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COVID-19 Exposure Closes Business at WVU Student Apartment Complex; Students Breaking Quarantine

Photo by Scott Lituchy / West Virginia University

The Starbucks at the Market @ UPlace remains closed Wednesday after West Virginia University was notified the previous evening of a COVID-19 exposure at the University Place storefront.

The university immediately implemented its safety protocols, initiating a deep cleaning of the space. WVU is also working closely with the Monongalia County Health Department in its case investigation and contact tracing.

WVU’s dining facilities underwent significant changes prior to the start of the semester to enhance health and safety precautions. These include plexiglass guards to create safe barriers in sale, service counters and any area that requires or encourages close interaction. As a result, anyone who visited the Starbucks location at the Market @ Uplace should self-monitor for symptoms, but health experts say potential exposure in this environment is minimal.

The event, however, underscores the importance for students and employees to follow the health and safety guidelines established, including those WVU set for quarantine and isolation. Additionally, students who feel the need to be tested should call WVU Student Health at 304-285-7200 to ensure that all University safety protocols are being followed.

“We know that we’ll identify additional positive cases as we work to perform targeted testing of certain high-risk groups on campus,” said Dr. Carmen Burrell, medical director of Urgent Care and Student Health Services. “However, the rate and spread of infection can be minimized if individuals will quarantine until test results are received, wear a mask and stay physically distanced as much as possible.”

The university has also been made aware of students who have broken their mandatory quarantine, which is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. If asked to quarantine, students or employees should not report to campus for work or class and should stay inside and away from people for a 14-day period. It is critical for the safety of others that those in quarantine not be around others during this time. Those beginning to feel ill with symptoms of COVID-19 should call WVU Medicine Student Health.

“If you are waiting for test results, it’s extremely important to follow quarantine protocol in order to minimize exposure to other people and to stop the spread of the virus,” Burrell said. “It’s also imperative for students to provide a local, Morgantown address at the time of testing and to notify Student Health of a positive test result obtained outside of WVU’s testing process to assist with contact tracing efforts.”

Masks/face coverings are required on WVU’s campus. Students, faculty and staff are again reminded to practice physical distancing and maintain good personal hygiene (frequent hand washing and/or use of hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol).

These policies are designed to help protect the campus and surrounding community. Students who violate the guidelines will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct. Employees also face potential disciplinary action for failing to follow the procedures and guidelines.

“This is a critical time for our campus and the Morgantown community,” Rob Alsop, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, said. “It’s imperative we all do everything we can to mitigate the risk. Our ability to do that will determine what happens next. I want to emphasize that it is not good enough for 90% of us to follow our protocols. We all have to do so. Otherwise, it will be highly unlikely that we will be able to continue with an on-campus experience.”

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