West Virginia University will be fully open when fall semester begins

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University and its campuses in Morgantown, Keyser and Beckley will be fully open when the fall semester begins in August, university officials announced Tuesday.

University officials cited declining active coronavirus cases and ongoing vaccination efforts as reasons for the policy; the state Department of Health and Human Resources reported Tuesday 2,710 active coronavirus cases, while the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said nearly 956,000 West Virginians — around 61% of eligible people 12 years old and older — have received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose.

Students, staff and faculty are not required to be vaccinated by the time the fall semester begins, but the university is encouraging everyone to receive vaccine doses. Students have to verify their vaccine status with university housing by Aug. 1.

People who do not verify their vaccine status will have to comply with re-entry coronavirus testing and random sample testing, as well as quarantine for at least 10 days following close contact with someone who tests positive for the coronavirus. They will also have to wear a face mask around other people.

On-campus activities will no longer be subject to vaccination milestones, however Food Fest and Fall Fest will not take place in previous formats until a 70% vaccination rate is achieved.

The university also plans to announce Thursday incentives for getting vaccinated.

Fully-vaccinated individuals will not have to wear a mask inside university facilities or outdoors when around other people, but masks will be required on university transportation through at least Sept. 13 because of federal guidelines.

The West Virginia University Athletic Department also confirmed Tuesday that Milan Puskar Stadium will allow 100% capacity for football games with full stadium operations, pregame tailgating and other gameday activities.

“I want to thank our fans for their patience and understanding throughout the past year,” athletics director Shane Lyons said in a release. “Not only is this great news for Mountaineer Nation and our student-athletes, but it adds to the excitement and anticipation for Mountaineer football. A full stadium of 60,000 fans is exactly what our team deserves, and what our fans have been wanting.”

The West Virginia University football team has six home games during the upcoming season; the first game will be Sept. 11 against Long Island University.

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