MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University announced on Thursday that it will be extending the mask requirement on campus until the end of February.

Masks will be required in all WVU indoor facilities until at least Feb. 25, according to a release from WVU Today. The continued spread of omicron in the state and the increase in COVID-related hospitalizations, which reached a record high on Wednesday, were some reasons for the extension.

Based on prior guidelines, the mandate was only in place until Feb. 1.

Masks continue to be required for passengers on the PRT and WVU buses through March 18 under federal guidelines from the Transportation Security Administration.

Masks are also strongly encouraged, but not required indoors at WVU Athletics venues during public events.

“Despite the recent surge in cases over the past few weeks, the high rates of vaccination in our campus community has helped to minimize serious symptoms for those who have contracted the virus,” said Dr. Jeffrey Coben, dean of the School of Public Health and associate vice president for Health Affairs. “We hope and anticipate that cases will begin to decline in the days ahead. However, our state’s hospitals are operating at or above capacity, and we must continue to follow the health and safety protocols that have been instituted to keep our communities safe.” 

WVU is continuing to strongly recommend but not require COVID vaccinations, including booster shots, for all students and staff. According to the release, those who are vaccinated should verify their vaccination status online by Jan. 28.

For more information about vaccine verification, COVID vaccines, COVID testing and mask requirements at WVU, click here.