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WVU Not Requiring Vaccinations Now, Local Schools Still Deciding

Woodburn Hall on West Virginia University downtown campus, Saturday, April, 24, 2015, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)

WHEELING — West Virginia University seeks an 80% COVID vaccination rate on campus, while local colleges and universities have not yet formulated plans for their students’ return to campus in the fall.

WVU officials announced this week its COVID policy for the upcoming fall semester.

“At this time, WVU is not requiring vaccination, but it is strongly recommended,” WVU said in a released statement. “As the Emergency Use Authorizations are lifted by the Food and Drug Administration, the University may consider requiring COVID-19 vaccines for those who are not medically exempted.

“Our goal is to ultimately reach an 80% vaccination rate for the University community, which includes students, faculty and staff. If we can reach targeted milestones of increased vaccination rates, we will be able to relax certain restrictions and allow specified activities to resume, such as student organization and club activities, intramural sports, the Rec Center and more.”

WVU will continue to offer vaccinations on campus. The fall semester is set to start at WVU on Aug. 18.

“We fully anticipate that educational opportunities and research activities will operate in-person and at full capacity, consistent with pre-pandemic levels,” school officials state.

“As determined by faculty and academic leaders, some courses may include hybrid components, given recent classroom technology enhancements. While we will continue to offer online courses, as is standard in a typical semester, our priority is to return to in-person instruction this fall.”

The Personal Rapid Transit system will resume operations for the fall semester beginning Aug. 2, WVU has announced. The PRT will operate with vehicle capacity limits based on the University’s overall vaccination rates.

Local colleges and universities, meanwhile, indicate they have no plans set forth as of yet.

“We have no vaccination policy for students at this time, and anything we do in the future on this matter will be directed by the state,” said Maureen Zambito, director of media relations at West Liberty University.

WLU students were thanked in an email for their efforts at keeping numbers down on campus this school year.

“For additional COVID-related updates and information, please continue to review our COVID-19 Resources website as we get closer to our fall semester,” the students were told. “Also watch your emails since all information on next fall and the pandemic will be shared appropriately as it develops. Stay safe and thank you.”

Shannon Kolkedy, communications specialist at Bethany College, said the school “hasn’t finalized policies for the fall.” Discussions are taking place, she said.

At West Virginia Northern Community College, there are no plans to turn away students this fall if they have not been vaccinated, according to David Barnhardt, director of communications and student recruitment.

“We have been encouraging and educating people regarding COVID-19 vaccinations,” he said. “At this time, there are no plans to vaccinate students on campus.”

WVNCC will continue to offer remote, hybrid and in-person classes to all students, he said.

Officials at Wheeling University and President Ginny Favede could not be reached for comment this week regarding a COVID policy at WU.

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