Update from the President
Dear Wheeling University Community,
On Monday, Wheeling University began the fall 2020 semester with nearly 900 students returning to campus. Students have over and over again expressed their joy of being able to return to campus! The campus, which has been far too quiet since mid-March, is once again alive with energy, enthusiasm and intellect.
We are excited to see everyone together on campus again! As we start the semester, I remind you to remain vigilant and adhere to our Return to Campus Plan. Faculty and staff have worked together over several months to develop this comprehensive plan – one that ensures a safe and healthy return to in person instruction. These guidelines must be in place for the protection of our community.
Thanks to funding from the State of West Virginia, students and employees received free COVID-19 testing last week. As a result, we received notification that two students have tested positive for COVID-19. Both are asymptomatic and have returned home, as have their roommates. Their rooms were sanitized by Panhandle Cleaning. We recognize these situations may arise. However, if our campus joins together and follows the measures we have instituted, the risk of spread and infection will diminish greatly.
Students, faculty and employees who have not been tested, the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department will be on campus to test from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Thursday, September 3 in the McDonough Center’s Auxiliary Gym. You will need to present your Cardinal Card when you register. Please be assured Wheeling University will continue to take proactive and prudent measures to ensure the health and safety for every member of this family.
We recognize the sacrifices everyone has made and will continue to make. Having said this, every student, faculty member, and employee must commit to wearing a face covering, maintaining proper social distance in buildings, classrooms and common areas such as the Benedum Room, washing/sanitizing our hands often and avoid gathering in large groups. For the time being, social activities that enrich the university experience must remain virtual, or limited to small groups. We cannot let our guard down or give in to those understandable temptations to get back to our ‘normal’ lives. Students must simply say no to in person party invitations and begin to build new traditions. How students choose to act will make a difference, not only in containing the spread of COVID-19, but in how they are perceived by the greater Wheeling community.
New health and safety awareness signage has been hung in all campus buildings, that provide reminders to wear face coverings, stay six-feet apart, clean surfaces and equipment, practice good hygiene, and download the LiveSafe app to complete a daily health assessment. New hand sanitizing stations have been placed in buildings around campus. Additionally, portable Steramist machines – handheld, point and spray units – are in use by our Environmental Services workers to disinfect and sanitize classrooms, offices, labs and other areas quickly and thoroughly. The environmentally safe mist also reaches and kills germs in areas that normal cleaning cannot.
Since the earliest days of the pandemic, students have told me they want and value in-person, on-campus learning. Our faculty have said they want to see students in the classrooms and have a face-to-face educational experience. We are in this together. Continuing in person instruction is our goal. Everyone has an important role to play and I call on each one of you to keep one another safe each and every day.
We are one another’s keeper, and caring about the safety and well-being of others is vital. By adhering to CDC and University guidelines, we are making ourselves safe, while we are also helping to keep others safe. The twin principle and practice of solidarity and compassion lend moral weight to a deeper awareness of the common good.
Ginny R. Favede
President, Wheeling University