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West Virginia Northern Community College Navigating COVID-19 Response

Six weeks into the fall semester, West Virginia Northern Community College officials say its campuses are effectively dealing with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, including the surge in the delta variant.

So far the college has experienced just nine COVID infections from what it believes is the delta variant.

The vaccination rate among WVNCC employees exceeds 85%.

And since Northern reinstituted some COVID protocols — a mask mandate indoors and a request for students and employees to either test for the virus every two weeks or get vaccinated — student adherence is eclipsed 99%.

That drew praise from WVNCC president Daniel Mosser.

“Our number one goal is student and employee health and safety,” he said.

“We want to keep our community safe while also being able to hold in-person classes on all three of our campuses.

Everyone has been extraordinarily patient, understanding, and protective of each other.

“Our low infection rate is a testament to everyone’s cooperation and commitment to keeping the college open,” he added.

Northern saw its first reported COVID case on Oct. 29, 2020. When vaccines became available, the college started working with local health departments and pharmacies in New Martinsville, Weirton, and Wheeling to make free testing and vaccination options available.

Each campus also offered a vaccination clinic this past summer.

The College has also formed internal contact tracing teams to track cases, head-off outbreaks, and provide students and employees with advice and resources to properly navigate quarantines and combat the pandemic.

On top of that, WVNCC has distributed more than $940,000 in Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds.

“I’ve never been more proud of the hard work it took from our students and employees to ensure that our campus community understood these new expectations and to hold each other accountable,” Mosser said.

“We had some very difficult conversations, but ultimately our students and our campuses have remained safe.”

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