MORGANTOWN, W. Va.— West Virginia University is temporarily revising its masking guidelines. Beginning Wednesday, Aug. 18, and for the next 30 days, masks will be required for all those in classrooms, teaching and research labs on all campuses – regardless of vaccination status.
In line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the University continues to strongly encourage all students, faculty, staff and visitors to wear masks in all other indoor areas of campus.
WVU is making this shift based on a variety of factors, including increasing evidence that a booster may be needed as immunity provided by vaccines is waning over time. And importantly, many faculty, staff and students have not yet submitted a vaccine verification or negative COVID-19 test result. Many have also failed to complete the required COVID-19 education module.
Currently, vaccination verification rates across the WVU system are as follows:
- Morgantown Staff/Faculty –67.49%
- Morgantown Students – 68.43%
- Keyser Staff/Faculty –62.56%
- Keyser Students –34.38%
- Beckley Staff/Faculty – 70.75%
- Beckley Students –42.60%
More than 10,000 students, faculty and staff who have not verified that they are vaccinated are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result by Friday, Aug. 20. To date, fewer than 15% of those unverified students, faculty and staff have done so. Also, approximately 8,000 students, faculty and staff have not completed the required COVID-19 education module. The deadline to do so is today (Aug. 17).
The University has not seen an adequate progression of vaccination verification to feel confident it would reach 80% by Sept. 1 and has chosen to move forward with additional safety measures on campus.
“We have always stated that our highest priority is to offer a fully in-person, on-campus academic and student experience this fall,” said Maryanne Reed, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Based on the data we have, the additional temporary measure of masking will provide an extra layer of protection for the academic settings.”
The University strongly encourages everyone to follow the CDC recommendations of wearing a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status. It is also encouraging that virtual options be offered for all meetings and gatherings for those who prefer not to attend in person.