What You Need to Know: Academic Affairs
To provide students and faculty with an engaging and safe academic experience, WVU has designed a number of changes.
The 2020-2021 Academic Calendar has been revised with the goal of keeping students on campus to reduce their risk of exposure and potential virus surge in our communities.
- The fall semester will begin on Wednesday, Aug. 19.
- Fall break will be canceled.
- Classes will be held on campus through Tuesday, Nov. 24.
- Students will not return to campus following Thanksgiving Break. One week of online instruction will follow Thanksgiving break (Nov. 30-Dec. 4).
- Finals will be conducted online Dec. 7-11.
- The spring semester will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
- Spring break will be canceled, but campuses will schedule study days throughout the semester during which no instruction takes place.
- Last day of classes will be April 30, with finals week being held on campus May 3-7.
- Classroom density will be reduced by 50% when possible, as advised by our healthcare professionals and partners.
- To reduce density in classrooms, WVU will use different teaching methods: in-person, online and hybrid (a mix of on-campus and online instruction).
- Off-campus locations are being considered to provide additional space for classroom instruction.
- Some labs will be held in person, while some lend themselves to online learning.
- Seating plans and layouts will allow for physical distancing. For example, seat signage may be used to create a checkerboard seating pattern with one space between students.
- Students and faculty are required to observe the University’s physical distancing guidelines.
- Students will be required to wear masks while in class.
- Faculty will be required to wear masks (cloth or clear) or use plexiglass options to reduce virus spread.
- Each faculty, staff and student will receive a Welcome Back Kit containing a cloth mask or gaiter, disposable masks, hand sanitizer and a key touch tool.
- Plexiglass screens in front of lecterns and other personal protective equipment (PPE) will be in place.
- Spray bottles or disinfectant wipes will be available at all classroom lecterns.
- Cleaning supplies, such as sanitizers and wipes, will be available throughout all buildings.
- Tabletops, desktops and other hard and non-permeable surfaces will be disinfected at a minimum of once daily.
- Horizontal and vertical surfaces, including high-touch areas, will be wiped and disinfected using products approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Instruction and Academic Support Services
By June 30, WVU will release a finalized fall course schedule that will include the classroom location, days and time the course will be offered and mode of delivery, if the course is not being delivered face-to-face.
- Students should review their finalized schedules online and contact their academic adviser if they want to make adjustments.
- All efforts will be made to provide students with a schedule that offers a mix of instruction.
- Mode of instruction depends upon a variety of factors, including room availability, type of instruction required, the learning outcomes of the course, accreditation requirements of the discipline and the goal of providing students a reasonable mix of instructional modes. Instructor preference will be considered when possible.
- Students will receive the quality instruction they expect and deserve regardless of delivery mode.
- Faculty and instructors are working with WVU Teaching and Learning Commons (TLC) through the summer to prepare courses for full online and hybrid delivery.
- Faculty, instructors and graduate teaching assistants are encouraged to participate in the TLC’s Fall Hybrid Teaching Institute and consider completing the HyFlex Teaching Endorsement.
- Classrooms have been upgraded with the latest instructional technologies and webcams, when needed.
- Instructors can request clear masks or use the plexiglass shields in front of the lectern to improve intelligibility. Students who are hearing impaired should reach out to the Office of Accessibility Services for additional support if needed.
- All instructors will need to prepare to pivot to online instruction should there be another COVID-19 outbreak that would require us to shut down campus for an indefinite period and shift to remote delivery of instruction. Guidelines are being developed to help instructors prepare for such as shift.
Advising and Support
- Advising will be conducted remotely, as well as faculty office hours, whenever possible.
- Tutoring and success coaching will be offered virtually.
Policies and Personal Accountability
- Face masks are required on campus.
- Physical distancing, as defined by public health and University guidelines, is required on campus.
- Students who fail to follow University safety protocols will be asked to leave the classroom and may face additional student conduct sanctions under WVU’s Code of Student Conduct. Instructors will be provided guidance on handling such issues as well as a COVID-19 student conduct statement to be included in course syllabi.
- Employees who fail to follow University safety protocols could be subject to disciplinary action.
- The University is developing a more flexible attendance policy.
- Students unable to attend class because of illness will be provided alternative opportunities to receive course content and meet course outcomes.
Illness and Accommodation Requests
- Faculty and instructors who are at higher risk for severe illness as defined by the CDC, or who live with someone who is at higher risk, can request accommodations and review the COVID-19 Modification of Duties Flowchart to understand possible scenarios.
- A similar process will be available for graduate assistants. Details will be available soon on the WVU Graduate Education and Life website.
- Faculty who are sick with COVID-19 should follow the Special Emergency Leave Plan and work with their supervisors to make alternative work arrangements.
- Faculty members can still opt out of the automatic COVID-19 tenure-clock extension until June 30. Information about this process can be found on the WVU Faculty website under COVID-19 Extension of the Tenure Clock.
- For the upcoming academic year, faculty may request to adjust their distribution of teaching, service and/or research efforts until August 30. Information about this process can be found on the WVU Faculty website under COVID-19 Revised Annual Evaluation Guidelines.
- Faculty can find complete details about the revised faculty evaluation guidelines on the WVU Faculty website.
In May, WVU began reopening research labs with strict PPE requirements and physical distancing protocols. For the latest information about the return to research activity on campus, visit the Research Office COVID-19 Guidance website.
- Return to Research Summer Guidelines
- Non-Health Sciences Center Human Subject Research
- Clinical Trial / Research Reopening at the Health Sciences Center
- Recommendations for Clinical Research Investigators and Coordinators from the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute
- The current priority is research that is externally funded and that involves graduate students who need to conduct research to continue their academic progression.
- Activity is expected to continue to ramp up during the summer, but all research that can be conducted remotely should continue in that mode – including human subject research.
- No in-person human subjects research can begin until approved by the department chair (or unit manager) and college dean (or designee).
- Faculty with full board and expedited research studies are encouraged to amend their WVU IRB protocols to include the option of conducting research remotely through such methods as video conferencing, phone interviews, electronic surveys and electronic consent.
- University travel overall will be very limited, but first priority will be given to externally funded research travel.
- All faculty who travel outside of the state will be expected to observe travel guidelines established by the state, county and University.
International Students and Study Abroad
Outreach to International Students
- The Office of Global Affairs is working to enroll some students in online courses so they can continue making progress toward their degree even if they cannot return to campus for fall.
- Global Affairs will continue to monitor and resolve student access issues and work with academic departments to ensure students can obtain the necessary course materials.
Graduate Teaching Assistants
- WVU is working to maximize the number of international students awarded graduate assistant positions who will be able to perform their duties this fall.
- Students with graduate assistant positions who remain abroad should contact Tax Services and Global Affairs to confirm their eligibility to work.
- Students and supervisors should contact Global Affairs for additional information and guidance.
- WVU has canceled all study abroad trips for fall, including incoming and out-going student exchanges.
- The Spring 2021 study abroad decision will be made in mid-fall.
- Some faculty are developing “virtual exchanges” to provide their students with a shared academic experience with international students.
Stop the Spread
Personal accountability is the key to our safe return to campus. Do your part to keep everyone safe.Do Your Part
Return to Campus Conversations
You’re welcome to join live discussions on Thursdays at 10 a.m. — or watch recordings of previous conversations whenever it’s convenient.Schedule