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Public Health Common Questions

These questions supplement What You Need to Know: Public Health and Safety, where you can find more information.

Questions will be added and updated as information becomes available. If you can't find the answer to your question, please submit a question or email returntocampus@mail.wvu.edu.

Are in-person events permitted on campus?

In-person events have resumed at 100% capacity and do not require approval by the WVU Health and Safety Committee. In alignment with CDC guidance, WVU encourages avoiding large events and gatherings, when possible, to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. For event planning guidance, visit What to Do If: You're Planning an Event.

Are masks required to be worn on campus?

Everyone entering classrooms, labs or any WVU System facility or building being used as a classroom must wear a mask properly above the nose and keep it on while inside.

Masks are also required to be worn on campus transportation, including the PRT and buses.

See Mask Requirements for details.

Related questions:

Can I quarantine in my residence hall room?

Yes, if you're asked to quarantine because you are a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, follow these steps to quarantine in your residence hall.

Do I have to quarantine after moving in?

Students, including those coming from out of state, are not required to quarantine after moving into their housing for the fall semester.

Students who did not verify their vaccination with the University by Aug. 1 must be tested and submit a valid COVID-19 test result. They are not, however, required to quarantine if they are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. For more about submitting test results, visit the Student Testing page.

Do I have to wear a mask if I've been vaccinated for COVID-19?

All students, employees and visitors, including vaccinated individuals, are required to wear a mask inside all campus buildings and facilities, and on University transportation.

See Mask Requirements for more information.

Do I really have to wear a mask in class?

Masks are required to be worn in all classrooms, labs or any WVU System facility or building being used as a classroom.

See Mask Requirements for more.

How do I verify my COVID-19 vaccination?

When you become fully vaccinated, use the Vaccine Verification System in StarRez (WVU's housing portal) to report your vaccination to the University.

You will need these pieces of information to complete the form:

  • Your WVU ID (look up WVU ID)
  • Vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer)
  • Vaccination date(s) and location(s)

For step-by-step instructions, check the Vaccine Verification System guide (PDF) or watch a video tutorial.

How often should masks be changed out?

As long as a mask does not become damp or wet, it will protect you from COVID-19. If it does become damp or wet during the day, it's important to swap it out for a new, dry mask; there will be locations across campus to pick up a disposable mask in these cases. It's best to wash your mask each evening, and you can do it simply via hand washing with soap and warm water. Let the mask air dry overnight so it can keep its shape and last longer. You can also wash it via washer and dryer with detergent. Consider having a few masks/face coverings to ensure you have a clean mask each day. When taking off your mask to eat on campus, consider bringing a paper bag to safely store it in.

How often will employees and students get tested?

Individuals who did not verify their vaccination status with WVU by Aug. 1 are required to submit a valid negative COVID-19 test result. For details, see Testing: Students or Testing: Employees.

In addition, those who are not fully vaccinated or did not verify their vaccination with the University by Aug. 1 will be randomly selected for sample testing throughout the fall semester.

Community testing and testing options for those who were exposed to COVID-19 will continue to be available.

How will we know how COVID-19 is affecting the University community as the semester progresses?

The University has re-instituted its COVID-19 incident command center and will be monitoring local and campus trends throughout the 2021-22 academic year.

You can follow WVU's testing results and vaccination rates at COVID-19 testing dashboard. You should remain alert to campus communication with critical information about COVID-19.

I think I was exposed; can I request a test?

Check What to Do If: You May Have Been Exposed to COVID-19 for guidance.

If students have symptoms similar to that of COVID-19 due to seasonal allergies, stress and anxiety or menstruation, what should they do?

If anyone has symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are common to the person due to other established health issues, you are still recommended to call health experts to determine the next step. For students, call Student Health at 304-285-7200. For employees, call WVU Medicine’s COVID-19 phone number at 304-598-6000 (Option 4).

Is COVID-19 treatment covered by the student insurance plan offered by WVU?

Yes.

What are the chances that a test could result in a false positive?

