HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — The Marshall University Board of Governors approved a comprehensive guide to return to campus in the fall.
University officials say the Return-to-Campus plan addresses all aspects of returning to on-site instruction for students and employees during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including plans for academics and residence halls as well as testing protocols and health concerns.
“The recommendations outlined in this document were developed using the most current science and public health information we have,” said Marshall University President Jerome A. Gilbert, Ph.D. “Our highest priority remains the safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors, and every single decision and guidance in the plan is predicated on that goal. In addition, we must remain ready to adapt and be flexible as they are keys to our success this fall.”
The university is implementing a revised academic plan that features a mix of face-to-face classes, online classes and hybrid settings. The academic calendar has also been adjusted to maintain the required number of instructional days while minimizing travel to and from campus once the fall and spring semesters begin. Classes are scheduled to begin August 24 with students completing the semester online after Thanksgiving break.
“Every decision made during this process was executed with our Marshall family in mind,” said Tracy B. Smith, director of environmental health and safety. “We have put in place a number of new policies and procedures all geared toward creating the best possible, safest environment for the university.”
Marshall employees began returning to work on campus in early June on a three-phased schedule. The last phase of staff is expected back July 6, with most nine-month faculty members returning in August.
Officials with Marshall University say the plan includes changes such as:
- All students and employees will receive a Return-to-Campus kit containing face coverings and hand sanitizer. Students and employees will be required to wear face coverings while inside all university buildings, except for when alone in a personal workspace.
- Regular self-administered health checks will be required for students and employees through an app they will introduce in the coming weeks.
- The university will accommodate high-risk populations as possible.
- All faculty, staff and students will be required to complete an online education module.
- COVID-19 testing will be conducted on all international students, student-athletes, students from out-of-state hotspots and all residence hall students upon their return to campus. Additional surveillance testing of students, faculty and staff also will be done.
- The university will provide educational and awareness signage throughout the main corridors of all buildings.
- Marshall has updated its protocols for cleaning and sanitizing all university buildings based on standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using Environmental Protection Agency-approved products that are effective against the COVID-19 virus.
The university says additional restart plans are being phased in at affiliates such as Marshall Health, the clinical enterprise, research and athletics.
The university will host virtual Town Hall meetings in Microsoft Teams to share the Return-to-Campus plan with staff, students, parents and faculty in more detail. Registration for the meetings is available at the university’s coronavirus update page. The meetings are scheduled for the following times:
- Staff – 3 p.m., Tuesday, July 7
- Parents – 6 p.m., Tuesday, July 14
- Students – 2 p.m., Thursday, July 16
- Faculty – 2 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 11