MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Dr. Clay Marsh, who was appointed as the West Virginia Coronavirus Czar in late March by Gov. Justice, is set to resume his role as the Vice President and Executive Dean of West Virginia University’s Health Sciences department.
Marsh will continue serving in the role of Czar, but in June he will start to transition back to his position at WVU, according to a press release from the University. Marsh said WVU is excited to continue to make every provision necessary to try and safely get students back on campus for the fall semester.
We’re excited about the future. We’re also cognizant that this is a very uncertain time, it’s also a very unprecedented time, so at the same time, we’re really committed to getting our students back as much as we possibly can. We also are committed to making sure that is safe, it is our primary priority. And if we decide, even as we go forward that for whatever reason it’s not safe to have all of our students back we’ll make those provisions just like we did back in March when the university decided to really adopt the online strategy.Dr. Clay Marsh – Vice President & Executive Dean, WVU Health Sciences
Marsh said an important aspect of education in the medical field is students having access to apprenticeships. Through apprenticeships, he said, students can learn how to apply technical knowledge, develop professionalism and get comfortable helping people with medical probelms that need to be addressed.
He said the University has already started placing students in medical rotations with patients while ensuring that they have effective personal protective equipment. Marsh said they have coordinated with national licensing agencies, boards of education and governing organizations so that they can continue adoption of the best practices for students.
As Marsh slowly begins to return to his role at WVU, he said he views his appointment as the head of the state’s coronavirus task force as a “privilege.”
“It’s been an amazing opportunity to serve,” Marsh said. “And I think for any one of us and particularly at WVU, the land grant university of the state, we really see our role as serving the state, certainly serving the governor and state officials in any way we can to make a difference in the lives of people who live in this state. And so for me, it’s been challenging for sure, just because there’s no real blueprint and there’s no previous experience you can draw upon to understand how you should navigate this particular time.”
However, as a West Virginian, Marsh said, he felt rising to the challenge was worth it because the state he cherishes needed him. Marsh said he has worked alongside a lot of smart, committed, innovative and selfless individuals who all wanted to rise to the challenge and help combat the pandemic. He described the task force as being inspiring.
Marsh said he does not think their work has gone unnoticed because he sees the national perspective of West Virginia as being “very positive”. He said this is the case when you analyze the number of lives that were saved and the strong effort West Virginians have put in place to protect themselves and others.
West Virginians are getting tired and it is time to reopen the economy, Marsh said, but people should not get carried away and throw caution into the wind.
“This stage is tricky and we need to stay together and as long as we stay together I am very confident that we’re going to do well in West Virginia,” Marsh said.