False positives from RT-PCR tests are rare. PCR tests can take from 24-72 hours to provide results but are regarded as the gold standard testing method.

Generally, antigen tests provide faster results but can be less accurate for asymptomatic screenings. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, an initial antigen test may be administered to enable the rapid identification and isolation of positive COVID-19 cases.

What are the long-term effects from getting the disease?

Healthcare providers and scientists still aren't sure what the long-term effects will be for those who recover from COVID-19. Research is ongoing at many universities and academic medical centers around the country, including at WVU.

What are the University's overall vaccination rates?

We're providing updated vaccination rates every Wednesday. All students, faculty and staff are asked to verify their vaccination when they become fully vaccinated.

What can I expect from the nasal swab when getting tested?

WVU's testing providers will perform an anterior swab test, which is less invasive and takes less than five minutes to complete. These anterior swabs are just inside the nose. You may tear up as a response to the sensation, but the feeling is minimal.

What does "fully vaccinated" mean?

If you have received a COVID-19 vaccine that has been authorized or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or is listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (view list of vaccines), you are considered fully vaccinated if:

  • It's been two or more weeks since you received the second dose of a 2-dose series vaccine.
  • It's been two or more weeks since you received one dose of a single-dose vaccine.

What if I don’t or can’t wear a mask?

Faculty and staff who want to seek a modification should contact coronavirusmodification@mail.wvu.edu to discuss their needs.

What if I test positive and isolation isn’t possible (sharing a residence hall room or small apartment where isolation isn’t possible)?

WVU has established Gaskins House for residence hall students to isolate. See What to do if: You test positive and live in a residence hall for more. In the event that moving to another location is not possible, arrangements may be made for your roommate(s) to move temporarily or support will be provided for you to self-isolate in your own space as safely as possible.

What information is available about vaccines?

All information related to the COVID-19 vaccine is available on What You Need to Know: Vaccine Information.

What’s the difference between isolation and quarantine?

The University uses the terms “isolation” and “quarantine” for those who have COVID-19 related matters.

Isolation is avoiding contact with others for at least 10 days after your positive testing date or symptoms, as directed by the local health department. You are likely in isolation because you've tested positive for COVID-19, and this isolation period will separate you from others who may not be sick to help stop the spread of COVID-19. If you live in a residence hall, you will move to Gaskins House. If living off campus, you stay away from others by using a separate living space. You should not leave this isolation space at all during the 10-day period. You are not allowed on campus for class or work at any point during this period, and you must remain in isolation until you are medically cleared. Do not break isolation requirements to re-test during your isolation period.

Quarantine is avoiding contact with others to the furthest extent possible for the next 14 days, as directed by the local health department. You are likely in quarantine because you’ve been considered a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, and this quarantine period separates and restricts the movement of those exposed to COVID-19 to stop the spread of the virus. If you live in a residence hall, you will quarantine in your room and may only leave it to use the restroom throughout this time; meals will be provided. If you live off campus, you should stay away from others by using a separate living space. You should not be on campus for class or work at any point during this period. If you begin to feel ill and develop symptoms of COVID-19, you should call your primary care physician or WVU Medicine Student Health at 304-285-7200. At this time, only unvaccinated individuals are required to quarantine after a COVID-19 exposure.

Related questions:

Where should I go if I want to be tested?

Free community testing is offered regularly at the WVU Student Rec Center. No appointment is necessary. For more, see Students: Optional Testing or Employees: Optional Testing.

Students and employees who need testing outside of normal community testing hours may contact WVU Medicine Student Health at 304-285-7200 for more information.

If you're experiencing symptoms or think you've been exposed to COVID-19 ...
Students should contact WVU Student Health or contact your primary healthcare provider. Employees should contact WVU Medicine or your primary healthcare provider.

Why is a quarantine period longer than an isolation period?

WVU is following the CDC guidelines and timelines for isolation and quarantine. It can take a person anywhere from 2-14 days to experience symptoms or develop the infection, so a person must quarantine for 14 days.

Will students and employees be able to travel?

Visit What You Need to Know: Travel for current WVU travel guidelines.