to follow coronavirus guidelines on campus and around Morgantown.
“I understand when students are hanging out with their friends off-campus it might be easy for some to let down their guard but it’s so important to remember the safety guidelines all of the time,” he said.
“I am so proud of the overwhelming majority of our students who understand they need to wear a mask, practice physical distancing, avoid large indoor gatherings in social settings and follow the rules so we stay here on campus. And we will continue to hold those who are not following the necessary guidelines accountable for their actions.”
A group of students is planning a “Save WVU March” on Friday in opposition to the coronavirus rules. The students are demanding loosening rules, including allowing social gatherings with masks and allowing students to attend sporting events with masks.
Around 120 students have received or will receive sanctions for violating the university’s coronavirus policies. Twenty-four students have been suspended from the institution.