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March 31, 2020, President Anthony L. Jenkins Message to the Campus Community

 
Dear Yellow Jacket Nation:
 
First, I want to commend our entire campus for coming together and displaying incredible resolve in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we are working to ensure that quality instruction for our students remains our top priority during these unprecedented times.

As per my earlier communications, remote delivery of courses utilizing a variety of alternative learning options began this week, and I appreciate the cooperation of our students, faculty and staff for working so closely together to ensure that our classes will continue through the remainder of our spring semester.

Also, for the remainder of the spring semester, only employees deemed crucial to carry out the needed functions and safety of the University will be permitted on campus. All others will continue to work remotely from home for the duration of the spring semester. Your immediate supervisor will continue to provide direction regarding work assignments and expectations. Campus buildings and offices will remain locked for security purposes, and all office functions are being carried out remotely.

Students, I know you have questions regarding services, financial aid, reimbursements and other important topics. My team is working with the appropriate federal and state departments to resolve all of your questions. I encourage you to keep forwarding us your questions.

I want to remind everyone that we have established a webpage with more information about COVID-19, please visit it regularly at www.wvstateu.edu/coronavirus  for official updated information. In addition, please continue to monitor your University email account for updates.

Take care, be well and Go STATE,


Anthony L. Jenkins, Ph.D.
President
 
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March 20, 2020, President Anthony L. Jenkins
Message to the Campus Community


Dear Yellow Jacket Nation:
 
With the ongoing spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and with additional guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as state government and local health officials, West Virginia State University is implementing several changes to protect the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff for the remainder of the spring semester.

Classes will not resume on Wednesday, March 25. Instead, beginning Monday, March 30, and for the remainder of the semester, all face-to-face classes will be delivered remotely utilizing alternative learning options. These options will vary from class to class and may include online, email, or other means. Students currently taking online courses should continue to do so with no change or disruption to their courses.

Students will be receiving additional information directly from their faculty member regarding class delivery method, assignments and expectations. These instructions will be coming to students' official wvstateu.edu email accounts, and all are encouraged to check your University email accounts regularly for important updates and information.

Residential students who have left campus for spring break are not required to return to campus, and we advise those resident students to not return to campus, if possible. If you choose not to return to the residence halls this semester, please contact the Office of Housing and Residence Life to arrange a time to retrieve your personal belongings. All residence halls will be securely locked. For residential students who are leaving the residence halls, we are working to develop a financial solution and will follow up with those affected in late April.

If you need to return or remain on campus because you have no other alternative, the University will work with you; however, please know that space and services will be extremely limited. At this time the Goldston Dining Hall, Keith CafĂ©, Chopped & Wrapped and BRB are closed until further notice. "To-Go Meals" will be available for pick-up outside of the Goldston Dining Hall at the cashier's stands during posted hours.

Through the end of the spring semester, all campus events and programs, both internal and external, including athletic competitions, are cancelled. We have also made the difficult decision to cancel our May 9 commencement exercises. Our graduating seniors will be invited to participate in our December commencement exercises, and we will look forward to your return to campus.

Only employees who are deemed crucial to carry out the needed functions and safety of the University will be permitted on campus. All others will work remotely from home, effective Monday, March 23. Your supervisor will be in contact to develop a work plan.

The University has established a webpage with more information about COVID-19, and I encourage you to check it on a regular basis at www.wvstateu.edu/coronavirus. In addition, please continue to monitor your University email account for updates, and if you have not already done so, enroll in the University's emergency notification system in MyState.

These steps to protect the Yellow Jacket Nation are born out of this unprecedented time in which we find ourselves. During this time, I ask that we continue to support one another and follow the CDC's guidelines on health, safety and social distance. The Yellow Jacket Nation is a strong and caring community, and together we will get through this and become even stronger.

I will provide further updates as they are available.

Best regards,  
 

Anthony L. Jenkins, Ph.D.
President
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

March 14, 2020, President Anthony L. Jenkins
Message to the Campus Community


Dear Yellow Jacket Nation:
As the situation regarding the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to evolve, in conjunction with my senior administration team, I have made several decisions that I believe will help protect the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff. While we have no reason to panic, there is every reason to take precautions.
 
First, next week's spring break for students will be extended through Tuesday, March 24, with classes resuming Wednesday, March 25. During the week of spring break, campus will be closed to all but essential personnel, and staff are being directed to work from home. Staff are to coordinate with their supervisors and respective vice presidents on assignments that can be worked on remotely. On Monday, March 23, campus will reopen for staff and faculty.
 
When classes resume on Wednesday, March 25, students who are ill should not attend class. Instead, send an immediate notification to the instructor via email or phone to discuss appropriate adjustments for course work completion. Faculty will make the appropriate adjustments for course content delivery, including the use of technology to allow students to participate in class discussions remotely, or to move courses to an online delivery method in the short-term, if possible. The University's Office of Academic Affairs has prepared information on technical support, course alternatives, and next steps to share with faculty.  This modified delivery method for courses will remain in effect until at least April 13. Please note that regularly scheduled fully online courses will continue as usual.
 
