West Virginia University reinstates temporary face mask policies in classrooms

West Virginia

(Courtesy: West Virginia University Facebook)

MORGANTOWN, WV (WOWK) — Effective Wednesday, Aug. 18, West Virginia University face masks will be required for everyone in classrooms, teaching and research labs on all campuses regardless of vaccination status for 30 days. 

According to WVU officials, he decision for reinstating the mask policy is based on a variety of factors, including increasing evidence that a booster may be needed as immunity provided by vaccines wanes over time. 

University officials also say 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.

WVU officials say more than 10,000 students, faculty and staff who have not verified that they are vaccinated must provide a negative COVID-19 test result by Friday, Aug. 20. 

As of Tuesday, Aug. 17, less than 15% of those unverified students, faculty and staff have done so. An estimate of 8,000 students, faculty and staff, have not completed 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%

WVU officials have taken steps to move forward for additional safety measures as they say they do not feel they would reach the 80% of vaccination verification by Sept. 1

“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 urges everyone to follow the CDC recommendation of wearing a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status. Virtual options are also encouraged for all meetings and gatherings for those who prefer not to attend in person.

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