WVU updates classrooms and dining halls as part of COVID-19 safety

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University is putting together the finishing touches on its revised COVID-19 classrooms and dining facilities on its Morgantown Campus.

Undergraduate classes are set to kick off on August 26 and there have been many changes made including socially distanced seating in classrooms, mobile plexiglass screens for professors at the front of the class and much more.

Rob Alsop, the WVU Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, said it’s been a busy summer for the university’s facilities team, information technology department and all staff and faculty.

An example of a socially distanced classroom in Oglebay Hall

Everybody has been working for months to prepare for this moment. As you can see, whether it’s masks in our vending machines or dividers in our dining halls, spacing in our classrooms, we have really tried to think about every detail, to have a safe experience for our students, our faculty and staff this fall.

Rob Alsop – Vice President for Strategic Initiatives

Other safety precautions that will be taken this fall will include arrows in hallways showing students which way to walk, similar to the strategy being used in grocery stores since the pandemic started.

WVU has stated that it will even have free masks and sanitation products in vending machines around campus.

Alsop said students started moving into residence halls over the past weekend and the Mountainlair is now open as well. In the Mountainlair, where there are dining facilities, there are also arrows and markers on the ground so students know which way to walk and are reminded to not stand too close to each other when waiting in line for restaurants.

Newly updated dining area in the Mountainlair

“I think we have the fundamental pieces in place,” Alsop said. “We’re going to look at the data every day and see if we need to make additional adjustments, but based on the guidance we have received from our health experts and working on our campus, we feel pretty good about all the pieces we have in place. And we’re excited for our kids to come back and to work through this pandemic and hopefully be a great fall for everybody.”

Part of WVU’s effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 has been through requiring all students and employees returning this fall to undergo testing and that process is still ongoing. According to a recent WVU press release, there will be recurring tests for some students and employees who have been exposed to the virus once the fall semester is in session. The release states that all recurring tests will be free.

“Health and safety has been paramount for all our considerations all summer,” Alsop said. “I think that was evidenced by the pivot we did a couple of weeks ago, where we moved more courses online. But we are ready, we think to have our kids on campus and to — for them to have a great experience albeit in a different way this fall.”

A Return to Campus Conversation will also be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, August 13, where senior administrators will continue to answer questions and address concerns, according to the release. To see the full press release, in which WVU details its COVID-19 plans for the fall, visit its website, here.

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