College COVID plans in the Ohio Valley: Where do we go from here?

Ohio County
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October 31 2021 11:59 pm

Ohio County, W.Va. (WTRF) – There’s no denying it—the college experience is different nowadays.

Online classes, fewer students in the halls, separated desks–it just isn’t the same as it was for those who graduated before the 2020s.

And our Ohio Valley schools continue to shift their studies along with the cultural tide.

The president of West Virginia Northern Community College will tell you—keeping up with the week-by-week changes hasn’t been easy.

Stressful, to say the least, this wasn’t part of the job description whenever I came here two years ago.

Dan Mosser, President, WVNCC

Northern is just one of the many schools that changed course as the Delta variant struck late in the summer.

While they dropped their mask mandate in early July, they brought it back for the fall semester.

They’ve also asked students and employees to get vaccinated, or tested every two weeks.

And they’re prepared to make adjustments as needed with their COVID task group that meets once a week—at least.

When the infection numbers are going up, we meet more than weekly, we’ve met as often as three or four times a week.

Dan Mosser, President, WVNCC

A little further north of Northern’s Wheeling campus—some of those same approaches have been adopted at West Liberty.

Students are masked regardless of vaccination status just about anywhere they could gather.

Throughout the campus, inside facilities, classrooms, offices, even the residence halls.

W. Franklin Evans, President, West Liberty University

However—both colleges have stopped short of mandating the shots.

WVNCC and West Liberty have similar vaccine rates — about 85 percent for staff, and between 50 and 60 percent for students.

Dr. Evans says requiring it isn’t in the cards as of right now.

We’ve not gotten to that level yet, and certainly we are going to be following the lead of the governor, and the things that our governor says as well.

W. Franklin Evans, President, West Liberty University

With online classes still available, students have plenty of options for their safety no matter where they go.

And with cases down last week in Ohio County—the hope is that those maskless days of this summer will eventually come back.

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