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Wheeling University Updates COVID Plan, Recommends Campus Community be Vaccinated

WHEELING, W.Va., June 24 – Wheeling University’s updated COVID-19 plan urges all community members to be vaccinated, but will not require students, faculty and staff be inoculated prior to the start of the 2021-22 academic year. 

University President Ginny R. Favede said the revised campus guidelines reflect new recommendations from local, state and federal agencies. 

“We looked at all of the recent guidance and adjusted our campus COVID Plan accordingly. We are currently surveying our students and employees to determine the percentage of those who have been vaccinated. While we are not requiring vaccinations, we do urge members of the community to be inoculated. Continued progress towards our vaccination goal of 70 percent of our campus population, will provide us greater confidence in easing our indoor social distancing and masking restrictions,” President Favede said. 

The University will establish on-campus vaccination clinics at the start of the academic year for students who wish to receive a vaccine. President Favede noted that students will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination when they return to campus in August. 

Under the new plan, masks are still required indoors across campus, unless employees are in their office alone or students are in their rooms. Wearing masks outdoors is left to the discretion of each individual. Social distancing measures have been lifted, with classrooms and dining areas reverting to pre-pandemic designs. The University will hold face-to-face instruction, using hybrid and remote learning when necessary. 

President Favede said, the University will continue testing as needed and keep its isolation/tracing/care program in place through the Fall. Per NCAA guidance, the University will test athletes. However, student-athletes who show proof they have been vaccinated, will be exempt unless they exhibit COVID symptoms, she added. 

“Our testing, tracing, isolation and care program helped us contain outbreaks and remain open throughout the academic year. We believe it is important to keep these protocols in place for now,” President Favede added. 

Additionally, space restrictions and gathering limits have been rolled back to pre-pandemic levels in classrooms, meeting areas, the dining halls, coffee shop, and student lounges. Favede said the in-classroom cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and sanitizing stations will continue to be provided. 

“We know that adjustments to our plan may be needed moving forward,” President Favede said. “For now, we believe our plan has the necessary precautions in place to keep our students, faculty and staff safe.”