Update from the President
Dear Campus Community,
Today marks the completion of our seventh week of the Fall 2020 semester. Guided by our commitment to education and the health and safety of our community, Wheeling University continues to emphasize the seriousness of the Coronavirus. All of us must respect this virus and remain focused that anyone can contract it. However, wearing a mask, staying socially distanced and practicing good hygiene, can make a difference in protecting one another. Through a commitment at all levels of the University, everyone plays a role in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Together, we can keep our campus healthy.
Thursday we began weekly surveillance testing of 10 percent of our campus population. Eighty-one members of the campus community were tested and those test kits have been sent to Vault Lab for processing. Those tested will receive email notification of their results. If an individual’s test results come back positive, Wheeling University’s isolation, contact tracing and quarantine procedures will then go into effect. I thank all those who took time from their schedule to participate. Testing will be conducted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Wednesday in the Troy Theater. Those selected will receive an email from Student Services on Friday with detailed instructions.
Additionally, the actions all of us – especially our students – are critical. I recognize this virus requires changes in our behaviors and even some sacrifices. I continue to urge students not to travel during the weekend. Please stay on campus as much as possible and limit your interactions with people outside of the University. Following these protocols will keep our campus safe!
I am heartbroken to report, today, the Mountain East Conference Board of Directors unanimously decided to delay the start of winter sports until January 1, 2021. While we’ve known for some time this was a possibility, this is disappointing news for our coaches and athletes. The decision is driven largely by the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group testing expectations. We hope pushing the start of Winter sports to the beginning of 2021 will provide MEC institutions additional time to put testing protocols in place, so our student-athletes can resume competition. Our focus in the meantime will be on the continued support of our student-athletes’ academic success, physical and mental health, and overall well-being. The sports impacted include men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s indoor track and wrestling.
Wednesday was the Nursing Department’s White Coat Ceremony. This event was held outdoors in the Library Plaza to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Because the campus remains closed to the public, the ceremony was taped for family members to watch. Congratulations to this year’s class! I admire your decision to pursue nursing at a time when our nation and our world is faced with the challenge of COVID-19 pandemic – forcing healthcare providers to be on the front lines caring for all the lives that have been and will continue to be greatly impacted.
The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department has asked us to limit large gatherings on campus. As such, we will hold the Mass of the Holy Spirit in the Chapel of Mary and Joseph, where approximately 30 members of the campus community can attend in person. Also, additional seating will be available outside the Chapel on the plaza. To make sure our entire campus can participate with Bishop Mark Brennan, the Mass will be live streamed. We will send a list of locations were employees and students can watch the live stream on Monday.
This week, we relocated some campus offices to new locations. The University’s Health Center has been relocated to its original location on the second floor of Swint Hall, and the Admissions Department is also located on the second floor. Swint Hall is one of the University’s original buildings and is located in the heart of campus. Having Admissions in Swint allows families and prospective students to witness many vital elements of the student experience – the Hodges Library, Troy Theater, the Benedum Room and the 24-Hour Lounge – upon their entry to our beautiful campus. Additionally, the Registrar has moved back to Acker Science Center Room 204 to be easily accessible for students.
Since mid-March, members of our campus community have taken on additional work and have helped wherever they are needed. Members of the Business Office, President’s Office, Public Safety, and Conference Services have been staffing the mailroom along with student workers. For our students, working in the Mailroom provides them hands-on, experiential learning, which benefits the University, but most importantly provides the students with valuable work experience. Additionally, members of my team, Advancement, Campus Activities, and Public Safety are taking temperatures at the front gate. In my pledge that I never ask anyone to do anything I am not willing to do myself, I’ve taken on the responsibility of stocking the apparel in our Campus Shop, while students have volunteered to assist with office relocations.
I am most grateful and appreciative of everyone’s willingness to take on extra work and for the dedication of our students, faculty, and staff to meet the challenges during this unprecedented time. We would not be where we are today without your commitment to our University. Your hard work and dedication allow Wheeling University to continue educating the men and women entrusted in our care.
Ginny R. Favede
President, Wheeling University