At this time, until further notice, all official University business travel, and/or student related travel, has been suspended. This includes both domestic travel outside the state of West Virginia and international travel. If you have already made travel plans and need to cancel these arrangements, please refer to the travel guidelines provided by the University and Title III.
 
For those faculty or staff planning personal, non-university travel, it is highly recommended that you utilize extreme caution and judgement during your domestic/international travel, taking care to avoid travel to places identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as being high risk for COVID-19. Please understand that should you do so against the advice of the University, self-quarantine protocols and testing will be recommended before you are able to return to campus.
 
Beginning Sunday, March 15, and extending through Sunday, April 12, we are cancelling external events on campus, as well as student and organization activities that could draw a large crowd in order to limit the potential spread of the virus. At this time, normal operations should resume on April 13, but that will continue to be evaluated.
 
The University has established a webpage with more information about COVID-19 and I encourage you to check it on a regular basis at www.wvstateu.edu/coronavirus. In addition, please continue to monitor your University email account for updates, and if you have not already done so, enroll in the University's emergency notification system in MyState.
 
As this is an evolving situation I will provide further updates as they are available.

Best regards,  
 

Anthony L. Jenkins, Ph.D.
President

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

March 11, 2020, President Anthony L. Jenkins
Message to the Campus Community


Dear Yellow Jacket Nation:

As public concern continues regarding the Novel Coronavirus (also referred to as COVID-19), my office has been in regular contact with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC).  HEPC is working with local and state health officials to monitor the latest information being made available to the general public.  Information regarding preparedness, response efforts, and outreach to public health partners is being discussed but, as of yet, we do not have specific state-level guidance.

Current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continue to advise the general public to follow these everyday actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

* Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
* Stay home when you are sick.
* Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
* Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
* Follow CDC's recommendations for using a facemask.
-- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
 -- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers.

The CDC is providing updates regularly online at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

The state of West Virginia through the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) has created a website to share the latest information available in the state at www.coronavirus.wv.gov. In addition, DHHR has established a toll-free hotline that you can call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the latest information at 1-800-887-4304. DHHR announced this past Saturday that testing for COVID-19 can now be performed in-state by DHHR's Bureau for Public Health's lab.

Here at the University we have also created a webpage where we will provide updated  information about COVID-19 as it becomes available. This can be found at www.wvstateu.edu/coronavirus.

I want to encourage everyone to follow the CDC's advice, especially as it relates to staying home if you are sick, without fear for our faculty and staff of not having enough sick days, or for our students of missing class too many times.

For our faculty and staff who have exhausted all of their paid time off, I am extending three additional days of paid leave to be utilized so that you have time to stay home and care for yourself. If you have any questions about this, I encourage you to contact the University's Department of Human Resources at (304) 766-3156.

For our students, if your professor has stated in their class syllabus that you will be penalized for missing too many classes, I am suspending those penalties for absences. If you are sick, stay home. This does not relieve you of completing class assignments; please work with your professor.

As this is an evolving situation, I will provide further updates as they are available.

Best regards,  
 

Anthony L. Jenkins, Ph.D.
President

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
 

What is novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?

COVID-19 is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
Since then, the virus has been identified in multiple other countries, including cases in the U.S.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. This new virus is a public health concern because:
• It is newly identified, so much is still unknown about it.
• Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have caused severe illness.
 
What is the risk?
The CDC considers this new virus a public health concern based on current information. However, the immediate health risk to the general US public is considered low at this time. The CDC and the World Health Organization are closely monitoring the situation and providing ongoing guidance.

Symptoms and transmission:
Symptoms may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include:
• Fever
• Cough
• Difficulty breathing.
 
Person-to-person spread is occurring, although it’s unclear exactly how it is transmitted and how easily the virus spreads between people.
 
If you travel to/through Wuhan or other parts of China:
The CDC recommends avoiding non-essential travel to Wuhan, China. Chinese officials have closed transport within and out of Wuhan, including buses, subways, trains, and the airport. If you must travel:
• Avoid contact with sick people.
• Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
• Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to Wuhan with their health care provider.
 
Treatment:
People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. (source: CDC)
 
Prevention:
There is no vaccine to prevent this virus, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
Currently, 2019-nCoV has not been found to be spreading in the U.S., so there are no additional precautions recommended for the general public to take.
Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
 
Recommendations for people with respiratory symptoms:
If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing and in the last 14 days you:
• Traveled to Wuhan, or
• Visited an affected region in China, or
• Had close contact with someone who had traveled to an affected region in China and had respiratory symptoms.
 
You should:
• Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
• Avoid contact with others.
• Do not travel while sick. Please do not get on public transportation or just arrive at the campus health service.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

The West Virginia Depatment of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) has established a 24-hour hotline for information on COVID-19. It can be reached toll-free at 1-800-887-4304.

DHHR announced on March 7 that testing for COVID-19 can now be performed in-state by DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health’s lab. Prior to this point, West Virginia submitted tests of individuals who were considered at significant risk of having COVID-19 to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing.
 
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