October 31, 2020
Wheeling University Acts Swiftly to Mitigate Risk Following Positive COVID Cases
Wheeling, W.Va., Oct. 31, 2020 — When weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing revealed Friday and Saturday that eight members of the Wheeling University community tested positive, the University took swift action to implement its protocols and begin mitigation procedures.
The University learned Friday that four students and one staff member had tested positive and received notification Saturday morning that three additional students had positive test results. Since the semester started, the University has had 12 out of 856 members of the campus test positive.
“Upon learning that six students and one staff member had tested positive for the Coronavirus, campus leadership immediately began institution all of our safety and cleaning protocols,” said Wheeling University President Ginny R. Favede. “We acted swiftly to close and clean the areas affected and quarantine individuals immediately.”
Additionally, the University contacted the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department to report the cases the President added.
As University procedures dictate, the McDonough Center was shut down, as was the Business and Financial Aid offices. “Our environmental services team began cleaning and disinfecting those areas, as well as the students’ rooms. By afternoon, the McDonough Center was reopened,” she explained.
Staff from the Business and Financial Aid offices will work remotely until further notice.
President Favede said, “The health and safety of our employees and students is our top priority. Out of an abundance of caution, the University has closed those two offices. Those individuals began working from home on Friday.”
Students who test positive for COVID-19 or are in close contact with a positive case are required to quarantine. These students are in isolation to contain the spread of the virus.
She added that the students affected have either returned home to quarantine or have been quarantined on campus.
The students impacted switched over to online course instruction on Friday.
“Student support has become an integral part of student success at Wheeling University,” Favede said. “We have to deal with academic and non-academic issues, and our staff and faculty are doing that exceptionally well.”
Students choosing to remain on campus to quarantine will have three meals a day delivered to their rooms by Student and Dining services.
“Members of the Student Services staff not only deliver meals, but continually check on the students. Their health and mental well-being are of great concern to us. Those students in quarantine can call a member of our staff at any time if they need assistance. We take seriously our responsibility to look after for the young men and women entrusted in our care.” said Andrew Lewis, Vice President of Student Services.
President Favede said, “The results of our weekly surveillance testing were disappointing news for the campus. With cases rising throughout the nation, we know it is inevitable that we will have positive tests. However, it still makes days like Friday and Saturday challenging to bear. I am grateful to the amazing team of Wheeling University Faculty, Staff, Environmental Services, Health Center and others who continually rise to the occasion to ensure our campus is safe, healthy and well taken care of.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging for all colleges and universities, because we house students. Wheeling University has found strength in being a small university, where we can work closely daily to address issues and quickly adapt when needed. Our students understand their role in our ability to remain open. They have shown the true meaning of our mission to be men and women for others. Everyone on Wheeling’s campus takes that responsibility very seriously. We monitor ourselves, and one another, because that is what families do. Wheeling University prides itself on being a Cardinal Family, and it has never been more evident than now,” she shared.