WVUP students will return to campus this fall, administrators say

WVUP administration unveils plan to bring students back to campus for fall semester
Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 8:38 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va (WTAP) - West Virginia University at Parkersburg students can return to campus this fall, administrators say. The university’s president, Dr. Chris Gilmer, says the current plan is to have students on campus in August. However, school won’t look the same as it did before the coronavirus pandemic. Among many other changes, students will alternate being in the actual classroom and attending over Zoom.

“We will be doing our classes in a hybrid format,” said Gilmer. “Students will receive half their instruction face to face and half their instruction virtually. SO if a class meets at nine o’clock on Monday and Wednesday, half the group will be in class with the professor on Monday, half the group will be in the class with the professor on Wednesday so we can maintain proper social distancing and all of our health protocols. The day they aren’t physically in class with the professor they will be learning virtually over zoom, in real time.”

Gilmer says WVUP is following every guideline given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reopen. Everyone who enters the building has to wear a mask and get their temperature checked. He says safety is a top priority for the university.

It’s too early to tell how well the reopening plan will go, but Gilmer says there are multiple studies that suggest a staggered attendance is better for a student’s education anyway and the little reaction he has gotten to the reopening plan has been positive.

“Our students have been telling me, while they’ve enjoyed their virtual learning, they want to come back and be face to face with their professors in class,” said Gilmer.

While the university has been open amid the coronavirus pandemic, many employees were sent home and facilities were closed. Now in preparation for students to return, WVUP began bringing staff back in phases on the first Monday in July.

“We’ve brought back about 75 of our employees in a phased, socially distanced kind of way,” said Gilmer. “We’re going to try to bring back the entire faculty and staff around the first of August to get ready for a large class of students who will be coming back in the fall.”

Enrollment numbers aren’t final for fall semester yet, but Gilmer says he was pleasantly surprised to see summer enrollment climb by ten percent this year.

There are some concerns about reopening, but one student says she is ready to be back.

“It is concerning being back with a bunch of people where there are still unknowns, and uncertainty. However, I am excited to be back in the classroom and face to face with my favorite professors and all of my friends,” said Sarah Weeks, a media communications major. “I have no doubt in my mind that I will be safe and ready to return to courses and be absolutely healthy.”

Gilmer says students or potential students who would like to arrange a meeting or a tour of the campus can make an appointment to do so by calling WVUP at 304-424-8310.

Copyright 2020 WTAP. All rights reserved.

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