August 7, 2020
Update from the President
Dear Wheeling University Family,
The arrival of students is approaching quickly, and we are in the process of making final preparations in anticipation of their return. Final prep work is taking place inside the residence halls and classrooms. We are excited for our students to return to campus and know that this pandemic has caused much stress and uncertainty in all of our lives. We are doing everything to make their transition back to campus as seamless as possible.
As the start of the Fall semester approaches and after months of effort, our COVID-19 Task Force has put together a comprehensive Re-Opening Plan and I would like to share it with you today. The plan contains our road-map to safely re-open Wheeling University for in-person instruction on August 24. The health and well-being of our University family, and greater Wheeling area, will depend on our shared responsibility and commitment to adhere to this plan.
We were recently informed Governor Justice has mandated that COVID-19 testing will be required for all returning staff and students at all higher education facilities in West Virginia. Governor Justice has set aside $2.5 million to assist colleges and universities with testing. Our testing will be in conjunction with the Wheeling-Ohio County EMA and Health Department.
We are committed to the safety and well-being of our campus community and welcome the governor’s directive and assistance to ensure your health and safety. The on-campus health department testing is a mass testing and no appointments will be taken. Because this testing will be done as if the participants are asymptomatic, there will be no need to self-quarantine after taking a test. Everyone is urged to wear a mask, limit community activity, and practice good hand sanitation prior to getting their test results back.
The testing is for all students and staff and the testing will not have a charge or require insurance. I apologize for the change in directive, as we had previously communicated that students would be required to have testing completed prior to their arrival on campus. Dates, times, and details are now confirmed for the on-campus Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department testing clinics. The COVID-19 Testing Clinics will take place at the Alma Grace McDonough Center (auxiliary gym) at the following times:
- 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 18, all Fall sports students and all staff, faculty, and on-campus employees
- 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Friday, Aug. 21, all freshman students
- 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 23, all returning students
Results could be delayed because of an increase in testing, but it is the goal to have results back within 1-3 days. Participants will be notified of positive results by the Wheeling Ohio-County Health Department, according to Howard Gamble, Wheeling-Ohio County health administrator.
This mandatory testing applies to both graduate and undergraduate students. The only exception would be in the case of a student or employee who is not physically present on campus during the Fall semester. Participants must bring their driver’s license, Cardinal Card, or other proof of address.
To review the Return to Campus Plan, please see the attached document. For more information on Wheeling University’s complete response to the pandemic please visit wheeling.edu/coronavirus. For more information on the testing clinics, please call the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department at 304.234.3682.
Adherence to the measures we have put in place is vital to keeping everyone on campus healthy and safe. I call on everyone to please follow the guidelines – by working together we can keep our community protected from COVID-19, as well as slow the spread of the virus. This virus does not run on our schedule – as much as we wish it would. We want answers when all we have is uncertainty. We will continue to monitor the situation carefully and keep you updated if we must make changes to our plan. For now, we look forward to welcoming all students to campus.
Ginny R. Favede